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Norman Allan
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Chapter Twelve: Deodar Road, Putney.

Part of the legacy Ted left was a set of about fifty tape recordings. On one of them, from 1986, he is talking with a group of friends that includes his daughter, Julie, and his friend, Stanley Mann. In the background are heard the words "political, sociological discussion..." The story being told is about Ted working with John Berry on Secret of the World. In the foreground Ted clarifies: "We were discussing this particular scene - he, Sam, is a trade union leader - we were discussing..." Stanley continues, "These two fellows, who are workmen, Cockneys, whatever they are, they were listening. So, after a day or so they start to question..."
     The two Cockney workmen were painting Ted's Putney apartment. They were working in the living room which functioned as a study and as John Berry's bedroom during his stay. In the conversation on the tape Ted and Stanley are constantly interrupting each other. Now it's Ted's turn. "No," says Ted. "They started saying, "No union leader would talk like that," We said, "What?" Anyway, to make a long story short, they began to get in on the play, and we began to make notes, and we wrote, we wrote the whole scene based on what these guys were telling us."
     Stanley. "They were painting and they would saying, "That's not how it would work." And John and Ted were totally insane at this time. Totally insane. Nice, but totally mad. I would listen to them, and make notes..."
     One of the other listeners, Julie perhaps, asks "What?" and says "That sounds right," and Stanley continues, "And I'm watching them. First of all, I'm a compulsive cleaner."
     Ted asked obtusely, "That includes (when we were) living together?" There was talk in the background and hoops of laughter. "The artist," says someone, as Stanley continues, "I'm a compulsive cleaner and Ted's a slob. John Berry is a worse slob... Oh, much worse. So they are... Ted is cooking and John is cooking. I wasn't cooking back then, but then I would serve, you see, and they would eat and everything on the floor."
     "Not everything," Ted interjected.
     "Not everything. They're eating and the floors are covered in papers, notes, and the house, the flat is becoming like a garbage dump. And I'm washing... I'm washing, cleaning up, trying to write too in that little room in which I used to stay, and these guys are doing this "Secret of the World", and it was hysterical because the painters were there; they're involved. I'm cleaning. These two guys are totally insane. They're arguing about... how it should be done, who should play in it... should they let Joan Littlewood see the rehearsals..."
     And Ted continued, "You've forgotten, I don't know if you were there, but I used to give John injections of... monkey gland. So he'd take his pants down and he'd bend over the sink and I would give him an injection. One day we hired," Ted starts to laugh and repeats, "we hired," over the interruptions, "we hired this new English secretary, and she was typing, and as she went to the bathroom she had to pass the kitchen while I was doing this. When I came back she was sitting there and she had her coat on. I said, "What? Where are you going?" "I did not realise that you had this problem, Mr Allan, and I don't wish to be here anymore." I said, "What, what are you talking about?" And she said, "I saw you inject him.""
     Ted laughed. "I said, "Please sit here. Please sit here. He never gets violent. You have nothing to worry about." I go back. I forget what I was doing, and "And listen, she thinks I've been giving you heroin or something." "Great" And anyway, she went back. She started typing. He comes in and says, "I've, I've gotta get a shot. Gotta get it now," and he starts to do a terrible... so we lost a secretary."
     Stanley stuttered. "...Funny... these two guys were totally mad. I mean I think..."
     "We weren't totally mad."
     "Well, pretty close."
     "Why was he injecting monkey gland, or whatever," asked a younger male voice (probably Julie's colleague, Peter).
     "Jack keeps i..." Ted started. "You know, Jack is my age. He looks forty."
     "He doesn't look forty," said Julie.
     "Oh, forty two," said Ted, and from a muffle of contending voices Stanley asserted, "John Berry looks like you... and he's nearing eighty, and he's strong as a horse... He's an impossible man. Well, when you put him with what's his name, it became this, because neither would ever accept what the other was saying, never, because you both knew everything. He knew, you knew, or..."
     "Oh, I really knew," said Ted.
     And the tape devolved into a gaggle of voices and giggles...

     Putney. After the year at Sandy Road on Hampstead Heath and a few months renting in Kensington, Ted bought an apartment comprising the top floor of a three-story house at 69 Deodar Rd. on the Thames. Branson O'Casey, a friend of Tana Sayers, converted the dwellings - (Sean O'Casey's wife, remarked Ted. "Nonsense," said Kate. That's just like him!"...
     It is September 1997. I've been writing this biography for more than a year. Ted's been dead two years.
     This last spring Kate, she's eighty three now, suffered back pain and complications. It went on and on. We brought her over to Toronto from London England for six weeks so I could work with her intensively. Late August I took her back to London and stayed ten days reinstalling her, not much better, but functioning. Off and on through that two months we spoke of Ted. Kate doesn't like what I've written so far. She has offered a few factual corrections. Last week in London we were talking about Branson O'Casey. "...She married Sean O'Casey's son so she could stay in England. A marriage of convenience. I don't think he was gay, but he wasn't interested in those things. The apartment in Putney was Branson's first house. Ted was her first customer.")

Ted bought an apartment on the third floor. It had a large room facing the north with a high ceiling and a studio window overlooked the back garden and the River Thames. Fulham is north across the river here with dark brick low-rise (six story?) apartments. A little to the west to the left in our prospect, is the Railway bridge (for the "Underground") with a footpath leading to the north side to Putney Bridge Station. (The Underground is overground in the suburbs.)
     Deodar was a quite road. Ted said that others followed him to Deodar road. Certainly a year or two later Ted's friend, in those days an almost constant friend, the novelist Edna O'Brian bought a house just up the street.
     Ted's apartment: the common stairwell to 67 and 69 Deodar Road continued, by way of a ladder and trap door, to the roof, while Ted's front door - it's on what's called the second floor in England, the third floor here in North America - opened into a short hallway. Turn left, north, and you faced the door to a large room with studio windows overlooking the river Thames. Across the hallway from the front door, though, to the east, was a small kitchen. Beside it, to the south, the bathroom. To the south again, though we travelled just a few feet, towards the road, four steps rose to a landing. To the left (the east) was the WC. In front of you a door opened on the small master bedroom: low ceilinged and not very bright despite its southern aspect and wide window. Perhaps I remember it as dim because the curtains were always drawn. Beside the master bedroom, to its west, was the small guestroom referred to above by Stanley.

Ted's apartment in Putney was much loved both by Ted and by his friends. Ted spoke several times about how all his friends came to stay with him when they the were breaking up with their spouses - it was a halfway house. And here Ted would begin one of his lists starting with Stanley Mann and including, of note, Sean Connery, Rod Stieger, Edna O'Brien... Other long-term visitors (not necessarily breaking up with their spouses) included, Jack Berry, and memorably Zero Mostel, and Sadie, but that's a story, a drama in itself.

Zero Mostel, the actor, is best known for his role on Broadway in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and for film roles such as in "The Producers" and "Rhinoceros". Zero stayed with Ted whenever he was in London. They were close. The first time would be when he came over to London to play "Bloom in Nighttown".
     "Zero" (that's what his teacher called him at school) was a man of huge girth and volume - he yelled! Huge also in presence: gigantic and demanding. Did he use to squeeze my cheeks as though I were a rosy cheeked child (then in my adolescence) - or did he just remind me, in his overbearing way, of Ted's mother? He evinced a great warmth towards me, and I believe he felt it, though I found him overwhelming - like Sadie in a mania.

Ted wrote:
"Zee, as his friends called him, and I were close friends. When he'd be in England, he'd stay with me at my Putney flat. He was not just a clown onstage, but irrepressible on the street. He loved Putney. Putney is on the south side of the Thames. There was a marvellous view where I lived. I was an artist's studio-flat looking down on a garden to the river. It was one of the loveliest places I've ever lived in.
     Zee used to like to go with me to the grocers or the greengrocers and yell, "I'm a stah! I'm a stah!" The Cockneys loved him. And I would say, "Would you keep it down?"
     When we'd be crossing the street he was suddenly on his knees and became a gorilla.
     "Christ Zee, you're in London!"
     They loved him. And he loved them. He was huge. He was fat. He was brilliant. And he was adored.
     I come into my flat one day and I'm quiet and I go into the bathroom. This particular flat had a separate toilet and bathroom. I go into the bathroom and as I'm about to reach the sink my eye catches, fully-clothed in the full bath, Mr. Zero Mostel. He's wearing a hat.
     I go to the sink, brush my teeth and pay no attention to him. I go out, close the door quietly and he yells, "You cocksucking son of a bitch! You killed the whole thing!" And he comes out dripping wet absolutely infuriated with me. "You fucked it up! You fucked it up!"

Now for reasons that have nothing to do with him, I developed mononucleosis. Have you ever had mono? It is unbelievable. You're lying there. You have no strength. You're weak, wretched.
     Zee did not speak softly, and every time he spoke I'd start shaking. I'd say. "Zee, you have to keep it down..."
     One morning he said in a whisper, "Would you like some, a little scrambled eggs now? On toast?" Whispering. "Would you like a little tea?"
     I nodded.
     "Make it yourself!" he shouted in his normal voice. Then he went out and came back with it all made, but I couldn't eat it because I was so frightened.

It was in 1959, soon after Ted moved to Putney, that Georgie arrived at the door with Sadie in tow. "You look after Sadie. I look after Ma and Pa. That was the deal," said Georgie. Brooking no dissension he left Sadie with Ted and returned to Toronto. Sadie's stay with Ted on this occasion is the substance of his play "I've Seen You Cut Lemons" later renamed "My Sister's Keeper" later redone, with John Cassavettes, as "Love Streams".
     Now just at the time of Sadie's arrival, Ted and I were due to go off together for two weeks holiday to Corsica. Ted had done some copy work for a package tour company, "Horizon Holidays", and trips to the Mediterranean were part of the pay off. The "betrayal" of me a couple of years before - my not coming to live with him at Sandy Road (footnote A) - weighed heavily on Ted. He told Sadie he could not cancel the trip. In the stage play he says that he had cancelled twice already. Would Sadie be alright on her own for two weeks? She said she would.
     On Ted's return Sadie was still fairly sane, but trouble was brewing. In the plays the source of Sadie's disturbance at that time was her concern for her young daughter, Susan. Little Susan was living with her father in L.A., and little Susan had had a mild bout off flu. Sadie started "hallucinating" that Susan was burning. Ted phoned L.A. Yes, Susan had been ill, but that was ten days before. She was well now, and she'd been well when Sadie had "received" the message. There was a time lag in the telepathy, Ted pointed out. Sadie's sanity was sliding.
     Sadie was painting - oils - quite nice - and Ted was encouraging this. And Sadie wanted to be helpful. "Best little sister-secretary in the western world," she says in the play. Sadie was jealous of Ted's girl friends. And Sadie started to rave.

I quote from "My Sister's Keeper" (1):

"The London flat of Robert Walker, a Canadian university lecturer. The place is tastefully, if Spartanly, furnished. A large studio window overlooks the Thames from where we occasionally hear tugs and gulls. The sun floods the room with dazzling light. (But Ted's prospect was North. When the sky was bright, through the studio window, the room was bright.)
We can see part of the kitchen; a hallway, which leads off the main room, leads to two unseen bedrooms. The place is sane and pleasant, with bookshelves, recordings, a hi-fi set, TV set, and radio. Picasso reproductions and Chinese paintings are on the wall, here and there a small Chinese sculpture.

                                                  *      *      *

later, some way into the play…

SARAH (Sadie): ... Who're you having dinner with? (2)

ROBERT (Ted): Susan Cooper. I didn't write you about her because I never know how long these things are going to last. But Sue and I have been seeing each other for almost a year now. I hadn't expected her back from Africa for another few weeks. She's an anthropologist.

SARAH: When do I get to meet her?

ROBERT: She just got back or I'd have suggested tonight. Tomorrow? You'll like her. She's funny.

SARAH: We're all funny.


SARAH: I said we were all funny.

ROBERT: I meant witty. She's very witty.

SARAH: That's nice. I like witty people. I'll tell you something right now, Roberto! I hate her!

ROBERT: Sarah!

SARAH: She's ugly and she's stupid and I hate her!

ROBERT: I'd better go.

SARAH: Goodbye.

ROBERT: What's come over you?

SARAH: You've come over me.

ROBERT: What's that supposed to mean?

SARAH: I'm being witty and you're not noticing.

ROBERT: Hilarious. Are you all right?

SARAH: I am not all right! I was all right. But I am no longer all right. That seems obvious. Any further questions? First night you're back and you're having dinner with Susan! Thank you!

Sadie's ravings were extremely upsetting. Sadie was often hostile with Ted, as psychotic people can be. It was all Ted's fault. His betrayal had crippled her. The raving went on and on ranting and wearing Ted down. He thought he would go mad. He started writing down her ramblings. "Writing this shit down is the only thing that keeps me sane." The nightmare deepened. He would have to "commit" her again.
     Sadie presented Ted with the plea that all she needed to mend from the wound of his betrayal was his undivided attention and love for four weeks. One lousy month. If Ted could give her that unconditional love and attention for that short time she could heal. Ted committed himself.
     In the play, just before this "commitment", Sarah (Sadie) had answered a call from Robert's (Ted's) girl friend and told her that Robert was sleeping with her, with Sarah/Sadie, his sister. When Robert/Ted learned of Sadie's attempt to sabotage his relationship with his girlfriend, his pact with Sadie unravelled. There was a blowout and a reconciliation. And here we come to the crux of the play: does Ted love Sadie? Has he ever loved anyone? And do they, Ted and Sadie, want to sleep together.
     From "My Sister's Keeper": we take up the action just after the explosion and approaching the reconciliation:-

SARAH: She approaches one of the vases containing the flowers
I have a good relationship with flowers. They don't need much attention. But they always die.

ROBERT: There must be some way I can help you. There must be some way - without us living together.

SARAH: To assuage your guilt, or because you love me? You didn't even notice them.

ROBERT: I did. They're lovely. Thank you.

SARAH: They're not happy. She touches the flowers as if to soothe them. It's not a happy house. She goes to her painting, and starts to paint. He watches her, sick for her,
and then leaves the room. He returns. She looks at him.

I have been hostile to Susan. I admit it.

ROBERT: Are you hungry?

SARAH: No. I want to go to sleep now. Is it all right?

ROBERT: If you're sleepy.

SARAH: I'm very tired. Tell Susan I'm sorry. She starts to move across the room and stops. She touches his head. Do you mind if I touch your head?


SARAH: Mother touched you quite a bit, didn't she? ... Didn't she?

ROBERT: No more than any mother touches, caresses her son.

SARAH: More. Much more. Particularly when Dad was on one of his trips.

ROBERT: She liked to hug me, yes.

SARAH: She flirted with you all the time.

ROBERT: Yes, I suppose so. It was harmless.

SARAH: Was it?

ROBERT: What harm did it do?

SARAH: Well?

ROBERT: If you're trying to say something, say it, damn it!

SARAH: Did you ever want to have sex with mother?

ROBERT: Oh come on. You've been reading too many text books! We all know the myth about sons wanting their mothers.

SARAH: You and Mrs. Annie. She dug you and you dug her. While he made us feel sex was dirty. He made us feel guilty about every nice sexy feeling we had. So you felt guilty about your feelings towards her, and then you transferred those feelings to me. That felt safer: you thought. And then that petrified you.

ROBERT: When you get well, you should become a psychiatrist.

SARAH: I know how we can help each other. We should we make love.

ROBERT: Do you really want that?

SARAH: Yes. Let's try. Come... She caresses his face, moves her body seductively before him. Let's just love one another. It won't hurt anybody.

ROBERT: Please... go away... I feel sick. He is nauseated. She is concerned and watches him, looking completely rational now. You should examine that fantasy you have - of wanting to sleep with me.

SARAH: Don't tell me about your problems. I'll work out mine. You work out yours. You've got the problems, not me. She starts to undress, slowly. I can prove to you it's not my problem. I'll undress until I'm completely nude, which proves I don't have the problem. I want to be naked before you, and I want you inside me, loving me, being with me, becoming me, and me coming with you. I'm tired of waiting for you, and I want you now and if you faced the truth you'd know you have always wanted me, that every other woman is a substitute for me, as every other man has been a substitute for you. I love you, as no other woman can love you. Let's love each other purely and truly.

ROBERT: Put your clothes on.

SARAH: You can't make it. You'll never make it.

ROBERT: If that's making it, not making it is just fine.

SARAH: Dresses. I don't like you in the room when I'm working. Get out. Robert leaves. Sarah paints. Robert reenters.

ROBERT: I'm going down for some milk. I'll be right back.

SARAH: Have to keep running, eh?

ROBERT: We need some milk.

SARAH: Go down once and buy bread. Come back. Go down again and buy eggs. Come back. Go down and buy milk. Come back. Good exercise.

ROBERT: Or phone. Everybody, any body. Keep phoning. Yes!

SARAH: In the mood for some truth? She removes the wig that she is wearing and waits. Would you please tell me the truth about something? He waits. Did you ever want to make love to me, ever?

ROBERT: I suppose I did. Yes.

SARAH: When?

ROBERT: In our teens. I thought of it, and pushed it from my mind.

SARAH: Is it possible your wanting me made me want you?

ROBERT: It is possible, I suppose. But I didn't think I ever showed it. I was ashamed. I hid it.

SARAH: You didn't hide it! I knew!

ROBERT: And that's why you want to make love to me?

SARAH: I'm not sure of that. No. I'm not sure of that. I loved you all my life. I grew up loving you - and when I was sixteen I wanted to go to bed with you... and nobody else. And every other man was you from then on.

ROBERT: I thought of it. Maybe every brother and sister has that fantasy. It's one thing to have the fantasy, another to do it.

SARAH: We're telling each other the truth now, right?

ROBERT: We're trying to.

SARAH: And since your teens, didn't you ever want me? There is a long pause.

ROBERT: Yes. I suppose I did, but I never did anything about it. I hid it. I kept it from you!

SARAH: Never! I knew! I know every time you want me! And you want me now!

ROBERT Shouting: No! I don't!

SARAH: You do and you're afraid.

ROBERT: It isn't true!

SARAH: Then why are you shouting? Tell me something else. She waits. Would you have been happy had I become successful?

ROBERT: What's that supposed to mean?

SARAH: Didn't it always give you a secret pleasure that you were the one who was well and successful and I was the one who was sick a failure - that it was me, not you?




SARAH: And haven't you often put me down, even when I was well? In a crowd, at a party, when you thought I was getting too much attention, that I was being very witty - taking the limelight away from you?




SARAH: No. You're agreeing with me just to humour me.

ROBERT: No, it is true.

SARAH: And whenever I was well - and it looked as if I'd paint well and make a successful career, you always, somehow, someway, said something which destroyed me?

ROBERT: Yes. I wasn't consciously doing that, but yes, I can see that now. It's true.

SARAH: It's not true. People tried to destroy you, but you fought back. You had more courage than I did. That's what it amounts to.

ROBERT: You never tried to destroy me that way!

SARAH: Because I didn't feel I could. If I felt I could I probably would have tried.

ROBERT: No. You've been happy I've done well.

SARAH: It isn't true. I've been happy for you, but eaten with envy - and hating you. My God! She cries. Forgive me.

ROBERT: For what?

SARAH: For everything.

ROBERT: Forgive me.

SARAH Weeping: Forgiven, darling. Forgiven. Forgiven. Forgiven! She can't stop crying. He starts to cry and runs out. She sits down, holding her stomach in pain. Forgiven. Forgiven. Forgiven. She stops crying. She seems lucid now.
She dries her eyes, looks into the mirror.
Sarah, the Nut.

ROBERT Robert returns with the milk. I've come to a decision. I didn't give you the month you asked for. My guilt's still... I can't get that night out of my mind. All the way to the hospital, you were so sleepy from the knockout drops, but you kept waking up, telling me how good it was to be with me, you felt so safe. I held you, singing you lullabies. God! Then they took you away screaming. Screaming.
     I never trusted myself after that. With anybody. I think I was all right up to then. I mean I liked myself up to then: I liked who I was and what I was becoming. I felt closer to you than anyone else. We were such good friends, such good loving friends.

SARAH: There was more. Face it! Finally face it!

ROBERT: Yes, all right! Yes. I was in love with you. Yes. And it terrified me. I felt... dirty.

SARAH: You felt all women were dirty. Mother. Sister. Women.


SARAH: And you stopped yourself from loving me.

ROBERT: Yes. Yes. It's true. And there was another reason I felt guilty. He pauses. She waits. I thought you became sick because of the way I felt about you.

SARAH: So now it's all out. I hope you feel better for it.

ROBERT with a stifled laugh: Better? No. There is only one way to stop feeling guilty. That's the decision I came to. It isn't a matter of thirty days. I must give myself to you completely. Do what I was incapable of before. We should sleep together. It's the only way I can get rid of my guilt. You're right. We should do it now. It's the only way we can both be cured. Sarah moves towards her suitcase and starts putting her clothes in. What are you doing?

SARAH: If you think that that's sane, I want to be with the nuts.

ROBERT: What's got into you? I've finally admitted everything, seen everything just as you've been saying.

SARAH: Make love to me so you can get rid of your guilt? Make love to me so you can prove what a man you are! You don't want to make love. You don't even want to fuck! You want to fuck me over! It is not because I'm your sister that you couldn't love me. Agnes was your wife. Were you any different with her? And all the girl friends? Didn't you always run the minute they needed you or the minute you started to feel anything? You can't make love. You can make the right sounds but you're afraid. You're terrified of feeling and that makes you the cruellest man I know.

ROBERT: That's not true.

SARAH: You haven't understood a word I've said. Your image of yourself is of a good, kind, but weak person who really tries.

ROBERT: I do try.

SARAH: You don't. You want to. But you don't. You say you feel. You say you love. You don't. You're like all the rest. Words. No feelings! If you faced that there might be hope for you. I'm going to a hospital and you'll return to work and your crap. Will anything have changed for you?

ROBERT: I don't know. I hope so.

SARAH: What?

ROBERT: Well, I'll at least think about what you said.

SARAH: Hurrah! The so called sane are listening. There's hope.

ROBERT: Wait. I'll take you to the hospital.

SARAH: No. I have to learn to do things on my own. Goodbye. And Robert, get your shit together! (3) She leaves.

Robert sits there... stunned, thinking...


I recall a reading of "I've Seen You Cut Lemons" at the flat in Putney. Sean Connery, who would direct the play at the Fortune Theatre, was there of course, and Diane Cilento, then Sean's wife. She read and later played the part of Sarah, but who read the part of Robert? Was it Stanley?
     After the reading and the comments, the encouragement, when everyone had left but Stanley Mann, Ted and myself, Stanley gave his critique. According to Stanley the main problem with that draft was that the audience were not sufficiently informed at the start of the play as to what they were about to see. It was a law of classical drama, and a moral and aesthetic obligation on the dramatist, that audience be forewarned of the essence of the work they were about to witness, said Stanley and he set out to demonstrate this thesis acting out Hamlet, and then Death of a Salesman, dramatically for us in an impromptu one man show. With the energy of a whirling dervish he presented to us Hamlet meeting his father's ghost on the ramparts, Hamlet entangled in the cause of revenge, "And we know the banana peel is right there under his feet; that fate will kick him in the tuckus." And Death of a Salesman: "Willy Loman comes home, exhausted, depressed. He can't handle the travelling anymore. He asks his wife where his sons are. She says they're out, down at the pool hall. And he says he'll go and find them. And the audience all know, "Don't do it!"."

Ted and Sadie: who tried to sleep with who? and when? Can I remember what Ted said as he ruminated chasing the truth? the psychological truth, the dramatic truth. Sadie had tried to seduce Ted and he had responded negatively and awkwardly. But that didn't satisfy him. The play required a deeper search.

Memories of Putney. I remember Edna O'Brian, in the early sixties so often there, her life weaved with Ted for a few years. My personal memory is of occasions when Edna and I would read each other poetry. Ah, here amongst Ted's papers, a scrap from Edna.

(first written in long hand)
"Darling Ted. A poem that might distract you for a few seconds. Spirit. Edna.

(then typed)

Beginnings are best.
I find us discoursing
You and I
In summer places
A wheatfield at its height of green
You tipping your hat to scarecrows
We, sheltering in out of the rain
Nothing is planned
But all is ordained.

Beginnings are best
Our birth is not our beginning
There is an us
Soft as an oyster in its sanctuary
An us
In a dark ambiguous place
Long before the waters break.

I remember Sheila Delany at the apartment; Sheila briefly famous from a "A Taste of Honey". Putney was an island were she could relax her long lank body and her mind. I remember Arnold Wesker there, but he was more an acquaintance than a friend. Later, I remember meeting, by those tall windows over the river, Betty Davis, elderly then, but beautiful: charming and dignified, and responsive and warm.
     And I remember Betty Ann downstairs, wiry and intense, and self absorbed, small of stature, but stacked upstairs; dark longhaired. She taught TM: Transcendental Meditation. Ted and she had a fling and then an awkwardness.
     Then there was Rita next door, big and American, middle-aged, helpful and drunk.

The first years in the flat, the early sixties, was an era of many women, but few for very long and few of note. Ted was still in psychotherapy with Claire Russell, and Claire and Bill Russell had indeed become "friends". I recall calling in on Ted on several occasions when the Russells were visiting. The feeling of those encounters was "urbane", but more academic then "civilized".
     Ted was also exploring other therapies. He had a growing interest in the work of Wilhelm Reich. He urged Reich's writings on me and commended this body centred therapy. It steeps one in emotion, by-passing the thinking, rational mind. A shortcut through resistance.
     Of Reich's books, Ted was particularly impressed with "The Mass Psychology of Fascism", but he read all Reich's work with enthusiasm. And visited all available Reichian therapists. (4) Georgia Brown introduced Ted to Reich. Georgia was famed for starring as Nancy in "Oliver". Her's is the voice that sings "As long as he needs me..." Georgia was a gusty woman, married then to Gareth Wigan, a sweet man, a London theatrical agent in those days, later a Hollywood mogul. Gareth it would be who would turn up at the Cedar Sinai hospital after Ted's heart attack in 1979 to guarantee payment of Ted's hospital bills. (The Writer's Guild would eventually pay, but Gareth - actually, Lorne Greene joined him in this - underwrote the bill. Their gesture took the hospital bureaucracy off Ted's beleaguered heart and mind.)
     Georgia Brown was another "large" (5) figure in Ted's life and an on-going friend. (6) It was Georgia that first suggested Ted see a Reichian therapist, her therapist, and it was Georgia who introduced him to Martie. This would be in New York. So Ted was pounding mattresses till he cried and shoving fingers down his throat till he'd gag - getting it, letting it, all out.
     In London Ted worked with Olaf Raknes, one of Reich's original student from Reich's days in Oslo. Olaf would tour London (and it was Raknes, not Zero Mostel, who was as it were "fucking every woman on the block"). Raknes was in his eighties and boasting that sex just got better and better. (Remember, these are the sixties. This was the "sexual revolution" and these were its heroes.)
     When Raknes returned to Oslo, Ted worked with a therapist Raknes had trained in Norway who had since moved to London: a Gerda Boyasen. "She fucked me during my first session," said Ted.
Ted continued the Reichian work with enthusiasm on both sides of the Atlantic.
     Gerda Boyasen had two beautiful daughters then in their early twenties. Ted and Mona Boyasen started hanging out together. She virtually moved in with Ted, Ted said. They would sleep together, she cuddled in his arms, but there was no sex. "I guess because she knew I had slept with her mother," Ted speculated.

It was in this era that Jerry Raffles asked Ted to work on what would become "Oh What a Lovely War". Jerry Raffles was Joan Littlewood's mate and he was the manager of the East Stratford Theatre. Joan Littlewood at this time had "retired" from the theatre and was living in Paris trying to make movies. Jerry Raffles and Charles Chiltern (who worked with music in radio) had the idea to produce a musical around first World War songs - "It's A Long Way To Tipperary" and other tunes that everyone knew. Jerry Raffles commissioned Ted to write the musical's libretto. I was there when Ted read his first draft of "Oh What a Lovely War" at Jerry and Joan's house in Black Heath in south east London - Raffles, Chiltern, Joan Littlewood, Ted and I were there, Joan back for a few days from her Paris life. There was a palpable excitement in the room as Ted read. Already on this initial hearing Joan Littlewood wondered what-if-maybe she might come out of "retirement" to direct the piece.
     Ah Ted, so near to the limelight. And so many slips.
     Ted had another piece going into production at this time: his Zen Buddhist Jewish musical comedy Chu Chem. I will speak of it more in the era of its triumph. In this earlier incarnation, though, its production evolved as far as a pre-Broadway tour. But on the road Ted found that the production bore no relation to his conception and was, as far as he was concerned, a total turkey. Ted closed the show on the road. The producers offered him a substantial sum of money to allow the production to continue - a small fortune had already been invested - but Ted would not betray his creation.
     While Ted was in the States for Chu Chem several noteworthy things transpired. Least important: he bought a purple shirt with ruffled sleeves (a "pirate shirt" Seinfeld would call such) for the opening of Chu Chem on Broadway. However, having aborted Chu Chem he never wore the shirt or the swash buckler belt he bought to go with it, but offered them to me. They became my principle gear in my hippie years. My identification with Ted (perhaps best exemplified in the pleasure with which at times I wore his clothes) was reflected, mirrored, by him. A mutual identification. For example, I had an encounter with a young lady who told me that my aura was blue and green. I related this to Ted. A few weeks later Ted was speaking about auras. "Mine must be blue and green," he mused.
     Ted was in New York while Littlewood was in rehearsals in London with "Oh What a Lovely War"(7) . Now, Joan's style as a director had been to rework pieces extensively with her cast during rehearsals: a search for the actor's theatre, for spontaneity, for continuous creation. She phoned Ted in New York to ask permission for certain changes and for this principle of change. Said Ted, "Not one word changes without the authors approval." Said Joan, screw you! or words to that effect. She said that she would evolve the play till there was nothing left of Ted's. It would be the ensemble's creation and there was nothing Ted could do about it. Nothing but fume for years, and litigate. The eventual outcome of the court case was that in America "Oh What a Lovely War" is credited as being "based on an original treatment by Ted Allan". And Littlewood joined Sydney Gordon on Ted's list of apotheosis.

While Ted was in New York, Georgia Brown introduced him to her Reichian therapist, a Dr. Rothenberg, and to her friend (and fellow patient) Martie. Martie was a feisty New York "Moll". She had been married to, and divorced from, Marco Sacco and was mother and guardian of Sacco's four year old daughter, Harmony.
     Marco Sacco, of the Sacco brothers, was the New York Mafia Don immortalized by Donavan in his song "Marco" - "What did you do to make them blow you away?" Donavan sings. When I brought this lyric to Ted he answered: "What did he do? He tried to take back his old turf, that's what he did."
     As I first heard the story, when Ted met Martie, Sacco was in jail. He had become an embarrassment to every one, to his family and their cronies and to the establishment, by doing things like running up to put his arm around Robert Kennedy, the attorney general, on the steps of city hall. So they put Marco away for a while to cool off out of the limelight, and Marco and Martie divorced. Martie went into therapy. And Ted and Martie met through Georgia Brown and got into a torrid stormy romance. Coming soon! Next chapter. Meanwhile back to Putney.

(From a tape cassette labelled Nov. 7th. '93) "Next story. Florence reminding me about the raising of the floor. When I brought Martie to London and Martie came in to my marvellous front room that overlooked the river, she could not see the river from half way across the room. She felt that was terrible and she said that the way to solve this problem was simple, you raise the floor a foot and then you'd be able to see the river from any position on the floor. I said that's going to cost a fortune. She said "Ah, it's not going to cost very much." She said, "I'll get it done, don't worry about it." I said, "That's ridiculous - why don't you raise the river?"
     Remember, Stanley had been living with me but he wasn't then, and there was this big marvellous party that Stanley and Delphine were throwing for me. This was a time (this is an aside, but it's important) that Isaac Deutscher died and I left the wedding party to go to the commemorative thing with Tamara Deutscher which made Martie very angry. Anyway, within 24 hours Martie got two workmen who raised the floor of my flat. Stanley said if you keep getting married, you'll soon be caught between the floor and the ceiling.

After the floor was raised a little more than a foot you entered the room into a small stairwell and then there were two steps to the raised floor and indeed you could see the river from anywhere in the room. As you entered the room to the left of the door (and the new little stairwell) there was a bed, functioning as a sofa, running lengthways away from you against the south wall. In my memory its a double bed with bolsters, and it was covered in a white and green "casa pupo" rug which lent a coolness and a brightness to the whole room. Over by the window, the north wall, Ted had his desk to the right of the windows against the east wall, so that working he could turn his head to the left to watch the river flow.
     Much later Ted put in a small gallery over the south end of the room, by the door - above it - and he moved his desk up onto this balcony. Why this further elaboration to the room? Perhaps he was trying to separate his space from Genevieve's. Genevieve and he shared the apartment for nine years. Genevieve was in many ways the most successful relationship in Ted's life...
     But first, Martie deserves a chapter of her own.

chapter thirteen