‘You don’t need to come in with me, I’ll only be a minute.’ Chas said abruptly and jumped out of the car before I could argue. Hmm, I thought, definitely something to hide there. Never mind, I’ll catch up with him later, I thought. I already had his number, I had met his sort before. Flash, cheeky, typical London wideboy salesman with a terrible taste in suits. In my new job as his Area Sales Manager, I had plenty to get my teeth into – when I was ready. At the moment it was still the honeymoon period, two weeks in, working my way round with each of my new sales team. The busy Kings Road in Chelsea was an interesting place to sit and people watch in that hot summer, and I settled down in the car to wait for Chas.
As I watched I suddenly saw Lulu, diminutively weaving her way through the crowd. I’d always had a bit of a thing about her, ever since we were both about eighteen: she on ‘Top of the Pops’ and me in the TV lounge of the airmens’ mess, just starting out on my RAF career. Standing on a little dais with her bobbed blond hair and curvy little figure, as she belted out ‘Shout’ she put her hands on her hips, and flicked them from side to side to the beat – and I nearly turned inside out, it was sooo sexy. So with this long-remembered thought and one or two others vaguely stirring, I jumped out of the car and followed her into Boots the Chemist.
Inside was crowded, and I lost her for a minute, before finally spotting my quarry over by the make-up counter. Now I know the area of ladies cosmetics like the upper reaches of the Zambesi, so I hesitated some distance away, considering my next move. All I really wanted to do was have a good look, close up, to see if I had been fantasising in vain for all those years. So I pretended to be browsing over some new nasal decongestant until out of the corner of my eye I saw the temptress of my dreams decide and go to purchase her requisites.
Erm… now what? What was my thrust going to be, figuratively-speaking? I wasn’t used to this groupie business, meeting such long-fancied luminaries in public – especially in a chemist’s shop. Ah yes, you ask for an autograph, that’s what you do. Just one problem: I hadn’t got anything to write on. Wait a minute – in my inside pocket was a copy of my new company’s price list which I was mugging up on, that would have to do. Ever heard of a salesman without a pen? I was well-trained, so perfectly armed I met my Lulu head on, exactly equidistant between the counter and the door.
‘Oh, excuse me ’ I gushed, trying to sound sincere: ’Could I have your autograph please, I’ve always been a big fan.’ I don’t know whether she was buying make up, because she certainly wasn’t wearing any, and in a nondescript blouse and slacks my sexily-hipped pin-up looked decidedly ordinary. But her elfin looks and lovely smile made up for it, as she sweetly said, ’Of course’, and scribbled on my company literature before swiftly disappearing.
Back in the car I waited for Chas. Whatever he was doing took much longer than he had led me to believe. Suddenly he wrenched the door open, jumped in, roared the engine into life and we hurtled off into the traffic in silence.
‘I’ve just seen Lulu’, I told him in an effort to make conversation, as he clearly wasn’t in the mood to converse.
‘Who? Lulu? Cobblers!’ he replied scathingly. Chas possessed a short and colourful line in chatter.
‘It was her’ I insisted. ‘In Boots – look, I got her autograph’. I thrust the item under his nose, and as we shot the lights on amber he gave it a quick cursory glance.
‘Well, it don’t look like Lulu to me!’ he snorted. As I hadn’t actually seen the signature myself, I took a good look. It read, perfectly clearly ‘Best wishes – Felicity Kendal.’
By John McGregor