John Gibson: My recall with an old Faithfull

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It was a long time ago. How long? Don’t be vulgar. But on delving into our library here at Holyrood Towers, our ever-helpful archivist Craig Nelson helped me exhume my words for the Gibpress File.

Get to the point, Gibbo. Who are we talking about? Marianne Faithfull, then queen of the charts, and she had asked me to breakfast with her at the Caley. Watching her close up, a mature woman at 31, devour scrambled eggs, bacon, rolls, toast and coffee was a concert performance in itself.

Marianne hasn’t lost her appetite for public performance. This week she’s in Austria starring in Bertolt Brecht’s ballet, The Seven Deadly Sins, in Linz.

Last week Mick Jagger, her partner for four years, was trousering £1000 a ticket for the Stones comeback gigs. She’s close to skint compared with Mick, but her reign at the top of the charts with As Tears Go By endured throughout the summer of ’61.

Through the torrent of coffee she told me then, and skipping lightly as I returned to Jagger: “I last saw him four years ago at a party. I saw Bianca two months ago at a party. Everything is civilised.

“My voice has become much deeper. Sexier if you like. It’s more charged.”

I politely nicked a rasher of bacon from her plate, leaving my interviewee to cope with tears, drugs and a suicidal stage. Turbulence by the ton. Dating Mick four years as the tears went by . . . few women can survive such a relationship.

Afterwords . .

. . . Michael ‘‘Tarzan’’ Heseltine, worth £250 million at 79, swings through the trees to yell: “Life’s been very kind to me, so I don’t have many disappointments. But yes I would have liked to have been prime minister.” Tough!