Some of you may remember this...
Simon grew up with programs like that. It’s difficult to specify precisely what formative influence the Woodentops and the Flowerpot Men may have had on young middle-class English minds but television evolved rapidly. Black and white to colour. One channel to two. By the 70s Simon had his own TV chat show. A new kind of television it was, daring, provocative, pushing the envelope. Simon was the Russell Brand of his day you could say.
Mind you we’re not talking total revolution here. More of a minor cultural readjustment. Simon did deal with topical subjects and he could be confrontational with politicians but there was no nudity and no swearing. Well not at first. Not until Kenneth Tynan said the F word thereby guaranteeing himself a place in broadcasting history. After that it was a free for all. Mary Whitehouse raised a question in the House. The BBC was forced to issue a formal apology. The affair was much discussed in pubs. Celebrities were lining up to say naughty words.
William Burroughs turned down an invitation. So fuck him.
Simon was at the forefront of the new trend. Being a rock writer was better than being a star in some ways. He got all the fringe benefits without having to deal with the fame. Not that Simon was averse to fame. In fact he enjoyed it. TV gigs were in addition to doing books and record reviews and now he was doing live interviews with leading figures from the cultural world. Brendan Behan, John Osborne, Joe Orton, Francis Bacon etc. Pop stars and various other easy targets all took their place in the hot seat. Love him or hate him everybody watched Simon’s TV show. He played the audience like a fiddle.
Samantha was the mother of two children by then and living in the Cotswolds. She was happy enough. She got involved in village life and she still did some proofreading for London publishers. If she had any suspicions about what Simon got up to in the Chelsea mews house she kept them to herself. She was biding her time.