(There’s an option to view full-size on the lower right-hand side — click and it opens in the new tab.)
I used to look forward to reading Lance’s columns every week, it was such a highlight. They were in On The Street and Q. I had been a journalist since the early 1980s and was totally blown away by Lance Leopard’s stream-of-consciousness columns and his chatty style and I cut them out as they were very inspiring. Over time, Lance’s writings gave me a vision of how I could write about the everyday social events I attended.
Leopard’s lifestyle seemed so glamorous. Even though he posted his whereabouts for the week (and I did go out in the scene), I didn’t go to the same types of clubs.
However, when he was running Club Slut, I turned up to that at Blackmarket and he was dressed like Bryan Ferry and sang. I bumped into him in the Ladies loos and I said I loved his columns. He was so humble and seemed genuinely surprised that anyone read them. I quoted a bit from a column where he’d said he liked ABBA, and he confirmed this and — well, I can’t remember what was said, he was just charming and lovely. I was on Cloud 9.
When I went to live in England, I only took one suitcase, and Lance’s columns were among those, for inspiration. Whenever I was having a low day, I’d look over Lance’s columns and think that writing about the everyday ordinary events — whatever was happening to one’s neighbour and friends etc — was what was most exciting. Whenever I got writer’s block or was stuck for a headline idea, I’d think, “What would Lance write?” and of course something quirky would come to mind. His writing inspired the direction and topics of my own personal writing.
What I like most about his columns are a quality of lightness and chattiness, and he isn’t nasty, just a gentle teasing.
Recently, I heard a story from someone who lived near him and said they’d ask him to turn the music down at some ungodly hour — they said Lance was hugely apologetic and complied straight away. So nice!
UPDATE: Simon Lloyd was Lance’s stenographer! Simon says: “The paper one day announced to Lance in 1994 that they couldn’t accept his hand-written columns any more and he needed to provide them on a floppy disc 😂😂. Lance was mortified – he didn’t even know what a floppy was, so I offered to type his columns up for him and give him a disc each week. He used to come to my place on a Monday afternoon and dictate, and we’d usually get through a bottle of vodka by the time we were finished. I think that went on for about three years 💕 He used to call me his ‘stenog’. He would be very specific on things like emphasis such as soooooo, words in bold/italics etc. It was always a hoot!”