Nettie Baker, daughter of rock-n-roll-eye-popping hedonist Ginger Baker, has nothing but beautiful things to say about her father's former Cream bandmate, the brilliant guitarist Eric Clapton.
& # 39; He is always a big supporter of everything I do & # 39 ;, she says. I mix with a few music people who are very nice. When I have asked Eric what I need, he is 100% friendly and supportive for our family. & # 39; As good as he is.
More than four decades ago, when Nettie was just 15, she became first prize in a game of pool at the Clapton Italianizing country house in Surrey.
Almost 40 years ago, when she was 15, Nettie Baker got the first prize in a game of pool
Those were the & # 39; extremely casual & crazy & # 39; years (Clapton's words) when, through his own account, drink, drugs and later sex addiction his life dominated. Today, 73 years old, he found sobriety in the same house with his second wife Melia and their three teenage daughters.
Nettie, now 57, has written about that wicked game of pool, including the former Beatle George Harrison and, even more shockingly, her own father, in her memoirs, Tales Of A Rock Star & Daughter.
& # 39; We all sat down with our drinks and then, after asking my age, George decided that I should be the first prize in a game of pool, & # 39; she says in the book. A moment later he offered to pay my father £ 2,000 for me and I almost choked on my Bacardi and Coke.
& # 39; All involved were there & # 39; from & # 39; and there was a slightly insensitive atmosphere, & # 39; she continues. Fortunately, her mother was Liz, who was also in the house of Clapton with Pattie Boyd [Harrison’s soon-to-be ex-wife and Clapton’s soon-to-be first wife] as well as the current friend of Harrison, stepped in. & # 39; The only time I realized that things got a bit out of hand was when my mother started saying: & # 39; Guys, we can just stop & # 39 ;, she says now. & # 39; I loved it. All those things happened and nobody thought it was bad. & # 39;
This was, Nettie points to today, a time before the Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal and #MeToo when the worlds of celebrity and royalty's clashed in a carnival of excess. Everything has happened, nobody has told it.
The memoirs, which Nettie claims to be humorous, include everyone from her own heroin-addicted father to Mick Jagger and members of the (real) aristocracy.
Today Nettie says: & # 39; There are other things that are similar to that night in Eric & # 39; s. The & # 39; thing & # 39; at the pool. & # 39; The thing in question was a member of the Royal Family. They met when Nettie's father, Ginger, polopony & # 39; s owned. What exactly happened?
Ginger Baker Cream Farewell concert, Royal Albert Hall, London, Great Britain – November 26, 1968
Ginger Baker (middle) with fellow band members, he referred to his daughter as & # 39; jailbait & # 39;
& # 39; Oh, & # 39; she says with a shrug. He said something about my bikini and my father jokingly replied: & # 39; She has a prison sentence. & # 39; I honestly had no idea what he meant by that. & # 39; Nettie was 15 then.
& # 39; It were the Seventies & # 39 ;, she says. & # 39; We smoked cigarettes when we were 13. I went out with my parents who drank underage. When I left school at the age of 15, the best idea in the world was to live for today. Dad and I were in the polo and partying.
& # 39; One party we went to had a swimming pool in a gigantic silver bubble in the garden. I wore a bikini with bottoms and a red-haired guy named Marcus thought it would be a good feeling to release them.
& # 39; A quaker named Melvin gave me the nickname & # 39; Botty & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Everyone loves young people. You can not legislate for that. It is human nature, but power and fame is a card to do a few things than most people can. I told those stories because I thought they were funny. I was not traumatized. & # 39;
Nowadays, Nettie is single with a 26-year-old daughter, Zara. She has not had a relationship for three years.
& # 39; I can not stand it & # 39 ;, she says. & # 39; I have not had role models. I have realized that other people do not approach the relationships in the same way as I do. I react excessively. I do not take it easy, so I'm much happier if I do not have a relationship. & # 39;
She is also happier when she does not see her 79-year-old father, who lives on a state pension in a rented house in Canterbury with his 36-year-old fourth wife, Zimbabwean Kudzai, whom he met on the internet.
He was once chosen as the man who least likely survived the sixties, and Ginger Baker has had a heart bypass, is almost deaf and suffers from degenerative arthrosis, so morphine is daily inhaled to numb the pain.
Nettie has not had a telephone conversation with him in two and a half years. He is also alienated from her younger sister Leda, 50, and brother, Kofi, 49.
& # 39; I have not spoken to him since March 2016, & # 39; she says. & # 39; There are problems with his wife. It had to do with helping him and her not want me to help him. My sister has tried to have a conversation with him, but he can no longer hear what you say on the phone and his wife reads all his emails.
Nettie with Ginger and his deceased ex-wife Liz, Nettie & # 39; s mother, on holiday in Acapulco in 1967
I am not awful, but we all feel that our life is better right now without him. He just called you 9,000 times a day and said: "Help, can you give me money. What happens to this or that? & # 39;
& # 39; He would call me and call me: & # 39; That's it, I'll never speak to you again. & # 39;
She stops. I want this to be funny because it is funny & # 39 ;, she says. & # 39; Anyway, you would say: & # 39; Thank God before & # 39; and five minutes later he called again.
& # 39; You would say: & # 39; I thought you were not talking to me. & # 39; & # 39; So that's it. Nettie laughs but it is difficult to join.
After a short marriage with her daughter's father, Nettie had one meaningful relationship in her life, with a former manager for K-Tel Records. His name was Tony and he was a great guy who looked [Magnum actor] Tom Selleck & # 39 ;.
They met when Nettie, 36, only raised her six-year-old daughter and hired a farm together in Windsor, where they kept horses. He died of a cerebral haemorrhage at the age of 51 when they were on their way to a Christmas lunch.
Nettie Baker was about 14 years old, about a year before she won the first prize in a pool game
& # 39; He has never come to consciousness again & # 39 ;, says Nettie. & # 39; He was two days on life support. They turned him off on Boxing Day. The nurses followed me through the hall and said: "That's all." I replied: & # 39; Fine & # 39 ;. They said: & # 39; Is it going? & # 39; I said: & # 39; Fine & # 39 ;, because some just go. . . & # 39; she pulls her hand over her face as if a shutter closes.
& # 39; That's it. Your life has changed. If I thought shouting, crying, lying on the floor would have brought him back, I would have done it. But it will not be, you just have to continue. It is: & # 39; Ding dong, let's see what I need to do next. & # 39; Then the real father of Zara died a few months later. & # 39;
Again, she pauses. Look, I'm not saying you're taking out the violin. That's life and I've had a great life. I have experienced great things and seen things that most people would not believe. & # 39;
Born in 1960, six years before her father began to determine the hypnotic beat for such hippie hymns as I Feel Free and Sunshine Of Your Love, with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce in their band Cream, her parents' marriage was brutal, violent thing.
Tales of a rockstar & # 39; s daughter wriiten by Nettie Baker
& # 39; My mother [who died in 2014 from pancreatic cancer] was very violent. My father thought that was very exciting and sexy, so life at home was very, very difficult from an early age. I had to share a bedroom with them until I was seven. The argument was so bad that I wet my bed. & # 39;
& # 39; It was another time & # 39 ;, she repeats. & # 39; It was the same as calling the police if they had rows. They never came. They said: & # 39; We do not do servants. & # 39; Once he broke her ribs. That was about number two [she means his very young second wife, Sarah, who was the sister of one of Nettie’s boyfriends].
Dad was in love with her. Previously, my mother would often endure seeing other women. She told him when he had a 17-year-old polo-groom, & # 39; You can have both of us & # 39; or something.
"When dad was angry, you would get a blow, but I think you should put it in the context of time. When I was naughty, he would take off his rings and it would be a pocket and I would get what I would call the Daddy Smack.
& # 39; Then it was different, & # 39; she says for the umpteenth time. I knew everything about the sex life of Daddy, his girlfriends – everything. My parents were 21 when they had me. I think I was dealing with them at the level of a younger person. When I was hanging around with my dad in polo time, people thought I was his girlfriend. We just thought it was funny. I would like to receive invitations for Ginger & his daughter & # 39 ;. Mum would really get annoyed by it. & # 39;
Those polo years began in the mid-1970s when Ginger's pockets burst with cash from Cream's 15 million record sales and tours and a hymn with his later band Blind Faith.
There was a manor house in Harrow, north London, first class flights to the Caribbean, and tens of thousands of pounds spent on drugs while they celebrated with everyone from Elton John to Ringo Starr with Robert Stigwood. Ginger's passion for polo also provided a passport for the aristocracy, where the family rubbed shoulders with balls like Prince Charles and Lord Cowdray.
Nettie was 16 when, as her father's groom, he introduced her to amphetamines.
& # 39; He gave me [the club drug] Dexedrine, & # 39; she says. & # 39; My brother, Kofi [who is also a drummer], tells a story about when he wanted to do a gig with dad, he had a cold, so Dad let him take cocaine so he could play.
& # 39; I do not think those things are as bad as. . . there were a lot of medicines, but I never took drugs. I saw the damage that the Pa had caused. & # 39;
Indeed. In her book she charts how late she discovered him naked in bed, but for a vest with two women. It must have been very shocking for a daughter to walk around.
Nettie laughs. & # 39; It was funny. Daddy's sex life just seemed normal to me. Your upbringing is not uncommon for you. I liked most of Papa's girlfriends, except number two. What she did not like was that I had some control over him, some power. In short, I was, in a sense, his pimp.
& # 39; I had some control over the women he had because they were all my friends. She did not like that at all. I knew it would not take long and she would leave and she did. & # 39; But not until she disappeared to Italy in 1982 with Nettie & # 39; s father.
Ginger was now broke and determined to finish himself of heroin. Nettie was & # 39; destroyed & # 39; through his departure and began her own period of promiscuity.
& # 39; I remember my husband once [Zara’s father] did not speak to me for three days when I told him how many people I had slept.
& # 39; The number is not huge – more than ten but less than 40, so there are not hundreds. I always thought I'd find Mr Right. I think because my home life was very volatile. I invented a fantasy world for myself, which had everything to do with this wonderful and amazing escape.
& # 39; I had fantastic relationships. They just did not live very long. I do not think that sleep is bad. Men do it. I think it's about finding your identity – especially if you have a very strong parent. . . & # 39;
She smiles. & # 39; We were inseparable. When I look back, I see that it was because he wanted someone to take care of his horses. I never wanted to do it because I did not want to be filthy. I did not want to be entered. I love animals, but I did not like that job. You are treated like a servant. It is badly paid. & # 39;
When Ginger left for Italy in 1982, the family was thrown out of their impressive house in Harrow and Nettie continued to work as a bridegroom until she decided to continue her studies.
After an entry course at Harrow College she was admitted to Queen Mary University in London to study English where she obtained a first-class diploma for a Masters.
& # 39; I absolutely loved it & # 39 ;, she says. & # 39; But I've just done jobs, because when you're older, you can have as many degrees as you want, but the world is not interested in old people at all.
The groundbreaking jobs do not work for me because I think I should run the place so they never last long. Anyway, I've worked on this [her memoirs]. It is a story about a search for identity and a story about nostalgia.
& # 39; The problem is that, after Dad has lost his money, you are not fit. The people like the man who sold flowers think you are charged, but you have nothing. The rich people no longer associate with you because you can not be in their world.
& # 39; Look, Daddy had a dream about how he wanted his life to be and that things went a bit wrong. He is damaged by drug addiction and fame. My life as his daughter was not sloppy. We are just a terrible family. We are pretty shouty and we are like Marmite. You like us or not.
& # 39; We all know where we stand with Daddy. He could call me now and say: "Nettie, can you help?" and I would help him.
& # 39; Dad is a character. He can be very funny, that's why I wrote this book with humor. You make sure people know that it's funny, do not you think? & # 39;
I tell her I will try.
- Tales Of A Rock Star & # 39; s Daughter by Nettie Baker (Wymer, £ 14.99).