I try to vary what is in this blog.
Comedy, media, a little bit of crime and sub-cultures that perhaps go under-reported. At heart, there is one major core – people, people, people – but quirky is always good too. Quirky funny or quirky worrying.
I guess today’s blog is on the quirky worrying side. Three stories…
This morning, I looked at my e-diary for 7th October 1999 and there was this entry:
I talked to comedian Malcolm Hardee on the phone this evening. He said police had stopped the car of (an independent TV producer we both knew) when the producer was driving through London. They opened the boot of the car and found a vast collection of vibrators and sex aids. The News of the World newspaper had got hold of this story and (the producer) heard they knew, so he went to them in a pre-emptive strike, saying: “They were for a new TV comedy show.” This was not true. But the News of the World did not run the story.
Now back to 2014.
This morning I got an e-mail from John Ward – mad inventor and designer of the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards. He sent me a link to an online website.
Currently on this site, you can buy:
- a slimline digital camcorder for £27 (reduced from £99.99)
- a 5-piece ceramic non-stick saucepan set for £19.99 (reduced from £129.95)
- an online do-it-yourself Forensic Psychology course for £29 (reduced from £220)
The online do-it-yourself Forensic Psychology course has “15 modules, including mental disorders, serial killers, abuse and more”.
The sales blurb reads:
There’s no denying our fascination with crime, from watching reruns of Breaking Bad to reading about real-life crime investigations. But if you’d like to delve deeper than the tabloids into the criminal psyche, we’ve seized just the deal… The course outlines the research methods required to understand criminal minds, covering mental disorders, psychiatric defences, eyewitness testimonies and more.
Module 9 of the course covers “Mental disorder as a defence.”
John Ward’s comment to me was: “I quite expect the next one to be about of How to Conduct Your Very Own Autopsy. It’s a strange world we survive in.”
Which brings me to Story Three…
Last night, I went to a Sohemian Society meeting at which Labour MP Alan Johnson was talking about This Boy, the first volume of his autobiography, set in the squalor of 1950s and 1960s Notting Hill in London.
One tale linked Alan Johnson – a future Home Secretary – with a crime.
In Notting Hill, there was a young man called Johnny who was the brother of Alan Johnson’s sister’s boyfriend. Johnny came form a ‘rough’ family. You did not mess with this family.
Alan Johnson said last night: “Johnny had had his time a a Teddy Boy, but now had a wife and two kids and a respectable job with Express Dairies as a milkman.”
In those days, every morning, milk was delivered to people’s doorsteps and, usually once a week, the money was collected. Alan was a milk boy, assisting Johnny on his milk round.
“Every couple of streets,” Alan Johnson said last night, “Johnny would stop the milk float, look in the mirror and comb his Tony-Curtis-with-a-DA hairstyle.”
Johnny was not someone you messed with.
“There was a place called Ruston Close,” Alan Johnson explained. “At No 10, Johnny would always send me in on my own to collect the money on all these different floors while he sat there (in the milk float).
“I used to say: Why don’t you come in there with me?
“And eventually I found out it was because it was 10 Rillington Place. It was so notorious, they had changed the name to Ruston Place.”
10 Rillington Place was where John Christie was alleged to have killed at least eight women including his wife, whose body was found under the floor boards in the front room. The bodies of three of his other victims were discovered hidden in an alcove in the kitchen.
Alan Johnson last night: “I would walk in on my own as a 10-year-old into all these dark floors and get the money from all these West Indian families who had been put in there and behind those walls were where Christie put his victims. Johnny – a former Teddy Boy – was too scared to go in. So he sent a 10-year-old kid in.”
John Christie had had tenants at 10 Rillington Place.
Among them were Timothy Evans and his wife Beryl and their infant daughter Geraldine. Beryl and Geraldine were murdered.
Timothy Evans was prosecuted for murdering them. John Christie was a key prosecution witness. Evans was found guilty of murdering his daughter and sentenced to death by hanging. He was executed on 9th March 1950.
Three years later, John Christie was found to be a serial killer. He was hanged on 15th July 1953. Before he died, Christie admitted to killing Evans’ wife Beryl but not to killing Evans’ daughter Geraldine (for which Evans had been convicted).
An official inquiry conducted in 1965-1966 concluded that it was “more probable than not” that Evans DID kill his wife Beryl (for which he was not convicted but to whose murder Christie had admitted) but that he did NOT kill his daughter Geraldine (for which he was convicted and to which Christie had not admitted).
Both Evans and Christie were executed by Britain’s official hangman Albert Pierrepoint.
After being pinioned for execution, Christie complained that his nose itched. Pierrepoint told him: “It won’t bother you for long”.
So it goes.