Wednesday 9 June 2010
Tracey Emin: What I liked best about the club was Michael
The Colony Room was a very eccentric place to hang out, quite mad. I would go there when pubs didn't open all day – it was great because it would be open all afternoon.
It was the kind of place where you could end up getting so drunk by about six in the evening, you'd stagger out and it would still be daylight and that would be another shock. You'd be expecting it to be dark because the bar felt like it lived in a perpetual twilight zone.
The wine was absolutely disgusting and I always thought that Michael did it on purpose, so people would only drink spirits. But what I liked best about the place was Michael himself. A lot of people really, really miss him. He was very charismatic, he was funny and he was very kind, too. Kindness goes a long way. It wasn't just all rock and roll and drinking.
I remember that early on I would spend a lot of time drinking at the club on my own. Michael would take care of me and make sure I got a Freedom Cab home – the gay cab company – just so I wouldn't be in some dodgy mini-cab. Then he'd call me to make sure I'd got home safely.
Michael would always come to my parties and openings. On my birthday we used to go down to Margate to stay at the Walpole Bay Hotel. It was always so great to see Michael sat on the beach with his absolutely bleach-white skin and heavy metal T-shirt. It would always look like he'd just been superimposed from the Colony Room on to the beach. Seeing Michael in fresh air seemed very odd.
Soho has gone through changes, but I see that as being a kind of sad but organic happening. It didn't surprise me really that Michael just went with the flow of it.
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