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The Warp

Dandy Kim

Let me introduce Dandy Kim first, as I’m sure he would like best, at one of his parties. It’s being held in his minute but luxurious Tudor Revival home in a mews just off Eaton Square. The clothing is to be jeans, said the invitation, but what jeans! Those worn by people at this party all, as far as I can judge, have been run up by expensive tailors to be the last word in tightness, and the casual shirts are the best that can be bought, with their owners initials embroidered on them.

As I come into the room out of an empty and cold street, Kim looms up in front of me and says, ‘Ah, Jeremy, I’m glad you came, come in, I want to introduce you to ...’ and suddenly that face and form is before me, Diana Dors, the film star, familiar from a thousand posters and from the celuloid itself. ‘There is the feeling of recognition rather than meeting for the first time,’ I wrote in my journal, ‘a feeling as of love at first sight, also the feeling that this is immortal, this face will exist for ever, like that of Pickford or Garbo.’ (With hindsight this seems less likely.)

Jackie Lane, a lovely starlet, is the one I’m introduced to next, standing sultrily and sexily in her tight skirt, her legs flared apart, peering sideways at herself in one of the mirrors on the walls of the room. Kim reappears with a young man he wants her to meet and Jackie Lane shouts, ‘Fuck off!’

The young man, dangling a cigarette in his mouth, does not go, and she screams, ‘Christ, get away from me!’

Later, a man who has been introduced to me as one of the few men who can actually get a film on to the screen, is explaining to Jackie, ‘He’s no good, your producer, he only succeeds with one film in six. Yours will be one of the failures.’

Jackie shouts, ‘Fuck off, don’t be ridiculous, for one thing there’s Frankie Vaughan in the movie. For another it’s got me in it. So what the hell do you think can go wrong with it?’

A Spanish woman tells me, ‘We live at Marlow, it’s wonderful, you know, real rural village life. We have a postmistress who’s called the Venus de Marlow.’

Kim and Jackie Lane are now ascending the narrow open-plan staircase together. Half an hour later they come down, arm in arm, as if to take a bow. Kim looks smugly proud and happy and bright eyed, he escorts her out through the front door which goes straight out into the street.

Two girls are discussing another; ‘She has beautiful eyes.’ ‘Yes, and beautiful thighs’.

They are dancing together in the centre of the floor. At intervals one comes up to Kim and says ‘Bunny asked me to sleep with her tonight, do you think I should?’

Kim says, ‘Well, I’ll tell you one thing, I don’t honestly care a toss. I don’t want her.’

‘She’s so wonderful, her skin is so smooth and all brown, just come back from Africa.’ She goes over to where Bunny is shimmying and shaking in centre floor.

A musical bore, who apparently is well known as the

piano playing peer’, at intervals swims into the


conversation. ‘Do you know Busoni’s sonata in E flat?’ he asks.

Three starlets stand clustered in a corner, their plump bosoms bouncing out of their dresses and their faces pert and lustrous, gazing at each other from mascara-caked eyes, talking about their poodles, one of which is called Fritz and another Jehovah.

And Sabrina the cinema sex goddess is standing in the centre of the party and all around I can hear men explaining to each other that they are hypnotised by her bosom.

She is saying, ‘Yeah but I’ve got to go on with the show. I would like not to. I would like to follow up some of the many other lucrative contracts I’ve been offered. But I can’t. And at this very moment I have a rendezvous in the Paris Ritz that I can’t keep.’

Kim introduces a shy and rather innocent looking young man to her who asks, ‘Are you a debutante?’ Quite seriously she answers, ‘No.’

Later Sabrina leans against the bar and stands cursing, ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.’

‘You’d better go, honey,’ says Kim.

‘Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.’

Kim explains to Nell and me that he has only been truly in love twice in his life. Once it was with Diana Dors, who was not available. The second time it was with another spectacular woman and this one was available.

‘Did you think of marrying her?’ asks Nell.

‘Honey, that was my plan, but she was murdered, in Bangkok. I was waiting in Paris and the train she said she’d be on pulled in. I searched the train but couldn’t find her. Then, travelling in the luggage van I noticed this coffin.’

Nell bursts out into laughter.

Strutting, legs apart in cavalry twill, his tailored shirt tight round his chest, Kim tells how once a friend stole a woman whom he was fond of from him. Kim took the man’s car, unfixed the panels on the inside of the doors and filled them with fish, then fixed them back and returned the car. For a few days the motor smelled more or less as it always had. About a week later however a most terrible smell became increasingly potent throughout the car. He took it to ten garages. None of them could explain the smell. All that they could suggest was that it might be fish oil in the gearbox. None of them could cure the smell and he finally had to sell it at a fraction of its value.

Kim rings me one day and says, ‘You remind me of Peter Pan and his friends, the lonely boys in the hut ...’ He has lived with film stars as often as not, so he claims. He calls all women either ‘Honey’ or ‘Luscious’. If it is pointed out that he only appears to go out with wealthy women he replies, ‘Fifty percent of my girlfriends may be wealthy, but the other fifty percent have equally been penniless.’

Belinda Montague once commented to me, about people like Kim, ‘Well, yes, they’re all right, all those people, if you put them in a pale room with dim lights, but they don’t have any real life at all. Put them in the country, in real light, real air, and they fall to bits.’

Distantly, at the end of the room, someone is shouting angrily at Kim, ‘You don’t like anyone, you don’t even like yourself very much.’

There is a man called David at the party. He thinks Kim is wealthy and is trying to impress him. But Kim thinks David is wealthy and is trying to impress him. There is a man in muck-shifting who is there to be impressed, and another three starlets. David describes a visit to the Club D’Essaie, a musique concrete experimental centre in Paris. At one moment when I am alone with him he solemnly warns me about Kim. Later Kim solemnly warns me about David.

Kim goes out to play football one Sunday in his immaculate clothes, white shorts, a gaudy jersey announcing some club which does not sound at all familiar, and arrives in his Jaguar. After ten minutes he slips and falls and, finding himself a little muddy, he leaves.

At a party where he is waiting outside a loo, according to Kim, a man comes up and tries to get into conversation with him. Kim says, ‘I have no interest whatever in your remarks. I am not going to be spattered with your shit.’

The guy, furious, shouts, ‘I shall fucking well knock you out.’

‘Oh,’ says Kim, smiling sweetly, ‘So you’re one of those guys that thinks that might is right?’

He says to his very pretty cousin Zamantha, who lives in the mews house with him, ‘If you dance with Kurt I’ll not speak to you again.’

Kurt comes up and says, ‘Come and dance, Zamantha.’

‘Well ...’ says Zamantha, looking up sideways at Kim.

‘Now you sit tight here,’ snarls Kim.

Zamantha stays.

In the best hotel in San Francisco, according to Kim, he turns up with a girfriend immaculately dressed in T-shirt, a fur and slacks. On the wall of the foyer there is a notice saying ‘Please, ladies, no slacks in the hall.’ Kim storms into the hotel manager’s office and shouts that unless the notice is removed at once, he’ll never come back to the hotel again.

The notice is taken down.

To celebrate this, Kim orders a meal and a lot of drink to be brought up to the suite he’s sharing with his girlfriend. Seven men in uniform appear at the door of their apartment with two trolley-loads of food. By now Kim and his girlfriend have drunk so much that they are both blind drunk, lying flat out under different beds, so they don’t eat any of it.

Kim has brought with him a tape recorder that he bought in England and has plugged it in with an adaptor. After playing satisfactorily for a while, the tape recorder bursts into flames and later that night they wake up to find the room filled with black smoke. Kim dials room service and shouts, ‘Fire! Fire!’ down the phone and the seven men dash back in with fire extinguishers.

Kim says, ‘Girls’ mothers have a radar that tells them the moment I meet them that I’m no good.’

One afternoon I pass Dandy Kim in the King’s Road, sitting in his Thunderbird with two pretty hairdressing girls he had a date with.

‘Honey, I had a good time,’ he says later. ‘Just a brief moment of depression when I finished with one and started on the next one.’

I mentioned that they seemed to admire him a lot.

‘Honey, they’re the bottom of that world that I’m the top of.’

‘I’m going abroad soon. Guess why?’ He’s bubbling over with excitement. ‘When my driver was arrested, there was a film star in my room waiting to go out with me, as soon as I got back she told me the authorities were after me on a trumped up charge, I’d got to skip it.

‘I went for a camel ride two days across the desert, I crossed the border half an hour before they closed the frontier.

‘Now there’s been a revolution there’s a different lot in power, so I’m excited to be going back to finish off my date with the film star.’


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