Twenty-five years ago, smiling profusely, exuding his ineffable English schoolboy cuteness, and sporting an aggressive mullet, Davy Jones parachuted into — of all places — Westview Mall on Route 40 West, not far from Catonsville, to hawk his just-published as-told-to biography, They Made a Monkee Out of Me. (Mind you, he didn’t literally parachute onto the premises — presumably, he was driven there by some factotum.)
A cooing legion of women — mostly middle-aged hausfrau hons with their understandably confused daughters in tow — rapturously greeted Jones, who obligingly charmed them with spirited patter, before settling in to sign copies of his exclamation-point-riddled, vanity-press book, dashed off one year after he reunited for a successful album and tour with former Monkees mates Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. (Fourth Monkee Mike Nesmith had sniffingly declined to participate.)
Sweet but not saccharine, Jones dealt with each of his votaries graciously, chatting amiably, clasping hands, and even submitting to cheek kisses. More than an hour later, he sat down for a congenial interview in a nearby mall meeting room with, if memory serves, the only reporter who posted for the event — me, on assignment for City Paper, along with a staff photographer, both of us unabashed Monkees fans awkwardly attempting to maintain some semblance of professional cool.
Finally corralled by his handler, Jones bid us a good-natured goodbye, exited Westview amid the echoing sighs of a gaggle of lingering fans, and, quite likely, made his way to a similar scenario in a similar mall in a similar suburb of a similar city. Veni, vidi, vici — all that. Hey, this really happened.