Monday, 24 May 2010

“Life with George Harrison Marks”- A Chat with Louise Sinclair

I was delighted to recently correspond with Louise S. Sinclair, who back in the 1970s worked as a glamour model and dated George Harrison Marks during the Spring of 1979. Louise is happy to reminisce about “those wonderful pre politically correct days of freedom” and her computer-like memory was able to fill in many of the blank spots I had about Marks’ life during that period. Her stories about him are equal parts comedy and tragedy, and provide a frank, but valuable, insight into Marks’ psyche, post Come Play With Me, at the very fag end of the 1970s. Many thanks to Louise for taking this trip down memory lane!!

“I was involved with George during 1979 when he resided in Red Lion Square and had a company called Helena Grant Associations. I became his lover aged 19 and when he telephoned my mother would jokingly say "granddad is on the phone" At that point George had spilt from (his third wife) Toni. I believe it had happened over a year previously. Toni seemed to be involved with a man called Arthur who aggravated George because his identity bracelet had diamonds and George's was plain gold.

George introduced me to his various friends including Milton and Jack as his mistress. I recall little about (Milton Reid), he seemed a fairly disinterested in people character and usually just nodded in my direction. I recall him looking very over weight and George being heavy, the two of them made quite a sight. George liked wearing a striped top which as I told him made him look like a deckchair on legs. I wasn't diplomatic as I was only 18 when I met George.

George was a very heavy smoker and drinker. He also loved dishes such as saukraut and polish sausages. His moods were volatile and I had a quarrel with him when somewhat hungover he demanded that I helped him clean his flat as Toni was expected. I was nursing a heavy cold and when George demanded that I got up and helped him empty ashtrays and remove empty vodka bottles I exploded with rage dressed and left. Toni arrived and seeing the condition he was in promptly confiscated his adored Burmese cats as she thought he was too drunk to care for them. I wrote George a sharp letter calling him a walking vodka bottle. He quickly contacted me to apologize for his thoughtless behaviour. George was quite stingy with money and rarely bought me a gift. He loved wearing bling jewellery and liked to relax in one of his many kaftans. George was a prolific reader and introduced me to Jackie Collins via Lovers and Gamblers. I was instantly hooked and sat reading quietly for hours while George drank smoked and snoozed. He often mentioned his daughter Josie and took us off to a hairdressers where we both had our hair cut and styled.

During this time George was involved in stronger glamour photography. He used to grumble that there was no art left in 60's style glamour - it was strictly open leg material. I was a glamour model but he never wanted me to involve myself in his hard core material. However it led to some amusing encounters. George once told me we had to get up as he was expecting a dishy male model for an audition. I leapt out of bed and hastily applied make up expecting a tall dark handsome hunk. I was very disillusioned to be greeted by a pale skinny young guy with blond hair and a washed out appearance. Perhaps his assets were concealed by his underwear.

I met Rex Peters who was a highly unpleasant little man and Ed Alexander whom seemed okay. George told me not to work with Rex as he was known for getting "forceful" with women. I didn't do any film or television work myself. I almost got slung out of a Health And Efficiency shoot because I was wearing too much make up and horror of horrors suspenders and nail polish. George almost cried with laughter over that episode.

Another time I visited Toni's flat in St Johns Wood to complete a movie. There were several of us and it was exhausting. That film Toni and her boyfriend did was so appalling it was scrapped according to George. It wouldn't surprise me as the shooting was haphazard to say the least. The films Toni and her boyfriend were making were very soft - no open leg or erections. I think they were trying for a Mayfair image. Everything was suggested but nothing happened apart from several very weary models. Toni also had a model there she was helping to get jobs in exchange for a 10% commission. Shooting continued throughout the day and when evening finally arrived I returned to George to find that he had thoughtfully prepared a meal and bath for me.

George had a great love of Vaudeville which I was too young to appreciate and he often compared my figure to that of Pamela Green. However by this time he was no Casanova as drinking had affected his virility. His amusing personality was his biggest asset to a young woman interested in having fun and aware that the relationship would go nowhere.

Saturdays were often spent wandering along Camden Passage where George knew quite a few of the dealers. Lunch was liquid and complemented by plenty of Marlboro cigarettes. When he moved to Stamford Hill he had an elderly couple in residence
downstairs. I believe the wife’s name was Dolly. The journey from East London to Stamford hill was very awkward and gradually our relationship petered out when I became involved with another man.

George was eccentric, amusing but ultimately somewhat afraid of deep intimacy with women. He was very distressed about the death of Mary Millington. I was with him when he received the news. His view was that the Inland Revenue had hounded her to suicide. David Sullivan was a man he felt contempt for. George told me that Sullivan enjoyed a daily breakfast of steak followed by a box of chocolates. He also claimed that Sullivan had collected the earnings from Come Play With Me as a major backer of the film. It seemed that he resented the success Sullivan was enjoying and certainly didn't want to play second fiddle to a man he viewed as an upstart.

George was going through a fairly quiet period at that point and seemed to enjoy most of his spare time lounging around the flat, playing with his cats and drinking vodka. In retrospect I would suspect he was quite depressed as he couldn't see a clear direction and he got bored doing the blue films.”

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