‘Lucky U was Jim’s favourite place to have breakfast. He ordered a beer and a chilli soup to line his stomach. He could sink six beers in an hour’
I was the first official photographer of the Doors, and this shot was taken early on. It was 1967 and we were heading to Venice Beach to take some publicity shots but got hungry, so Jim recommended stopping off at Lucky U Cafe, his favourite place in Los Angeles to grab breakfast. It was a tiny Mexican restaurant owned by a Chinese man, pretty much just a counter with no tables. Jim ordered a beer and a menudo – a beef and chilli soup – to line his stomach. It wasn’t uncommon to see him sink six beers in an hour.
I’ve always enjoyed shooting people when they’re eating because it creates an intimacy. So I got behind the counter and started snapping away. Jim was beautiful. He looked like Michelangelo’s David. He was checking me out: “Who the hell is this guy?” He didn’t suffer fools, and this was early on in our relationship. There’s an intensity in his eyes: he was totally serious about being seen as a credible poet.
Questions also raised for moderate drinkers of alcohol about their social habit
Heavy drinkers are putting themselves at risk of dementia, according to the largest study of its kind ever conducted.
Research published in the Lancet Public Health journal provides powerful evidence that people who drink enough to end up in hospital are putting themselves at serious risk of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It will also raise questions for moderate drinkers about the possible long-term consequences of their social habit.
Even if you’ve brave enough to overcome the shame and stigma and seek help, you’ll find services are being cut heavily
There’s no way I would ever have become an MP if it wasn’t for my dad, Dermot. Warm, funny and a 60s radical, he was the son of Irish immigrants who was inspired into a life of public service by John F Kennedy’s quote that you should “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. He paid my Labour party subs when I joined at the age of 15. But he struggled with alcohol for much of his life and, nearly two years ago, that chronic dependency killed him.
In a heartbreaking moment on a cold, grey dawn on St Joseph’s day – the patron saint of fathers – the nurses folded down his blankets so I could hold his hand as he slipped away. In the weeks that followed, I knew I had to start speaking out about the plight of children of alcoholics. All two million of them.