George Harrison made me the prize in a game of pool at Eric Clapton’s house when I was just 15… , daughter of legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker reveals
Even by the hedonistic rock and roll standards of the 1970s, it was an outrageous proposition.
As an intimate group attending a party at Eric Clapton’s Surrey mansion prepared to play a game of pool, George Harrison made his wishes clear – the prize should be the 15-year-old daughter of legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker.
In a revealing new memoir, Nettie Baker says she ‘nearly choked’ at the suggestion, but was further shocked when Harrison then tried to ‘buy’ her for £2,000 later the same evening.
The episode took place in 1976 at Clapton’s Hurtwood Edge home and more than 40 years later, Nettie recalls it vividly.
‘People were laughing and taking it in good part when George said it and I was thrilled to be the centre of attention – but that was because I was young.’
I am not going to condone the behaviour of men in their 30s to teenage girls – because it’s wrong. George’s remarks definitely crossed the line in a way that people would be more careful about now.
‘Nothing terrible happened, but I realise now that was exactly how guys got away with it: because a lot of girls were too young to deal with it.’
Nettie, now 57, recalls: ‘After asking my age, George Harrison decided I should be the first prize in a game of pool. Later that evening, he offered to pay my dad £2,000 for me – and I nearly choked.’
The deal was never struck, of course. The party, which had a Twelfth Night theme, was attended by Clapton’s then-girlfriend, Pattie Boyd, her ex-husband Beatle Harrison and his new girlfriend, and Nettie’s parents Ginger and his first wife Liz, who brought her along.
Could Harrison have been joking?
‘I always liked Eric, who was more sensible than Ginger, and I got on with Jack [Bruce] too. But Ginger was so wilful that he used to say to me, ‘If you don’t do what I want, I’m going to overdose’.’
Nettie herself never took heroin, having been warned off it by Ginger himself in one of his more responsible moments and also seeing for herself a ‘horrifying’ junkies’ den to which a tearaway friend once took her.
‘I had only seen rich people taking drugs, I hadn’t seen the dark side of it, the other world – and the squat was a shock, full of pathetic monsters,’ she tells me.