DJ Taylor: Sixties survivor Larry Farrant is an altogether unreconstructed monolith from a bygone age


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How old is Larry Farrant: 65? Sixty, even? Such evidence as can be assembled from the fragments of detail which Larry occasionally vouchsafes about his past life or the vista he presents to the world is, alas, inconclusive.

On the one hand, there is his absurdly youthful appearance, a matter of jet-black hair, vigorous dance steps (whenever introduced to a room where music is playing) and not the least suspicion of crows' feet beneath his ever-twinkling blue eyes. On the other hand, there is the undoubted fact that he was, or alleges to have been, in the control room when the Kinks were recording "Waterloo Sunset" in 1967, and supposedly drove the tour bus when Led Zeppelin first took to the concert circuit a year later.

Whatever Larry's precise age, he is as much a product of the 1960s as bell-bottom trousers and mini skirts, an altogether unreconstructed monolith from a bygone age, still wearing his scuffed-up leather jackets and talking about "chicks" and "faces" 50 years after such jargon went west. Great times they were, too, he is quick to assure younger acquaintances, what with the nights spent at the Scotch of St James hobnobbing with "Eric" (Clapton) and "K-Man" (Larry's pet name for the Who's Keith Moon) and the smoke-perfumed afternoons in Wardour Street rehearsal rooms hanging out with "Jimmy" (Page, presumably) and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

As for the popular music of today, Larry wouldn't listen to it if you paid him – although, if rumour is to be believed, he unbent sufficiently to introduce U2 to the A&R man of their first record company. Yet the question of what Larry actually did in the 1960s, let alone what he does now, remains unanswered. Certainly, his name has never been discovered among the credits of any record sleeve, and he is unable to play a musical instrument.

Mysteriously, his reputation as an upper-level factotum to the Age of Aquarius remains intact. Casual observers, watching him roll up to some music biz function in the company of his "special lady" Carole-Ann (thought to have danced for Pan's People in the early 1970s), and eagerly clasping the hand somewhat humorously extended to him by Ray Davies, are never less than impressed. Sir Paul McCartney, who produced a vague memory of the Abbey Road tea boy when asked whether he remembered his great friend Larry, was thought to have been very unkind.