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The Brian Jones Trip

Book Reviews


 

 

 

WPAM RATING: The Murder Of Brian Jones

by Christine Lindjoos and Anna Wohlin

 

 

EXTREME YELLOW HUMPHREY!!!!

Nanker

Uneeda Mandie

 

 

 

This book has got to be a hoax, right? It must be! Yet it can’t be! But it must be!

Who would write a book like this? Why? For the money? Or did some smart alec down at the Daily Mail just write this book for a stunt? Do you notice I am carrying on in an hysterical manner? Well, this is the way Anna's whole book is written.

 

 

“Anna Whosit”, as I call her, to avoid confusing her with the real life woman who pulled Brian Jones from the pool, begins her book with a dream scene. The dream bit seems borrowed from another Stones’ girlfriend, Marianne Faithfull, who starts her own biography in the same manner. Marianne, in a bold play for sympathy, recounts a childhood nightmare that involved her mother. The sixties songbird then spends the rest of her book taking drugs and hopping in and out of bed with lots, I mean lots, of people in a very stupid manner. (Ah, but it must all go back to her childhood, right?)  Anna Whosit also needs to stir up sympathy for herself, since her story is that she withheld evidence of foul play from the police in the death by drowning of Brian Jones in 1969. The dream is also good way for Whosit to fill up pages, since even after she takes her six-week relationship with Jones and beefs it up to six months, Whosit still doesn’t have much to tell.

 

It’s not that interesting things didn’t happen during the six month’s before Brian died, it’s just that Whosit isn’t able to comment on any of it. Brian doesn’t tell her about his trip to Ceylon in December ’68. There is no mention of Brian’s court date in January, his brief hospitalization for depression in March, his continuing relationship with Linda Keith, etc. Whosit wasn’t there in May when Brian’s parents came to visit. Brian doesn’t mention anything to Whosit about his alleged visa problems and he doesn’t fill her in on the financial details regarding his break up with the Stones  (“ I don’t have to worry about money - I’ll get what I’m entitled to” – end of discussion). Photo shoots, recording sessions, Brian learning that the Stones were working with Mick Taylor behind his back – nada from the lady. Frantic calls to the doctor for Durophet, long suicidal telegrams to Janie Perrin, those pesky chauffeurs with their weird hold over Brian - again nada. Whosit neither confirms nor denies.


As far as the night of the drowning itself, this book closely follows Terry Rawlings' 1994 theory presented in Who Killed Christopher Robin?, that is, that Frank Thorogood was alone in the pool with Brian and drowned him in a dispute over Frank's being fired and owed back wages.


As any fan who reads the book will see, most of the details given by Whosit are blatantly swiped from the previous books out there, and the team of people who worked on this joke of an “untold story” did quite a good job of it.  But why is it necessary to cut and paste together a story for this alleged eyewitness? Why couldn’t she provide her own details? Could it be those rumors of the original Anna Wohlin’s death are true? This book seems to be a good indication that they are, and this Whosit woman just an incredible con artist.

 

A few flaky “factoids”– Whosit tells us that she felt “safe” when she was with Brian.  Gee, Marianne Faithfull said in her book that she felt “safe” when she was with Mick. In Stone Alone, Bill meets the Swedish girl, Astrid, who tells him that she is in England to study English but that she always returns home to Sweden for Christmas. Whosit tells Brian the exact same thing on their first date. Please! On a macabre note there is the swimsuit that Brian was wearing when he drowned, described in Stone Alone and other books as “multicolored”. Now, if an author is going to bring it up at all, why use such a vague word?  Was the suit red, white and blue? Rainbow-striped? What? Whosit, the one person on the planet who might possibly remember the suit, clues us in - the suit was “multicolored”. This would all be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

 

If the reader makes it through all the early pages of dull ‘romance’ – a big if – in chapter five Whosit finally arrives at Brian’s country estate Cotchford Farm. She claims the house is made of stone (it’s partly brick and partly red tile) and says that she was shown ‘statuettes’ of all the Winnie the Pooh storybook characters in the garden (by the best accounts there was only the one Christopher Robin statue and a sundial with all the characters modelled around its base on the property in Brian's time). This ought to alert even the most naive fans that the book is simply nonsense, but if one bothers to read on Whosit eventually gets to her “secret story”, as she likes to call it (recapped below). Please be advised that Whosit does not witness a murder at any time, but instead puts the most hysterical interpretation possible on all reported events.

 

Whosit’s story does differ from earlier versions regarding Brian’s split with the band. She claims that Brian was asked to leave by all four Stones and that then Mick, Keith and Charlie drove down to Cotchford to work out a press statement with Brian. (Hmmmm. Does that make any sense? I’m sure Charlie was a big help!)  She has nothing new to report about the details of the famous meeting.

 

Whosit doesn’t describe meeting any of Brian’s musician friends, except for John Lennon and Alexis Korner (both conveniently dead).  She calls Korner Brian’s oldest and closest friend, though Korner himself said he only went to see Brian on the suggestion of Mick Jagger. In one of the most bogus scenes in the book, Whosit claims that Lennon (apparently sans Yoko), came down to Cotchford and tenderly urged her to look after Brian. (Too bad she didn’t follow Lennon’s advice!)

 

The Murder of Brian Jones is full of double talk. For example, Whosit says she is alone with almost no friends in England, yet she has been living in England for years before she starts dating Brian and names as her friends Rod Stewart, David Niven, Jr., and at least five other folks called Terry, Linda, Jan, Jim, Victor etc. This latter group keeps in close contact with Whosit through phone calls and visits during the time period in question.

 

Whosit meets few of Jones’ associates in the course of her story, and when she does meet people they usually don’t talk to her. The Rolling Stones' PR man Les Perrin does appear in the book, and Whosit, with a rare gift for insight and a brain about the size of Swedish meatball, describes Perrin’s relationship with Jones for us –

 

     'I don't think Les wants me to be happy,' Brian once said. 'He wants me to have problems so he can help me. I think it's a need in him.'

     I thought about Brian's words when I left the office. Les Perrin had shown that he was no friend of ours. He had not contacted me to comfort or help me, and if he'd really been a friend, he would have. I think Brian was right all along.

    'He is a PR person down to his fingertips,' he said. 'Nothing can come between him and his work, neither feelings nor conscience.'

    Brian was no fool. He saw through the people he was associated with. But that didn't mean he didn't like them. He saw something good in everyone and I knew he liked Les Perrin and considered him to be his friend.

 

Do you get it? Perrin was Brian Jones's friend and he wasn't Brian's friend. Brian saw through Perrin, and knew Perrin wasn't really a friend, and yet Brian considered Perrin to be his friend.

 

Murder theory buffs will note that before this book came out, there were four main theories regarding Jones’ death.

 

1.       Jones was accidentally drowned during some horseplay in the pool (Keith Richards version)

2.      Frank Thorogood killed Brian over a disputed bill ( Rawlings, 1994))

3.       Frank Thorogood  “just snapped” and drowned Brian (deathbed confession according to Keylock, 1994)

4.       Brian was ordered killed by Allen Klein (Tony Sanchez version, if you read between the lines, 1979), or by the other Stones (fans’ version, 1969 - present)

 

With this book, nothing changes. Whosit claims she observed rough horseplay before she left the scene of the drowning. She also claims Brian was in a dispute with Frank over shoddy work and a stopped check. She further states that Brian’s taunts finally made Frank snap. And, for good measure, Whosit works in a lot of mysterious phone calls and a bizarre trip to a guy with dark hair to suggest that “higher ups” may have been involved as well.

 

If you buy any of this, you probably get soap opera stars confused with the on-screen characters they play, too.

 

A small but highly vocal number of Brian Jones fans have ecstatically championed this book, claiming that it “clears Brian’s name at last”. It is hard to see how, when the picture painted by Whosit has Brian drinking wine for breakfast, cheerfully ingesting illegal drugs when they are put into his hand, and acting like a candidate for the funny farm throughout.

 

This concludes my review; Whosit speaks for herself below in an article (or is it an ad?) that I believe originally ran in The Daily Mail in July 1999. I don't know what happened to part two, but if I find it I'll post it. The article includes the gist of The Murder of Brian Jones, the rest is just padding.

 

Helen Hall

 

 

 

 

Who murdered the first Stone?

Thirty years ago, Brian Jones was found dead in his pool.

Today, for the first time, his girlfriend names the killer

 

I KNOW HE LEFT BRIAN TO DIE

by Anna Wohlin

 

Anna Wohlin, a young Swedish girl living in London, met Brian Jones in 1967 at the Speakeasy Club. Their love affair blossomed, and Jones asked her to move with him to his idyllic farmhouse in Sussex, where he hoped to escape drugs and plan a future beyond the Rolling Stones the band he had founded.  Today, in this first gripping extract from her autobiography, Anna reveals the full story of the night their dream was tragically, and murderously, cut short . . .

 

 

Although it is almost 30 years since Brian drowned in our (the nerve of this woman! - HH) swimming pool, I still wake up in the night in a cold sweat and with a thumping heart. In my dreams, I can see Brian fall to the bottom, out of my reach. I keep ducking down into the water, trying to get hold of him.  Each time I push nearer he falls deeper into the dark, abysmal depths.  In the months following the most horrible night of my life, when I pulled Brian up from the bottom of the swimming pool, I constantly woke up crying.  In the years since Brian's death I have done my best to repress the memories.  But I have always known that I have the information that, after 30 years, will help solve the mystery surrounding Brian's death.  I was intimidated into silence, but I am not scared any more. I want to tell the truth while there is still time.

 

Brian and I were living at Cotchford Farm, magical house in Sussex once owned by A.A. Milne Winnie The Pooh became a favourite of ours, and Brian often quoted it me.  Brian had had a bad time with drugs, but at Cotchford Farm they weren't a big part of his life. Once, when he summoned up the courage tell the rest of the Stones he was leaving the band, Keith gave him a present of a small packet of cocaine. By then, Brian's body was so unused to it that he reacted badly.  Instead, he revelled in the garden and the music room. We had a good life.  Brian said he liked the taste of dust; I knew what he meant.

 

We weren't alone. There was a housekeeper, Mrs. Hallett, and there was Frank Thorogood. I was introduced to Frank on my first Monday at Cotchford Farm. My first impression was that he was a hard man, but he had a gentle face. He was in his mid-forties, tall and muscular with reddish-brown hair and a moustache.  Brian told me Frank was married but lived in the apartment above Brian's garage on weekdays.

 

I wasn't sure about Frank's position in the house. He behaved as if he owned the place, and I got the impression that Brian and Frank were old friends. After a couple of days, I asked Brian about Frank. He explained that Frank had been commissioned by Rolling Stones Incorporated to restore the farmhouse.  He'd done some work on Keith Richards's house. Keith never liked Frank and refused to let him into the house. Brian made the excuse that he needed male company, and that's why he used to invite Frank in to have coffee, drinks and dinners. 'I know he's using me, but it's my own fault,' Brian said. 'I like having someone to chat to.  Frank is better than no one.'

 

During my first week at the farm, Frank tried to seduce me. He put his arm around me and whispered that I ought to come to London with him. He always tried to touch me when Brian wasn't around, and he frequently tried to persuade me that he was the man I needed.  I didn't have the slightest interest in Frank. I found his advances unpleasant and embarrassing. He was old enough to be my father. But, to protect Brian, I didn't reveal what had been going on. I knew how sensitive and vulnerable he was, so I chose to take Frank's hints as bad jokes.

 

Brian said Frank took advantage of him and, among other things, entertained his mistress in the apartment above the garage. 'You're just sitting around doing nothing!' Brian would shout at Frank. 'How much longer are you and your workmen going to be here? I am sick of having you around all the time!' But Brian's anger soon disappeared and was replaced with pangs of conscience.  He didn't like to fall out with anybody, so whenever he'd shouted at Frank he always tried to smooth it over by inviting him in for a drink or dinner.  But then he'd provoke Frank again.

 

I remember one day when Frank had to put up with a succession of Brian's strange games . . .  'Tell me that you love me as a friend,' Brian began.  'I love you as a friend,' Frank said obediently.  'Tell me you will do anything I want,' Brian continued.  'You know I will do my best for you, Brian.' 'Tell me you have been negligent in the work you have done on the house.' 'I have been negligent,' Frank repeated, parrot-like.  'Tell me you want Anna,' Brian said.  'I want Anna,' Frank repeated.  'You can't have her,' Brian said flatly.  'Tell me that you're doing decent work for me.' 'I want Anna and I am doing my best for you,' Frank said.  Brian roared with laughter. At times, I found it hard to understand Brian's humour. I asked him why he thought it was fun to embarrass Frank. Brian said he just wanted Frank to know his place.

 

Brian's disapproval of Frank and his work on the house reached its climax on the Sunday evening before Brian's death. Brian and I were alone at Cotchford Farm and we'd just finished dinner when the telephone rang. I went to the kitchen to answer it. It was a Swedish friend, so we spoke in our own language.  Brian followed me into the kitchen.  He didn't understand what my friend and I were talking about, and I could tell he was getting a bit annoyed. He started circling around me, frowning, and I soon realised that his jealousy was growing by the minute he could be very possessive.  Suddenly, he pushed me to the floor.  I was shocked and shouted at him. The next second, one of the beams in the ceiling collapsed with a loud crash. It landed an inch from my head.  If Brian hadn't pushed me, the beam would have fallen on my head and probably killed me.

 

When I realised what had happened, I started to tremble.  Brian was as shocked as me, and he knelt down and tried to comfort me.  After a while, we got up and Brian told me to leave the kitchen while he checked the remaining beams.  'You could have been killed,' he said.  'I knew I couldn't trust Frank. The bastard is responsible.' Brian was furious and couldn't stop talking about the accident. He even accused Frank of trying to kill him. I told him I didn't think it was deliberate. But Brian said he was going to sack Frank.

 

We went into the garden, and he calmed down. The swimming pool and the garden were lit up and the evening was warm and inviting.  'Have you ever seen anything more lovely than this?' he asked.  'No,' I agreed. 'I want to stay here for ever and ever with you.' Brian hugged me and we strolled in the garden with our dogs, Emily and Luther.  Brian was holding my hand with a firm grip and I could tell that he was still upset. After an hour, we decided to go back into the house and cuddle the three puppies we had recently acquired.

 

Today, I wonder why we got three puppies at the same time. We hadn't thought about the consequences. We were young and wanted to have lots of children and lots of dogs. Brian dreamed of having a big, noisy family. He wanted the house to be as it was when Christopher Robin lived there. But he didn't want any child of his to be as lonely as Christopher Robin was. 

 

The next day, Brian confronted Frank. I hid in the dining room to listen.  Brian was shouting. 'What the hell is this all about?' he was yelling.  'Did you want to kill me? I ought to report you for attempted murder!'  'I'm sorry, but it was an accident,' said Frank calmly. 'I'll see to it that the beam is properly supported, but it'll cost a bit.' Now Brian was really screaming.  'That's your problem! And here's another one you're fired!'

 

Frank remained silent. Brian told him that he had talked to the Stones' accountant and was going to get another builder to check the bills, and that if Frank didn't get the beam fixed properly he would sue him. Brian stormed out.

 

But by the evening, he was wondering about Frank. 'Anna, have I done anything wrong?' he said. I told him not to go soft, that he had nothing to feel bad about. But his conscience was troubling him.

 

By Wednesday, July 2, everything seemed normal. We had a good day, reading, playing in the music room, walking. It was so peaceful, punctuated only by the birdsong.  In the evening, Brian started to examine his outburst in minute detail. He kept asking me if I thought he should talk to Frank to clear the air. I told him I hoped that he would stand up for his principles. If anyone should have apologised, I reasoned, it should have been Frank.

 

We hadn't seen Frank, though he was still living above the garage.  When we were getting ready for bed, Brian said: 'I need to talk to Frank. He looked worried.  'He must understand why I'm doing this. I don't want him to bear any ill will towards me.' 'Why is it so important for you to be friends with Frank?'  I said. 'Are you afraid of him, or what?'

 

'I'm going to invite him over for a drink and a swim,' Brian said. 'I want to settle this, once and for all.'  'But it's late,' I said. 'It's almost a quarter past ten.' 'He'll be awake,' Brian said. 'I'll be back shortly.' Brian went to find Frank.

 

I wanted him to leave things as they were until the morning, but he was impulsive and I knew that nothing I could say would change his mind.

 

Fifteen minutes later, Brian came back with Frank and a woman called Janet apparently Frank's latest girlfriend, whom I'd never met before. We had a drink in the dining room. The atmosphere was strained.  Frank didn't say anything; he just sat there sulking. Brian was light-hearted, trying to cheer Frank up.  'I'm not mad at you any more,' Brian said. 'I just want you to try to understand me. What if the beam had hit Anna? What if she'd died? You understand why I was upset, don't you?'

 

 After a while, Brian wanted to go for a swim. Frank and I joined him, but Janet didn't want to.  In the pool, Brian was in his element; he teased Frank and told him to cheer up. But Frank continued sulking, which made Brian even more mischievous. I saw Brian dive in, and the next second Frank's head disappeared underwater. I knew why: Brian loved to grab people's legs and pull them under. Frank bobbed to the surface, coughing and spluttering while Brian had a good laugh.

 

Frank was furious, but Brian carried on teasing him. I told Brian to ease off, but he wouldn't listen. 'He's old enough to take a joke,' Brian said.  I wasn't convinced. I knew Frank took things personally, particularly when Brian was involved, and I didn't like the tense atmosphere.  Frank pushed Brian under, and he came up coughing and laughing. He continued to taunt Frank, and I swam to the shallow end while they stayed in the deep end teasing each other.

 

Janet called from the house that I was wanted on the telephone. Brian kissed me as I climbed up the ladder.  I didn't know then that it would be the last time I'd see him alive.  I told Janet I'd take the call in the bedroom. 'Could you please put the receiver down in the kitchen?' I asked.

 

I went upstairs, picked up the phone and said: 'Hello?' The line was dead.  'Hello?' I said again. No answer.  I thought the line had been cut when Janet had hung up in the kitchen.  Then the telephone rang again. It was my Swedish girlfriend, Terry. I assumed she'd been the previous caller, but I didn't ask her.

 

Terry and I had been chatting for ten minutes when I heard Janet shouting hysterically from below the bedroom window: 'Anna! Anna!  Something's happened to Brian!'

 

I rushed downstairs. When I reached the bottom, I found Frank in the kitchen. He was standing with a towel around his shoulders. His head was bent slightly forward and I noticed his hands were shaking so badly that he had trouble lighting a cigarette.

 

Janet was standing outside the house as I ran across the lawn to the swimming pool. The surface of the water was as smooth as glass, but I couldn't see Brian anywhere. I didn't understand why until I reached the edge.  Brian was lying spread-eagled on the bottom of the pool.  The terror I felt when I saw him will never leave me. The memory still haunts me, day and night.

 

Without thinking, I dived into the water and swam in panic to the bottom. I managed to get a firm grip underneath Brian's arms and began forcing my way to the surface.  When I reached the surface, I held Brian's head above the water and swam towards the edge of the pool. I felt my strength evaporate and Brian started to slip away from me. It didn't occur to me that it was already too late.

 

'Frank, please help me!' I cried out.  'Please help me.' I saw Frank walk towards the pool.  He was in no hurry. He was taking his time, and I cried out for his help once more. I was exhausted and scared out of my wits. I didn't want to let Brian slip down to the bottom again.  When Frank reached the edge of the pool, he sat down and slipped into the water, then he helped me pull Brian up on to the edge.

 

'Why didn't you help Brian? Why did you leave him alone in the pool?' I shouted to Frank.  Frank was as cold as ice. He didn't show any sympathy, and I noticed he'd stopped shaking. He didn't respond to my accusations either.

 

Janet came running towards us when Frank and I turned Brian on to his front to try to get the water out of his lungs.  Frank stood up and started walking towards the house. Janet, whom I later discovered was a nurse, helped me to lay Brian on his back and started heart massage while I tried to give him the kiss of life.  'Why didn't you help Brian?' I sobbed. 'Why didn't you pull him out instead of calling for me? How the hell could you leave him there?  What's wrong with you? And where were you?'

 

I probably said worse things than that, but I was shocked and terrified and I couldn't understand why Janet had run to the house instead of jumping into the swimming pool when she saw Brian in trouble.  Later, I was told that Janet couldn't swim.  I was convinced that she or Frank, or both of them, knew what had actually happened. And I was convinced that Brian hadn't drowned without someone else being involved. Janet said later to the police that she had been in the music room when Brian drowned. 

 

She eventually stopped the heart massage, but I fought for Brian's life until the ambulance and police arrived.  I was beside myself with grief. I felt terribly helpless and lonely.  I couldn't stop crying. I felt guilty at having left Brian in the pool.

 

I shouted at Frank and asked him why he had left Brian alone.  He didn't answer. And I was too upset to remember exactly what had happened after Janet's cry for help.

 

It was not until the following day that the truth dawned on me.  I don't think I've ever felt as lonely as I did that night. I didn't have any close relatives to comfort me. I didn't even have any friends nearby.  I felt alone and abandoned, except for the doctor who stayed with me all night. 

 

On the morning after Brian's death I stayed in bed trying to piece together exactly what had happened the evening before, and when I did, I suddenly felt sick.  Frank's odd behaviour surrounding the incident aroused my suspicions.  He'd been closer to the pool, and should have been there before me. But instead of reacting immediately to Janet's screams, he'd remained in the house and, with shaking hands, had tried to light a cigarette.

 

Why hadn't he run to the pool when he heard Janet's cry for help? There is only one answer to that question: Frank must have known it was too late.  It is also difficult to explain his reluctance to help me get Brian out of the pool, his strangely cold behaviour and the lack of sympathy or concern he showed when I tried to save Brian's life.

 

 There was no doubt in my mind.  Frank had killed Brian.

 

 I didn't lie to the police who questioned me afterwards, but I didn't tell them the whole truth. I know that I let Brian down, but I was afraid. I felt I was spiraling into a dark and lonely pit of depression. I knew that Brian's drowning was not an accident.

 

  On the day after Brian's death, the police interviewed me, Frank and Janet. We were driven down to the police station together. As we got out of the car, Frank sidled up to me.  'Don't forget to tell them it was Brian who wanted me to come down to you, not me,' he whispered.

 

 'He felt guilt and wanted to make it up to you,' I said.  I didn't understand Frank's comment. Maybe it was about premeditation.

 

 'Just think about what you say to the police,' said Frank.  'The only thing you need to tell them is that Brian had been drinking and that his drowning was an accident. You don't have to tell them anything else.  I left Brian to go to the kitchen and light a cigarette, and I don't know any more than you.  “But there's no need for you to tell the police that you saw me in the kitchen. Just tell them we pulled Brian out of the pool together.”

 

 I could see that Frank was worried, and I knew he had every reason to be. But I was scared too. I did what Frank had told me to do.

 

 

Taken from The Murder Of Brian Jones, by Anna Wohlin. Available from Blake Publishing, price GBP 16.99 including p&p. Tel 0171 381 0666.

 

 NEXT WEEK: How the Rolling Stones' public relations machine moved in  

(Yeah, right…HH)

 

 

 

WPAM                                    Anna’s Crotchford                                Hall of Shame

 

Nicholas Fitzgerald                                Jeremy Reed