Two of the owners of the Tramp’s club in Jermyn Street , Mr. Gold and Mr. Lerman, were often present and whereas Gold played the host, Lerman and wife were more on the socializing role. Lerman was married to actress and writer Jackie Collins and she was, at least in 1972, what we would call a regular.
In the kitchen there was Brazilian Willy and one of the headwaiters I recall was Italian Franco who could make delicious spaghetti.
At one time I was in charge of the lounge which was directly at the bottom of the stairs. This meant I could see who would come in and the way in which they would be greeted by Mr. Gold. There probably was a difference between a rather over refreshed sex operated April Ashley and the beautiful and eye catching Bianca Jagger, at that time married to Mick.
The whole idea of Tramp was for the guests to feel completely relaxed in that atmosphere. There was little risk that someone would ask anyone for an autograph and as to dress code it was up to each and every one to come as they liked even if the two I have mentioned above, did have the capacity to draw attention to themselves due to their choice of fashion creations.
The music was not what I was used to, from the soul and Motown influenced Maximus. The choice was very much left to the professional tastes of contracted DJ. And that was Cyril Hines!
April and Bianca
I was employed at the Tramp Club in Jermyn Street. This club had been opened in 1969 by Johnny Gold, Oscar Lerman and the third owner was a Bill Ofner. I have come to understand that many in the staff are still there, even though the ownership has changed. The concept has been kept and I presume it is as hard to get in now, as it was back in 1972 when I worked there. At the inconspicuous door you would have found Shah, the tall and handsome Pakistani doorman. But the rules were clear! In order to get in you needed to be accompanied by a member or be one yourself. Many people prepared to pay a fortune to get in had to turn back at the door.
If we are to touch the subject of money and we should, I would say that I received a salary while working at Tramp’s. It wasn’t very high but our rather good salaries were produced by the addition of handsome tips, that were divided at the end of each week, after a model, with the manager getting most then the head waiters and finally the rest of the staff. When bills were paid the tips would be directly placed into a box and this was the reason why we were not to wear trousers with pockets.
It was exciting, each evening, to know what celebrity would turn up and I can admit that some evenings there were very well known people there and that this was a motive of curiosity for the staff. “My first celebrity” was Harry Belafonte, but many would follow and I shall in future blogs tell some more episodes of interest connected with this period and what I can recall.