By Annabel Schofield



By Annabel Schofield

Chapter 4: NEW YORK - 1984


Clad in my favorite new silver Stephen Sprouse mini dress, I exited a yellow cab outside The Palladium nightclub on 14th Street. I was closely followed by Samantha, a drop dead gorgeous brunette who was wearing her habitual evening attire – a skin tight, black rubber Daniel James confection. We were the living embodiment of the term ‘dressed to kill’. In fact, any flying viscera would have wiped right off our shiny clothing with consummate ease. Our heels were high, Our hair was big, our lips were liquid red and we were fierce.

I’d met Samantha on a particularly depressing modeling job in London, a few months after I’d had arrived in the city. I had never seen anyone quite like Samantha before. Most models wore jeans and T-shirts to work for comfort, but not Samantha. Samantha did not believe in comfort, nor did the word actually exist in her vocabulary. She had arrived at the studio in her lipstick red Mercedes sporting a leopard print mini skirt, a crimson leather jacket and thigh high stiletto boots. How she could manage to walk in those heels was anybody’s guess, but when one looked like Samantha, it follows that one never had to walk overly far.

My first impression was that dusky Samantha must be some kind of a Brazilian hooker, but Samantha soon set me straight. Under her slutty, exotic exterior beat the warm heart of a died in the wool South London daddy’s girl. She was Irish Catholic, loved her close-knit family and was possessed of a biting wit and a deep intelligence. We bonded immediately and co-owned the elitist London club scene shortly afterward. Once that had become tired, we had made the inevitable westwardly mobile move to New York.

My career had exploded immediately and I’d been shot for the cover of Vogue during my very first week in the city, and although Samantha also worked steadily, she was even more curvaceous than I, and therefore was not considered ‘editorial’;  a term which meant that she would always be consigned to well-paying, but not overly glamourous, catalogue and lingerie work. Samantha was totally unfazed by this and proceeded to feast lustily on the rock and roll lifestyle that embodied early ‘80’s New York.

Samantha and I coolly sashayed down the street towards The Palladium which was the hottest nightclub in New York at that white-hot moment. A horde of hopeful club-goers and paparazzi thronged the velvet rope. The former were desperately trying to convince the guardian of the guest list that they had enough cash, coke or clout to be admitted; while the latter ravenously eyed the arrivals for a glimpse of anyone worth wasting a flashbulb upon.

The cross-dressing door-person, for it would be considered deeply square to pigeon-hole such a fabulous being by something as mundane as mere sex, instantly spotted the girls.

    “Angelika! Samantha! Walk this way, ladies!” We squeezed through the crowd of scowling untouchables and entered through the instantaneously raised velvet rope. We air-kissed the shimmering creature, who immediately pressed a wad of drinks tickets into our perfectly manicured hands. The photographers surged forward and proceeded to blind us but we posed expertly, proffering perfect head tilts, and then with exemplary timing, we turned on our precipitous heels and strutted away into the cavernous club.

We stalked through the grandiose baroque lobby, up the wide staircase and along the balcony where we stopped briefly to gaze down at the dance-floor. Things were just getting started. Early bird yuppies were busting out their twitchy coke moves to Grace Jones’ ‘Slave to the Rhythm.’ We looked at each other in perfect synchronicity.

        “Mike Todd Room?” Samantha raised a quizical eyebrow.
        “Mike Todd Room.” concurred I.

The Mike Todd Room was The Palladium’s VIP area and the enclave of the truly fabulous and it was tougher to get a pass to than the war room at the Pentagon. We, of course, were whisked straight through by the doorman and then we headed directly to the bar. Party fixture Anita Sarko was spinning records while dressed in a gloriously lurid costume topped with an outrageous lime green wig. She raised a glass of champagne in a toast and winked at us as we passed by her DJ booth.

Two champagne-filled flutes miraculously appeared and were placed unbidden into our hands. Two grinning yuppies in Brooks Brothers suits, both exuding Wall Street sweat and reeking of Polo and old money, suddenly sidled up either side of us. How the fuck did they get in there? we silently wondered as we exchanged a subtle look of ‘not in this lifetime’ and politely smiled our thanks. One of the yuppies leaned in, whispered in Samantha’s ear then he discretely handed her something. She beamed at me and then winked and whispered, “Join me in my office?”

I elegantly extricated myself from the second yuppie’s clammy and proprietary arm and carrying my glass of champagne, followed Samantha’s swaying, rubber-clad butt towards the bathroom.

The bathroom at The Palladium was unisex, whether by design or by accident, nobody knew for sure. It was easily as entertaining inside these hallowed walls as was the freak-show in the club proper. Drag queens were intently fixing their lashes, their lipliner and their stocking seams; beautiful boys with chiseled cheekbones were openly snorting cocaine and poppers; a couple of indeterminate gender was having noisy, uninhibited sex in one of the stalls. It was just another Tuesday night in Manhattan.

We sauntered into a vacant cubicle and shut the door purposefully behind us. By force of habit, I immediately crouched at toilet lid level, produced a cut-down drinking straw and a Gold American Express card from the recesses of my purse and then looked up to Samantha expectantly.

      “No, love, look what I got! Prezzies!” Samantha then opened her hand, revealing a transparent golden plastic capsule which was filled with a sparkling white powder. 

       “What is it?” I asked, a little disappointed, as I’d had my young heart set on a nice fat, juicy line of the yuppies’ cocaine; yuppies often got the best coke, because God knows they could afford it.

         “MDMA. Ecstasy?” replied Samantha, knowledgeably.

       “I heard it was bad for you.” said I after a moment, being in my own mind, ever the voice of reason.

         “Your point being?” replied Samantha, nonplussed.
 
I looked at Samantha and then back at the glistening capsule. “So what do we do with it?”

Samantha grinned devilishly and then she placed our champagne glasses onto the closed lid of the toilet. She expertly twisted open the capsule, emptying half of the powder into each of our glasses.  Taking my straw from out of my reluctant hand, she swirled the powder into each glass of the effervescing liquid. Then we picked up our respective glasses, raised them in a toast and swallowed the mixture down, fast. The metallic chemical taste was disgusting and I grimaced as Samantha burped elegantly and said through gritted teeth, “No pain, no gain!”

We then laughed conspiratorially and after carefully wiping our glossy mouths, we exited the stall.



The multicoloured disco lights wheeled dizzyingly above the heaving dance floor as the tiny but smoking hot latino DJ, Jellybean Benitez tantalizingly dropped ‘Get into the Groove’ by new pop wet dream,  Madonna. The crowd went crazy, fueled by an unstoppable combination of chemical energy and youthful libido. Samantha and I were to be found at the epicenter of it all, surrounded by writhing hormonal admirers, each one trying to out-dance the next. The yuppies from The Mike Todd Room had finally recognized that they were outclassed and out-sexed, and were hanging back hopelessly, mutely watching the us with wide eyed lust from the Siberian edge of the dance-floor.

Samantha threw back her beautiful head while flirting with one of the dancers - a stunning Puerto Rican rocker boy sporting a leather jacket and a ripped, Vivienne Westwood T-shirt. The sexy, snake-hipped androgyne grabbed her waist, pulling her into his shiny and enticing crotch, but she pulled away, laughing. Samantha shook her head admonishingly at the boy and then she glanced over at me, as I’d suddenly stopped dancing and was looking rather unsteady on my stilettos. Samantha calmly approached me and grabbed my wrist and then we stared into each others’ dilated black pupils for a long moment. I reeled slightly, my eyelids were blinking unnaturally quickly along with the whirling, schizophrenic lighting.

Samantha gently put her arms around me and said, “Hey, it’s OK, love, it's supposed to be like this at the beginning. Just breathe and give in to it.”  I looked at Samantha again, trying in vain to calm the beat of my too-fast heart.

Suddenly, an incredible wave of physical sensation was overtaking me; I felt as if exploding dancing pixels of light were traveling from my brain, through my breasts, down to my crotch, melting all tension along the way and then turning my body into a hot molten liquid. I felt unbelievably horny, but also incredibly affectionate and expansive all in the same moment.

Through chattering teeth, I stuttered, “Oh my God...”

I grinned and looked around me; everyone present was beaming, beautiful, glowing with warmth and empathy. I then threw my long slender arms around Samantha and kissed her, saying sincerely and without irony and for the first time since we’d met, “I love you so much.”

      “That tends to be a known side effect.” laughed Samantha, fondly kissing her friend’s dewy cheek. Jellybean then masterfully mixed in ‘A Love Bizarre’ by Latina Prince prodigy, Shiela E and the crowd started to chant along, their fists pumping the steamy air as one being. “A! B! A, B, C, D...” We hugged a long time, and then proceeded to abandon ourselves to the intense electronic beat.



It was much, much later and I was, I thought,  glamorously lounging on a black velvet banquette back in The Mike Todd Room with Kirk, a fabulous Scottish hairdresser whom I’d known since the rainy, low paid and mundane London catalogue days. Since then, both of our careers had exploded along a parallel and rather stellar trajectory. But apart from that, I just adored Kirk’s personality with its contradictory combination of knife-sharp humor juxtaposed with his familiar Celtic warmth.  Hilarious and irreverent and almost by default, Kirk had of late become a virtual legend in his particular field; he was now a revered magician of the follicles who, within minutes of wielding a skinny teasing comb and a whopping can of Elnett, could transform any ordinary shop-girl into the living embodiment of Polish supermodel, Paulina Poriskova. But Kirk didn’t need to work his genius on mere shop-girls any more; no way - Kirk’s Glasgow salon days were well and truly behind him; there were eponymous hair-serum lines and nationally-aired infomercials in Kirk’s bright, shiny and well – groomed future.

Kirk and I were sweatily holding hands and sharing a damp Marlboro Light while idly taking the piss out of the nefarious night-crawlers who, in the manner of ravenous truffle pigs were schnuffling around the corners of the club on a desperate and unsubtle quest for fresh and piquant new pleasures. Abruptly changing the subject while stating the bloody obvious, I suddenly announced,

           “I took Ecstasy, Kirk.” 

       “You don’t say.” Kirk replied, patently unsurprised by this statement, as his normally quite lovely but generally unaffectionate friend had never been quite this snuggly before. “Never would have guessed. And how does madam like her new drug?”

          “I feel like the star of my own movie.” I replied, smiling contentedly while cuddling deep into Kirk’s Gaultier-swathed shoulder. Kirk nodded and expertly blew a smoke ring.  “Darling, you are a star, a superstar. Don't they throw money at you?”

           “They do, Kirk, they simply hurl it at me from great heights.” I grinned, goofily.

         “Poor bairn. Now where’s the old tart?” replied Kirk while scanning the rapidly thinning crowd.

         “Samantha?” I muttered, while relishing the sensation of Kirk’s bunny-soft cashmere against her cheek. “Last time I saw her, she was wrapped around Billy Idol. Or Matt Dillon. Either or.”

As if paged from above, Samantha suddenly materialized towing English punk rock star, Billy Idol in her sexy wake. Behind his studded and leather-clad back, Sam made a smug face at me expressing her self congratulation at her brilliant pulling skills. Evidently, the rock’n roll gods had smiled upon her this particular evening. I nodded my approval and then squinted as subtly as possible at "Billy". It wasn’t actually him, but in this smoky and forgiving light, he could pass.

         “Hmm...and how are my children of the night?” I inquired. ‘Not Billy Idol’ had the cheekbones, the perpetual sneer and the Cockerney accent down pat.   

         “Al'right?” he opined, patently a man of few words. Samantha grabbed his gloved hand, pulled him close and kissed him on his perfectly sculpted, sepulcher white cheek.

       “Living the dream, darling!” beamed Samantha, “Living the fuckin’ dream. Aisha's having a party. C'mon.”

        “Aisha?” inquired ‘Not Billy’, looking endearingly baffled, an expression that his new friends would come to know well. Kirk, Samantha and I replied in unison.

          “The one who dropped the baby on the Vogue shoot?”

          “Old butter fingers herself.” responded Kirk, grabbing my sweaty paw and manhandling me off of the banquette and onto my teetering stiletto-shod feet to join Samantha and ‘Not Billy Idol.’

I then quietly whispered to Samantha. “I hate to be the one to break it to you my darling, but that's not him, you know. It’s definitely N.B.I” Samantha shrugged insouciantly,  “Like I care! I snogged Matt Dillon!”

We both gave out a subtle whoop of triumph, as we had made a mutual pact several months previously after a particularly fevered viewing of Francis Ford Colppola’s ‘The Outsiders’  that I would make it my life’s mission to snog actor, Rob Lowe and Samantha, Matt Dillon. 

            “The dream indeed. One down,” I grinned, “one to go. Onwards and upwards….”

And with that, our swaying but fantastically attired group headed towards the staircase, out onto Fourteenth Street and into a waiting yellow cab which whisked us off into the potentially choppy waters of Manhattan’s Alphabet City…..


The Thrill Is Gone…. on why I left the City of Angels (and Demons).


I was raised in a house heavy with disease and unfulfilled dreams. My mother, sister and I lived with my maternal grandparents who died in slow succession from disparate, yet equally debilitating and humiliating illnesses.  As a child, I had to be silent and to tip-toe, always praying never to disturb.  No dancing, singing nor artistic tantrums for me.  “Shush” was the word most often heard chez Schofield; medical treatments and funeral arrangements the commonest topics of hushed conversation.


Into this darkness burst the ecstatic ├ęclat of Fred Astaire and the radiant Ginger Rogers. They whirled magically into our shadowy living room on a Saturday afternoon via the tiny black and white telly; these glowing, effervescent faerie creatures, leaving a trail of ostrich feathers and glitter in their glamourous, frothy wakes.  They were perfection, and although there was no colour visible, in my youthful mind I visualized peach, gold, mint, silver and lavender. I was immediately hooked. Hollywood became my drug, starting with hare-brained ‘30’s musicals, I was soon mainlining Monroe, the Kelly’s (both Grace and Gene) the Hepburn’s (both Audrey & Kate), Natalie Wood, James Dean, Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Grant & Gable, Jane Fonda, Newman & Redford, Brando, McQueen & McGraw, Elvis, Maclaine, Beatty, Dunaway and Deneuve. Their talent, charisma and iconic cool magically transported me from the bland gloom of life in that tenebrous house, in that grey and violent town where to express a love of art and beauty was to place a large target on one's callow young back. 
                                                         
So I kept my feelings closeted, and secretly devoured everything glamour- and Hollywood-related that I could find: James Bond novels, books on Art Nouveau, Alphonse Mucha, Art Deco, Erte, Edith Head, Isadora Duncan, Biba, Givenchy, Ossie Clarke, Norman Mailer’s Monroe biography, everything about Elvis, Ann Margaret, Barbarella, The Valley of The goddamn Dolls…I had a subscription to Vogue by the time I was eight and I proceeded to copy all the exquisite couture gowns; hand-sewing mini-me versions for my beloved Daisy Doll (who, by the way, was usually costumed by the iconoclastic designer, Mary Quant – how presumptuous was I? ).

Jerry Hall 1975
A very strange and creative child, living a double life under the roof of an unimaginative and over-burdened mother who could not quite fathom her youngest’s arcane reading habits, nor why her diaphanous underpinnings would suddenly disappear from their lavender-scented habitat, only to be miraculously reincarnated as tiny bespoke doll clothes. I was equally obsessed with Norman Parkinson and David Bailey’s iconic Vogue editorials of those mythical glamazons, Marie Helvin and Jerry Hall.  Because the Seventies referenced the Thirties, and Thirties Hollywood was my gateway drug, fashion-wise.  Chiffon, silk, bias-cuts, tea gowns, turbans, bugle beads, satin, feathers, liquid jersey -  these were my chosen opiates, in a world meekly offering me drab denim and burgundy polyester.

                                                                 

But dear reader, all was not lost for this repressed and glamour-obsessed tyke, for my father and his model slash artist girlfriend, Sally moved to Los Angeles. After several years
Sally Marr 1975
of circling the globe, these two feckless nomads finally settled in West Hollywood! My young heart sang with unfettered joy, and although it would be another 5 years before we would actually visit them, at last I had an in. There was a klieg light at the end of the tunnel. And fabulous Sally, bless her - she saw a kindred spirit in me – having been brought up in a violently fundamentalist Christian burg in Texas, and having escaped to the catwalks of Paris at an early age. Sally was my pusher, and she frequently sent photos of parties that they had attended – Sally perpetually swathed in some outrageous costume, combining ostrich feathers, a million noisy bangles and perhaps a turban or embellished headband to complete the look. My personal Auntie Mame combined with a dash of Tony Montana, I don’t know how I would have survived childhood without Sally and those images; and the delicately lovely gifts which arrived wrapped perfectly, all fuelling my innocent passion and obsession for glamourous Hollywood.
Bette Davis

My sister and I finally visited California in 1977. My father and Sally lived in a glorious apartment (no prosaic 'flat' this) on the penultimate floor of the Colonial House on Havenhurst, which is an example of golden age Art Deco perfection made concrete. I nearly died on arrival, only to discover that Bette Davis lived in the Penthouse.  Bette fucking Davis!  And one evening we saw Lyndsey de Paul and James Coburn in the elevator. In 1977 this was HUGE as she had just represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest and was radiantly blonde and elfin. Google it, children. Naturally, Sally drove a 1969 silver-green E-Type Jaguar, and the household was completed by a snooty Borzoi named Boris who was perhaps the most beautiful (and brainless) canine ever to paw the earth.  He even had his own agent.

                                                                      
Our family: 1978
My father and Sally were part of a rather racy, yet impossibly gorgeous and creative set, all of whom appeared to be sleeping with one other.  Well, it was the Seventies. But the oddest part was that everyone was genuinely nice, and complemented me and encouraged my previously closeted dreams.  Suddenly, I was being told I was beautiful which I honestly thought quite mad, as it was widely accepted knowledge that my sister was the pretty one, and that I was smart and gawky; but it was our gorgeous mother who was the undisputed beauty of the family.  But who was I to question these Californian weirdoes? I felt reborn within their kindness and attention, and I blossomed that summer, as Sally dressed me up in her fabulous designer clothes and then proceeded to photograph me, paint my portrait and finally parade me, her freakish little creature at all these amazing parties, before all these exotic people.   Finally, I was home.

                                                                   
Sunset Blvd 1979

Even I, a mere country bumpkin sensed there was something special happening in West Hollywood during those drowsy, halcyon days. It truly was a Bohemian place, welcoming to all creeds: gay, straight or otherwise. Dad and I would walk the dog along Sunset Boulevard, the heady air scented with honeysuckle, night blooming jasmine and the odd illicit whiff of marijuana, while gleaming convertibles cruised stunning transvestite hookers. Dad knew all “the girls” by name, and I was immediately smitten by their outrageous glamour and cheeky humour (still am!).  Boris loved them too and gave each carefully sequined crotch a respectful sniff.  In West Hollywood, everyone was creative, everyone was most definitely stoned, but it resembled a Utopian village filled with beautiful actors, musicians, writers, painters and directors, all of whom smiled and welcomed me in. The perpetual late summer sunshine bathed the world in a treacly and hypnotic golden glow, all set to the distant throb of a dissolute disco beat.

Then come September, I would have to return home.  Cue the ugly, cheap  comprehensive school uniforms, the endless drizzle and the incessant teasing. I would retreat into my shell and hibernate, endlessly reliving those hot summer nights in my fervid, teenaged brain.
                                                       
My Hollywood summers continued until I was 16, when I left school to start my own
The author by Bailey for Vogue
fashion career in London. After a slow start, I did make a go of modeling and was lucky enough to not only travel the world, but also to work extensively with one of my idols, the great mentor and artist, David Bailey.  Awestruck as I was in his presence, those Bailey shoots were the highpoint of my photographic career, where grubby commerce was left behind and pure creativity blissfully took over.
                                                              
I loved London in the early eighties, also Paris and even New York, but always at the back of my mind was my golden, Hollywood dream. Its siren song was strong, and I finally made the move west in 1986, from New York where I’d been feverishly studying The Method in the Village.
                                                                 
Sally and my father had split by this point, but on arrival, I stayed with her on Sweetzer at  El Mirador, another exquisite Art Deco apartment, then shortly after, I moved  into my Dad’s larger version on Sunset and Doheny Drive. I dove headlong into the culture, and soon I was enrolled in acting classes and driving lessons and meeting many other like-minded young people, all chasing their own magic-hour version of the Hollywood dream.
                                                                
Charlie Sexton
1986 Los Angeles was lit by Ritts and shot by Weber. It was the Rebirth of the Cool set to a Hip Hop beat.  Everyone drove a classic car and slowly cruised around checking each other out. The smell of sex, sensimilla and gasoline lay heavy on the air. And the beauties! My god – on any one day you could see Paul Simonon and Charlie Sexton steering their Triumphs down Melrose, helmet-less perfection, trailing Mickey Rourke and a score of other too-cool eighties icons with vertiginous cheekbones, their Levis cut just so.  At night, we went to The Olive, to Smalls, to Smokey Ho and to Power Tools, and to underground warehouse clubs too dodgy and illicit to mention. 

And the girls – these rare beauties – yes, of course there was Christy and Cindy and Tatijana, but what of the other girls? The real girls: Jade, N’Dea, Misha, Fabian, Janelle, Kat, Lola, Lisa Ann, Lisa Marie. The list goes on, such wild, stylish
Herb Ritts
beauties – their only artifice, a slash of scarlet lipstick and an omnipresent, sticky lip-hanging cigarette; their natural bodies devastating in cinched black vintage cocktail gowns from
Aardvarks, or upscale from Maxfields with ripped fishnets, high-heeled boots and their boyfriends’ leather jackets.  Such cool girls – their beauty unsullied by Botox and filler, just a little tired and dissolute from having too much fun - their wild, teased hair in a perpetual state of just-fucked disarray.
                                                                            
And boy, did we have some fun.  There was Botswana – Sean and Maria's tiny boite on Sunset where I first encountered (and secretly fell hard for) that troubled young genius, Robert Downey Jr; the after-
 Bruce Weber
hours, Compton BBQ joint
BJ’s, which one entered through a swiveling bookcase, and which served groovier sustenance besides its special sauce to us nefarious night crawlers; my 25th birthday party at a historic, haunted mansion which was gate-crashed by Malcolm McLaren and whence he quietly played the grand piano all night, while chaos, B-Boys and drag queens spun all around him, this supernaturally calm force of cool.  Boys and Girls and the infamous blue drinks where we played psychedelic charades with baby Bryan in 
shadowy corners until way past dawn.  The week that Big Audio Dynamite slayed The Roxy and every rock-star in the known universe came to bow down and pay homage – and the mad after parties we had at the Hyatt House (at least I think we did –  although little is remembered).


Helena’s in Silverlake – eternal king of cool, Jack Nicholson and Boy Toy, Madonna's club where I was laughingly thrown out for misbehaving with a certain member of Pink Floyd (you know who you are!); and of course, our royal leader, Prince’s surprise after-show gigs, which will ever go down in funk history and with which he continues to grace us to this day.  All Hail the King.

Prince




Yes, Los Angeles was cool then, and Downtown was the final Frontier. The corporations and the condominiums had not yet taken over, and we all jitteringly cruised Sunset and Melrose in our classic cars, the jasmine-scented night air blowing through our high-teased up-do’s while funk, Hip Hop, reggae and soul mix-tapes by Mike, Matt, Rick, Jon or Duff blasted from our soon to be ripped-off stereos.   Yes, Los Angeles was cool once.
                                                      
And what of my lady now? Now she just makes me sad. Like watching an ex-lover or a close friend distort her beautiful features with plastic surgery, in a dangerous attempt to slow, or deny the natural aging process; El Lay is bright and hard and shiny and desperate, lousy with anorectic, "enhanced" octogenarians, and with scarily entitled teenagers, all gagging for a reality show, no charisma nor talent evident in their lifeless eyes.  

Kim K and friend
Was it always thus? Was my romantic love for her just that? An infatuation? A cinematic projection of all my childhood dreams made manifest, and then somehow chemically altered? I don’t know. But it’s no place for a Hollywood ending, which is what I’m now looking for. Fame used to be something magical that was bestowed upon the truly gifted and dedicated, but now it's a cheap, black-market currency available to anyone with an Instagram account, a video camera and an equally desperate lover.

Andy Warhol was right of course. In the future everybody will be famous for fifteen minutes. Well the future is now, and ain’t it grand?  

The thrill is gone. 




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Chapter Two: New York, 1984


 HOSPITAL - LA – JANUARY, 1st 2000

                “She did not!”  said an astonished Athena. The sky outside the hospital was orange-black now. “I don’t believe it!”

               “Oh yes she did,” replied Angelika, smirking at the memory,“It certainly was an eye opener, that trip.”

               “What happened to Sophie?” asked Athena.

               “Well she dumped Raphael soon enough, married an earl and now lives in a castle in Scotland with her three adorable tow-headed children and is frequently featured in the pages of Field and Stream magazine. She also breeds pedigree Highland terriers. Quite successfully, by all accounts.”

               “Wow.” Athena marveled at this. “But that experience must have put you off, surely?” Angelika looked at Athena, a naughty grin playing at the corners of her dehydrated mouth.

               “Oh no, I was just getting started. It was the adventure, you see?  I was totally addicted to the adventure...”

NEW YORK, 1984

Angelika, clad in a silver Stephen Sprouse mini dress exited a yellow cab outside The Palladium nightclub on 14th Street. She was closely followed by Samantha, a drop dead gorgeous brunette who was wearing her habitual evening attire – a skin tight, black rubber Daniel James confection. They were the living embodiment of the term ‘dressed to kill’. In fact, any flying viscera would have wiped right off their shiny clothing with consummate ease. Their heels were high, their hair was big, their lips were liquid red and they were fierce.

               Angelika had met Samantha on a particularly depressing lingerie shoot in London, a few months after she had arrived in the city. Angelika had never seen anyone quite like Samantha before. Most models wore jeans and T-shirts to work for comfort, but not Samantha. Samantha did not believe in comfort, nor did the word exist in her vocabulary. She had arrived at the studio in her lipstick red Mercedes sporting a leopard print mini skirt, a crimson leather jacket and thigh high stiletto boots. How she could manage to walk in those heels was anybody’s guess, but when one looked like Samantha, it follows that one never had to walk overly far.

               Angelika’s first impression was that dusky Samantha must be some kind of a Brazilian hooker, but Samantha soon set her straight. Under her slutty, exotic exterior beat the warm heart of a died in the wool East London daddy’s girl. She was Catholic, loved her close-knit family and was possessed of a biting wit and a deep intelligence. They bonded immediately and co-owned the elitist London club scene shortly afterward. Once that had become tired, they had made the inevitable westwardly mobile move to New York City.

               Angelika’s career had exploded immediately and she’d been shot for the cover of Vogue during her very first week in the city, and although Samantha also worked steadily, she was even more curvaceous than lush Angelika and therefore was not considered ‘editorial’;  a term which meant that she would always be consigned to well-paying, but not overly glamourous, catalogue and lingerie work. Samantha was totally unfazed by this and proceeded to feast lustily on the rock and roll lifestyle that embodied early ‘80’s New York.

               Angelika and Samantha coolly sashayed down the street towards The Palladium which was the hottest nightclub in New York at that white-hot moment. A horde of hopeful club-goers and paparazzi thronged the velvet rope. The former were desperately trying to convince the guardian of the guest list that they had enough cash, coke or clout to be admitted; while the latter ravenously eyed the arrivals for a glimpse of anyone worth wasting a flashbulb upon.

               The cross-dressing doorperson, for it would be considered deeply square to label such a fabulous being by something as mundane as mere sex, instantly spotted the girls.

               “Angelika! Samantha! Walk this way, ladies!” The girls squeezed through the crowd of scowling untouchables and entered through the instantaneously raised velvet rope. They air-kissed the shimmering creature, who immediately pressed a wad of drinks tickets into their perfectly manicured hands. The photographers surged forward and proceeded to blind them but Angelika and Samantha posed expertly, proffering perfect head tilts, and then with exemplary timing, they turned on their precipitous heels and strutted away into the cavernous club.

               The girls stalked through the grandiosly baroque lobby, up the wide staircase and along the balcony where they stopped briefly to gaze down at the dance-floor. Things were just getting started. Early bird yuppies were busting out their twitchy coke moves to Grace Jones’ ‘Slave to the Rhythm.’ Angelika and Samantha looked at each other in perfect syncronicity.

               “Mike Todd Room?” Samantha raised a quizical eyebrow.

               “Mike Todd Room.” concurred Angelika.

               The Mike Todd Room was The Palladium’s VIP area and the enclave of the truly fabulous and it was tougher to get a pass to than the war room at the Pentagon. Angelika and Samantha were whisked straight through by the doorman and then they headed directly to the bar. Party fixture Anita Sarko was spinning records while dressed in a gloriously lurid costume topped with an outrageous lime green wig. She raised a glass of champagne in a toast and winked at the girls as they paased by her DJ booth.

               Two champagne-filled flutes miraculously appeared and were placed unbidden into the girls’ hands. Two grinning yuppies in Brooks Brothers suits, both exuding Wall Street sweat and reeking of Polo and new money, sidled up either side of Angelika and Samantha. How the fuck did they get in there? The girls silently wondered as they exchanged a subtle look of ‘not in this lifetime’ and politely smiled their thanks. One of the yuppies leaned in, whispered in Samantha’s ear then he discretely handed her something. She beamed at Angelika and then winked and whispered, “Join me in my office?”

               Angelika elegantly extricated herself from the second yuppie’s clammy and proprietal arm and carrying her glass of champagne, followed Samantha’s swaying, rubber-clad butt towards the bathroom.

               The bathroom at The Palladium was unisex, whether by design or by default, nobody knew for sure. It was easily as entertaining inside these hallowed walls as was the freakshow in the club proper. Drag queens were intently fixing their lashes, their lipliner and their stocking seams; beautiful boys with chiselled cheekbones were openly snorting cocaine and poppers; a couple of indeterminate gender was having noisy, uninhibited sex in one of the stalls. It was just another Wednesday night in Manhattan.

               Angelika and Samantha sauntered into a vacant cubicle and shut the door purposefully behind them. By force of habit, Angelika immediately crouched at toilet lid level, produced a cut-down drinking straw and a Gold American Express card from the recesses of her purse and  looked up to Samantha expectantly.

                “No, love, look what I got! Pressies!” Samantha then opened her hand, revealing a transparent golden plastic capsule which was filled with a sparkling white powder. 

                “What is it?” asked Angelika, a little disappointed, as she’d had her young heart set on a nice juicy line of the yuppies’ cocaine; yuppies often got the best coke, because God knows they could afford it.

                “MDMA. Ecstasy?” replied Samantha, knowledgeably.

                “I heard it was bad for you.” said Angelika after a moment, being in her own mind, the voice of reason.

                “Your point being?” replied Samantha, nonplussed. 

                Angelika looked at Samantha and then back at the glistening capsule. “So what do we do with it?”

                Samantha grinned devilishly as she placed their champagne glasses onto the closed lid of the toilet. She expertly twisted open the capsule, emptying half of the powder into each of their glasses.  Taking Angelika's straw from out of her friend’s hand, she swirled the powder into each glass of the effervescing liquid. Then the girls picked up their respective glasses, raised them in a toast and swallowed the mixture down, fast. The metallic chemical taste was disgusting and Angelika grimaced as Samantha burped elegantly and said through gritted teeth,  “No pain, no gain!”

                The girls laughed conspiratorally and after carefully wiping their glossy mouths, they exited the stall.

                                                                                                                                 
    The mulicoloured disco lights wheeled dizzyingly above the heaving dancefloor as the tiny but smoking hot latino DJ, Jellybean Benitez tantalizingly dropped ‘Get into the Groove’ by new pop wet dream,  Madonna. The crowd went crazy, fuelled by an unstoppable combination of chemical energy and youthful libido. Angelika and Samantha were to be found at the epicenter of it all, surrounded by writhingly hormonal admirers, each one trying to outdance the next. The yuppies from The Mike Todd Room had finally recognized that they were outclassed and out-sexed, and were hanging back hopelessly, mutely watching the two gorgeous girls with wide eyed lust from the Siberian edge of the dancefloor.

                Samantha threw back her beautiful head while flirting with one of the dancers - a stunning Puerto Rican rocker boy sporting a leather jacket and a ripped, Vivienne Westwood T-shirt. The sexy, snake-hipped androgyne grabbed her waist, pulling her into his shiny and enticing crotch, but she pulled away, laughing. Samantha shook her head admonishingly at the boy and then she glanced over at Angelika, who had suddenly stopped dancing and was looking rather unsteady on her stilettos. Samantha calmly approached Angelika and grabbed her wrist and then they stared into each others’ dilated black pupils for a long moment. Angelika reeled slightly, her eyelids were blinking unnaturally quickly along with the whirling, schizophrenic lighting.

                Samantha gently put her arms around her friend and said, “Hey, it’s OK, love, it's supposed to be like this at the beginning. Just breathe and give in to it.”  Angelika looked at Samantha again, trying in vain to calm the beat of her too-fast heart.

                Suddenly, an incredible wave of physical sensation was overtaking Angelika; she felt as if exploding dancing pixels of light were traveling from her brain, through her breasts, down to her crotch, melting all tension along the way and turning her body into a hot molten liquid. She felt unbelievably horny, but also incredibly affectionate and expansive all in the same moment.

                Through chattering teeth, Angelika stuttered, “Oh my God...”

                She grinned and looked around her; everyone present was beaming, beautiful, glowing with warmth and empathy. She then threw her long slender arms around Samantha and kissed her, saying sincerely and without irony and for the first time since they’d met, “I love you so much.”

                “That tends to be a known side effect.” laughed Samantha, fondly kissing her friend’s dewy cheek.

                Jellybean then masterfully mixed in ‘A Love Bizarre’ by Prince prodigy, Shiela E and the crowd started to chant along, their fists pumping the steamy air as one being. “A! B! A, B, C, D...” Angelika and Samantha hugged a long time, and then proceeded to abandon themselves to the intense electronic beat.


               It was much, much later and Angelika was glamourously lounging on a black velvet banquette back in The Mike Todd Room with Kirk, a fabulous Scottish hairdresser

whom she’d known since the rainy, low paid and mundane catalogue days. Since then, both of their careers had exploded along a parallel and rather stellar trajectory. But apart from that, Angelika just adored Kirk’s personality with his contradictory combination of knife-sharp humour juxtaposed with a familiar Celtic warmth.  Hilarious and irreverent, Kirk had of late become a legend in his field; he was now a revered magician of the follicles who, within minutes of weilding a skinny teasing comb and a whopping can of Elnett, could transform any ordinary shop-girl into the living embodiment of Polish supermodel, Paulina Poriskova. But Kirk didn’t need to work his genius on mere shop girls anymore; no way - Kirk's Glasgow salon days were well and truly behind him; there were eponymous hair-serum lines and nationally - aired infomercials in Kirk's bright, shiny and well-groomed future. 

  Kirk and Angelika were sweatily holding hands and sharing a damp Marlboro Light while idly taking the piss out of the nefarious night-crawlers who, in the manner of ravenous truffle pigs were schnuffling around the corners of the club on a desperately unsubtle quest for fresh and piquant new pleasures. Abruptly changing the subject while stating the bloody obvious, Angelika suddenly announced, “I took Ecstasy, Kirk.”  

              “You don’t say.” Kirk replied, patently unsurprised by this,, as his normally quite lovely but generally unaffectionate friend had never been quite this snuggly before. “Never would have guessed. And how does madam like her new drug?” 

               “I feel like the star of my own movie.” replied Angelika, smiling contentedly while cuddling deep into Kirk’s Gaultier-swathed shoulder. Kirk nodded and experly blew a smoke ring.  

              “Darling, you are a star, a superstar. Don't they throw money at you?”

              “They do, Kirk, they simply hurl it at me from great heights.” grinned Angelika, goofily.

               “Poor bairn. Now where’s the old tart?” replied Kirk while scanning the rapidly thinning crowd.        
     
               “Samantha?” muttered Angelika, who was relishing the sensation of Kirk’s bunny-soft cashmere against her cheek. “Last time I saw her, she was wrapped around Billy Idol. Or Matt Dillon. Either or.”      
          
               As if paged from above, Samantha suddenly materialized towing English punk rock 

star, Billy Idol in her sexy wake. Behind his studded and leather-clad back, Sam made a 
smug face at Angelika expressing her self-congratulation at her brilliant pulling skills. Evidently,
the rock’n roll gods had smiled upon her this particular evening. Angelika nodded her approval 
and then squinted as subtly as possible at "Billy". It wasn’t actually him, but in this smoky and forgiving light, he could pass.

               “Hmm...and how are my children of the night?” inquired Angelika. ‘Not Billy Idol’ had the cheekbones, the perpetual sneer and the Cockerney accent down pat.    

 “Al'right?”  he opined, patently a man of few words. Samantha grabbed his gloved hand, pulled him close and kissed him on his perfectly sculpted, sepulchre white cheek.

               “Living the dream, darling!” beamed Samantha, “Living the fuckin’ dream. Aisha's having a party. C'mon.”

                                “Aisha?” inquired ‘Not Billy’, looking endearingly baffled, an expression that his new 
               friends would come to know well. Kirk, Samantha and Angelika replied in unison.    

                                “The one who dropped the baby on the Vogue shoot?”

              “Old butter fingers herself.” responded Kirk, grabbing Angelika’s sweaty paw and manhandling her off of the banquette and onto her teetering stiletto-shod feet to join Samantha and ‘Not Billy Idol.’

  Angelika then quietly whispered to Samantha. “I hate to be the one to break it to you my darling, but that's not him, you know. It’s definitely N.B.I” 

  Samantha shrugged insouciently,  “Like I care! I snogged Matt Dillon!”

               They both gave out a subtle whoop of triumph, as they had made a mutual pact several months previously after a particularly fevered viewing of Francis Ford Colppola’s ‘The Outsiders’  that Angelika would make it her life’s mission to snog actor, Rob Lowe and Samantha, Matt Dillon.       
 
                “The dream indeed. One down,” grinned Angelika, “one to go. Onwards and upwards….”       
     
                And with that, the swaying but fantastically attired group headed towards the staircase, out onto Fourteenth Street and into a waiting yellow cab which whisked them off into the potentially choppy waters of Alphabet City…..