I remember when I first met Hugh. It was 1976 at the Submarine Sandwhich shop on West Portal Ave in San Francisco. I came in to hang out and get some lunch. I had just picked up my photographs I had photographed off the movie screen at the Parkside Theatre. The Led Zeppelin movie "The Song Remains the Same" was playing there and I was practicing taking pictures off the screen before I was to shoot my first rock concert. I was showing some of the neighborhood girls the pictures when all of a sudden this guy (Hugh) came from behind the counter and asked me my name and where I took them. I told him my name and explained how I took them at the Parkside Theater. Hugh laughed and said, "Great, How much are you selling them for"? I said, "One dollar". He then grabbed the photos and said come back next week and I'll have the money for you. I said, "I don't think so". He said, "Trust me" , so I gave him the photographs and he asked me what kind of sandwhich I wanted. He then handed me the sandwhich and said "Its on the house". The next week I came looking for Hugh and the owner said, " He no longer works here". I thought I got burned when the owner said, "I think he works at Skateboard City". I thought by the way Hugh ran the place that he was the owner. I went outside to catch the L Taravel to go up to Skateboard City when I noticed all these kids riding the streetcar on the outside of it. I joined in and headed up the hill to Skateboard City. I walked into Skateboard City and there was Hugh holding court. He said "Jimmy, here is twenty dollars". I said to him "You only owe me fifteen". He explain how he sold them for two dollars and needed more. I told him I'd get right on it. At that time he said, "Take this duffel bag up to the corner and give it to ?" (we'll leave his name out of this). I took the bag to ? and he dropped it on the ground and opened it. There must have been fifteen to twenty Banjai skateboards, wheels and trucks. ? introduced himself and said "Good Job"!
Hugh always encouraged my photography. I owe it all to Hugh. I was, you could say his personal photographer. Hugh was always
there for people he cared about. He excepted everyone into his circle and would do anything for you. He would give you his last dime or the clothes off his back. He had many friends in San Francisco, San Diego, Ireland, Scotland and anywhere else he went. He and I had our times. Like the time
we were in a restuarant in Leeds, England and he was being Hugh and a
man asked Hugh if he would cool the language. Hugh
just swore louder and more often. As we left, I told him he
was rude as f$%@#!! We then got into an argument, and he told me
to leave (thinking I was going back to the the mansion Clon-more, where we were stay). Being as stubborn as Hugh, I left Leeds, way off the beaten path, late at night and in pitch darkness. I headed for London. I told
him I'll be at Kelly's Cove by the time the sun comes up in San Francisco. I
got there just as the sun was going down. When I saw him in the city he
acted as if nothing happened. That was Hugh. It wasn't just until recently
that we were watching the "Godfather" and Fredo stuck up for someone
rather then standing up for Micheal (Pacino), his brother. Hugh turned to me and said,
"Jimi thats why we got into it in Leeds". You took the wrong side. Then
the next day one of the bros went to get Hugh Spaggetti-O's and he came
back saying they didn't have any in the soup section. Hugh hit the roof and yelled, "Their not in the soup section you ejit (Hugh's word for idiot)". Feeling sorry for the guy I said "Hugh I believe the guy". Hugh turned to me
and in a quiet voice said,"Jimi didn't we have this conversation just
yesterday". So, I went down to Safeway and low and behold there was a
whole self of them. I got him regular, Sonic the Hedgehog, Spiderman and
other kinds too. I think we got him ten cans of different Spaggetti-O's.
When we got back he said "thank you and asked me to make some for him".
As if nothing happened. That was Hugh.
In the last month I stayed with him. We would stay up late alot talking, telling old stories and sometimes he would read his poetry. As for his poetry, Hugh was a great poet. His white
book of poetry was always on his list of things to complete. Everyday I was with him I would check
on him in the morning and bring him his tea. He would then hand me his
things to do list for that day and tell me what he did and didn't want
to do that day. Who he wanted to see and who he didn't want to see. That never mattered because no matter how sick he was, he saw everyone that came to visit him. Most of the time Hugh was up cleaning, re-organizing and always working on something. He was a perfectionist, very meticulous and strict in the way he wanted something done. We must have rearranged Tom's house twice a day. There were times he would be up before me standing over me yelling why the cd's were not in there cases or why someone misplaced something he was looking for. I
was his press secretary (as he put it), one of many cooks, his butler and made alot of mail drops for him. He always gave me shit about the way I made
tea. He would tell me how he wanted it, then the next time he would tell me something
different. The last time I made him tea I brought him a plate with tea,
sliced muffins and some cookies. I put it down and left the room cause
Mr. O'Reilly was in with him. I went in the living room and sat down, just
as I was relaxing. I heard him yell, "Jimi, if you ever bring me
something this nice and beautiful...I'm kicking your ass". I smiled and
everyone in the house laughed. That was the last day I saw him. He asked
Kathy to get someone to record a four hour marathon
of "South Park". That was Sunday. He knew he was going when I talked to him on Monday but he
just said, "I'll see you on Wednesday Jimi". I had the South Park tape in my hand along
with the morning paper when I went to see him on Wednesday, but I was a hour too late. I sure miss him.