16 November 2009


A pal of mine in the UK used to hold that a man suddenly 'getting' gym was a sure sign of an affair.

Fair point. I always ramp up the old exercise when I meet someone for whom I'd prefer the belt not to roll.

Now I hear he's hoisted with his own petting, and interesting the way he was busted.

CCTV is everywhere in England, I hear. My pal bit the dust to exactly that way:

  • Attends gym to tuck and buck in where it counts
  • CCTV on the square sells fotos of car plates to local electronology shop, sends invite to look in ~ 'We notice that you are a patron of the 'Gregory Pectorals Gym and Skirt Satisfier', thought you might ... yadda yadda.'
  • Wifey opens mail and decides he WELL might. Bluffs. Confession.
  • Sticky soir.

    How I know is that he mailed me and I mailed a policier mate who came back with the anonymous info'. Therein lies a tale, how I have these pals in dark places.

    Back in the late 1960s when I was a streetsinger in the underpass outside Baker St tube/Tussauds, I was impeccably behaved but still the strolling cops would descend and give me a bad time. Sometimes the charges read out to the Beak had me gasping - even more than the thwacking I'd get from the law once they'd took me down the station for whatever trumpeds.

    What I didnt know was that the Globe pub on t'other side was run by an ex-CID worthy whose 2 sons played the guitar and welcomed me to play with them as ex-Fuzz Dad sang 'Ragtime Cowboy Joe' and told me my money was of no use there.

    Thereon I always offered to play free at any charity fuzz nite, childrens charity, etc - golden boy. So-o-o, one evening a bunch of young rozzers came in and I recognised some of the lads who'd duffed me over. I told the sons who told dad who took me aside and asked me to write down everything I remembered.

    Long to short, they'd been working on just such delrovian cowboys and my witness was a bonus.

    Over the years I made many pals and when I got big in books I'd donate freebie advance copies to the library and slip the prefects handsome vols for themselves and their wives and kids.

    Supreme moment was when I was plugging a very senior and respected ex-CID (Glaswegian) commander's novel and took him in there.

    Jim was the sort of bulky gent that when we went into the pubs round my Soho office the lads would stiffen.

    "They can smell me, Chris, and I can smell them."
    and indeed it seemed to be true.

    Jim remembered some of the faces and of course they were prostrate:

    "Large Chivas, if I remember ... sir?"

    "No other kind, son."

    I told them about Boothby asking for a scotch in a club,

    "Single or double, sir?"

    "No such thing: There's a dirty glass or there's a scotch. Gimme a scotch."

    Jim used surfaces and mirrors. Lunching in the Venezia, he suddenly asked me did I know the waiter.

    "Something wrong, Jim?"

    "Not yet but I'd tell the lady by the window to move her purse away from the table to her right. The man in the bowtie has made two passes at it. Next one, it'll be to his mate with the mac when he comes over to say hello or ask for a light."

    And he was always right.


    Simon Baddeley said...

    Sublime and I get to read this amber prose for free.

    Busker said...

    'Amber Prose' indeed. I write stories for various UK mags, all under plumage and I'm always after new names.
    To my fury, none of my butch male disguises sell - Kint Fie, Matt Lust, Chunk Smith (wot Vic Gollancs advise le carre to write under), whereas my lady names sell sell sell.

    each one gives me a differnt feel and i write accordingly.

    Amber Preaux is perfect, i have a gap for her arch Merteuil-oise tattling.

    my darling agent (never bust my cover) passes on the hate mail: "I happened to pick up my wife's magazine and read yr short story "Small Rainbows" and it's a load of crap. You havent the faintest idea how men think. He would never have behaved like that n your dialog is a joke. Tell your bloke (if u have one, i reckon youre a lezzie, ask me) to give u some lessons. Better, try listening to him."
    'Dear Lester, how kind of you to write with such helpful 'feedback'. I rely on my readers' responses and yours is particularly helpful. I do have a 'bloke', as you put it, and I showed him your letter. He smiled at the suggestion that I listen to *him*. Perhaps I do monopolise the conversation. Good point."