Born in Barrow County, Georgia, in 1904, Charles Arthur Floyd, alias "Pretty Boy", participated in the Kansas City Massacre in 1933 when four law enforcement officers, including one FBI Special Agent, were killed. A leading light in the classic age of American gangsters, Pretty Boy was up there with John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde and Baby Face Nelson. Known as Choc, after the popular local Choctaw Beer, for which, early in his teens, he displayed a liking, Floyd first fell foul of the law when he took part in a hit on a payroll in St Louis in 1925. When the payroll master first described the three unidentified hoods to the police, he referred to Choc as "a mere boy – a pretty boy with apple cheeks." Charlie was sent to Missouri State Penitentiary where for a spell he worked as a cook on kitchen duty, then as a machine operator in the factory where the inmates made their own shoes and clothing, then as a plumber’s assistant. On his release he gained nationwide notoriety as one of the most colorful, nervy bank robbers in the history of Depression-era America. A Robin Hood who enjoyed hitting back against the wealthy for the defence of the poor, he is remembered in legend and in song, recalled not with a shudder but with almost a fond salute. Floyd was killed in 1934 by FBI Agents and local police officers while resisting arrest.
AKA The Boston Strangler. Or was he? And come to that, was he really a plumber? His father Frank DeSalvo certainly was, although he let down the profession by being an alcoholic who knocked seven bells out of the missus, broke every one of her fingers, occasionally sold his children as slaves for $9 and made them watch him having sex with prostitutes in the front room. No wonder Albert went bad. In 1948 Albert joined the army straight from school and was stationed in occupied Germany where in Frankfurt he married a local girl. In 1956 DeSalvo left the army with an honourable discharge when it was claimed that he had sexually molested a nine-year old girl. He returned to Boston, Massachusetts. From June 1962 to January 1964 The Boston Strangler held the women residents of that city in fear for their lives as he claimed 13 victims in a 19-month reign of terror, talking or breaking his way into his victims apartment then strangling them to death. The Strangler sometimes passed himself off as a detective to gain entrance, sometimes as a plumber. He certainly was a plumber as played by Tony Curtis in the classic movie, The Boston Strangler. DeSalvo was arrested for sexual assault in 1964 and it was when he was in prison that he first boasted, then confessed to being The Boston Strangler, telling police in great detail about each killing. There are now grave doubts that he was indeed the killer. In November 1973, Albert DeSalvo was found dead in his prison cell, stabbed through the heart six times, although his killer was never caught.
He was the pianist who brought joy with his tinkling fingers and his twinkling smile. This attractive combination brought Russ Conway huge success in live concert and on record, and made him one of Britain’s biggest-selling artists of the 1950s and 1960s. From his first chart success in 1957 with a medley of other artists’ Party Pops through to his 1962 hit Always You and Me, Conway spent 168 weeks in the music charts. After leaving school at 14, his father found the young Russ a job in a solicitors’ office, but this ended when he was sent to borstal for three years after stealing some money he found in a packet. He had always wanted to go to sea and, following his release from borstal, his father agreed to send him to a Merchant Navy Training School. He served in the Royal Navy during the war, taking part in minesweeping operations in the Aegean, before returning to the Merchant Navy. He was discharged in 1948 with a stomach complaint and worked as a salesman, machinist, plumber’s mate and barman before another spell back at sea. He became one of Britain’s biggest-selling music artists before The Beatles, chalking up sales of 30 million records, but his career came to a premature halt when he suffered a stroke in 1965. He died in November 2000.
A comic genius from the golden age of the silent cinema, the Prince of Whales was the first comedian ever to be hit by an on-screen custard pie. He was working as an overweight plumber in 1913 when he was discovered by Mack Sennett. He had come to unclog the film producer’s drain but Sennett had other plans for him. He took one look at his hefty frame and offered him a job as a Keystone Kop. Eight years later, Roscoe signed a three-year contract with Paramount for $1 million – an unheard of amount at the time, even in Holywood. To celebrate, Arbuckle and his pals booked into a room at the St Francis Hotel in San Francisco. It was to be his undoing. It was there that he was falsely accused of the rape and murder of starlet Virginia Rappe. The courts eventually cleared him but the public never did. After a huge media witch-hunt, Fatty never regained his popularity and died of a heart attack aged 46.
The former FBI agent who helped plan the Watergate break-in has capitalized on his burglary legend and taken his political views to the airwaves. George Gordon Liddy’s ultra-conservative radio talk show based in Fairfax, Virginia is broadcast on 232 stations nationwide. Liddy was convicted for his role in the Watergate break-in, for conspiracy in the Daniel Ellsberg case and for contempt of court spending nearly five years in prison. In 1986, a federal appeals court found Liddy liable for $20,499 in back taxes on Watergate slush-fund money, rejecting his claim that he did not benefit from the more than $45,000 he had received. As one of the White House plumbers, Liddy spent about $300,000 engineering political dirty tricks and the Watergate break-in. Amongst his many outrageous claims, Liddy says he once ate a rat to conquer his fear of rats. He once asked, "Why is it there are so many more horses’ asses than there are horses?" If anyone knows, he should. Now 66, Liddy lives in Fort Washington, Maryland.
AKA Sam DeCavalcante. AKA Sam the Plumber. He was the boss of the Mafia’s New Jersey based DeCavalcante Family from the 1960s until the mid 1970s. In 1961, the FBI planted a listening device in DeCavalcante’s plumbing supply shop, and recorded him discussing criminal activities with other Mafia members and with politicians until they removed the device in 1965. In 1969, two thousand pages of the "DeCavalcante Tapes", also known as the "Goodfella Tapes", were made public but were never used against DeCavalcante because the FBI had never obtained a court order to plant the listening device. DeCalvacante was convicted of another crime that same year and served three years in prison. He retired to Florida in 1976 and died there of natural causes at age 84. The DeCavalcantes are now believed by many to be the leading and most powerful crime family in New York.
General Dostum is the whisky-drinking former plumber who rose through the ranks of the Afghan puppet army that the Soviet Union ran in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He was eventually appointed head of Khad, the hated Communist secret police agency, where he had ample opportunity to indulge his penchant for ruthlessness and savagery. Dostum is a nickname which means "everyone’s friend", and since the collapse of the Communist regime he has shown himself to be an expert player in the byzantine world of Afghan politics, changing sides three times. Whether it be the Uzbeks, the anti-Taleban Northern Alliance, the Americans or the International League of Plumbers, Dostum always wants to be on the winning side. Dostum is said to have grown hugely wealthy from his various side-switches. He certainly fared better than those who crossed him as his death squads acquired a reputation for ruthless brutality. He is earmarked by many as a future leader of Afghanistan.
Plastics explosion. Loads deid.
Mair troubles on my heid.
No ma fault.
If you cannae rely on Reliance
Whit can ye do
Cons will be on the skite
And I’ll be on the broo
Oh Reliance they are wonderful
Reliance they are swell
They transport the prisoners
And let them go as well
And when a killer’s on the run
You can always tell
When some bugger’s been freed by Reliance
Well blow me down with a gift voucher from B&Q.
I was in this house in Argyll Avenue, up to my elbow in this woman’s waste pipe, when I heard the news on the radio. Turns out Tony Blair did nothing wrong in the whole David Kelly Iraq thingy after all. He’s cleaner than a Belfast sink on the 12th of July. Blimey.
At least that’s what Lord Betty Hutton says and what with him being a proper lord and all, who are we to disagree? Here was me thinking that Tony was in as much doo-doo as I was but no. Lord Betty says he’s innocent and that’s good enough for me.
Seems old Doc Kelly didn’t know his arsenal from his elbow and he topped himself after blabbing his big mouth off to that blubberguts from the BBC. The four-eyed fat boy reporter then made up all these nonsensicals about sexing up the dossiers just to get old Tony Blameless into bother. Makes me bleedin blood boil so it does.
The leftie bean eaters at the Beeb are no better than the scumbuckets that work for The Sun or the Mirror. They both make everything up but at least the tabloids have the decency to fill their pages with pictures of Jordan getting her bazookas out in the jungle. You can just about forgive a paper full of old horse droppings if it also has photographs that help the working man pass his lunch hour.
Lord Betty says that Tony didn’t order some beneathling to beef up the weapons report — that was just a figleaf of Andrew Gilliguts’ imagination. Saddam had all these weapons alright and in 45 minutes he could have found them in the holes he buried them in 10 years ago, dug them up, brushed out the sand, found some German scientists to put them back together, do a few tests so they didn’t blow up in his moustache then point them at the west and destroy anyone within a 20 miles radius. Them’s the truth whatever way you cooks your apples.
Betty also made it perfectly bleedin clear that there was no way Blair murdered old Doc Kelly. No way. He didn’t actually rule out Blair ordering fat boy Prescott to take Kelly down the woods, dope him up and give his wrist a slice. But then he didn’t actually say he did either. Ipso quod escape routus.
You see the bottom line — and if anyone knows the importance of the bottom line it’s a plumber — is that old Saddam the Sadist needed sorting out. Tony knew it, George Dubya knew it, even Mrs McGillivray in Ronald Place knew it and she’s as mad as a cheese roll. The plonkers at the BBC knew it too but oh no, they had to play up to the vegetarians and the Save The Whale crowd. “Oooh, show us proof.” Proof? I’d give them proof till they couldn’t sit on a cushion for a month.
That blubbery traitor Gilligan should be taken out into the streets and stuffed with meat pies till he bursts on national telly. That’s the only language these people understand. You see Gilliguts is the sort of bloke who has low self-esteem on account of him being fat and four-eyed so he makes stuff up to make himself important and get on the telly. I saw it on Sky once when I was waiting for a late night artistic movie to come on. It’s called Baron Munchhorses Symphony or something. Lying towrag if you ask me.
I’ve always said if you go throwing shit around then you better make sure the wind doesn’t change or your face will stick like that. And if it’s true in plumbing then it’s true in life.
Now I’m not saying that Blair wouldn’t go making stuff up — I’m a plumber but I’m not that bleedin dolly. But the thing is, if he did then he would have been making it up for a good cause, right? And anyways he’s too flippin clever to get caught out by a fatty like Gilligan. If Blair was a bit ecumenical with the truth then Gilligan wasn’t going to see it. Blimey he can’t even see his own feet.
No, we can all sleep easy in our beds tonight knowing that British justice is as safe as it ever was. As long as we have men like Lord Betty looking out for the better interests of the empire then we know things are all right.