Tag Archives: Kray

Two men ‘killed’ by the Kray Twins who were never killed and are still alive

Micky Fawcett experienced Krayzy Days

Micky Fawcett experienced some Krayzy Days

Regular readers may find this hard to believe, but I do cut a lot out of my blogs to shorten them.

Yesterday’s blog was about a chat I had with Mickey Fawcett, an associate of those ever-iconic gangsters the Kray Twins.

I cut several pieces out of our conversation about his book Krayzy Days.

But the joy of writing a daily blog is that you can correct omissions.

Today’s blog takes up roughly where yesterday’s conversation finished…

“Reading all the rubbish that had been written, motivated me to write my book,” I quoted Micky as saying yesterday. “I wanted to write a book saying what idiots the Twins really were,” he added. “And how amusing.”

“Has it been cathartic, writing the book?” I then asked him.

“It’s enabled me to re-live it,” Micky told me. “You’d have to read the book to understand how amused I was by the Twins.”

“You said they were idiots,” I prompted him.

Monty Python and Michael Palin,” said Mickey, “did a brilliant… That nail-the-head-to-the-floor thing came from headlines in the Daily Mirror. But it was a foot that was nailed to the floor and it was the Richardsons. They did it with a knife to a feller. But the Krays were getting the blame for it.”

Arthur Thompson, ‘kind hearted' Glaswegian

Arthur Thompson had a ‘heart of gold’

I cut the rest of the conversation, but it went on:

“In Glasgow,” I said, “Arthur Thompson had a habit of crucifying people but he was said to have a heart of gold, because he once had a man nailed to the floor in front of the man’s wife, but left behind a claw hammer so she could take out the nails.”

“Oh,” said Micky, “Arthur Thompson. They came down to London once. I got on very well with the Scotsmen I met. And, in the Army, you find the Cockneys and the Scousers and the Jocks from Glasgow all seem to get on OK with each other.”

Micky then went back to talking about the legend of the Krays.

I mentioned that, in the ‘Revised and Updated’ 3rd Edition of John Pearson’s highly-respected book The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins. it was implied that the Krays killed their driver Billy Frost in the 1960s.

Billy Frost - Dead men don’t drink tea

Billy Frost – Dead men don’t drink tea

In fact, I had tea with Billy Frost in 2009, during the filming of Killer Bitch and we have exchanged Christmas cards ever since. I think he was happily living at home in the East End of London when The Profession of Violence was first published in 1972.

There is a 2008 interview with Billy on YouTube and he was interviewed in a February 2010 issue of Spitalfields Life

In a blog in June 2011, I wrote: “It’s amazing how people allegedly killed by the Krays over forty years ago can be so lively.”

This came to mind when I chatted with Mickey Fawcett this week and I mentioned the fact that it was in print in various places that the Krays had killed Billy Frost in the 1960s, yet I had met him in the 2000s.

“That rumour didn’t half go around a lot,” said Micky, “and there’s Teddy Smith. Have you come across that one?”

I certainly had. It has been widely reported over the last 40 years that Teddy Smith was killed by the Krays. A very good article in the Daily Mail in August 2010 headlined SEX, LIES, DOWNING STREET AND THE COVER-UP THAT LEFT THE KRAYS FREE TO KILL repeats the story that Teddy Smith “died at their hands”.

“I knew Teddy Smith quite well,” Micky Fawcett told me this week, “and I saw him in King’s Road.”

Teddy Smith in the 1960s, shortly before he did not die

Teddy Smith in the 1960s, shortly before he did not die

“When?” I asked.

“Since his death,” said Micky. “I think he’d just had enough. I would think he’s in Australia or somewhere like that.”

“Can I print that?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Micky.

“He might get uppity,” I said.

“Teddy Smith? No, he’s alright.”

“I suppose,” I said, “once you’ve been dead for over 40 years, it doesn’t matter much.”

And I suppose, unlike much written about the Kray Twins before Micky Fawcett’s book Krayzy Days, that is true.

2 Comments

Filed under Celebrity, Crime, Urban myths

Other people’s lives: Freemasons, gangsters, a cat killer and the Cold War

Purveyors of fine petrol to the nation

Owners of fine petrol stations across UK

Last night, I went to Stowmarket in Suffolk to see two excellent Edinburgh Fringe preview shows by Doug Segal and Juliette Burton.

On the way back, just before midnight, I filled up at a BP petrol station somewhere on or near the A14.

Inside, a man dressed as a green duck was talking to a woman dressed as a yellow chicken.

“It was brown and grey and French,” the man said.

“Karen has always been difficult,” the woman replied.

Then they left.

Despite that, I have no particular blog to write this morning, so I idly looked through some old diaries at what happened today in previous years. These are extracts, going back in time to another era. Some names have been removed.

Boots: a frequent weapon in Glasgow

Two negotiation tools often used to settle disputes in Glasgow

5th MAY 2002

In  the evening, I went with (a fairly well-known English comedian) to a gig at a Masonic Hall in Easterhouse, a legendarily rough part of Glasgow. The low, unmarked building was surrounded by empty space, like a free-fire zone, and had 7 ft tall spiked grey metal railings surrounding it with barbed wire on parts of the roof. There was a full house: perhaps 150 people, all dressed up in their Sunday best as if for a West End occasion. They hated (the fairly well-known English comedian’s) performance. Their favourite star was ‘Christian’ a 64-year-old who sings as if it were still the 1970s.

The son of one of the people who ran the club told us: “My nose is getting better now. It’s still just tender here, towards the top.”

The other night, he had been driving home from some late night DJ work and stopped at a petrol station. After paying, he walked back towards his car. A man appeared, said “No-one talks to my wife like that!” and hit him.

Three other men then appeared and all four attacked him, knocking him down and kicking him, breaking his nose.

The police say they have the men’s faces and the number plate of their car on video but, because the beating itself is not seen on any video, there is no point finding and prosecuting them.

It seems that the DJ boy, drunk, had reached the pay counter at the same time as the angry man’s wife and (he says) told her: “You go first.”

Seeing this from outside, the other man and his friends somehow misinterpreted what had happened and got angry.

taxisign

How is this common sight linked to the Great Train Robbery?

5th MAY 2000

I had lunch with a chum. Last week, (a prominent London gangster) told him one of the Great Train Robbers who was never caught is black and now works as a London cab driver. He kept all of his share.

My chum went to Charlie Kray’s recent funeral in Bethnal Green. As Reggie Kray came out of church after the service, handcuffed to a policewoman, my chum found himself shouting “Let him out!” and it was taken up by the rest of the hundreds of bystanders. When Reggie went to his brother Ronnie Kray’s funeral, he was handcuffed to two gigantic policemen to make him look small, but instead it made him look very dangerous. This time, my chum reckoned, he had been handcuffed to a woman to try to belittle him in fellow-gangsters’ eyes.

Later, I talked with another chum on the phone. She has just got back from cruising the Caribbean in a yacht. She said the Caribbean is full of white South Africans who have left the country and put all their money into buying yachts and cruisers. She said her bottom was probably on the Internet because one man spent 39 days sailing from South Africa to the Caribbean and, when he got there, he was greeted by her buttocks exposed to him spelling out WELCOME NICK.  He took a digital photograph to send to his friends as an e-mail attachment.

Portrait of a killer

Portrait of a pitiless kitty killer with a track record

5th MAY 1999

I had lunch with a chum at BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane.

Last weekend, he and his girlfriend went to Chichester, where she has friends. In the evening, they were all watching a video of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Halfway through, the chief baddie was saying something to the effect of: “If things don’t happen, people will lose their digits.”

At this point, the living room door was suddenly pushed open – slammed open, really – by the family cat, who entered the room with the hind legs of a rabbit dangling from its bloodied mouth. The cat strode in, dropped the legs on the carpet, looked up at the humans and strode out of the room. The cat’s owner said they’d once sat and watched the same cat eat an entire rabbit in the garden, head first.

“You sat and watched?” my chum asked incredulously.

When he got back to his home in Brixton that same night, my chum found the head of a toy Teletubby (the yellow one) in his back garden. Just the head.

He recently negotiated a per-day pay rise for himself at the BBC; then negotiated a 4-day-week for himself thus, in effect, getting paid the same money for a day’s less work. He intends to try to write a novel on Mondays. His female boss is also going to take a day off work each week in an attempt to write a novel.

When I got home from the BBC lunch, I found an e-mail from another chum who works at Anglia TV:

Hey, today’s Eastern Daily Press is full of a story about an ex Anglia TV carpenter who murdered his wife and attempted to murder his daughter. You would recognise him. He looked like a little gnome and wandered around fixing things with a white coat on. He stabbed her to death because she spent more than £60 a week on the housekeeping!

Later, shopping in Tesco’s, I met the woman who used to live next door to me in Borehamwood. She, her husband, son and daughter moved to nearby Shenley about six years ago. She said her daughter was now twelve and “getting hormonal”. Nothing she (the mother) could do was right and her daughter was embarrassed by her.

Tashkent earthquake memorial in 1985

Tashkent earthquake memorial in 1985

5th MAY 1985
(four years before the Berlin Wall fell)

Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The old city was flattened by an earthquake in 1966 and rebuilt mostly in ghastly Russian tower block style.

Walking along a street this morning, I encountered three thin policemen and a tubby officer with a moustache talking to a shirt-sleeved man who seemed to have committed a traffic offence. The shirt-sleeved man took some pieces of paper out of his right-hand pocket and offered them to the officer. But the officer noticed me – an obvious tourist – approaching with a camera over my shoulder. He dismissed the man’s offer of (I presume) roubles with a wave of his hand.

Walking into the grounds of a mosque, we were given a very crude propaganda magazine about how local Moslem customs are respected and how the Soviet state is renovating mosques. The Russians must be very worried about the Moslems in Soviet Central Asia.

My German chum yesterday encountered a local Uzbek newspaper editor called Igor who had met a girl in Bulgaria whom he (Igor) wanted to marry. This romance came to the ears of the KGB who interrogated Igor and told him there was no way he could marry her.

Igor earns 250 roubles per month compared to the average of 160 roubles per month, so he is well-off. He lives in a three-room apartment – unusually spacious – but he has to share it with his brother and one other man. There are weekly political meetings at his apartment block with a register of names and it is compulsory to attend them unless you are working.

Igor came very nervously to our hotel tonight to talk to my German chum. He wants to send my German chum a book but will have to get a friend to take it to Yugoslavia and post it from there. If Igor got mail from the West, he would be questioned by the police. He tried to persuade my German chum to send him money so he can travel to Yugoslavia himself and then on to Germany. My German chum met him just outside the hotel for this chat and thought it might be some form of set-up by the security police.

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, Humor, Humour, Politics

Political gossip. Mick Jagger fondled by MP. Cabinet Minister thrown out of pub

In Sohemia last night: Mark Seddon (left) and Martin Rowson

In Sohemia last night: Mark Seddon (left) and Martin Rowson

I went to the Sohemian Society in London last night to hear about “Gay Hussar Nights”.

The evening was billed as two insiders’ journeys through Bollinger Bolshevism with the Rabelaisian Left: “Former Tribune editor and Labour Party National Executive member, turned Al Jazeera TV correspondent Mark Seddon and multi award-winning cartoonist Martin Rowson will chew the cud and spit it all out for your delectation in an evening of downright irreverence and much jocularity all laced through with a healthy contempt for the British political and media establishment.”

And so, indeed, it turned out.

The Gay Hussar is a famed Soho pub that, in pre-Blair days, was the haunt of left wing journalists and politicians. In the 1960s, the owner threw prominent Labour Party politician George Brown out of the building when, uninvited, he started to feel-up the woman sitting next to him – which was said last night to be “the only known case of a serving Foreign Secretary being thrown out for being drunk and disorderly”.

There were also stories about “the great left wing Labour MP and serial fellationist Tom Driberg” – a gay friend of gangsters the Kray Brothers and rumoured to be a Soviet agent via the Czech intelligence service.

“When Tom got very excited about the swinging sixties,” Martin Rowson said last night, “he tried to entice Mick Jagger to stand as a Labour MP and had dinner with him in the Gay Hussar. Everything was going swimmingly well until he started fondling Mick’s knee and rather blew it, as it were.”

There were two other people at that dinner: Mick’s girlfriend Marianne Faithfull and (the poet) W.H.Auden. While Tom and Mick were talking about Labour Party politics and the coming revolution, W.H.Auden asked Marianne:

Tell me. Have you ever smuggled drugs into the country?”

To which Marianne mumbled a reply. 

“Ever take them up the arse?” asked W.H.Auden

The evening broke up shortly afterwards.

Mark Seddon is a man who obviously shares my taste for the bizarre as, last night, he recommended people should take holidays in the people’s paradise that is North Korea – he has been there seven or eight times. He also told another story about George Brown.

The esteemed Labour politician was at a ball in Lima, Peru. With music playing and, having had quite a few drinks, George Brown was feeling ‘tired and emotional’ and went up to a vision of loveliness in a long gown, saying:

“Beautiful, beautiful lady in the red dress, can I have this next dance?”

To which the reply came: “Certainly not. This is the Peruvian national anthem… and I am the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima.”

1 Comment

Filed under Humor, Humour, Politics

The more bohemian forerunner of The Groucho Club in London’s Soho

Sophie Parkin at the Sohemian Society last night

Sophie Parkin at the Sohemian Society meeting last night

The Groucho Club stands rather discreetly in Dean Street, Soho, with no identifying name and behind windows half-hiding what goes on inside. Its members are media trendies, but rather respectable – even if they might have a self-image of themselves that they are not.

What they certainly are not is true bohemians. But Dean Street clubs were not always this way.

Last night, I went to the Sohemian Society in an upstairs room at the Wheatsheaf pub in what some call Fitzrovia, some North Soho and some aspirational estate agents even sometimes call Noho.

Sophie Parkin, daughter of Molly Parkin, was showing an extraordinary series of photos she had collected for her new self-published book about The Colony Room Club 1948-2008: A History of Bohemian Soho.

Sophie Parkin's new history of Bohemian Soho

Sophie Parkin’s new history of Sohemia

As I blogged a couple of days ago about self-publishing, it’s worth mentioning that Sophie has said “we are publishing it ourselves because it’s the only way to make any money from publishing. Authors’ advances have shrunk to the size of a cock in the North Pole. And having spent two years of my valuable life on this precious tome I didn’t want to be paid peanuts and then see it sink from lack of proper marketing.”

For most of its life, The Colony Room Club was run by the irreplaceable Muriel Belcher, who tended to welcome all comers  to the Colony with the greeting “Hello, Cunty!”

Based in a small upstairs room in Dean Street, the Colony became famous as a drinking club for the likes of painters Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, writer Dylan Thomas and polycreative George Melly.

Opposite the Colony Club in Dean Street stood the more up-market Gargoyle Club, which was interior-designed by the artist Henri Matisse and architect Edwin Lutyens and had as its chairman the painter Augustus John. It had been opened in 1925 by aristocratic playboy and bohemian David Tennant – not to be confused with Doctor Who – and actress Hermione Baddeley.

“David Tennant was very bohemian,” explained Sophie Parkin last night, “but he was very against ‘theatricals’, as he called them. So he would not allow even Hollywood actress Tallulah Bankhead to join his club straight away. It might be because of the story that she had met some kind of high-class landed gentry type Englishman and spent some time with him – ‘got to know him’ in a Biblical fashion – and the next time she saw him was in the Café Royal and he snubbed her, so she said loudly: What’s the matter, dahling? Can’t you recognise me with my clothes on?

Even more bizarre stories about the even more bohemian Colony Room Club abound, featuring the likes of writer William Burroughs, painter L.S.Lowry and ballet dancers Frederick Ashton and Robert Helpmann. With the likes of writers Keith Waterhouse, Johnny Speight and Jeffrey Barnard around and with sometime barmaid Kate Moss (the model) and barman Daniel Craig (later James Bond), the possibility of legendary stories arising is endless. In the early 1960s, even Christine Keeler and Stephen Ward were said to be frequent visitors.

There were other even more surprising luminaries – including spies Burgess & Maclean, who allegedly spent their last night in London at the Colony Room Club before they fled to the Soviet Union. And East End gangsters Ronnie and Reg Kray.

Sophie’s book includes quotes from Ronnie and Reg saying how much they enjoyed meeting artist Francis Bacon at the Colony and, last night, an audience member mentioned a rumour that the Twins had actually stolen some paintings from Bacon, then sold them back to him.

The Colony was known for its homosexual members at a time when homosexuality was, as Sophie says, “not just illegal but very illegal”

The Krays had been introduced to the club by their gay MP friend and Colony Room Club regular Tom Driberg (later reputed to be a Czech spy).

According to Sophie, Driberg “admitted to Christopher Hitchens in the Colony that he loved going into special committees in the House of Commons with semen still sticky at the corners of his mouth”.

“There’s a lovely story about Tom Driberg,” Sophie Parkin said last night, “getting annoyed with another member, Geoffrey Wheatcroft, who had become a publisher. In one book, Geoffrey had included a picture of him in the company of the Krays. Tom told him: I don’t want my reputation destroyed. He was complaining about this to Muriel Belcher at the Colony and she told him: You never seemed to mind when Ronnie’s cock was in your mouth.”

Sophie also talked about David Archer, the publisher in the early 1950s of Dylan Thomas, George Barker, Louis MacNeice and others.

“You can,” said Sophie, “name all the major poets of that era and he published them all in Parton Press and let them retain copyright. He had inherited a huge amount of money and didn’t care about money – He just gave it to people who didn’t have it. And then, at the end, he ran out of money and everybody deserted him. He lived in a bedsit and died penniless. He committed suicide and, the day after, suddenly this Foundation found him. They didn’t have the internet in those days. They had been searching for him for five years and they had another great big huge amount of money to give him.”

So it goes.

The Colony Room club is now no more.

So it goes.

It has been turned into three flats.

Sophie Parkin and her husband now live in Deal, Kent.

Last night, Sophie’s husband told me they hope to open the Deal Arts Club soon.

According to Sophie: “It will have to be a membership club – Ordinary people on a day trip to the seaside might be offended by the full use of our language and the freedom of our thoughts.”

Indeed.

After all, Sohemia is a state of mind rather than a physical location.

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, London, Writing

The pros and cons of sex workers

Amsterdam’s red light district De Wallen

My eternally-un-named friend told me yesterday that she was concerned my recent blogs may have tended towards sleaze and that some of that sleaze might seem to rub off on my blog.

I am not that concerned.

As I have said before, I do not necessarily agree with what I quote other people as saying in my blogs. If I were to make a desperate attempt to get into Pseud’s Corner, I look on this blog as a series of (with luck) interesting, occasionally funny (both haha and peculiar) insights into sometimes otherwise overlooked corners of social history in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Pepys into ephemera if I were really desperate to get into Pseuds’ Corner.

In September last year, I ran a blog headlined The great showmen and conmen of London: why I am proud to be British.

In it, I mentioned in passing a dwarf called Roy ‘Little Legs’ Smith who, in the 1960s, had allegedly worked for gangsters the Kray Twins as an ‘enforcer’ and had later appeared in The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour film.

This week, that blog got a comment:

I knew Little Legs briefly, towards the end of his life. He would visit his literary agent who had offices above ours in St. Martin’s Lane. Roy would pop in to visit us and have a sup of his ‘cold tea’ before tackling the second flight of stairs. He was quite a character and some of the stories you mention he told to us. Other stuff we later found out when his Obit was published.

I replied to the person who posted that comment, asking if they knew anything more about ’Little Legs’. I said:

He’s one of those interestingly vivid characters who simply disappears from human ken unless they are written about in print – even if it’s cyber print… Oh how I wish I’d talked to that bloke who used to walk along Oxford Street for years with a placard saying sitting was bad for you…!

I got this reply about ‘Little Legs’:

I wish I could remember all of his tales – but sadly some 20 years or so have elapsed since those days. I have a clear memory of Roy sitting in our office and telling Debbie and myself that he would marry us excepting that he already had a wife. I know he talked about his days with the circus and of his family but much more I can’t now remember.

 AM Heath, his literary agents, shared our building. Roy’s stature meant he couldn’t reach the latch on the door exiting onto St. Martin’s Lane – our acquaintance began when I heard him jumping and whacking at the latch with his stick and went down the stairs to open the door for him. And after that, he would often stop in on his way in and out of the building and pass the time with us.

Stanley Green, gone and doomed to be forgotten?

As for the man in Oxford Street with the placard:

Stanley Green – as a teenager in my first job near Oxford Street, I regularly saw Stanley Green with his placard. He was an object of fascination but not enough of a one for me to risk starting a conversation with him or taking one of his pamphlets.

I too am glad these people are not forgotten.

All that was a gentle lead-in to this…

I posted a blog yesterday headlined Comedian Chris Dangerfield spent over £200,000 in 18 months on having sex with Chinese prostitutes in London.

When I linked to it on my Facebook page, my account was immediately locked and a message came up saying there was a “site issue”. A few minutes later, the account was unlocked, but the posting had been removed.

I can only assume that the Facebook computer took offence at the title of my blog and presumed that anything with the £ symbol and the words “sex” and “prostitutes” might be some lady (or gent) of the night touting for business.

Strangely, the words I used in a previous blog title – Top comedy critic Kate Copstick spends $2,500 on prostitutes in Nairobi, Kenya – did not trigger any computer reaction.

But there have been several human responses to yesterday’s blog.

One (from a man) said:

Nothing quite like sloppy one-hundred and seconds on a woman who has probably been gang raped, people smuggled, beaten, pimped and possibly had her passport stolen, to be extorted back from her. Pretty funny really. Especially paid for by crack. ha ha! More people like Chris would improve the universe.

Another other reaction (from a women) was:

The percentage of sex workers on this planet who are raped or “extorted” is being sensationalised.  Certainly rapes and extortions are terrible events but the numbers are actually minimal compared to the vast majority who choose this line of business because it offers better hours, more fun and ten times the money than other work. This is especially so in impoverished countries where the other choices are demeaning dangerous domestic labour  or equally dangerous mindless repetitive jobs in  garment factories….If we really care, we need to focus on eradicating poverty, not prostitution.

I have to say that my tendency is more towards the first of those two reactions. But the strange thing I have found over many years is that (and I don’t think I am imagining this) the people who mostly believe prostitution should be legalised seem to be women and the people who tend to think ‘sex workers’ are trapped in a profession they would not willingly choose tend to be men.

I have never quite come to terms with why this should be.

But I am open to explanations.

***

There is more reaction to my blog about Chris Dangerfield HERE.

3 Comments

Filed under Nostalgia, Sex

Comedian Nick Wilty, a failed armed robbery & Malcolm Hardee’s power drill

Comedian Nick Wilty’s wedding on 28th September, 2008

Last night I went to Nick Wilty’s Whitstable Comedy Club aka the OyOyster Comedy Club. It is called OyOyster Comedy because Whitstable is known for its oysters and Nick’s late friend, comedian Malcolm Hardee, was known for saying, “Oy! Oy!”

A great comedy night – Adam BloomGeorge Egg and Sean McLoughlin.

Nick is himself extraordinary – a former British Army soldier who became a very very good stand-up comedian with itchy feet which meant he was forever travelling the world. At one time, he told me he was thinking of settling in the Far East but instead he got married in 2008 and moved to Whitstable. And, having been at the leopardskin-themed wedding (I can’t remember what I wore) and seeing him with his wife, I think he made the right decision.

I don’t think I have actually seen him since for any length of time, though we might have bumped into each other at the Edinburgh Fringe. But I do remember a meal we had at Kettner’s in London’s Soho on Thursday 21st November 2002.

Alright. I kept a diary, now transferred to my Apple Mac, and I did a ’search’. The diary entry for Thursday 21st November 2002 reads:

Lunch with comedian Nick Wilty at Kettner’s in Soho. In the 20 minutes before Nick arrived (I was early), I sat in the almost empty bar. The only other people there were former Kray Brothers associate Freddie Foreman and three men apparently talking about an armed robbery which had gone wrong and whether or not The South African had double-crossed them.

Nick told me he had left the army after the Falklands War because it had become boring – doing the same thing day in and day out. He served c1978-1982 but avoided Northern Ireland by (truthfully) saying he had lots of Irish mates and his sympathies tended towards Republicanism.

Nick told me that going onstage was like the first time he parachuted or bunji-jumped – fear in the pit of your stomach then a sudden change to exhileration when you were actually doing it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Crime, Military

The name of the very nice old lady sitting in a London club in the 1960s

Following yesterday’s blog which included tales of mad inventor John Ward’s brushes with the medical establishment, comes another tale from his repertoire.

“We dined out the other night with a friend,” he tells me. “And, in the ebb and flow of conversation, he mentioned one time he was down in London and attended a social evening at a local club. It must have been back in the 1960s.

“There was a raffle with a ‘star prize’ which was a brand spanking new, still-boxed upright vacuum cleaner. Back in the 1960s, these were quite expensive and, as such, they were much sought-after. So the obvious happened.

“Quite early in the evening, it did a Paul Daniels and vanished.

“There was one very nice old lady who was sitting at a table towards the front of the bar area. When she heard that the vacuum cleaner had been half-inched, she nodded to two rather large gentlemen who then went away.

“About an hour or so later, they returned with the ‘lost’ vacuum cleaner, still boxed and it was once again put on display.

“It turned out there had been a little ‘misunderstanding of sorts’ but, after those two large, bulky, awfully nice gentlemen told the person who had had the misunderstanding that the very nice old lady was very upset, he was more than happy to let the two gents take it back to the club.

“There was one slightly strange thing about the incident because, rather oddly, either the man who had had the understanding or one of the two large gentlemen who retrieved the missing item must have cut himself – perhaps on the cardboard box – as there seemed to be some smears of now dried blood on the box that had not been there beforehand as far as anybody could recall.

“It turned out the two men were twins and the very nice old lady was their mother: Mrs Violet Kray…”

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, London