Vicar’s Porn Shame (16.01.94)

News of the World, 16th January 1994

NOTW160194a NOTW160194b NOTW160194c NOTW160194d NOTW160194e

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3 comments
  1. Troyhand said:

    http://books.google.com/books?ei=aUiKU8bEC-LLsATW5YHoBw&id=BHAgAQAAMAAJ&dq=%22for+the+lease+and+we+reckoned+that+it+would+cost+a+further%22&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=Riseley+Prichard
    Sorry I kept you waiting, Madam
    Vidal Sassoon – 1968

    [Page 92-93]

    ‘I can’t beat that sort of field overnight,’ I said. ‘I need time. The present salon is too small, too damn high up. I need room to expand, something on the ground floor, something bigger …’

    ‘ Then I stopped talking. It was pointless. The Burkemans, who had never complained once over thirty months, had lost faith in me. Either I went to the suburbs or ended the partnership and gave them back the money they had invested. There was no other way.

    ‘Think it over, anyway,’ said Monty. ‘Don’t do anything you feel is wrong for you.’

    We parted company. Leila still comes to me to have her hair done. Though my confidence had taken a pummelling, I knew that I had to go on, that I could not face the suburbs and defeat. Somewhere I had to find a new backer and I had not the faintest idea where I could even start looking.

    In fact, had I gone out at that time to find fresh capital, I might be searching yet. Instead it fell into my hands so easily and dramatically that the scene could have been snatched from a second feature film.

    Elaine and I had found ourselves a flat in Curzon Place, more or less round the corner from the salon. Some time after my meeting with the Burkemans, the pair of us were sitting at home, trying to dream up rich relations or friends and having no success at all.

    The doorbell rang. It was ***John Riseley Prichard***, a neighbour of ours, whom we knew only casually. He had ***relatives*** calling the following day, it seemed, and he wanted to know if Janet, the marvellous Geordie from Tyneside who looked after us, could help him clean up his flat.

    I said that I would ask her and suggested a cup of tea. As Elaine was putting the kettle on, he said to me casually: ‘How’s business?’

    I swear to this day that he was only making conversation, that he might have asked me just as easily how I was or what the weather was going to be like or any other question that does not need an answer.

    Normally, too, I would have replied: ‘Fine …just fine.’ The script for conversations of this nature, after all, has been established by years of polite English usage.

    Instead, for some reason that I still cannot understand, I gave him an honest answer. I told him the lot. I said that business was heading straight for the rocks and I described in detail just what had gone wrong with the steering. By the time I had finished, the tea was cold in the cup in front of me and I realized what I had been saying.

    Embarrassed I apologized immediately for boring him; and that is where the second feature film took over.

    ‘Don’t apologize,’ he said quickly. ‘This is interesting. Maybe I could put up some money.’ For a moment I just sat there, trying to make sense of his words. This man scarcely knew me and my knowledge of him was not exactly extensive, either.

    I knew that he was in the insurance business in a fairly substantial way and that his firm had stopped him racing cars at Brands Hatch because, they said, they did not want to lose his services; but that was about all.

    With a grin, he said: ‘How much do you need?’

    ‘Look here,’ I said. ‘At present business is good, but it is static. To expand I’ve got to get off that third floor. But that will cost far more than most people think.’
    ‘How much?’

    ‘Several thousand pounds.’

    ‘How many?’

    ‘I can’t say offhand because I haven’t looked for new premises yet, let alone found them. But it cold cost £50,000.’

    To my amazement, he did not even wince. Instead he finished his cold tea and said: ‘Let’s meet tomorrow and go into the details.’

    As a result of that brisk conversation, John Riseley Prichard moved in and the Burkemans bowed gracefully out of my business life. Immediately I began to keep an eye open for a salon to fit the size of my plans…

    [Page 95-96]

    for the lease and we reckoned that it would cost a further £30,000 to equip and furnish the place exactly as we wanted it.

    I was thrilled. The whole bit was going to work out at £10,000 less than I had estimated to John Riseley Prichard a year and a half earlier. I was certain, in fact, that everyone everywhere was rooting for us, making the scene our shape.

    But I was wrong. Bond Street may have looked beautiful; but in other parts of the world it was ugly. There were plane crashes, shipwrecks. For ***John, the international insurance man***, it was a dismal and horribly expensive time.

    I knew nothing of this, of course, until he asked me round to see him and said : ‘ Vidal, can you wait another year?’

    ‘I can’t, John,’ I said. ‘In any other business it might be possible, but not in ours. If I don’t move fast now, the scene won’t wait for me. We’re over-staffed and, if I don’t get a bigger place, they will have to go. I can’t afford to lose them.’

    He understood. And, when he had to explained the position to me, he said: ‘It looks as if you will have to change partners. I’ll do my best to help you find a new one.’

    I could not help admiring his courage at that moment, though I knew that for him it was only a temporary setback. Today I am happy to say that he is right back on top again, having overcome those circumstances that were beyond his control.

    Nevertheless, I did not feel that even a businessman of John Riseley Prichard’s calibre could snatch out of the air someone with £40,000 to invest in a hairdressing salon.

    But again I was wrong. A few days later he telephoned me and said: ‘I’ve found your man. Can you have dinner with him tomorrow night at the Jardin des Gourmets?’

    I tried to find out more details, to learn his recipe for miracles; but John had hung up. The following night I went along to the Jardin des Gourmets in a bit of a daze. I like to see a scene moving, but this one was changing so fast I was getting spots before my eyes.

    John, however, troubles or no troubles, was as urbane as ever, as he introduced me to my potential backer. A vast hand grasped mine in a knuckle-crushing grip. At the other end of it was a burly, white-haired man in his sixties.

    A pair of shrewd blue eyes laughed down at me and an enormous grin creased the chunky, mahogany-coloured face.

    He looked like a powerhouse and I was not at all surprised to see that he wore a ten-gallon hat.

    ‘This is Mr Charles Prevost from Australia,’ said John. ‘He’s in wool. Mr Prevost …’

    ‘Mr Sassoon.’ The voice, deep, friendly, firm, matched the rest of the man.

    Here was someone, I felt, who was going to talk straight, someone who would mean every word he said. Instinctively I trusted him. Talk straight? I soon learned that Charles Prevost would have made John Wayne sound like a devious twister.
    ***

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