Friday 26 April 2013

Goodbye Richie ...

Tonight I heard some very sad news. Richie Havens the musician, poet, artist and actor died.

This created in me a very deep sense of loss. The loss of a great and compassionate human being, the loss of  a time he represented, which was full of hope and expectations. He was the icon of Woodstock, Mr. Freedom! A man who I admired and who shared an affinity for Art. He was an artist, a sculptor. We spent some good times together with my then husband, Steve Hackett. Like me he preferred to work and paint at night. When all was calm, that was the time when creative Inspiration was at its most honest and potent. His was a very positive and generous energy. He touched everyone that had the good fortune to meet him. He reminded me of a high priest from ancient times that possessed the knowledge to unlock the secrets that evade us. He held the keys to the oratory, an ancient soul.

Goodbye Richie, you were very kind to me. Your star is shining bright in the heavens tonight!!!

Kim Poor,  22nd April 2013

Thursday 24 March 2011

The Shadow of Angels

As some of you will already know, I’ve been going through a difficult divorce for the last three years and that only recently ended. I want to start this post then by thanking all my friends, my family and fans who gave me so much love and support through this terrible time in my life. They gave me the strength to continue to live and to find happiness. In order to find this and to have peace, I have to continue to tell my story. How a very long road was travelled, with so much love and, ultimately, so much destruction.

A couple of weeks ago I still had doubts about what I should do. Then I received this wonderful and unexpected e-mail from someone I met many moons ago at Charisma Records. His name is Robin Millar. An extraordinary man with an extraordinary career in music and communication. It came at the right moment and gave me courage to continue.

Dear Kim

Life has a way of bringing one round full circle. Having produced a number of Brazilian musicians more recently I decided to take a trip to the rain forest last year. Strangely I have done more travelling now I am blind. It offers me a very unusual view of the world. I am going back this April mostly because I fell in love with the coati mundis.

I first saw you sitting on the edge of Dave Hitchcock's desk at Charisma when my band had just signed.  You were the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, so naturally I said nothing!
I next saw you twenty years later at a charity auction where I had given away some platinum discs. that time I did talk with you for a while....I'm a fast worker.

I was a devoted artist and painter as well as a musician and it was blindness which made me focus on music. I've had a wonderful life and career but vision and art are still very close to me and your work on album sleeves is simply unforgettable. that is what I wanted to share with you....that after 25 years of no sight I have the image of you in that office and of your art as clearly defined as before, where even the image of my own mother and father have faded into impressions.

All the best and fond wishes


Robin Millar CBE
Hon Patron, Music Producers Guild
Patron, UNHCR Geneva
Patron, CALM UK <>

It's well worth visiting Robin's website - he's a fascinating and jnspirational person.

Monday 15 March 2010

Hitting the Road

Winter 1975. I was back in my dorm dreaming of how I could join Genesis on tour. The month of January was a short term at college. The one during which you could propose to the Head of the Art Department a project for credit. By now Steve and I were talking on a daily basis. This was going to continue for the next thirty two years. Even if we were apart we talked or wrote to each other every single day. I'd already shown some of my artwork to the band and they seemed impressed. Tony Smith, their manager, proposed that I could come out to California and work on some record sleeves. Perfect! There it was, my project handed to me on a plate. I worked diligently on some ideas. packed my bag and went to meet them in New Orleans. Steve was anxiously waiting for me at the airport - we were like two kids on holiday for the first time – and we had a few days there. This evocative place was the home of Anne Rice, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams, and, of course, the home of the Blues.

In those days New Orleans was full of character and characters, eccentrics in a slightly decadent French Creole way. I dropped off my bag and we headed to the famous French Quarter. All those iron-laced balconies, some with laundry drying, some with neighbours chatting and some with ladies showing off their wares! The streets smelled of spices and chilli and of course the sound of the Blues wafted around every street corner, enticing the tourist to join in.  We were floating about like two red balloons, entwined, always going together in the same direction. Those were also the days that we could still drink. Whiskey Sours were the best! I woke up the next day still amazed that here we were on tour. Phil had his family there too. Andy, his then wife, and little Joely, who was always hitching a ride on his shoulders. And Tony and Margaret Banks, more than anyone, loved to take in the sites and always made the most of observing the local colour. We joined them for brunch at Brennan’s, a must when you were in town.

Pete was on his own as Jill was only going to meet up with the tour in Los Angeles. She had just had her first baby and there had been a few complications. Mike was still single and not yet going out with Angie. I enjoyed parties and organizing them and so took on the role of after show social organizer. We would take wine and drinks from the show back to the hotel, order up some room service and everyone would congregate back at our room. Steve loved this - it was the first time that he actually started to socialize with the other members. Mike hung out a lot with us and there was a very good feeling about. Unlike other bands at the time we girls got on great. There's a lot of hanging around when you're travelling, it’s such a bonus when people get on. It wasn’t always going to be that way after Steve left. I missed the girls and all our outings together.

Steve was doing daily hand exercises with a rubber ball to keep the muscles working on his injured hand. He explained that this accident had happened a little before the Lamb tour. He had been under a lot of stress and in a moment of anger had lost control and crushed a wine glass in his hand. Pretty scary - he could easily have lost the use of that hand and never been able to play again. He’s fortunate to have a wonderful Guardian Angel by his side.

It was also at this time that, after much pleading from me, that Steve agreed to shave his moustache. He hadn’t seen his face without hair since he was sixteen! He first shaved off one side and, after that, he had no choice but to shave it all .He suddenly looked ten years younger and had a whole new look. He was pretty surprised with the result - and so was the band that night.

It’s amazing that after 32 years the question that Steve is still most asked is why he left the band. Many bloggers have been asking me to shed some light on this. I can’t say much at the moment, but I can at least set some of the record straight – it’s only fair. It was not because of Tony (Banks), as has been widely reported in the past, that Steve left. And I did keep him in the band for an extra two years when he would have left after Acolyte. This is all documented.

Day after day as we travelled across America, we sang along with Simon and Garfunkel’s “America”.

Friday 5 March 2010

The Fergus Hall Tarot

Right after we met it was clear that Steve and I had a lot in common. At this time in my life I still believed in coincidences! We were in a cab, driving through Central Park on one of those impossibly crisp, cold and clear days that make winter worthwhile, when Steve started to talk enthusiastically about his ideas for his first solo album. He talked a mile a minute about all these musical ideas and the concept album he wanted to make. He was interested in all things spiritual but his passion seemed to be the tarot. I listened and was fascinated to find out that it certainly was no coincidence why I identified so much with the band. At one point he showed me this tarot pack. I reached in my bag and showed him the same cards. Wow! There they were - the famous tarot pack that had been used in the Bond movie “To Live and Let Die”. They were painted by the artist Fergus Hall and were incredibly whimsical. I had received mine a couple of weeks before at an event for Fairport Convention.

I was staying with my cousin Danny during this week that Genesis were in town.  Steve had called me the next day to invite me for another performance they were doing. He had yet to encounter the mighty Jo Durden-Smith …! He was, after all, my mentor. Jo was definitely a bit protective. He was this great tall bear of a man, with an equally large and commanding voice. Steve called and Jo answered. Both Englishmen abroad. Steve asked to talk to me. Very mischievously Jo decided to interrogate this shy and tentative man. This is Steve, Steve of Genesis … after a longish pause Jo replied “Sooo I am Jo of the Apocalypse!” Said with a loud and booming voice. A longish pause again - and a roar of laughter. “I’ll go and get her.” By the time I came to the phone Steve was almost speechless. Unfortunately Jo died a few years ago and is much missed by all who knew him.

After those dreamy and slightly unreal days in New York the next time we would meet was in my family’s home in Petropolis, Brasil, for the Xmas holidays.

Monday 1 March 2010

Rumplemeyer's Reminiscences

I am sure that what clenched the deal was Phil Collins shouting out of the car to us “That girl’s great vibes!” That made Steve really proud, the cat who had gotten the cream. We were having a wonderful time. New York was my city and I knew it well. I was determined to convert Steve to her virtues. On his own he felt dislocated and a bit frightened there. The raw energy in Manhattan is second to none. It's been said that it sits on top of a bed of rock crystal. There's also an ancient holy Indian cemetery under the island that creates an aura of intense and mystic energy. I don’t really know where the buzz comes from but boy, it never stops!
We had so many memorable visits over the years to NYC. I lost count of the times we had lunch or dinner at our favourite, Rumplemeyer's. A child's sinful paradise, an old-fashioned ice cream parlour with colourful stained glass and the most whimsical stuffed toys everywhere! It immediately awoke the child within all of us. No-one could resist Rumplemeyer's! The best dreamy hot chocolate, mountains of syrup-covered waffles, not to mention the rainbows of ice cream sundaes. To quote a great Irishman - "the only thing I can’t resist is temptation”. Steve and I loved it there. He thought it was a haven, an antidote to the madness outside. It was located on Central Park South at the old St. Moritz Hotel. My Grandmother, Grace, used to bring me here when I visited her on college breaks and I wanted to share this magic with Steve. This was a place where the Hayley Mills character, Pollyanna, would have felt totally at home. It was full of the 50s feelgood factor. In fact Pollyanna was one of Steve’s favourite movies, he had a secret crush on her for years.

He bought me numerous stuffed animals. I especially favoured the fluffy, soft feminine cats, the epitome of girlie cuteness. Sometimes you have to let your hair down! We both love cats and over the years we'd rescued many animals ...  

To complete a perfect weekend we would make our way to The Tavern On The Green for dinner. This restaurant in Central Park was a landmark. It was the first place we'd seen that had fairy lights twinkling from all the trees - Wonderland! You could easily pretend that you were arriving for a grand occasion in one of the palaces in St. Petersburg. Just like two tourists pretending we were in a Rock Hudson and Doris Day movie, we would take a horse and buggy ride in the Park afterwards. It was delightful …

Horlicks - the Peacemaker
Many years later, I became allergic to chocolate. Rumplemeyer's famous hot chocolate became a distant memory. I was introduced by Steve to a lovely and soothing alternative, a malt drink called Horlicks. It was also a peace offering that soothed any bad feeling or a cross word. Isn’t it time for a Horlicks?

Wednesday 17 February 2010


I could hear a lot of commotion outside, but I couldn't see anything. We were still backstage, by now I was talking to Mike, and again thanking everyone for an exciting concert. We were getting ready to leave, down the narrow staircase, when a warning for everyone to go was issued. Again confusion, there was only one way down ... the stairs! I immediately thought - fire! No, it was to do with a big crowd outside waiting for the band to appear. I think they were friendly. The problem seemed to be they were blocking the door. Suddenly we started to move again, it was all very fast. Next I knew I was holding Maiza's hand and we were being ushered into a car together with the band and Margaret Banks. I could have died, what was I doing in there' We rushed off and there was dead silence in the car. There they all were.

Maiza was staring at Pete. She actually owned a parrot named Gabriel! It was all very uncomfortable. To break the ice I started talking nervously. Luckily over the past two weeks I had seen many interesting shows in the city. I think I started to talk about Mummenschanz, the Swiss visual theatre company that was and is so creative, and how extraordinary that they can communicate so much without words. A real delight! Then there was the play 'Our Lady of the Flowers' by Jean Genet which had been performed by the very avant-garde artist Lindsay Kemp. Pete was especially interested in him. Extraordinary that in 2005 Lindsay performed and choreographed a version of The Lamb. Everything comes around. There are no coincidences ...

At this point something very special happened - Pete gave Steve a flower to give to me. He too seemed very shy. That flower sealed my fate. By now the atmosphere in the car was pretty chatty.

We arrived at the Navarro Hotel in Central Park. There was a further reception there.We weren't there long when Steve approached and asked Maiza and I to dinner at Max's Kansas City, the hub of Rock & Roll. It was the home of the New York Dolls, Lou Reed, Bowie, Robert de Niro ... everybody really! We drove downtown. I thought Steve was interested in Maiza. He seemed quite nervous and talked endlessly about his mother. A little strange I thought.

We got a table immediately, which impressed Steve. The fact was the chef was a Brazilian friend of mine and as a student I ate there often for free. We all ordered steak and a salad. Steve must have been in love because later I would find out that eating lettuce leaves was the 
ultimate sacrifice he could make for someone. 
Two weeks later he was following me to Brazil for Xmas.

Thursday 11 February 2010

The Lamb in Winter

New York was so alive in `74. I found inspiration on every corner. It was an amazingly productive time. I drew and painted incessantly and lived in my head - imagination and creating new worlds was what mattered. I clashed with my teachers constantly. We were living in the era of Hyper Realism but I couldn't see the point in drawing old tennis shoes or trashcans. Nothing mattered other than that I was free.

My cousin Danny Weil lived on the Upper East Side. She'd been a model in the sixties and featured on a cover photograph of Harpers by Avedon. She was, and is, wonderful and is now a celebrated photographer herself. Her house was like a bohemian salon, where writers, painters and thinkers hung out. She'd been part of the Timothy Leary crowd. I loved being there. I was like a mascot, being a lot younger and certainly very naïve. Danny lived with an English writer named Jo Durden-Smith. He'd written the definitive book on Malcolm X and the Black Panthers, been involved with the Stones and Hendrix. Between them they knew everybody. For a teenager they were so cool. They were wonderful to me and I learned much more there than at school. They couldn't understand my fascination with Genesis but tolerated my bouts of enthusiasm, like the first time I saw the band live, at the Avery Fisher Hall. When Peter Gabriel walked on to the dark stage with the dayglo eye paint, I thought I saw an Angel. With the first few chords performed by Tony Banks on the keyboards I knew I had.

Winter in the city was wonderland. I'd just been to see Death in Venice one afternoon. It had been snowing while I was in the cinema. It was totally magical to come out and encounter a strange and beautiful stillness in the air. The next day, the 6th of December, my life was to take a completely different turn and be changed forever.

Recently, rereading all my letters and diaries, I became aware of how much I have seen and witnessed over the past 30 years. By keeping all this information I've safely preserved all my memories intact and I can now go back and relive these precious moments.

The day was full of promise. My dear friend Chuck Pulin, a brilliant photographer for Rolling Stone magazine, was going to photograph Genesis during their soundcheck at the Academy of Music. As a belated birthday present he invited me to come with him. The first person I met was Pete. He was so incredibly shy. I just wanted to thank him for all the wonderful music and inspiration they had given me and give him the famous Stagnation print. The soundcheck was late, the meeting was pleasant but I was ready to leave. I had tickets for the show. Their tour manager Regis appeared and gave Chuck some extra ones and some backstage passes. I called a very dear, and very flamboyant, friend of mine, Maiza, to go with us that evening.
You could slice the anticipation with a knife. The audience were restless and something didn't feel quite right. The lights were dimmed and The Lamb started. We were, after all, in New York, the background to this surreal saga. There were no more wings but in their place a tanned Puerto Rican named Rael. I don't think that most Americans were ready for this. It was whimsical, violent, sad, controversial ' but most of all it was new. The show ended and half of the audience were in shock, the other half in a rage because the band had not played Suppers Ready or the Knife. I was scared. People started to argue, those in shock started to applaud. There was a lot of confusion. Chuck and Maiza wanted to go backstage. I was reticent. We went. There were some steep stairs and as I finished climbing we entered a room full of people laughing and drinking. The first person I saw was this guy with his hand bandaged. I asked him how he was feeling and how he had coped with such a strenuous performance. It was Steve. He just stared at me and said I was an Angel for caring. I would always care. The arrow struck both of us. It was Love at first sight!

Lets go back to the Angels ...