Tavener's Tales 7 A man called Hoarse

         COMEBACK FILM: Richard Harris in his 1990 movie The Field

By ROGER TAVENER

I’m lounging by my pool at the Sunset Marquis, Los Angeles. Actor Richard Harris sidles up and, ever so politely, asks if he can have a swim.

Fuck off.

That’s a nice fecking welcome, says the Man Called Horse.

Yeah, that’s the nice fecking welcome I got, Richard, when I travelled to a bog in the middle of fecking Ireland to interview you.

Harris: ?

The Field. Your comeback movie.

Harris: ?

I reminded him that while waiting for hours on set, up to my knees in stinking black peat that ruined my brogues and fucked a 500 quid suit, (Scary Struan Coupar is hardly likely to wear that expenses claim), he asked for a light.

I strike a match to ignite his fag and he recoils in horror.

Are you trying to fecking kill me?

What?

Sulphur. Sulphur from the match. Feck me. At the very least it'll feck my voice.

Sorry. Didn’t pack my gold Dunhill lighter.

After a couple more fecking excruciating  hours in the bog, a million miles from a bar ( yes, in fecking Ireland), Harris says he’s cancelling the exclusive interview because I was trying to fecking kill him.

Precious luvvy twat.

I save the day for the mighty Express by having a quickie (chat) with Brenda Fricker once of hospital soap Casualty, but now a Hollywood darling.

She lives in my home town, Bristol — Totterdown, a downmarket suburb now on the way up. So there's a connection.

And at least she’s got a fecking Oscar on her mantlepiece Richard ...

A few months on and Harris apologises. Sorry, I  was really wound-up on The Field. It was make or break. I was nervous. Can I get you a drink?

But you don’t drink any more Richard...

He winks and uses the pool-side phone to order a bottle of Grey Goose and mixers.

We have a laugh because this time I DO have my poseur Dunhill lighter. So I offer a Marlboro Red. My choice of fag.

Bit strong for me. I’ll have a Silk Cut says Harris. Some fecking rebel-rouser. 

The Field has been critically acclaimed. Harris is back on the A list.

It doesn’t take long to kill the Goose.

So we order some lunch at my villa.

I have a baby grand in my lounge overlooking MY pool. Harris plonks a few keys. No, I can’t play either. It came with the gaff.

Feck me, the Express must have some money.

No, I think the hotel made a mistake and upgraded me. I just asked if it was OK to use it the private pool and villa for a photoshoot and they just booked me in for a couple of days.

Michael Bolton’s coming round later...

Harris guffaws. Another Goose arrives. And another. By now a few interested neighbours have arrived. Women.

Can they have a swim.

Of fecking course.

It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon in the city of Angels. I ask Harris if I can use any of our hours of conversation.

Not that either of us can remember anything the next day. No notes. No tape recorder. 

Front page tease. Centre spread. World exclusive.

Michael Bolton, then the biggest showbiz thing going, gets a page. 

Job done.

Fieldposter


© 2005-2018 Alastair McIntyre