When Colllins approached me to publish a book of the paintings I had produced over a twenty year period for The Listener, Radio Times and Sunday Times, I agreed on the understanding we could have some captions. Experience had taught me that picture books don't sell well in the UK unless they have words with them. The last thing I wanted was in a pile of remaindered copies as a tribute to my life as a painter of Media Celebs.

    Colllins first asked if I would write the captions but I had neither the time of will. I explained that the drawings needed another view as what I had to say was already in the works. I suggested George. He had interviewed me at one stage early in my career and we had known of each other from the Fifties. He agreed and within a couple of weeks turned in a splendid, typically sharp profile of the people in the book.

    He also managed to anger David Coleman and we had to add a sort of apology in the form of an erratum slip. It was either that of pulping the book and starting again. Unfortunately the slight delay caused us to publish later than we wanted and the book sold less than we had hoped. Even so, it was well received and George did a splendid job promoting his contribution on the Parkinson Show, which at that time had a huge following. Parkinson went on to purchase my picture of him, which was in the book.

    My fondest memory of George is at the end of term dances at the Royal College of Art, which in the Fifties were held in the common room, a vast elegant building on Cromwell Road. When singing the old Trad War Horse, 'Frankie and Johnny', he would stagger convincingly when the song tells of how the jealous lover fires three shots (created by the drummer - Lennie Hastings?- playing rim shots). How far George would stagger back to the floor depended a lot on how much he had consumed in the bar. It was always all the way.

    Barry Fantoni, June 2007