SURVIVING MY FRIENDS
THE OFFICIAL KELLY JOHNSON STORY
An Authorised Memoir Started by Kelly Johnson,
Completed by her Friends and Family
Published by D. Clark at Smashwords
Copyright 2012 K. Johnson and D. Clark
Officially affiliated with http://www.girlschool.co.uk/
Smashwords Edition, Licence Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
MAY 13TH 1981
CUT TO... JULY 6TH 2004
GIRLSCHOOL’S EARLY YEARS
THE ELECTRIC CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN
MOTÖRHEAD, OVERKILL TOUR, ’79
AFTER ANOTHER ’79 OR ’80 TOUR
PLANET GIRLSCHOOL (1981)
MAY/JUNE ’03 (BAD NEWS DAY)
HOSPITAL (JUNE ’03)
JAPAN (JAN ’82)
CHAPTER OBTAINED BY INTERVIEW
LA LA LAND
CHERRY R SIMPSON
MARY J GODGES
ON THE BUSES
I first met Kelly Johnson in 2000 when I went to a gig of my friend Jackie (who I was in a couple of bands with) at London’s Borderline and she was excited to introduce me to her new girlfriend. I had heard of Girlschool, but didn’t know too much about them. Kelly gave me the warmest pleased-to-meet-you hug I had ever experienced! From that moment on, we became good friends. As she had already left GS, I only ever knew her as a person, and not as a musician or a superstar (although of course I watched a lot of footage after meeting her), and I can say without a hint of exaggeration that she was the best person I have ever known. She was quiet, warm, shy, deep, thoughtful, honest, awkward, kind, generous, soft but suffered no fools, humble and non-judgemental. She had her faults, but mostly tied up with the fact that she had been deeply disappointed by the music industry. She was passionate about animals (in a platonic way!) and the organisation PETA.
When she was diagnosed with cancer she began working on her memoirs, which she stopped and started many times. A few years into the project, she asked me to take a look at her work so far and let her know what I thought – what an honour! I think it was either because I was working as a sub-editor (although it was only on a TV magazine), or because of the countless nights we spent drinking red wine and putting the world to rights until sunrise. I was impressed with, but not surprised by, what an amazing writer she was.
When it became too difficult for her to do the work herself, she asked me to record her telling tales and type it all up. Again, I think you’ll agree, her story-telling prowess is unsurprisingly compelling. She didn’t get around to writing about her years in LA, which was a significant period of her life, so we were both glad when we got to spend a whole week recording while she was in the hospice (many thanks to the amazing folks at Trinity Hospice in Clapham), and we managed to cover a lot of it. Then when she could no longer speak, she implored me with her eyes to make sure her story got out there. I think she was worried that we didn’t have enough material for a whole book, but the three of us in the room at the time (Jackie Chambers, Ella Skye and myself) reassured her that we did. It was the last time she opened her eyes.
It seems appropriate that it has all come together just in time to mark the fifth anniversary of her taking her leave.
I realise this is not the longest book in the world, but it was interrupted by Kelly's life being cut short. The parts that she didn’t get to finish have begun to be filled in by her friends, family, colleagues and peers – many thanks to everyone. I am hoping that in time to come these tributes will increase and multiply as more friends and colleagues come forward to share their stories. For now, please enjoy what we are lucky to have, as I have used every word that Kel left us.
Please note that in the contributions from Kelly’s American friends, I have not changed the US spelling to UK style, as I felt this would be disrespectful to them. Words cannot express what a privilege it has been to be entrusted with the call to bring this story to publication. And while it has often been a painful undertaking – constantly being reminded of Kelly’s absence – it has mostly been a complete labour of love. Many thanks to those who have helped support and encourage me to keep going – especially Peter Johnson, Jackie Chambers and Ella Skye. The money raised by this e-book will go towards printing it on paper. I hope that it brings back lots of very fond memories for all who knew her, and educates and entertains those fans who have always wanted to know her a little better. Enjoy! – D. Clark
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