|Kenny Everett's version of his romance
with Lee, who was Billy's long-term companion at the time. Taken from
his autobiography, The Custard Stops At Hatfield.
Transcribed by Lindsay Winfield.
These days, when you go to a party, the host will ask what you'd like to drink.
In the Sixties you were asked what you'd like to blow your mind - especially if you were at a groovy, fab gear pop party!
Lee was sitting chatting to Ringo Starr, Klaus Voorman, John Lennon and George Harrison. I, apparently, was just sprawled out on the floor.
At least, my body was on the floor, my brain was floating on another planet in an LSD-induced trance. Lee says that she was first attracted, well, perhaps attracted is the wrong word, lee first noticed me because I was the whitest creature she'd ever set eyes upon.
George, I'm told (I remember very little of this period), came over to me and tried to explain The Secret Of Life with helpful, easily understandable lines like: "It's all round you, Ken.…you know, like….life is an orange - it's everywhere."
Is it any wonder I was confused?
At that stage, George was heavily into religion, bells and beads, and whenever he moved he sounded like Tinkerbell.
After trying to explain was It Was All About, he jangled his way around the room for a while and came back to sit next to me.
Lee rolled a joint and passed it around; she had a knack of always keeping track of who was holding the joint.
It had reached George who was holding it, not smoking it, but just talking while the pot burned away.
Lee got fed up with watching her precious drugs being wasted and she said: "George, you"'e hogging the joint." He turned on lee and told her to piss off, which she didn't think was very spiritual for someone who was preaching about how wonderful God was, so she said: "That's very un-Christly of you, George."
He stood up, fixed her with a custard-curdling glare and jangled away into the distance.
John Lennon, who was off his head on something or other, burst out laughing and fell off his chair.
Ringo patted Lee on the back and said: "Well done Lee." I think they were a bit fed up with George at that point because he was ramming religion down everybody's throat at every opportunity.
As I said, I"m not too clear about that period. My brain was in a state of constant scrambled-eggness, but that, according to Lady Lee, is where she first set eyes on the skinny white rib-on-a-stick that would later whisk her into transports of delight.
Some while later, I went to see a friend called Don Paul who was the middle Count in a group called the Viscounts (remember Who Put the Bomp?).
He lived in a flat in Fulham which was filled with a strange mixture of arty weirdos like a sex-change frock designer and a man who tattooed goldfish, and one day we were all lying around this flat smoking pot when in walked Billy Fury with his almost-wife, who was Lee!
They invited us all to their mansion in Sussex which Billy had bought with the money he'd made from Halfway To Paradise and all his other hits.
Most people about to take a car journey to Sussex might take the precaution of going to the loo and packing a sandwich. We threw LSD down ourselves and squanged into Lee's little car all believing we were pineapples.
Billy and Lee were nearing the end of their time together and she and I got quite chummy over the next few months. I'd pack up every weekend and go down to their house where we'd all sit in the sunshine, taking LSD by the bucketful.
I remember one weekend at the house when a rather eccentric BBC producer came along for fun, bringing with him a tin filled with LSD and purple hearts and anything else which was available in those days.
We were relying on this tin to see us through two days of lunacy and we were all having a silly time when suddenly the sound of a police-car siren shattered the still of the country air.
The man with the tin suddenly had this image of screaming newspaper headlines: "BBC PRODUCER IN DRUG RAID AT POP STAR'S ORGY PARTY SHOCK HORROR PROBE", so he grabbed the contents of the magic box and threw them as hard as he could into the forest which backed onto Billy's garden.
Dozens of little pills hurtled into the air and came to rest among the bracken and long grass which lay all around the house.
The siren came closer and closer and CLOSER and then….receded into the distance leaving all of us in a homicidal rage at the poor, frightened man from the BBC who'd scattered the precious capsules as far as the eye couldn't see.
We grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and forced him to show us exactly where he'd been standing and in precisely which direction he chucked the drugs and then all of us spent hours scrabbling around on our hands and knees in a desperate search for the naughty but nice things which were buried in the ferns.
Eventually we found one little pill which we portioned up into tiny morsels and greedily shared amongst us. Silly days. I wouldn't like to go back, but I wouldn't have missed it either.
There now follows a non-government warning about LSD based on personal experience. I think this episode happened on my first visit to Billy Fury's house, when we were all tripping away merrily.
I was staring at my hand and noticed, as if for the first time, all the veins that were sticking up, the way veins are supposed to.
My electrified brain started behaving in the most peculiar way and I became very worried about the fact that inside my body was a stomach, kidneys, liver, bones, blood, lungs……all sorts of flobbelly bits, oozing all over the place. I suddenly became convinced that the only decent thing to do was end it all.
"Hey," I shouted to the rest of the bunch of pineapples, "we're all walking masses of blood and guts! It's horrible….we've all got to commit suicide."
It sounds daft now, but at the time, with my brain in its pickled state, it seemed as though I'd made the most logical and brilliant discovery of all time.
"I'm going to do it now," I said, filled with the righteousness of my conviction, and began to hunt around for a sharp implement.
Lee said: "Look, if you're going to kill yourself, could you do it outside? We've just bought this new carpet, you see…."
I was angry at not being taken seriously, but then she began to talk to me. "What do you want to die for? There are so many lovely this about."
"Like what?" I harrumphed.
"Like that pine tree over there."
"What's so great about pine trees?"
"Well, they make the air smell nice and they're pretty to look at."
We talked on for a while in this rather facile but quite pleasant vein and gradually she talked me out of it.
I'm not sure that I'd actually have committed suicide but she definitely started me thinking about the right way to look at things and to appreciate the value of all the good bits in the world. She taught me to look for the good in everything and not worry about the bad: accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and place for half an hour in a pre-heated oven.
Lee obviously had decided to take pity on this little, white, skinny runt and she talked to me for hours.
For my part, I wasn't very good at social niceties and I'd do selfish, silly things which would make her mad and which once caused her to ban me from the house.
She had a collection of fans of which she was very proud.
Billy would buy her dozens of beautiful, ornate, exotic fans from auctions and private collections and she built up a whole mass of pretty, feathery, jewelled fans.
At one party at her house I was (apparently) sitting on the floor, fanning myself with a very rare and expensive fan which had been salvaged from the Russian Czar's family and which was worth a small fortune.
Lee told me to be careful with it. "Why?" I said, "it's only a fan." I promptly broke it and although she was very upset by my lack of respect for other people's treasures, she let the incident pass.
An hour later I was discovered fiddling with a set of beautiful, hand-painted beads, again worth a small fortune and of great sentimental value to Lee.
"Now look here," she said, "you've already broken my fan, for God's sake be careful with those." "Why?" I said, "they're only beads."
The next moment, the string snapped and hundreds of delicate bijou-beadettes went hurtling onto the floor and were trampled underfoot and broken.
Lee was livid and banned me from the house. "I don't want you in my home," she said, "I don't want you to ring me. I don't ever want to see you again. Out!" So out I went, wondering what all the fuss was about.
A couple of weeks later, I decided that I rather missed Lee and her fun parties so I sent a letter promising not to break anything, promising to respect other people's possessions, promising to try and learn some manners. I covered the letter with little drawings of broken hearts and tears; I was allowed back into the scene.
Shortly afterwards, Lee and Billy split up and, obviously, after eight years together, she was pretty upset and cried a lot.
I wasn't too sure what one was supposed to do with a crying woman, but I did my best and helped her get back on her feet and pick up again in London.
She decided to fling herself around at parties and have a whale of a time and there were quite a lot of chaps interested in her but, according to her, no one else stood a chance.
It wasn't because I swept her off her feet onto a white charger. It was that I simply made a nuisance of myself and developed a knack of turning up at the wrong moment when she was just getting interested in another feller.
I once phoned her at a highly inopportune moment to say that I was just about to go to the BBC to do a programme on Radio One and, if she listened, I'd play her some records.
She said that she didn't have a radio. Determined not to be thwarted, I popped into her flat on my way to the studio and gave her a radio….thereby putting paid to one rival!
Lee goes all gooey when she remembers our "courting" days. I bought her a huge paper flower once, from Casa Pupo.
It was the same height as her and we became very attached to the flower and used to take it into the country at weekends for walks and sunshine.
Although I'm a romantic at heart and like to play all the games of courtship, I didn't in those days have the first clue about how to approach a woman an entice her into my bed.
I was yer actual innocent virgin!
I was so uncertain about how to go about getting things started that, when Lee and I took a holiday together on the Continent while she was trying to sort herself out over Billy, I spent the whole fortnight in fear of the night-time.
We were driving all over the place and my foot was fixed firmly to the accelerator most of the time. I dreaded nights when we'd have to find a hotel and we'd often go to three or four hotels until I could find one which had two vacant rooms.
She told me later that the last thing on her mind at that point was beginning another affair. She just needed to relax and not to have to think about men, but I was so unsure of myself that I completely over-reacted and spent the whole holiday trying to think of ruses so we wouldn't have to sleep together.
One night we were tripping in my little flat in Lower Sloane Street, and the LSD was making all the good bits about life great and all the bad bits even worse.
I looked around the room and the only nice thing I could see was Lee.
The acid made her look even prettier and it was as though there was an aura surrounding her body. Without thinking I just said: "Good heavens, you're the prettiest thing in this room," and she went terribly coy and demure.
I hadn't a clue how to proceed from that point, but somehow, fumblingly, we managed to make some sort of love. The next day we did it again, a little less fumblingly, and things proceeded from there.
Lee and I got closer and closer as time went on, and at a party at Don Paul's one night when we were all being after dinner mints (yes, tripping again), I got the horrors.
Every now and again when you're taking LSD, things go wrong. A word here, a movement there, the slightest thing can set you off into an explosion of horrendous fright and terror.
I sat quivering in a corner and looked around the room. My eyes alighted on Lee and I thought: "She's the only person I want to be with while I'm going through this awful experience. So it seems only natural that we should be together for life."
When my brain had de-scrambled itself, Lee and I went for a walk to get some fresh air and we stopped under a magnolia tree. I thought: "This looks like a good place to propose," but I couldn't bring myself actually to say the words.
We returned to the house and I asked Don if he would ask Lee on my behalf to be my wife. The swine said: "No", so I took her back to the tree and said, in my best Cary Grant voice:
"I suppose we'd better get married, then."
"I suppose so," said Lee, and that was that. Not exactly a Doris Day-type proposal, but then again, I'm not exactly Doris Day.