Here is another of the responses I got from my call-out on Jim’s facebook page for personal reminiscences; this time from Julia Watson.
Julia is an ex-foreign correspondent who now writes cookbooks. She divides her time between Washington DC and the UK. She first met Jim through Studs Terkel when she was promoting Terkel’s book “Division Street: America”. This is her memory of working with Jim on Dick Gregory’s election campaign.
“In 1968, Dick Gregory, the American comedian and civil rights activist, ran in the US Presidential Election Campaign for the Peace and Freedom Party. He came over to London to raise money and set himself and his office up in the Playboy Club. Jim, then running the Arts Lab, helped him fundraise. Jim knew everyone in London useful to know. I was Jim’s sidekick. I don’t remember being useful for anything. In the US, Dick used his stand-up sets to protest racism and fight for civil rights. His campaign platform was pinned to getting out of Vietnam. So many of its troops were black. He had grown a prolific beard and demanded all men give up shaving. He argued that if barbers lost business, they would vote to get out of Vietnam. He wore denim dungarees, not an outfit familiar in London. He declared that if tailors lost their business, they would vote to get out of Vietnam. Dick and Jim and I went out each night to various posh flats, mostly in the area behind the Royal Albert Hall, where men in smoking jackets and women in taffeta held lavish dinner parties. We would turn up at the end of the meal and Dick would give a stump speech and the diners would stump up with cheques which we’d then tot up back to at Dick’s table in the bar of the Playboy Club.”