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1983 - 84: memories of Michael from a former tenant

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Feb. 28th, 1984 | 12:00 am

I managed to contact one of Michael's former tenants, Malcolm, who had this to say:

"Yes, I am that person who lived at Michael’s house in Hampstead. He was a landlord at that time and took people into his house on a rental basis. I was in the house for about a year. Michael didn’t interfere with his tenants except when the rent was required. He wasn’t overly concerned if you couldn’t pay the months rent, provided it was paid the next month.

I found him to be an intelligent man.

He had the top floor, and I remember he had a stunning looking girlfriend. I sometimes spoke to his girlfriend, [M.T.] but was in awe of her beauty and I recall her as a very nice person.

I seem to recall seeing into his flat on one occasion, and I think it featured a large bed under some skylights, with spectacular views of the British weather.

Michael had a female friend who lived up the road and who was into collecting magic mushrooms on Hampstead Heath.

I remember the house had a back garden that was accessed by the ground floor flat at the back. The house had 3 flats on the lower floor. Lots of the tenants were actors/actresses. The garden flat was occupied by a starlet on one of the soap operas, and the other room by a musician.

I had to leave, after Michael and I had a fight. One Sunday, I heard screaming from a woman in the house opposite the back garden in Shirlock Road. It sounded like she was being beaten by somebody.

I was leaving the house to see if she needed help, when I bumped into Michael who advised not getting involved. However, I ignored this advice and went round the corner, to find the police had already arrived.

I was returning to Shirlock Road when Michael approached me and was very upset I had ignored his advice. He pushed me, and I hit him and nearly knocked him out.

The next thing I knew, the police had arrested me for assault and asked Michael whether he wanted to proffer charges.

Although he had a swollen and cut lip, he declined, and I was freed.

He was a big man and somewhat intimidating; the reason I won the fight was that I was earning my living as a building labourer, and was extremely strong and tough – sadly no longer the case!

That evening, M.T. came to see me, and advised that I should leave the house.

The next morning, I packed.

This is a bizarre incident, and to this day I don’t know why Michael was so upset at me trying to help what sounded like a woman in distress."

~~

Michael had already amicably split up with M.T. by this point; she still lived in the same house, but N.B. was Michael's girlfriend at the time of this incident.

N.B. says: "I can recall this incident with Michael and Malcolm, as it happened when I was with him. I think this story about some people having fights in his neighbourhood was not new. I remember that there were incidents of a similar kind. And I think he had interfered once himself, and it hadn't been a very good idea.

That's probably why he was suggesting that this young guy should better not get involved. Maybe he was just concerned about the consequences for someone in his house and he probably was also a bit angry that the man in question didn't take his advice. It is typical for Michael that he didn't want to sue him afterwards.

I think he wasn't too upset, but thought of the young man as being a bit rash. But as you know, he always had a lot of patience with youngsters."

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