It was Muriel Belcher who bought them all there into her private cocktail party where you could be yourself at a time of prosecuting homophobia, it gathered all the key components of Wolfenden and the Montagu case together at the bar. Her legendary charisma, warmth, wit and foul mouth, “If you joined all the cocks she’s had together, it would build a handrail across the Alps” and when Driberg tried to stop a compromising picture of himself and the Krays appearing in a book she commented, “Tom never complained when Ronnie Kray’s cock was in his mouth.” She had been active in the West End night club scene longer than she was willing to reveal later on. She had been involved in two other clubs prior to taking over the Colony. But she was in the business of building her own legend, not always from the upmost truth, perhaps it was easier to be known as ‘Muriel Belcher the Portuguese Jewish lesbian’ than denying it, perhaps it added to her glamour along with the lie that her parents had owned The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham. We can all dream.
Sophie Parkin tells 3:AM about her forthcoming account of Soho institution The Colony Room.