Excerpts from “All my love, Richard x” – A new Richard Beckinsale book by Margaret Bradley | Richard Beckinsale

It was late as we climbed the stairs to Ray’s flat, the party in full swing.

The room at the top of the house was warm, smoke-filled and vibrant.    Ray welcomed us, surprise evident in his face but he was so pleased and proud that we had come.

Looking round the room, scanning the sea of unfamiliar faces, my eyes were met and held for what seemed to be forever by the eyes of someone standing alone in a corner. Tall and handsome with thick, dark hair and wearing black-rimmed glasses he looked young and vulnerable, his smile cheeky but infectious.

Embarrassed, unable to face the honesty I saw in his eyes I turned away.

Someone was already singing as Mel and I arrived at the Folk Club and it was a few minutes before my eyes were able to focus.   Wherever we went it seemed the atmosphere was permanently smoky and dim.

The large shabby room which was in desperate need of a coat of paint, had a bar running the full length at one end, with tables and chairs place around a raised area at the front onto which shone a single spotlight.

Scanning the room, I happily began to absorb the atmosphere, the people, and I instinctively knew that I had found my niche, that I would never have been happy in that other world of pseudo sophistication.

Eyes riveted and skin goose pimples rising on my skin, my senses were alerted before my brain registered just who it was I was listening to, singing so beautifully and with such melancholy.

Oh goodness!    It was ‘HIM’.    I didn’t know his name but I had begun to think of the dark haired young man I had seen at Ray’s party as ‘HIM’

He wasn’t wearing his glasses but I was certain I was right.   This time I had the advantage, able to observe him without him seeing me.

He was standing completely relaxed and sexy with his head thrown back, one hand covering his ear, the other in the pocket of his jeans.   With his eyes closed he sang unaccompanied and with confidence. Bathed in light and in the hush of the murky room he was beautiful.

Everyone, it seemed knew ‘HIM’.

There he was, actually sitting opposite me, talking to me and my heart was fluttering or rather pounding so much that I had difficulty speaking.

Margaret Bradley