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If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate. Advanced search. Skip to main content. Subscribe Search My Account Login. Article metrics Citations 0. It is my own morality that really matters. If that declaration reminds you of the credo of the debauched occultist Aleister Crowley — "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" — it should be said that Jonathan King still denies the crimes for which he was convicted in one charge of buggery, one of attempted buggery and four indecent assaults, committed against five boys, each aged 14 to We are talking in the living room of his mews house in west London.
I'm sitting in a chair, Jonathan King reminds me, once variously occupied by Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Scott Walker and — depending on who you believe — other, less musical, guests, whose names surfaced only when they testified against him, 11 years ago. His case, somewhat confusingly, was split into three trials: the convictions relate only to the first. King was acquitted at the second, following which the CPS abandoned the third.
He was released on parole in March , despite having declined to participate in programmes aimed at behavioural correction, because he considers himself innocent. Since he was freed, King, who discovered and launched the rock band Genesis and played a pivotal role in developing many other commercially successful groups, such as 10cc, has written an autobiography: 65 — My Life So Far and a novel, Beware the Monkey Man, published under the name of Rex Kenny in He has released two full-length films: the autobiographical Vile Pervert and a boldly eccentric musical, Me Me Me , the latter of which was shown at Cannes.
Jonathan King, now 67, has discarded his trademark baseball cap and comedy spectacles, and is wearing a black pullover, track-suit bottoms, and orthodox frameless glasses. When he speaks, his upper lip curls upwards, as it always has. This is not, as some have suggested, an affectation inspired by Elvis Presley, but a legacy of King's delivery by forceps. The widespread recognition his physical appearance once commanded has diminished in recent years and many — including, I imagine, King himself — would consider that no bad thing.
In the course of work, I tell him, I have interviewed murderers, arsonists, drug barons and a man who, posing as a priest, first robbed a woman, then conducted the funeral service of her husband. But even those guilty of gross sacrilege or unlawful killing never experience the detestation aroused by someone convicted of King's offences. It would be far easier, to quote the late novelist Gilbert Adair, writing in a slightly different context, to confess to homicide. I explain that I found the experience of reading through victim statements relating to his trial to be disturbing, and that I can't bring myself to believe that he is innocent of the acts for which he was convicted.
But our difference of opinion in this area — as on other subjects, such as Margaret Thatcher who stands shoulder to shoulder with him in a framed picture on the wall , Tony Blair, or the artistic merit of his recent films — doesn't begin to ruffle him. He remains calm, polite and affable; his manner kindly, his reaction to the guilty verdict one of apparent bewilderment.
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All of which seems odd to me: "Because if I'd experienced what you say you suffered — unfair conviction on the most grievous of charges — I think I would be furious. Prison opened my eyes to so many things. I met interesting people. I got to understand the behaviour of the police and the media. I am an observer," he adds, "of the human race. King is fond of drawing parallels between his fate and that suffered by Oscar Wilde.
Having spent two years researching an unfinished PhD on Wilde I knew that time wasn't wasted , I'm aware of the graphically scatological nature of evidence presented in the playwright's trials, and the misery caused by his ostracism in the final years of his life. Wilde unquestionably abused minors on at least two continents, but then his last letters are heavily coloured by remorse.
A stranger spat in his face at Clapham Junction railway station. You must be familiar with that sort of behaviour. Once a year somebody goes, 'Nonce', or looks at me in an odd way. But I'm in London; a cosmopolitan city. Most people here have never heard of me. I don't go to pubs. I avoid situations that could get me into trouble. There can be few less attractive spectacles in life than the British press in moralising mode.
King was arrested in after a man approached the publicist Max Clifford, then contacted the police. News of the allegations reached the red-tops; when they read the headlines, the entrepreneur recalls, other alleged victims came forward. King, who was investigated in connection with supposed offences dating back 32 years has, in the period since his release, been subject to some crude populist rhetoric.
King is a considerably more difficult and complex subject than he might initially appear.
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He's a past master at buttering up journalists, but it's unusually hard to tell with him where flattery ends and real engagement and curiosity begins. As an interviewee, he exhibits few of the unmistakeable traits of a seasoned con man, such as hanging on your every word as though you're the most important person in the galaxy. On the contrary, Jonathan King loves talking. Inconveniently for a sex monster, he is bright, entertaining, and excellent company.
He wrote to many reporters from prison. One — Lynn Barber, now of The Sunday Times a journalist and author who, it would be fair to say, is regarded in the business as nobody's fool — wrote a moving piece about the consolation he offered her while her husband David was dying from myelofibrosis.
He was eager to be useful and read all the newspapers every day looking for articles about bone-marrow transplant. And when David eventually had the transplant — unsuccessfully — and died, Jonathan wrote me some of the kindest, most thoughtful, letters of any I received. King refers to Barber as "my friend", even though there has never been any suggestion she considers him innocent. If, once convicted, you'd said: 'Yes, I had flings with year-olds, I didn't know their age but I'm guilty, and very sorry,' I think your autobiography would have been a better book.
They only referred to five people. I never had sex with any of those five. I never even met one of them. More importantly I would like to think that I never took advantage of somebody, whether they were stoned, drunk or [otherwise] incapable of making up their minds. The law then said if they were male they were not capable of consent. In the age was lowered to 18 in England and Wales and in , just before his trial, further reduced to I would be insane, King suggests, if I believed he was arguing that.
He repeats that, until he was 23, "Going with someone of the same gender — like the night I went with John Lennon, say — meant that you were both breaking the law. On that level I was completely guilty. My attitude was that if boys were over 16 — the age of consent for girls — and they wanted to do something with me, I'd do it.
At the end of , a BBC Four repeat of a edition of Top of the Pops excised a track by Jonathan King on moral grounds the station later apologised. Without seeking to excuse his behaviour, it's a matter of fact that, if the BBC censored footage of every male performer who had taken advantage of a year-old girl fan, its archive would be significantly depleted.
It's not so long since I had lunch with an internationally revered star who openly boasted, to a fair-sized gathering, of having seduced minors.
His problem was that it was boys. I have been found guilty of crimes that never happened and there is no evidence. It's one person's word against another. Or it can be a combination of these things.
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Denning served time for sex crimes in the Czech Republic and is now detained in the UK. King says he severed contact with his ex-associate "when I found out how he was behaving, suggested that he stop, and he didn't". King himself was accused of having trawled Soho for vulnerable boys. If you find someone attractive, you try to make them find you attractive.
That is called seduction. And seduction is a bit ugly. You could say it's a bit ugly to use your charisma. For Jonathan King, it all started so well.
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The dominant figure in the photographs that decorate his house is that of his mother Ailsa, an actress — bisexual, King says — who worked with Michael Redgrave, among others. Jonathan was nine when his father Jimmy died in , aged Like today, for instance," King says, good-naturedly. His father had been managing director at Tootal, a tie manufacturer. Jonathan grew up in Surrey with his two k younger brothers, and was sent to Charterhouse school, then Trinity College, Cambridge.
According to his autobiography, he had intimate knowledge of 65 fellow boarders at Charterhouse. Even before he arrived at Cambridge, he says, he was desperate to get into the music business. The latter indulged the young man with the generosity and grace that characterised Taylor's whole life and career. He was witty, outrageous and camp and always in demand because of his intelligence. He also had exceptionally good ears for a hit.
If you value your sanity— and I speak from recent experience — this is a collection best not evaluated in a single sitting. While he enjoyed many successes, under various names, with singles such as "Johnny Reggae", "Una Paloma Blanca", "Lick a Smurf for Christmas" and "The Sun Has Got His Hat On", posterity is likely to judge King, who was running Decca Records at the age of 22, less on his own singles and more on his reputation as an enabler of others. Had he not discovered Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford and the rest of Genesis on a return visit to Charterhouse, and produced their first album, it's probable that most of that band would, says King, "have become architects, accountants or lawyers".
Before he met them, 10cc were, as he puts it, "individual musicians and engineers, but never that great a band". Certainly interesting. September 10, - Published on Amazon. Rex Kenny is a pseudonym for disgraced paedophile and pop-mogul Jonathan King. Buyer beware! Go to Amazon. Discover the best of shopping and entertainment with Amazon Prime. Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery on millions of eligible domestic and international items, in addition to exclusive access to movies, TV shows, and more.
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