Chelsea Girl: the domestic routine of Brian and Zouzou

ZouZoualbumThere are two omissions in what you’ve probably read about Brian Jones. One is about his status as a musical visionary. Secondly, is that he was a charming person – in fact, as far as most outsiders are concerned, he was the ‘reach-out’ Stone, the one that would talk to outsiders. It was Brian’s girlfriends who perhaps best remembered his quixotic charm – the way he could focus on you, ask endless questions, involve you in little fun games.

I was lucky enough to speak to many women, including Linda Lawrence, Dawn Molloy, Pat Andrews and others, who answered the question, what was he really like? One especially cute vignette of his life comes from Zouzou, aka Danièle Ciarlet, actress and musician, who met him in October 1964 in Paris, and stayed with him at Elm Park Lane, his mews flat in Chelsea. I especially like the story of their household routine.Here’s a snippet of the interview.

Tell me about Brian’s mental state when you were staying with him.

He was wonderful, making me laugh all the time, he was really joking, laughing, full of energy. He was drinking a bit much, that’s the only thing I could say and taking anything that would pass by like joints, pills – they were all doing this kind of stuff. But Brian used to drink a little much, he used to have dinner with Scotch and Coke all the time. Btu that was it, he was nice, he was tender, joking all the time, making me surprises, really really a nice person and very interesting. When he came back from America he had been taking some acid. He had taken acid with Dylan so he was always calling Dylan… he admired him so much. But there was nothing wrong with him at this time except for a few eccentricities.

What were the eccentricities?

The way he dressed… the person he was. He was also sometimes very depressed cos he dind’t like his eyes. [bags] under his eyes, talked about an aesthetic surgeon. I would tell him Brian it’s not important.. After a while he was laughing about it. But he was… moody sometimes, very upset and down and cry like a baby. Then suddenly starting to laugh and joke… he was.. up down up down very often.

That does sound like a bipolar condition…

At this time we never talked about bipolar or manic depression, so now all these years later I think he was sort of bipolar or some manic depression. But more bipolar than anything else. And very, very fragile.. you could upset him so much by a tiny little thing.. one hour later he would laugh like an idiot for nothing. But. At the same time he was easy to live with.

Was he ever physically threatening?

I was really surprised when I was having dinner with Marianne [Faithfull] and during the dinner she said, did Brian beat you up? I said what do you mean. Had he ever been nasty? I said, never… if he had touched one hair I wouldv’e run away and that’s it.. She said, I knew that.

What kind of things would you talk about?

He was very curious, he wanted to know everything. He would call me from the States, ask what I was wearing, was I sleeping was on the right side or left side, on the belly or back… funny, crazy things that don’t mean anything. And he was very gentle, he’d tell me how beautiful I looked, like this.. He was asking also about my family, my parents, if I was happy, what I did, what did I study. I stopped after the Bacc in France, then I decided to do design. So we were talking about all this. And he was reading French newspapers in France.. but it was funny to hear him trying to read in French magazines just to make me laugh.

What other everyday things did you get up to?

And we were playing games, I was the captain he was the [ship’s crew].. I had to give him orders … cos we didn’t want to tidy the house so we were doing it this way by games. I would say, You have to wash all this part.. of the roof and you have to do all this. And we were all day long having all kinds of games every day. At night we had too many people come in at four in the morning, everyody was going to Chelsea Bridge for sandwiches, hot dogs, all these people, then they’d throw on the floor what’s left, so in the morning when I was getting up my house was impossible! So that’s how we decided to do games, not to be bothered.

You said you moved out in 1966, because he changed so much in that time.

He had changed so much in not a long time. He met too many people.. some sordid people. He was surrounded by these guys… like Robert Fraser, this guy had a really bad influence on him. I’m sure he was in love with Brian at that time.. he was trying to take him to parties. And orgies.. and Brian wasn’t at all made for that. Cos when I met him the first evening, we were invited.. we end up in this kind of place [at Donald Cammell’s, who tried to involve him in an orgy] Brian took my hand and took me to the way out to the elevator, we went down he took my hand and put it on his heart, it was beating like crazy, what did they want? I wasn’t ready to have a sex party with 10 other people… [but] Robert Fraser would call him all the time inviting him, and Robert was trying, always trying to get rid of me so I wouldn’t come. But I would protect Brian at Elm Park.

Categories: Brian Jones

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