Famous People who have met Ian Layzell

Janet Street Porter: she met Ian at the Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture while she was there from 1966 – 1969. She was plain Janet Bull then and not quite as famous as she is now. But she was well known and you couldn’t miss her with those long legs and loud larf!

John Peel: It was 15 Dec 1967 at the AA all-night Carnival at the Roundhouse in Camden Town, London – when the Roundhouse was still a ruin. Second Year students organised this annual event and Ian had been chosen to be ‘Carnival King’ of the organising committee. We had hired an up and coming DJ to do stuff between the main acts. Some time in the early hours, Ian retired to the gallery with his girlfriend to gaze at the throbbing masses below (over 2,000 people). They were sitting on the edge of the Roundhouse gallery when they were joined by the young Mr Peel, who shared their grapes and two bottles of Martini and conversed about how the night was going. He had just joined BBC’s new Radio 1 to co-present Top Gear.

Enoch Powell MP: He was the Conservative politician famous for his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech. He met Ian around 1970/71 on a bus going along Oxford Street, London. Ian was working with architects down Regent Street. He hopped (as you did then) onto a 73 bus and sat down on one of the ‘bench’ seats at the back, next to a dapper old gent wearing pin stripe suit and bowler hat, with a leather briefcase on his lap. It was Enoch Powell, who obviously knew Ian had sat next to him. He said nothing, so when Ian was getting off at Tottenham Court Road he bade Mr Powell ‘Good Afternoon’.

Barbara Dickson: The Scottish singer (still going strong) was a friend of one of Ian’s friends. We used to eat sometimes at a Greek Restaurant off Holloway Road. Barbara lived nearby and also dined there, which is how she met Ian. It must have been around 1977, just after her top ten ‘Answer Me’ in 1976.

Andy Warhol: In July 1978 Ian was working on alterations to the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London with architects Levitt Bernstein, and got invited along to the private viewing of the Andy Warhol ‘Athletes’ Exhibition. There was Andy, large as ‘life’, standing in front of Ian. As he didn’t say anything, Ian ventured a cheery ‘hello’. Andy was lost for words and didn’t reply. He looked white and vacant.

Christopher Reeve (aka Superman): it was 1977/78 while Reeve was living in London for the filming of Superman at Pinewood Studios. Ian was working at Levitt Bernstein architects in Camden Town. When we felt like something a bit more special for lunch than lovely Stella’s Café on Parkway, we’d stroll down to this smart new wine bar on Delancey Street. Who should be on the next table but Chris Reeve and who must have been his lady friend at that time, Gae Exton. Let’s hope so. Anyway, that’s when Christopher met Ian.

Celia Birtwell: Celia had married another famous Sixties fashion designer, Ossie Clark, in 1969. Ian went to a party given by a fellow architect around 1987. Celia was there. Maybe because she’d heard Ian was going to be there. Maybe not. Ian remembers talking to her about home furnishing. As it happened, in 1984 she had set up a shop on Westbourne Park Road selling furnishing fabrics.

Margaret Thatcher: Ian was working at London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC). Mrs Thatcher had become Prime Minister in 1983 and on 13 April 1984 she made a formal visit. Walking round the LDDC office in the Fred Olsen building (arch. Norman Foster) on Millwall Dock, she came up to Ian’s desk and asked: “And what do you do?” Ian can’t (or doesn’t want to) remember what he said in reply.

Jermaine Jackson: Jermaine being former member of The Jackson 5 and brother of Michael Jackson. He’d just finished as runner-up in Celebrity Big Brother. It was late Sunday night on 4 Feb 2007 at Leigh Delamere Services on the westbound M4 Motorway. We stopped for a toilet break and Ian went off to the Gents. It was quiet but there were some dark suited heavies with ear-pieces standing around. Ian went to wash his hands in one of the large circular stainless steel ‘basins’ that are peculiar to Leigh Delamere. On the other side of the bowl, washing his hands, was Jermaine in his ‘Big Brother’ greatcoat buttoned up to the neck but no shades! Jermaine looked pleased to be meeting Ian but was so surprised he was lost for words.‘Good evening Mr Jackson, and all the very best to you’, said Ian.

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