Great Show Biz Story!

I was a Lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys for 3 years guarding the oil in Kuwait from Colonel Nasser of Egypt in 1963 (just as the Americans did in Desert Storm 28 years later).

After leaving the army in 1966 I got a job selling display ad space for the London’s Sunday Times at a princely salary of £1,400 a year plus expenses! Good pay for a first job in those days!

With aspirations of being an opera singer, I went down to Chelsea and studied with a wonderful old ‘bel canto’ teacher Rupert Bruce-Lockhart twice a week during my lunch hour.
Michael Crawford, another of Rupert’s students, was a comedy actor with a thin ‘reedy’ voice. In a period of 18 monts Michael’s voice was transformed into a quite a powerful instrument.
Another of Rupert’s clients was Sarah Brightman the singer wife of Andrew Lloyd Webber. One day they both came early to a lesson and heard Michael Crawford singing upstairs. Rupert introduced them and that’s how Michael ended up playing the ‘Phantom’ in “Phantom of the Opera!”

By the way RUSH to see ‘Black Mass’ which I just saw at the British Academy, Johnny Depp is brilliant as James ‘Whitey’ Bulger the notorious brutal vicious leader of Boston’s ‘Winter Hill Gang’ from 1975-84. Excellent ensemble acting and directing. About time! Johnny Depp has had FIVE flops in a row since ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and Warner Bros made $2.8 billion last year as opposed to the roughly $4.2 billion they made for several past years in a row. Besides a string of flops this year they also passed on “Straight Outta Compton” saying it was too expensive to make! Universal got it by default.

So finally Depp and Warners have a bona fide hit on their hands.