Lion and Impala
Zandra Rhodes, London, and a retreat to the country .
The ice was so thin that it cracked like a grin, with the weight of a leaf or a feather...
Rattlesnake Day, Chris Bradford..1992.
"Lizzie and I, the Impala and the Lion, arranged to meet at the Sun in Splendour, a pub at the top of Portobello Rd, London. It was February and snowing heavily. We had met at a party a few days before, both of us with someone else! It was instant love, so strong and different to anything either of us had felt before. We went for it! Lawyers, a divorce, a few tears blah blah.. but it was quick.. we followed our line, which led to our Wondertime!
We snogged our way up and down Portobello for a few weeks until all was clear and we could move in together. The lawyers did their stuff, expensively but fast! Andy Scott and I were still writing and hanging out, so when I told him of my need for a bolt hole for Liz and I he called his girlfriend, soon to be wife Maddie. She had a flat near Regents Park she wasn't using ( she had moved in with Andy ) and let us move in! Thanks Maddie!
It was from this love nest that I wrote the Wondertime songs.. Naomi, Give me a Son etc. I would travel to Pip's home studio out of town and record, while Lizzie went to work at The Opera House in Covent Garden. This idyll lasted for a few months 'til Maddie decided to sell her flat causing us to find somewhere else, quick!
Now then, I had a mate who worked for Zandra Rhodes the fashion designer. He mentioned Z was looking for someone to rent her garret flat at the top of her Westbourne Grove town house...yep says I, thanks ILS ( he was around a fair bit in that time of need! ) phoned her up and arranged to go and look at the place. It was a stunning, bohemian work of art that house, her stuff everywhere! Anyway, Zandra "interviewed us" - blooming cheek really, we were pretty damn cool ourselves!! We moved our belongings from our previous lives into the wonderful world of Z.
Bedroom, lounge, funkiest bathroom and a kitchen with a sloping floor - we had a stick wedged against the fridge to keep it shut!! Brilliant! Exotic people, friends of Z's, like Larry Hagman, staying while they were in London. Actors, models, designers: we never knew who we'd bump into on our way out from the third storey! Her living space was down below, kitchen was designed as the galley of the Concorde or was it a 747 ? An aeroplane anyway!
Zandra was great, she called us"the kids". If she got bossy Liz put her firmly in her place and I think she respected that. Zandra tried to lay down some rules when we moved in eg: don't use my balcony! While the Zs away, Impalas will play!! She caught us once, I reminded her we were giving her a shedload of money every month, and told her to have a little think about it ! She sped off in her Mini and all was cool !
We got on pretty well actually,and living there was a gas. Her designs were amazing, and we often saw works in progress - she probably heard a few of mine as well !!
Holland Park, Notting Hill, it was all our playground. A bit of gunfire at night occasionally... not too alarming though when you got used to it! We'd been there about 9 months when things changed dramatically .
A hot, sticky London night, window open.. Liz and I lying naked in bed.. our loving peace was shattered by the sickening crunch of our door being axed in! Shit man, it was loud, terrifying .
The first thing I did was get my undies on! I felt less vulnerable, slipped on my leather jacket and we both ran to the small hallway. A splintered hole was getting larger, revealing 3 or 4 black faces ( if they'd been white, pink, purple or orange I would say! ) A lot of screaming, me and Liz mostly! I shouted to my girl to bring me knives.. 2 shiny carvers appeared in seconds,she backed me up.A mad fuckin Lion in Knickers and Leather! Well, those bastards took one look and ran like hell, down the 3 flights of stairs and into the night. It could have been bloody awful though .That rush of shit scared adrenalin coursing through me gave me guts I hadn't had to call on in years. Oh, and the help of the bravest girl in the world! She, Lizzie, calmly called the cops who arrived in minutes: that area, now so posh, was pretty edgy back then in 92. They searched the lower house ( Z was away ) and left me and my Impala shaking but proud of each other...... bloody door was fucked though!!
Within 2 months we had left London and bought a 15th century (1460 )thatched cottage in Wiltshire and started a new life in the countryside.
We called our home "Minstrels" and had a beautiful baby boy named Hunter Jack Bradford. (He's a 21 year old aspiring actor now )
The three of us had 8 years in our dear "Minstrels" and then decided to move further west to Somerset. We bought a converted Victorian pig barn, great local school where I could walk my son to each day, a pub and land for our 2 sheep and chickens.
Which is where we are now: Lizzie the artist, Hunter the actor, and me.. well... I'm Mars, Mars Bardot, the songwriter! "
Your Dreams . . . .
"I want to be in a full sailed Dhow with you..
under an Arab Sun,
Big, sullen, golden...
Flying fish and dolphins, think of this my darling..
Your dreams are my dreams."
Chris Bradford ~ Your Dreams are my Dreams.
Impala. . . and Lion
Who Saved Who?
Here are the lyrics to "Dance of the Impala", written in 1991, a love message to Liz.
Run girl, you are in a place where angels shouldn't be girl,
You are somewhere else when you should be with me girl.
Kiss my cross and hear my words,
We'll take the highest fences first,
I'll blaze a trail for you to walk with me.
Run girl, when I give the word, you give it all you've got girl,
Where we are going, you won't need a lot girl.
Just hold my kisses with your lips,
Then shout my name, don't whisper it,
I'll carve a life for you and me to run girl.
Let us roam together
Let's just roam tonight
Let's get away
Run girl, you are in a world even heroes would not quest in,
Where a soul like yours would never have been blessed in.
Take these strings and hold them tight,
I'll pull you through into the light,
I'll show you what it's like to run with me!
Impalas dance tonight
They seem to jump together
The lion roars, the lion bites
Hear that dancing music roar,
From every city bar tonight,
They know that we have fought and won a war.
. . . and the lion tapestry that has followed the Bradfords around the world since before Chris can remember . . .