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At the end of July 1968 Jane and Serge headed south to St Tropez, because Jane had landed a part alongside Alain Delon in La Piscine.This seemed like a good opportunity to combine work with pleasure and head south myself to photograph Toulon – the scene of Bonaparte’s first victory against the English.Then an intruder arrived in the form of our sister Linda, whom we hid in a trunk and smothered with marmalade.For this I was dispatched to boarding school – or was it for my failed attempt to set fire to my father’s cornfield?Jane later told me that John refused to speak to her for the entire flight. After working on a film with Hayley – an unhappy arrangement, since she was the star and I still a tea-boy – I got a job as a runner on a mysterious science-fiction film being directed by Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey.For weeks I vegetated in the production office, but following a lucky break he dispatched me to Scotland in a helicopter to shoot alien landscapes, and thence to Africa, in 1967, to find and photograph locations in the Namib Desert for the opening sequence.Hayley was there, making a film for Disney, but once it was over she was gone, leaving me to pine for her, for Jane and for English rain.
She was far braver than me – she also looked like a boy, albeit a very fetching one, with short hair and a flat body, and was never interested in dolls, preferring the company of a stuffed monkey, which became as real to us as if he had been made of flesh and fur instead of felt and cotton wool.
Not that our parents were exactly good examples of middle-class normality: our mother, Judy Campbell, had become Noël Coward’s leading lady during the Second World War after her then-boyfriend had penned A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square for her, bringing her the same kind of celebrity that another song would soon be bringing Jane, albeit without the notoriety.
Our father had joined the Royal Navy during the war and navigated motor torpedo boats across the Channel – without radar on moonless nights – to rescue allies stranded in occupied France.
Having suffered appalling eye injuries as a teenager, which had led to permanent pain and double vision, he briefly tried farming before moving to Chelsea, where he took up painting, as well as helping former convicts to rehabilitate.
It was not surprising that Serge should take to this odd family with brazen relish.
Our parents came to visit – it was their introduction to Serge – and as I was by now in the habit of carrying a camera wherever I went, I felt no inhibition about snapping away.