PETER JARRETTE’S BRIGHTON, HIS BESTSELLERS AND HIS NEW HOLLYWOOD FRIENDS
UK author of BRIGHTON BABYLON and Brighton’s own party celebrity, Peter Jarrette, has struck yet another golden idea. He is to collaborate with award winning Hollywood film composer John Altman on a book about the music man’s life and lifelong friendships with A-listers from both sides of the Atlantic; so essentially our Brighton fixture known citywide as “PJ” is going global…again. Let’s catch up with Brighton’s fastest mover ahead of his introductions to John Altman’s list of personal friends like Tina Turner, Bill Wyman, Shane Warne and Billy Bob Thornton.
But first…this is what PJ has just brought to the world
A long serving member of the south coast society circuit, PJ has had a decade long friendly acquaintance with Carol Cleveland, the Shoreham based Monty Python actress. Together, with Dynasty Press Ltd. London, the duo has brought out the new summer ‘must read’ POMPOMS UP! FROM PUBERTY TO PYTHON AND BEYOND; Carol Cleveland’s showbiz autobiography. Carol Cleveland appears live on stage at London’s O2 Arena in the Monty Python reunion stage show this July.
WLB: So PJ, what’s this all about? The city’s rumour mill says that are you the newest member of Monty Python? It wasn’t so long ago that you were constantly touring Russia as the newest member of a Boney M tribute act.
PJ: Erm, no. I’m not about to become a Python, not quite. However I have spent the past few months chatting with and interviewing the Monty men. As for Boney M, since my book came out I’ve been too busy to tour with the act and when I haven’t been too busy, I’ve just not been asked. I think our Moscow management must have thought I would ask for more money!
WLB: Why is that you’ve come to be associated with Monty Python then?
PJ: Well although POMPOMS UP! is all about Carol’s life story of her many years in show biz; stage, screen and TV, I was asked by our publisher to include some personal and exclusive interview material on John (Cleese), Eric (Idle), Terry (Jones) and Michael (Palin). I didn’t get to interview Terry Gilliam but he permitted Carol to use an original piece of artwork he created for her as the book’s front cover. Having said that, although I’ve not met him, my brother Terry Jarrette has. He works in the film industry and worked on the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Those two Terrys are mates.
WLB: So is it accurate to say you are on first name terms with the members of Monty Python?
PJ: Well yes, in as much as we all have each other’s private contact details and they call me Peter, or PJ. I called them by their first names as I was invited to but I don’t expect to be sharing an en suite with any of them any time soon!
WLB: We said you had a ‘golden idea’, it seems you have many what was the most recent one exactly?
PJ: Well the book POMPOMS UP…. it was my idea. I had just finished appearing in a revue show with Carol Cleveland. I was the show’s co-host. It was the first Brighton Salon with hosts Peter Mantle the actor and director and Guy Lloyd the popular DJ and presenter from Juice FM. We had scores of live acts on stage at The Old Market Theatre one of which was Carol Cleveland performing excerpts from her one-woman show that is also titled Pompoms Up! The two of us, Carol and I, were chatting in her dressing room backstage about my book BRIGHTON BABYLON and all the spin-off work and projects it has created. I asked her if she had ever thought about a book of her own at which point she told me that her friends have all been suggesting the same thing for years but she said she was always too busy to sit down and write it and that the task seemed so daunting. Well it is daunting to write a book and even more so trying to begin the process of writing…or even sitting down!
It seemed to me with the O2 shows looming and all the press around it that now was the ideal time for Carol to get cracking on her life story. I made a pitch to my agent and my publishers at Dynasty and after a little think they agreed that it was a good idea. One thing led to another and before we knew it contracts were drawn up and signed and we were sent pelting headlong on a fast track to creating the book.
WLB: Amazeballs! So does that mean as well as all the other things you do and are, you are now a literary agent?
PJ: Jeez…you know what? I think I must be!
WLB: What can readers expect to find in POMPOMS UP! PJ?
PJ: Apart from my written introduction to Carol’s stories and the fantastic interviews of the boys, they can reliably expect some very, very funny stories from the actress on backstage and off camera shenanigans and downright jolly japes. Carol has had a long journey in showbiz working alongside many great A-list names from Roger Moore to Peter Sellers. She’s starred in everything from The Saint to The Avengers and she was in films from The Pink Panther to Sammy Davis Jr.’s Salt and Pepper.
Most recently she was in the TV series Toast of London and a new sci-fi black comedy motion picture called Search for Simon by producer and director Martin Gooch. I get a good interview out of him too for the book. Carol’s best friend is the highly acclaimed author Lynda La Plante and she took time out to give me another great interview. All in all you will learn a great deal about showbiz, how it worked then and now and besides learning more on Carol there is a great deal to glean from the Monty Python men as well.
WLB: Is there anything you can share with us here?
PJ: Besides the fact that Hollywood stars are all very highly sexed and the European stars are very moody I think it best that the lady tell her secrets. I mean, it is her story to tell and not mine to be fair. Oh! There are some really insightful tales on the Playboy Bunny industry. At the beginning of her career Carol was known as Bunny Didi and there are some right royal stories about that time. There are some right royal stories about the UK royals in POMPOMS UP! too!
WLB: What’s the next project for you PJ?
PJ: Projects. I’ve secured American representation alongside my UK agents and both POMPOMS UP! and BRIGHTON BABYLON are being promoted stateside obviously but I’m about building a profile there to better help the process of my big book YOUNG AND PRETTY NEW YORK CITY. In the meantime I have two new titles that are available on Amazon for Kindle, TRINIDAD ROCK HARD AND FRUITY and CALYPSO FANNYWAGON’S RUMSHOP.
WLB: And now what about this big news of you going all Hollywood on our Brighton backsides?
PJ: I’ve been introduced to the Hollywood film composer John Altman. He lives between London and Los Angeles and has a home in Brighton too. He has done for years but for some strange reason we never met although it’s agreed that we’ve been to a lot of the same parties and launches as we have a raft of mutual friends, Carol being one of them. John wrote the music to Eric Idle’s Always Look at The Brightside of Life. He has long since been thinking of writing his own autobiography and the same way I made it possible for Carol to achieve her dream of her book, I’ve begun the process to do the same for John. The first time we spoke it turned out that we had mutual friends not only in Brighton and the UK but dating back to the days of New York’s fabled and exclusive superstar nightclub, Studio 54. So it was a natural fit that we team up to bring his book to the world market. It will take the form of the POMPOMS UP! with his star studded stories and his journey to the top of his field scoring films from Titanic to Bond. He has worked with a raft of A-list acts and names. When I googled him I was blown away. So I’m to be introduced to these international and legendary household names from film, stage, TV and music to conduct interviews with them on their take on working with this great man.
WLB: So you’ll be jetting off in all directions?
PJ: I expect I might have to but I know that the main thrust of his work has been based out of LA where he has his USA home so it will certainly follow that the launches of his, our, book will be between London, New York and Los Angeles. I must follow his lead.
WLB: Sounds great PJ! Was there news of a TV series on your book BRIGHTON BABYLON?
PJ: Yep. That’s been adapted for TV as a pilot and is listed on the TV Slates with JMInfinity.com!
Read PJ’s celebrity interviews with Carol Cleveland’s jam-packed showbiz stories in POMPOMS UP! FROM PUBERTY TO PYTHON AND BEYOND available at Waterstones and Smiths throughout the UK and from Amazon UK and all Amazon territories worldwide.
Peter Jarrette is a UK based, internationally published author, artist and magazine columnist (Caribbean Belle). His author credits include ‘Brighton Babylon’ (Dynasty Press Ltd), adapted into a TV series with screenwriter Jody Medland, ‘Trinidad! Rock Hard & Fruity’ (Kindle Amazon) and ‘Calypso Fannywagon’s Rumshop’ (Kindle Amazon). In Monty Python actress Carol Cleveland’s recent autobiographical book ‘Pompoms Up! From Puberty to Python and Beyond,’ he contributes interviews with members of the Monty Python team. He is also the co-author of four children’s books published by Little Simon/Simon & Schuster. PJ trained as an editorial illustrator at Parsons Art & Design College in Manhattan and lives with his wife in Brighton.
Find and follow Peter on Twitter @Socialitepete
Header Image by M.Buchanan Photography (Image has been cropped)