Further to my appreciation of Nicky Haslam's incomparable memoir Redeeming Features - the only thing that could make you want to have diarrhoea because it is the ultimate loo read (antiseptic Wet Ones at the ready, please) - I am distressed by two things on p108 on the subject of a very famous dead astrologer.
The late Patric Walker was the master stargazer of the late 20th century as well as actor Richard Chamberlain's most expressive admirer. Thanks to lucrative international syndication, and a socialising liver which sadly was not as robust as one might have wished, his constellation of sunsign frippery informed and entertained hundreds of millions of hopers. Yet, even though Patric was a Haslam intimate, a frequent companion in a basement club beneath Fortnum & Mason, in the company of pretty boys, Nicky misspells his name as Patrick. How Patric must be seething wherever. The omission of the k was special, part of the mythologising branding: had Patric been born Colin he would now be remembered as Coli, a thought that brings back to mind antiseptic Wet Ones. Patric died of salmonella poisoning in 1995, by the way.
a gratuitious inclusion in this pieceIt doesn't end there. Nicky then goes onto suggest that Patric (a Libran) may have in 1974 murdered his octogenarian astrologer mentor Celeste in order to grab her horoscopic column on Harpers & Queen (as was): he did this by pushing her down some stairs, it was rumoured. Celeste was the pseudonym of the American astrologer Helene Hoskins: she taught Patric everything she knew about the heavens. It could be that this "rumour" was part of the fun campery of the time: but who knows?
I certainly detected no homicidal tendencies in Patric when I interviewed him back in the 80s: indeed so taken was he by the sight of me he exited to the hotel bathroom and rejoined me in vain in his silky dressing gown. It was early afternoon. We talked of his chasing asses around his home in Lindos on the island of Rhodes. I think he said asses.