Sunday, September 10, 2006

Richard Chamberlain's star lover

All this talk of the Sybil (see below) reminds me of the late astrologer Patric Walker who died of salmonella poisoning back in 1995. He had star-sign columns everywhere, from the London Evening Standard to Harpers & Queen (as Celeste), from Town & Country to the New York Post. It’s pointless trying to assess the accuracy of his prophetic skills against that of other astrologers, as pointless as trying to prove a dream. What he had was a lucid, direct, mischievous prose style and it was this that turned him into a celebrity. It made him plausible and trustworthy and highly entertaining. In life I found him to be anything but the first two but always the third.

He lived part of the year on the Greek island of Lindos and claimed to write his columns on the beach there. Donkeys regularly clip-clopped through his villa, he said. It was Virgo that first brought me into his world. A reader of a magazine I was working on complained that the Virgo star sign for that month was word-for-word the same as Virgo for the same month the year before. When we asked Patric for an explanation he said dismissively: “Not much has happened to Virgo in the past year”.

Plainly he was recycling his stuff for certain markets but then he was always quite frank about sun-sign astrology – it was basically showbiz. Nonetheless he had studied his craft. No one knew more about Saturn Returns than Patric. When we finally met at a London hotel for a magazine interview he took against me because of the way I held my teacup.

Looking at some of the obits again I see coy references to his sexuality and to his relationship with a “US TV actor”. I don't know if the public know that this was Richard Chamberlain. They had a long love affair. At times Patric could talk about nothing or no one else. It was a turbulent liaison frustrated by both men’s closet status at the time….

And now I have to go.

No comments: