The wet and bedraggled scrawny youth that stood before me on a winter's night in 1969, gave no hint that I was in the presence of a future rock star: He was dressed from head to toe in black, apart from white patent leather boots and his grin, which resembled the keyboard of a piano - except that all the keys were glistening white - represented approximately fifty per cent of his entire face.
His shoulder length wet hair hung limply and before uttering his first greeting, he needed to part it, rather like opening curtains: He was instantly engaging. "Hi, I'm Cousin George, all the way from America and I'm bad" he announced, as if he were already centre-stage, rather than any formal introduction.
I was staying with my girlfriend and her parents for a short while, before heading off to university and it transpired that young George represented the American wing of the family. I don't remember how long he stayed with us,after all, it was nearly forty years ago, but it can only have been a matter of a few days.
He was like a breath of fresh air; full of energy, totally focused, and he didn't have a negative vibe in his body. I learned so much from him in those all too brief, few days.
He talked incessantly about becoming a rock star - that's when he wasn't attempting to teach us the history of his beloved baseball.
Two box-office blockbusters were released that year, and both became cult films: "Midnight Cowboy" and "Easy Rider" - George had already seen both of them about ten times:Despite that fact, he insisted we all went down to London to watch them again, and we of course, duly obliged.
He couldn't pass a mirror without uttering Jon Voight's immortal line: "When I feel cool and good, I spin around, and there you are you handsome devil" Or we would be walking along the road, and he would take an imaginery kick at a passing car with: "I'm walking here, I'm walking here" - with a superb impersonation of Hoffman's character, Ricco Rizzo.
When asked how he was doing, George often replied:"I ain't much of a cowboy, but I am one helluva stud" with another memorable reference to John Voight's, Joe Buck.
However, quotes from Easy Rider, were also never very far away, and there was that wonderful scene where Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson shared a cell for the night. When Nicholson sobered up, Hopper intoduced Fonda and himself with: "Do you know who this is? This is Captain America, and I'm Billy!" Was that Nicholson's first film?
It all seemed very empty for quite a while after he left. I split up with that girlfriend soon after and didn't expect to hear from him ever again. But the following Christmas, having rebelled against my parent's house rules for the umpteenth time, I found myself with a few friends in a cold, damp flat sharing tins of cold baked beans and huddling around a one-bar electric fire: About 11pm on Christmas night, the phone rang; it was George. I was so impressed that he had taken the time to find me.
That was the last I heard from him - the rest as they say is history - he fulfilled his dream: He knew he would become a rock star - fulfilled expectation - and he brought about it's happening.
So many people are affected by what will undoubtedly turn into the worst recession in history: But we will come through it and when we do, everything will be so much better than it was before. We have to work together, stay focused. By anticipating a better future, we will bring about it's happening.
Tomorrow: What will it be like, when we come through this? What will have changed? What can we anticipate?
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