Life: May 2004 Archives
I was once asked to mind the house of a close personal friend of mine. I was at a cross-roads in my life. I wondering if music management was really for me and had toyed with managing entertainers instead. As there was a plethora of acts around in the North West at the time I thought I was considering this sideways move. I had just thought of the name, "Anywhere's a stage!" (not too catchy in hindsight, but it was all I could think of inside the printers under pressure just before closing on a Friday night) when one of my turns called and told me he was going away for the weekend. The Great Quasi-Mysterio, a hunchback magician who was a neat bell ringer, was thinking about signing onto my books when he got a call that a friend in Hull who needed him for a speciality night in a late night chicken in a basket party.
The Great Quasi-Mysterio, Billy Robotham to his ex-wife and family, was a small man who made a room look even bigger due to his enforced hump. He joked that it was the years of carrying his ex-wife around on his back, but everyone knew that involved a DIY sex act that went wrong. Well, it was pretty much common knowledge as it was the reason that Alma put down on the divorce papers as the reason for the split. He used to be a man of around five and a half feet, but his stoop meant that he was more like four and a half now. He had been a significant member of the Stoke-on-Trent Magic Circle, but once news spread of his divorce papers they were not too keen to keep him a member so he shuffled off to make a name for himself in adult entertainment.
He was a brilliant bloke who liked a laugh and a drink. I remember once when we were waiting on a train in Carlisle and he hid inside an oversized hold-all and asked us to leave him on the platform opposite ours. When the station managers got a bit worried about the parcel they went to investigate it. As they got close to it, Quasi started to move around in the bag. When they went to unzip the bag, he jumped out and started to tell them how he had been abducted by four men in adult sized romper suits. He must have been quite convincing because the police took four hours to interview him and we nearly missed our train.
As he was in Hull he asked if I could look after his house for the weekend. I was low on cash and he provided all the food and drink that I would need. As he was a generous man I understood that there would be enough food to feed an army so I agreed. His house was one that had been in the family for years and had been passed down over three or four generations. His family were a very inventive lot, in fact his great great great uncle was said to have been the man who invented the toeless sock. Rumour has it that he had toyed with the idea of wearing it around the ankles in a leg-warmer fashion, but the fashion-istas of the day in Chorley, Lancashire, didn't think too highly of such a "gratuitous item of apparel". Had he lived today he may have been mistaken as a visionary. Some how though, the family made a lot of money and managed to buy a house of significant size and grandeur. It was called, "The Rose" by the family, while locals called it Raymond's Folly. Raymond Rowbotham had designed and built it in a Gothic Castle style at the beginning (which included a mote), then changed his mind and thought he would have some Elizabethan Tudor style house only to change his mind in the final years of construction and introduce some Greco-Roman architecture to the front of the house.
End of part one... to be continued