October 30, 2020

1986-04-13 – The Observer

1986 04 13 The_Observer_Sun__Apr_13__1986_

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IN the spring of 1961, when he was
25, Kit Lambert’ s pimresque exis-
tence slewed in an extraordinary
direction.Atapya1-t in London he
met Richard Mason, an old friend
from Lancing and Oxford, who had
persuaded the Royal Geographical
Society to back his expedition to map
the ion ngest undescended river in the
world, the Iriri in Brazil. When
Mason discovered that Kit had time
on his hands and had been to a
prestigious Parisian film school, he
‘rxuggested that he should join the
expedition and shoot a documentary
film. Kit accepted without a
moment’s hesitation and prepared to
leave within a few days.

They sailed from London' in Ap 111
with a friend of Mason’ 5, John
Hemming, and as soon as they
reached Rio de Janeiro they were
flown m a Dakota (with their Brazi-
111111 assistants) to Cachimbo, deep' in
the'iungle. It was the only place on
the. map anywhere near the supposed
source of the Iriri.

Before leaving Rio, they tried to
establish that the jungle was unin-
habited, since any Indian tribes they
might come across were likely to be
dangerous. They interviewed‘ the

Extracted from‘ The Lamberzs’ by
Andrew Motion, to be published on 28

April by Ghana ('9’ Windus, price
£13. 95.


722 tea

2% 0
/(12‘ £51,131:

Explorer, playboy, heroin-
addict. manager of The Who,
he oscillated between
extremes of glamour and .
degradation. Here, ANDREW
MOTION describes four key
episodes in his short,
iII-fated life.

great Indian explorers,’ the Villas
Boas brothers, and another ex plorer,
Francisco Meirelles, all of whom said
that there were no Indians at the
source and mouth of the Iriri. They
could not speak for its central
section: it would be as well to travel

fast, sleep on islands and not take any

Until they reached the river, it was
impossible to travel fast, since the
jungle had to be cut and cleared.
‘We’d take a sighting with our
compasses,’ Hemming said later,
‘ then crash through with those
following behind opening the path
up. We lived on beans and rice and
anything we could shoot. We even

_} Business (1112' 112's) [A.- -S. bisigness (BUSY, -
‘3 NESSII n. serious occupation. work; professional
affairs: buying and selling; man of business: One
engaged in mercantile transactions; one skilled

in business; business-Iike, a. Suitable for or
befitting business; business suit, 11. iAm.) A

lounge suit.




Early days of The Who (top) and Kelth Moon with Klt Lambert shortly betore their deaths. Above: Pete Townshond In actlon.


and another,
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cutting and clearing, Kit helped with
the boring and tiring business of
carrying equipment. His other task,
the filming, was deferred until they
reached the river — which gthe

found (or thought theyfo1111d) 40

kilometres from 'Cachirnbo; They‘i- ' ‘
brought the biilk of their equipment-

forward up the trail, instructed their
Brazilian helpershto hollow out some
trees to use as mnoes and set off.
After some weeks, they discovered
‘another big river—about'the size
of the Thames at Windsor ’—‘-which
they thought really was the 11111.-
They decided to move'the whole
camp over to the new river.- ‘ Now,’
Hemming says, ‘ I flew to one of the
airports in the interior' and sent a
mewage to Richard and Kit that

everything was going aacording to.

plan. But when we tried to take off
on the second day’ 3 flight, the plane
wouldn’t start.- As if that weren ’t
enough, news then reached us that
there’d been a revolution in Rio and
my pilot was ordered back to base. I
returned to Rio myself in order to try
to sort things out. I had-no money

and I bribed my way— 1,500 miles:

—with two bottles of whisky. ’

Once back' in Rio, Hemming
discovered that the only “planes
allowed to fly during the emergency
were air-sea rescue fly ying boats, and
with difficufty he persuaded one of
them to make the drop. But on the
way a message came over the pilot’ 8
radio telling him that a member of
the expedition had been killed.
Hemming had no way of knowing
who it was, or of how it ‘had
happened, until he landed at Cach-
imbo, and found Kit‘ in a very bad
way. He 'was very pale after five.
months in the shadep of the forest,
he’d lost a let of weight, and he was
very badly bitten by insects.’

Mason .had been ambushed by
Indians. Kit, going to look for him,
had found him dead, ‘with arrows
and clubsallaroundhimon the path, ’
Hemming said‘ and the top of his
party of Indians had gfound our path
(possibly attracted by the smoke
signals) and laid an ambush and got
him.’ They were, it turned out,an
unknown tribe, later identified as the
Kren-Akrore, but after contact was
made with them in 1971 most of'them
fell victim to measles.

The time that Kit had spent.

waiting for Hemming to return had
been terrifying (would the Indians
attack again ?), grief—stricken
(Mason was, after all, one of his few
close friends) and lonely (the Brazi-
lian helpers immediately asked
permission to divide up Mason’ s
possessions). According to an
Oxford friend, Daria Shuvaloff, Kit
‘ had nightmares about Brazil for the
next four or five years’

Back 111 London, K11 worked as an
assistant on the film of‘ The L-
Shaped Room’ and formeda relation-
ship with Chris Stamp, brother of

By the end' of 1963 they had. taken
a small, cheap, dark flat together' in
Ivor Court, just north of the Mary-
lebone Road, and decided to make a
film about teenag e England’s enthu-
siasm for rock angd 1011. Until the late
1950s most successful rock. and 161]
groups had originated in America,
but in 1958, when Cliff Richard and
The Shadows proved that a local
version could compete With the sales
of Elvis Presley or Gene Vincent, the

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Y m sinconiY,

impresarlo Klt Lambert lound a group called The.
ngh Numbers and changed It Into The Who. ‘

home market
Two English groups, in particular,
had learnt from American models:
the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
Kit realised that most of the groups
which had made their name so far

were from the provinces (Liverpool,

notably) or from the fringes of‘ ' "

London (the Rolling Stones, foi-
instance, came from Richmond) and
that London proper was likely to be
the best hunting ground. -

As if he were planning a eampaign,

he bought a large map of London,
pinned it on the wall 111 Ivor Court

_ and staked it out into sections so that
_he could mvestig‘a te them thoroughly

Stamp was allocated the East End,

and Kit took the south and then the

west. He knew that mostgr groups
attracted particular kinds of
audience.- -

One such audience was com
of Mods, whose Vesp as and Larn-

brettas, usually decorated with

squirreltails, wereedsily spotted. .‘.I

' used to drive around looking for pubs
and clubs with the lar gest number of'

motor scooters outside,’ Kit later

told Tony Palmer. In July1964 he
found a yparticularly

beer crates and with a ceiling so low

you could stick a guitar thro
without even trying, and lit by a single
red bulb,- were The High Numbers.
Roger [Daltrey], with his teeth crossed
at the front, moving {rainfoot to foot
like a zombie. Johng [Entwistle] 1111m-
obile, looking like a stationary blob. .
[Pete] Townshend like a lanky bean-

pole. Behind them Keith Moon sitting

on a bicycle saddle, with his ridiculous
ey es in his round moon face, bashing
away for dear life, sen dinghthem 1111 up
and ogling the audience.
quarrelling among- themselves bet-
ween numbe1s.Yet there was an evil
excitement about it all and instantly I

_ knew they could become world super-

Kit had begun to Chang e his mind
about filming the group. g,Instead he

wanted to become their manager. He

immediately took steps to get rid of
the existingy manag ers, Helmut Gor-
den and Pete Meaden. With the help

of one of Stamp’ s former sehooi

friends, he took Gorden’ s contract

with thegr group to a leading music
lawyer, David Jacobs, who saw it was

:worthless: all. the members of the

band Were under age, and one of their
parents had not coun'tersi gn.ed This
dispos ed of Garden; but- Meaden—
although, as a hired hand, he had no
contractual ri ghts—was more emo-
tionally entangled with the grpou .In
the event, Kit simply bought phim

King' 5 Agency (Varlety) lelt -

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1' I11” now to be
5th Apr ble than 1’0“"
we“ in his BCHM‘

UN sorry aboui
l ieei do ‘/5 data for me.

probably get a better price

had expandeiifl I

‘ shend remembers thet when he went

large gaggle .
..outside the Railway Tavern' in Har-.
Wrow ’ .
I- paid my few shillings and went into '
the back.0nastagemadeenti1e1y'of.

'only slightly adapted hisguwn style
« and appearance. He'
.lwearing dark suits,. kep t his hair

e wereall

masked by“ his'.1ncreasmg~self-

.Keith Richard:


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fly and he feels

'off: over lunch in Frith Street in
’ Soho he told Meaden. ' .‘ 1’11 give you
‘ £150 for them.’

Kit’s decisiveness in'1 th
hand, even though his quaiifieations

for takingon the job of mapagerwere
ble. For one thing, he knew

very ttle about their music. Town


Kit W mm a

guitar was b yeni‘inting thenuhiber:

heads at th'e‘y top of the'neek

manipulating that audience 1n other
and less obvious wa .In order to-
- preserve the role 0 ér'ninence gris'e

?th he had designed for- himself, Kit
mated in

trim, and cultivated his ‘posh’

.Oidordacoent'. Thesen'seo'f pys1h ’e'el'
“1nfer10nty Whiéh he'd. dogged him as

a child—‘his small size, and a-
seat on his' neCk—was

Kit told his band toemnlate the
Rolling Stones. He advised- them to
copy their habit of running rather
than walking onto the stage and;
encouraged Townshend to. elaborate
a gesture. that he had copied from
playing the guitar
w11hav101ent, stiffsw ofthe‘arm'.
It was to'becoineone of ownshend’s

Over :the” ryéars, the barid’s.

aggressiveness was to beeome legen-

'dary and an essential, apparently
spontaneous,' part of- their act..

Initially, at least, it was earefully
nurturedbyKit. He converted their
internal tensxons—partxcularly the



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ecnceiled. T111830. THE WHO archer 1

~ 1nsp_ected the record colleetion, he
found "Sinatra, '
.deai ofItaliano'peta
'of pBaroqiie music,-_ bu

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hear— her only senses are touch, smell ant’i' tast'ef ‘ 5:11
1 , 1.1x”;

The RNID cares for her 111 its- unique res1denfiali 1'
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If you care you can help us ”to help them by.
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Their smiles W111 say ‘thank—y’ou’ . 3‘ ..1- . . . .. .

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reSearch and extensive scientific, technical

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