Friday, September 29, 2006

Clive James: What about Fiona?

The Indy runs an "hilarious" extract today from Clive James' North Face of Soho - Unreliable Memoirs volume IV, out next week by Picador. It has its moments.

His stories about Peter Sellers are painfully credible, such as the one about the time James' TV team took the comic actor to a hotel for an interview. Sellers was horrified - it was the same hotel in which he'd romanced Britt Ekland before embittered ex-dom. He believed the place to be haunted by evil energies and insisted that the only way to enter the hotel was via the roof. En route Sellers spoke to thin air in an encounter with a "particularly hostile spiritual presence speaking Swedish" ...

As I've not read the book yet I don't know whether James has found space to include his extra-marital affair with the former ABC singer and writer Fiona Russell Powell. Back in the '80s he'd visit her at her London apartment. What he didn't know was that prior to his arrivals she would secrete a tape recorder under the bed to treasure his timeless pensees - and perhap flog them to a tabloid one day. To her credit Fiona never did.

But she did threaten to sue him for libel about 10 years ago when she discerned a similarity between herself and some ditz in his novel Brrm! Brrm! The story was splashed by the News of the World. But nothing more was heard.

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