"Little Dick's About to speak!"
First person I saw in the back room of the George was Little Africa . He was small and almost as thin as I was. He reminded me of a bird who'd seen too many cats. He had a love of Methedrine - the white stimulant tablets that gave more pure energy and elation than anyone who'd never experienced it could even imagine. When they were high enough, he and Black Alan would let me sit in and play my little flute. Whatever they were playing, at some stage I'd come in with a few bars of "Maria" the only bit I could play, and they'd go off their heads with delight at the dadaist weirdness of "Maria" popping up inside their arrangement. Sometimes we were joined by Jeanie Lewis... before she became well known. Her voice was so strong and good it intimidated us a little, so she usually sang with the better musos who dropped in only at night.
I saw "Little" Dick in the bar. He was called "little" because he was, and he spoke always in the softest voice. In order to hear him speak, you needed to get close to his mouth and listen intently. Like me, he read a lot about Buddhism and his mumbling, besides being hard to hear, was heard rarely. He'd gained the reputation of being a wise holy man, so when he did speak, the word went out,
"Li'l Dick's about to speak!".
People moved closer to hear the latest wisdom. What great enlightenment he spake never reached my ears, because by the time I ever got next to his lips he'd always finished. The one time I did make it in time I heard him mumble,
"Have you ever tasted a Boston bean?"
He would later be the first of our mob to leave the Cross and discover the joys of Nimbin ( at a place called The Buttery).