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.”
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.
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.”
“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.