No Make-up: Straight Tales from a Queer Life Jeremy Norman
My stepfather and his colleagues typified the views of the governing classes of their generation...They wanted to preserve old-fashioned courtesy, behaviour and privilege while at the same time destroying its economic means of survival. A new way had to emerge, I had no idea from where or how it would come but in the meantime, on coming down from Cambridge, I was determined to find my own sense of fun and fulfilment and I hoped make some money along the way. His father born in 1895, once married to a goddaughter of Queen Victoria, his mother heiress to the Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts fortune; Jeremy Norman's childhood was one of privilege. Yet family conflicts, illness, financial misfortune and the realisation of his sexuality in a more savage time (he was born twenty years before the Wolfenden reforms), made the author's early years difficult. Yet, as the Chinese say, these were most interesting times. "No Make-Up" tells of a life full of conflict, eccentrics, great success, disappointment, sad and glorious experiences; above all, of a man who has brilliantly managed to achieve an equilibrium with his times. From the creation of the iconic Heaven nightclub, the ownership of Burke's Peerage, the formation of the Soho Gyms and a portfolio of property investments in the trendiest retail streets in London, Jeremy Norman has never lost sight of the promise he made himself on leaving Cambridge in the early 1970s. With a cast of the great, and not so good; Diana Lady Delamere, Anthony Blunt, Mr Fish, Andy Warhol, Divine, Grace Jones, to Robert Maxwell, Michael Portillo and Sir Edward Heath, "No Make-Up" charts a life of extraordinary interest. From describing the management of publishing companies to controlling drugs in a nightclub, Jeremy Norman's diverting, absorbing memoir portrays living on the very cusp, through all the economic, sexual and moral revolutions of the past forty years. He tells his story with candour, integrity, a great eye for detail, much good humour and a joyous sense of achievement.