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How Malcolm got the Kings Road shop
I lived on & off with Malcolm for 15 years from age 3. In all that time it was always clear to me that he would rather be on his own with my mother without having me (or my half-brother) around, therefore when he & my mum split up I was not too unhappy.
After this I did not see Malcolm often. I would bump into him occasionally at some event or other but when I did it was a bit uncomfortable really & we didn’t say much.
However time goes by & sometime towards the end of the 1990’s when I bumped into him again it coincided with a period when I had been thinking to myself about how much better it had been that Malcolm had been in my life rather than not having been & I told him this. This broke the ice with him & we arranged to meet again at my old studio in Battersea.
So one humid June afternoon Malcolm arrived wearing a white linen suit, I made us both tea & we talked…a lot.
The room that we talked in was the main room of the studio & having previously been a school gymnasium it had a glass gabled roof. At one point in the afternoon the heavens opened & a torrential tropical-feeling thunderstorm rained down on the glass making a sound like radio static & creating a temporary lake outside the front door (in fact it completely flooded a nearby road to a depth of about two feet). We paused & when the rain had subsided Malcolm asked me if he had ever told me the story of how he first got the shop in Kings Road which is now the World’s End.
What he said was that on this particular day (in 1971) he was feeling really cooped up in the flat we lived in, in Clapham, ‘remember you couldn’t swing a cat round in that place’ he said. He had no money & it was ‘one of those days’. So not having any particular plan he decided that the only thing was to get dressed up in his favourite new powder blue teddy boy suit & to go for a walk down the nearby Kings Road. At one point when he had got to the World’s End section of the road (this is the name of the area. It was used later as the name of the shop) it suddenly started raining heavily & not wanting to spoil his suit he took shelter in a public telephone box. So there he was when all of a sudden a man came over & explaining that Malcolm looked interesting, invited him over to his shop across the road, number 430…..
By the time he left the owner had invited Malcolm to come back & sell anything he wanted as long as he took no more space in the shop than one square foot on the floor which he could have.
Malcolm was excited by this offer & returned soon after with some old records & I think magazines to sell.
A couple of weeks went by then the owner suddenly mentioned to Malcolm that he had to go away for a bit & giving Malcolm the keys asked him to look after the shop. He never came back!
So now Malcolm had the whole shop for free & having realised that he couldn’t only sell old records he got my mum to start knocking up some clothes (which started that ball rolling too) & customising some others.
Three months went by then one day the landlord turned up wondering why he hadn’t had any rent for a bit. The first Malcolm knew of it (I don’t think he opened any of the mail) was when he heard a man knocking on the door telling him to ‘open up it’s the landlord’. At first he completely panicked about this & he tried keeping quiet at the back of the shop & keeping the door closed but the landlord wasn’t going away & kept knocking so after a while he realised there was nothing else to do & he opened the door.
The landlord was ok though & hearing the story of what had happened & of the previous owner’s disappearance he cut a deal with Malcolm to start paying rent from that day & so Malcolm kept the shop & that is the story!
By Ben Westwood