DARK DAY IN SEPTEMBER 1970
Recently (January 2013) I renewed contact with Vic Briggs (alias
Antion) in order to get a second opinion about his memories concerning
his first encounter with Jimi Hendrix in September 1966. I had lost his
mail address but I managed to connect with his wife Elandra Meredith
who passed messages on to him until Vic and I finally got it together.
Elandra follows the same spiritual path as Vic and together they
now teach Yoga in New Zealand. They are also both in the process of
writing their autobiographies and one day, out of the blue, Elandra
told me that she mentions Jimi in her book and sent me this brief
"The experience that
most shook me to the core was finding myself in the house of Jimi
Hendrix right after he died. His distraught girlfriend, Monika
Danneman, was pacing back and forth and round and round
chain-smoking. The room was thick with smoke and fear and
I nearly fell off my chair.
I have read many a Hendrix book (including Caesar Glebeek's recent
investigation ("Until We
Meet Again - The Last Weeks Of Jimi Hendrix") about the
circumstances surrounding his death and I have studied and participated
in forum discussions about the subject but there has never been a
mention of her being involved in the sequence of events.
I immediately bombarded Elandra with questions about what had happened
and how she came to be there.
In the late 60s, Elandra's name was Kirsten Lindholm (or her married
name - Kirsten Betts) and she enjoyed an active career in New Zealand
and London as a model and actress, appearing in films alongside the
likes of Peter Sellars, Charlton Heston, Roman Polanski and John
Gielgud. In 1970 she appeared in the first of many Hammer horror movies
and was a regular in the TV series "Doctor In The House".
Kirsten rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, lived in the
fashionable Mayfair district of London (so in the vicinity of the Samarkand Hotel) and was very much a part of the
London nightlife scene. However, deep down, she felt that this wasn't
really her scene and to find some serenity she studied yoga, attending
The following is what Elandra had to say about her encounter with the
entourage of Jimi Hendrix on that fateful day.
seems there is really very little to tell, and yet it could be
significant somehow. It’s only in hindsight that incidents of
life seem so extraordinary. We have so many experiences and do not
remember the details. And I never really thought about it since, not
consciously, not till it came up as I was writing my book and mention
it as one of the incidences which brought me to the point of leaving
the world of the rich and famous, to eventually join Antion in
the yoga world of spiritual consciousness and pursuit of truth.
I understand you don’t want to influence my memory, and
it’s important to me to be as accurate as possible and not
make up anything. My life is all about truth, as is Antion’s.
It is so extraordinary, but some things you never forget, especially
feelings, like the extreme tension and fear and horror in that room.
Remember that I am not one who has ever read about Hendrix or knows
anything much about him, so cannot even put into any context what I
When I wrote the incident for my book Antion
supplied the name of Monika, I had not met her before, and I never
thought about the date, just guessing that it was during the 2 years I was
taking yoga classes, don’t know the date of the death of
As I said, the experience that most shook me to the core was finding
myself in the house of Jimi Hendrix right after he died. His distraught
girlfriend, Monika Danneman, was pacing back and forth and round and
round chain-smoking. The room was thick with smoke and fear
That this beautiful man, a friend of Antion’s at the time,
wondrous musician and spirit of the freedom-loving sixties had endured
a ghastly end, choking on his own vomit, forcefully brought to my
realization that hedonism had a terrible downside. Why was all this
being shown me?"
Jim: How did you come to be at the
Elandra: I have wondered about it
myself, why was I there and how did I get there…I have a
sense of it only, but I too want to know! I clearly remember
certain things! I was brought there by someone, a woman who must have believed I would
be able to help Monika because of my yoga training. To help calm her
down. So she must have known the yoga classes, and about me, maybe she
was a student or a friend of a yoga student. The woman who picked me up
and took me there was also in shock, a lot of tension, shaking
Jim: Who was at the scene when you
Elandra: Strongest in memory: the
apartment was not upstairs. It seemed not very large, the ceiling was
low. The room was nice, elegant, furnished white, beige, two sofas both
against the wall, and a coffee table. Perhaps the reason I remember
this is that I would have liked to imagine he would be staying in a
more spacious and luxurious place, so it surprised me and
that’s why I remember, you know - it’s feelings
that sharpen the memory, cause the association.
Monika was out of her mind with shock, distraught to the point of
madness, pacing like crazy, smoking non stop with trembling hands.
She seemed incapable of relating to anything.
Jim: While you were with Monika, do
you think there was one other person there or many?
Elandra: Not sure, maybe a sense
of someone else there speaking urgently, possibly talking about need to
hurry… to pack…wanted her to hurry… so
much tension…someone who did not appear or talk to me
… Yes, could have been many there...
Jim: Did Monika say anything that you
Elandra: Not sure, she was
ranting, not sure what said, or what I said, I have the feeling I could
not get her attention to even try to calm down, I may have talked about
how yoga can help, tried to show her to breathe through her left
nostril, by blocking off the right with her thumb…it is
possible she sat down on the sofa with me and tried and felt a bit more
Jim: What time of day was this ?
Elandra: It must have been the
Jim: Did the person who took you there leave, or did you leave first?
Elandra: For sure she did not
leave before me.
- Did you arrive there with
anybody else (apart from this person)?
- Was there a police
- Did you see the bed?
- Do you remember seeing the announce of his death on the news or in
the papers and thinking, yikes, I was actually there?
- The woman who drove you to
Monika's - do you remember how she contacted you?
- Do you remember what she looked
- Did you ever see her again after
To all these questions, Elandra answered "No".
showed Elandra a photo of Alvenia but it didn't ring a bell.)
Jim: Finally, do you think that it is
possible that you weren't there and that you might be confusing this
with another event?
Elandra: So lets say if i am
confusing it... I cannot imagine where/who else it was!? Where
else had someone of celebrity status just died and been taken away and
his woman in that state etc etc !? So i am totally convinced I was
there, I would not imagine it and make it up, why should I?
I do wish I could remember more. Let me explain. You see when I wrote
that for my book, (a book that is part memoir only) my
consciousness was entirely focused on being as brief as possible -
condensing everything including years into those few sentences.
Focusing purely on my feelings and reasons for leaving that celebrity
world. After leaving that world I had no attention in that direction,
no interest in it
Apart from these hazy recollections that is all that remains in
Elandra's memory of that terrible day. A year or so later she fell in
love with Vic Briggs, who had become a Sikh and followed his spiritual path. She
totally turned her back on the whole entertainment business and what
happened on September 18, 1970 was almost completely forgotten.
So what to make of this? Elandra has clearly not made this up in order to add spice to her
upcoming book. If that was her intention, she could have very easily
researched on the internet in order to furnish a more elaborate
account. Also, it was evident to me, when I posed her all the
questions, that she had practically no knowledge of the the reported
circumstances and the controversy surrounding the events of September
1970. All she had to go on was this hazy memory of a rushed visit to
the "house", as she remembered it, sometime between 1969 and 1971.
I was very careful not to influence Elandra's memory in any way and
when I asked on what floor of the house did the incident take place,
she said that is wasn't upstairs and the ceiling was low. So that did
correspond with the description of the basement flat.
So how did Elandra come to be there? Who drove her there?
Those who have read about the last hours of Jimi Hendrix know that
Monika called her friend Judy Wong (who was staying with Pat Hartley in
Knightsbridge) to get the name of Jimi's doctor when she had found that
Jimi had been vomiting and impossible to wake. Judy didn't have the
information and gave a number to contact Alvenia Bridges (who was also
a friend of Jimi's and Eric Burdon's girlfriend at the time). Alvinea
answered the phone
and she and Eric became closely involved in the unfolding events. As
ensued, Alvenia took a taxi to St. Mary Abbot's Hospital only to find a
hysterical Monika and a deceased Jimi Hendrix.
In the afternoon (3 to 4 pm) Alvenia, Monika and two members of the
Hendrix road crew (Gerry Stickells and Eric Barrett) plus one of
Burdon's crew (Terry Slater) gathered at the Samarkand flat in order to
clear the place of any incriminating drugs. This was a very hurried
(and illegal) operation before the police arrived to investigate. It is obvious that
the team wouldn't have brought in an outsider at that point, which
would have only complicated matters. So we can presume that Kirsten's
visit followed that (or took place the following day when Monika
returned to the flat to pick up some final things before she took the
train to Newcastle with Eric Burdon and company).
So, after the trauma of Jimi's death, Monika was hysterical and in
shock so we can suppose that Alvenia might have phoned around for help
and somehow Kirsten's name must have come up in relation to her yoga
classes. Perhaps either Alvenia, Judy Wong, Pat Hartley or somebody else associated with this
circle of friends, had recommended Kirsten as someone who understood
yoga calming methods.
According to David Henderson's book ("Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky")
it says that in order to assist Monika, Alvenia had tried to contact
Jimi's road manager (Eric Barrett), Noel Redding (sic) and Mitch but
failed. So she turned to Eric Burdon's road manager Steve Gold and he
lent Alvenia a car to help her to sort things out. Elandra remembers that a shaking woman drove her hurridly to the flat,
so this could quite possibly have been Alvenia.
So thanks to this chance piece of information from Elandra, another
piece of the puzzle falls into place, helping us to get a better
understanding of happened, all those years ago.
Many thanks to Elandra for sharing her memories with us!
Elandra's is the process of writing her autobiography:
"From Stardom to Wisdom:
Healing and Love beyond the Celebrity Spotlight" .
Elandra's website, blog and on-line Health Healing Program: