Performance

Chas (James Fox) is a member of an East London gang, led by Harry Flowers (Johnny Shannon); his specialty is intimidation through violence, as he collects pay-offs for Flowers. Chas is very good at his job, and has a reputation for liking it. His sexual liaisons are casual and rough. When Flowers decides to take over a betting shop owned by Joey Maddocks (Anthony Valentine), he forbids Chas to get involved because he feels Chas’ complicated personal history with Maddocks may lead to trouble. Chas is angry about this and later humiliates Maddocks, who retaliates by wrecking Chas’ apartment and attacking Chas, who in turn shoots him, packs a suitcase and runs from the scene.

When Flowers makes it clear that he has no intention of offering protection to Chas, but instead wants him eliminated, Chas decides to head for the countryside to hide out, but after overhearing a musician talk about going on tour and leaving his rented room in Notting Hill Gate, Chas goes there and pretends the musician was a friend who recommended him. He tells Pherber (Anita Pallenberg), a woman living there, that he is a fellow performer, juggler Johnny Dean. She lives there with Turner (Mick Jagger), a reclusive, eccentric former rock star who has ‘lost his demon’, and Lucy (Michèle Breton), with whom he enjoys a non-possessive and bisexual ménage à trois. Floating in and out of the house is a child, Lorraine (Laraine Wickens).

At first, Chas is contemptuous of Turner, who himself attempts to return the rent paid in advance, but they start influencing each other. Pherber and Turner understand his conflict, and want to understand what makes him function so well within his world. To speed up the process, Pherber tricks him by feeding him a psychedelic mushroom, and Chas accuses her and Turner of poisoning him. He soon accepts it, and in his hallucinogenic state, he experiments with clothing and identity, including the wearing of feminine clothes. Chas opens up, and he begins a caring relationship with Lucy.

Before all this, he phones Tony (a trusted friend who refers to Chas as ‘Uncle’) to help him get out of the country. Flowers and his henchmen use Tony to track Chas to Turner’s flat. They allow him to go and collect his things upstairs. Chas tells Turner and Pherber he is leaving, then shoots Turner in the head. As he is led to his death, Chas still wears his feminine clothes and wig, but his face is identical to Turner’s.