Jimi was involved in the interior decorating, too, and insisted that the carpets be replaced within a week of his return from touring in late 1968. He and Kathy went to John Lewis to pick out the material, to bemused stares from onlookers.
The flat was very private and didn’t even have a doorbell, so many would-be visitors’ knocks simply weren’t heard over the music. Even when they did have visitors they would usually only have four or five over at a time; if they “wanted to be in a crowd” they would head to one of the nearby clubs. Clearly, it has to be said, there was some excess in terms of certain recreational activities (Jimi’s famous vision of Handel in full regalia appearing to him in a mirror has more than a hint of psychedelic origins), but this was definitely not the flat’s primary purpose. In essence, it represented calm. A sanctuary from the relentless storm of Hendrix’s meteoric rise to fame, and one which they both cherished. Jimi could not be a performer 24/7 and it was here that he was able to shed his showman’s “persona” and be himself, which is consistently described as quiet, easy company; nothing like the centre of attention he was when he picked up a guitar.
The musical heritage of the place was not lost on Jimi, and he certainly believed that Handel’s musical spirit lived on within the walls; his subsequent purchase of Messiah and Belshazzar helped him tap into this musical heritage. Now that combined heritage lives on through Handel & Hendrix in London, and much thanks must be given to Kathy that it became a reality.