The Magic Highway




Cornwall Gardens
Jeff's and Paul Fenton's residence in 1971.

"IN 1971, comedian Ruby Wax used to share the flat I lived in with my drummer Paul Fenton and some other Leeds lads in Cornwall Gardens, Kensington; she was far more of a handful then, and hysterically funny.
    I became like an older brother to her in some ways and we had some fun times together and remain friends today. She invited me down to one of the recordings in Nottingham of ‘Girls on Top’ with Dawn French, Lenny Henry, Jennifer Saunders and a new comic called Harry Enfield who was the audience warm-up! We all went out for a Chinese after the show and no-one was in the slightest bit funny!
    The Vietnam War stopped me becoming an American citizen. At 16 my parents wanted to emigrate our family to California to be close to my mum’s sister in San Francisco and went through extensive preparations, when at the 11th hour the American Consul informed my parents that if we did go, my brother and I would be eligible for the Vietnam draft, so to save my brother and I from being cannon fodder they decided to stay in England. I did however live in the US for over a year in ’75 after the break-up of Christie.


Jeff relaxing at home in the Cornwall Gardens apartment.

Jeff and Paul

Jeff and Paul horse around in the Cornwall Gardens kitchen.

A press story about Jeff's and Paul's digs.

   My first musical ambition was to be a flamenco guitarist but in 1956 it was impossible to find an authentic flamenco teacher in Leeds, so when Elvis emerged soon after I found the wild excitement of it all and the guitar sounds to be the nearest thing to flamenco and certainly the next best thing and was hooked instantly.
    People often ask me for my likes and dislikes. I like love, peace and understanding. For All Mankind and all that hippie stuff that has an enduring appeal.
    Add to that the other cliché of wine, women and song, good food, old friends and lovers, the people I love (they know who they are), reading (when I have time), Chaplin, Billy Wilder, Clint Eastwood, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas (a very distant relation of my mother), Marx Bros, The Three Stooges, Walter Matthau, Paul Schofield (a man for all seasons), art, drama, and film (Cinema Paradiso, Citizen Kane).
 Jeff    I like the great classical composers (Shostakovich, Mahler, Elgar, Tchaikovsky etc), great 20th century songwriters, too many to mention, The Great American Songbook, people who are old school genuinely funny and make me laugh like Phil Silvers, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Steve Martin, Tommy Cooper, Benny Hill and Harry and Paul.
    Also the San Francisco Giants! Fell walking and swimming, squash which I played till I did my knees in with four operations! Table tennis, and John Charles, the gentle giant in football. I could go on!
    Dislikes: War, poverty, lies, deceit, corrupt politicians, cheats, thieves, murderers, rapists, bigots, racists, 9/11 7/7 conspiracy theories and Holocaust deniers, arrogance, loud inconsiderate people, people who talk loudly on cell phones so the whole world can hear, drivers talking on their mobiles and steering with one hand, endangering life and limb, litter louts, binge drinking, fighting yobs (male and female) that are a blot on the landscape and make town centres no-go zones, especially for older folks who are scared to venture out: why should a minority spoil life for the majority .. a case for zero tolerance to reclaim the streets?
    I don't like thugs in shorts playing the ‘beautiful game’ and radiating ugliness on and off the pitch whilst earning obscene amounts. Reality TV, the way old people are disenfranchised and marginalised and the break-up of families. The conspiracy of silence (evil triumphs when good men and women do and say nothing!). Pain, despair, depression physical or mental, watching loved ones suffer, cancer and terminal illness’ that trap people in a life of hell and misery, in some cases euthanasia would be a blessing. I could go on! "

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