Micky Fawcett, a close associate of UK gangsters the Kray Twins, pops up every now and then in this blog.
He wrote arguably the definitive ‘inside’ story about Ronnie and Reggie – Krayzy Days.
So we were having a chat in Stratford, East London, yesterday…
MICKY: Did you know the Twins had a mynah bird?
JOHN: I don’t think I did.
MICKY: They were given this mynah bird and it was very good at imitations.
“Mum! Mum!” it used to say and COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH. – it used to take off their dad’s cough – Old Charlie.
“Some money! Some money!” it used to say; “Get some money!” and “What’s YOUR name?”
It frightened the life out of people. They used to have it in the corner of the kitchen.
The best one was when Old Charlie ‘outed’ Ronnie.
There was me and Dukey Osbourne and Ronnie, who was sitting at the table with a basin of stew and a bull terrier laying at his feet.
JOHN: What was the dog’s name?
MICKY: Dunno. Don’t know if it had one. Anyway, this was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon and there was a bit of noise in the hallway. And it’s their old man, Old Charlie, coming home pissed.
Ronnie squawks like his mynah bird and says: “Mum, mum! The drunken old bastard’s here!”
And the mynah bird goes: “Drunken old bastard! Drunken old bastard!”
Old Charlie comes in, straightening his shirt cuffs and his tie – he was always straightening himself up – and he says: “Shuddup, son! What I’ve heard about you today, you’re gone! You’re GONE! You’ve completely gone! That’s what you are. What they’re saying about in the pub, in the 99 (a pub in Bishopsgate) is disgusting! You make me sick!”
Ronnie says: “Shuttup, you old cunt! Shuttup! Fucking shuttup!”
He got up, rushed over to Old Charlie and he’s got hold of him by the collars and he’s still got the knife and fork in his hands and the dog was attacking Old Charlie’s leg, but not fiercely. And, with the knife in his hand, Ronnie – he hadn’t actually meant to, but he – scratched Old Charlie’s cheek by his nose – a little trickle of blood.
And Old Charlie’s shouting out: “Violet! He’s cut me! He’s cut me!”
At that point, I took my leave and was out the door. I was gone.
Next day, I went round to see Reggie and he was limping slightly. I asked what was wrong and he said: “Ronnie kicked me up the bollocks.”
MICKY: I dunno why. I didn’t ask. You didn’t ask questions like that.
JOHN: Surely everyone always knew Ronnie was gay from the beginning? From when he was a teenager or whatever.
MICKY: No. I don’t suppose so. Well, people didn’t want to know. Nobody used to say it, did they? Not in them days. I remember the first time anybody told me.
JOHN: About Ronnie?
MICKY: Yes. Well, about the pair of them. It was a close friend of mine. I don’t think ‘gay’ was a word then. ‘Poof’, maybe. He said: “They’re poofs” or whatever.
I said: “Yeah?”
He said: “Course they are. Why do you think all them young boys are coming round? Can’t you tell?”
JOHN: How long had you known them at that point?
MICKY: A couple of years, I guess. About 1956 maybe. They were quite young. (The Kray Twins were born in 1933.) It was billiard hall days. I remember we were outside this billiard hall. I think Ronnie had done his famous escape from Long Grove mental hospital.
JOHN: Which was?
MICKY: Reggie went in to visit him and Ronnie walked out.
JOHN: Being twins.
MICKY: Yeah. I knew Reggie but not Ronnie then.
I remember the first time I met Ronnie. I saw him from the back and thought he was Reggie. He was walking up to the billiard hall and I come up behind: “Hey! Reg!”
And he said: “I think you want my brother.”
JOHN: But they looked different. Reg had a narrower face and Ronnie’s was wider.
MICKY: In the pictures when they were younger, they don’t look so different.
JOHN: Of course. The boxing pictures.
MICKY: But they didn’t look quite the same. Ronnie was scruffier the first time I met him. Not scruffy intentionally.
He had just come out of a mental hospital.
The bottom of his trouser leg was roughed-up a bit and his boots were a bit… You know how you can imagine someone who has just come out of a…
Reggie was very, very smartly dressed.
JOHN: Was that always the case?
MICKY: Later on, towards the end, Ronnie was a very smart-dressed feller who went to Savile Row tailors for his clothes. Reggie dressed very smart, but went to Wood’s in Kingsland Road. It was like East End boy and West End girl.
JOHN: Ronnie being the West End girl.
JOHN: You always dressed very smart yourself.
MICKY: You had to be. It was part of the thing. I was five years younger. Reggie was very impressive when Ronnie was away. Reggie was running the Double R club. You always get trouble in clubs. He was very smart. You can imagine the rest, can’t you?
Maybe it played a part in their hatred for the rest of the world.
JOHN: What did?
MICKY: Being gay at that time. Although it worked for them as well because the stars – a lot of them were gay – used to come to see them in the Kentucky club or the Double R.
When they were younger, they didn’t want anybody to know.
JOHN: Did they get picked-on at school for being gay or did no-one know?
MICKY: Well, I think they were frightening everybody. I imagine that. Reggie didn’t want anyone to know. He wanted to be one of the boys.
JOHN: He didn’t ‘come out’ at all, did he?
MICKY: Not totally, no. He did when he was in the nick. I don’t want to… People talk about them when they were away in the nick; what they did. But it’s too… distasteful.