Hugh Hefner, Laurence Olivier and Dirk Bogarde all feature in the book entitled How Did you Know All These People?
Hugh Hefner, Paul Getty, Dirk Bogarde, Laurence Olivier, Noel Coward and Ivor Novello are just some of the famous people mentioned in the memoirs of Fleet resident John Lidstone.
The book, entitled How Did You Know All These People? was published in August, inspired by the many requests from friends, audiences and business people to record some of the highlights of his long and fascinating life.
Born in Wiltshire in 1929, Mr Lidstone’s lifelong dalliance with celebrities started when his mother managed the clubhouse at Wentworth Golf Club.
He served his National Service in the RAF before he ‘ambled’ into teaching at Repton School in Derbyshire.
But he soon embarked on a career in industry, moving from the country to London in 1952.
Mr Lidstone was immediately thrown into a startlingly different world as the lodger of actor Patrick Waddington, where his daily life was punctuated by the host of colourful characters that visited the house, including Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson, Noel Coward and Ivor Novello.
Mr Lidstone worked for the Shell Group but in the mid-60s helped to form and develop Marketing Improvement Group, one of the most successful marketing consultancy and training companies in Europe. He has published 16 best-selling books on business, five going to second editions and one to seven reprints.
Two were also made into award-winning films.
His work for Government has twice included advising select committees on Reform of the Honours System, a subject about which he is passionate and on which he gave the Churchill Lecture in 1998.
Mr Lidstone has twice stood for Parliament for the Conservative Party.
He remains devoted to Primrose, his wife and best friend of 63 years, and daughter Susie and her family.
“I live in what might laughingly be termed ‘retirement’, still frequently called upon to advise, and enjoying many invitations to speak, alongside my lifelong passion for golf,” said Mr Lidstone, North Hants Golf Club’s only left-handed captain in its 109-year history.
“My life is perhaps underlined by a fascination for ‘what makes people tick’, a subject in which I have, by now, gained some considerable understanding.”
In his book, Mr Lidstone recalls meetings with Alec Douglas-Home, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dirk Bogarde and Bill Deedes.
He also describes how Harold Macmillan told him of Winston Churchill’s aversion to the game of golf, recalls assessing Bunny Girls for the opening of the Playboy Club and getting money-saving tips from Paul Getty and Frankie Howerd.
“How do you know all these people? was a golf course retort from a retired army general in response to me telling him that Sir Paul Girolami, chairman of Glaxo, had written the foreword to my latest book,” said Mr Lidstone.
“But air vice-marshal Freddie Hurrell, one of my greatest friends, riposte to those who accused me of name-dropping is ‘I can tell you that I know that he knows all the people he mentions’.”
How Did You Know All These People? is priced £10, including post and packaging.
For more details about the book email firstname.lastname@example.org.