Friday, 1 July 2011

The Eighties & Nineties


The Eighties signified for me the beginning and the end of so much. The supernaturalism centred at Highgate had been extirpated, and the case itself was finally closed in the first couple of years of the new decade. The dreams and optimism which sprang out of the Sixties were now buried under the emerging cynicism and consumerism of the Eighties. Barely a trace remained of that gentler time as Britain for the first time since WWII went to war again — this time over the Falkland Islands — a taste of what was to come in the Nineties and the new century. And a new generation of greed marked the fast decline in morals so evident today.

I remained as committed to music and the arts as before, but life's tempo had changed and everyone suddenly seemed to be in such a rush with nowhere especially interesting to go. More than ever, I was a fish out of water, but nonetheless met people who, like myself, felt out of step with the modern age. A very dear friend, who had been a model when she first came to London, opened a print gallery in Pond Square, Highgate, where I was invited to display my photographic images of the area. This was followed by the first edition of my most popular book being published in 1985 — The Highgate Vampire — optioned to become a cinema movie.

My dearest friend, Diana, who owned the print gallery in Highgate, gave incredible support to all my projects. Sadly, she is no longer with us, having been taken swiftly by cancer early in the new century, but she nonetheless knew I reached the promised place by the seashore, even if she never finally did so herself. She also witnessed my happiness in finding the perfect soul mate — the person who would become my wife.

Sarah and I met one sunny October day as she was walking home, and I was watching her a few yards from where once my photographic studio stood in the Sixties. My book had been published in the previous year, and she had recently graduated from university with an honours degree in drama and dance. Yet — in that moment when we first saw each other — neither knew anything about the other. It was love at first sight. We married the following year in her county of origin, Wiltshire, on what was undoubtedly the happiest day of our lives. Diana was my "best man" and the reception was held in the open, beneath the sun, with music supplied by Enya. I was attired as a Grail Knight — Sarah wore a medieval wedding dress she had designed herself. She looked beautiful.

“It sometimes happens that a man and a woman meet and instantly recognise the other half of themselves behind the eyes of each other. Such a meeting occurred between Sarah and I. Our spirits rushed together in joyful recognition, ignoring all convention and custom, all social rules of behaviour, driven by an inner knowing ― too overwhelming to be denied. And now we can find wholeness.” ― Extract from my wedding speech (8 August 1987)


Sarah prior to a dinner party at our coastal retreat.

Sarah and I with my tenor saxophone close to where we live.

Sarah attending our wedding anniversary at Langtry Manor.

My mother and Sarah's father at my ordination reception.

The church where I was episcopally consecrated.

Sarah on the occasion of her becoming a deacon.

My mother, Diana and her son, Oliver, receiving the Blessed Sacrament.

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