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Gerry Rafferty RIP

From The Guardian

The singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty, whose songs such as Stuck in the Middle with You, Baker Street and Get it Right Next Time soundtracked the 1970s, has died aged 63 after a long illness.

His family said he died at home peacefully with his daughter Martha this morning.

The Scot was born in Paisley, near Glasgow, played with Billy Connolly’s folk outfit the Humblebums, and co-founded the soft-rock group Stealer’s Wheel, before enjoying a successful solo career. Baker Street, released in 1978, was still netting him £80,000 a year more than 30 years later.

Rafferty endured battles with the music industry – once taking three years to disentangle contracts – and a problem with alcohol. When he was a child his mother would drag him round the streets of Glasgow, rather than risk his suffering violence at the hands of his Irish-born father, who would often come home drunk.

Although sure of his own abilities, Rafferty was fearful of working with stars such as Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney. On occasion his drinking would lead him to smashing cases of expensive wine.

He divorced from his wife Carla in 1990. They met at a dance hall when she was 15 and married five years later. She said: “There was no hope. I would never have left him if there had been a glimmer of a chance of him recovering.”

Rafferty, having once owned a Kent farm and a home in Hampstead, moved to California to be near (his daughter) Martha, before moving to Ireland in 2008 and later Dorset.

In recent years, he was better known for alcohol-fuelled incidents, apparent disappearances and poor health than for his music. His last album, Another World, was released in 2000.

Thirty Years Ago

The police had spent huge manpower, time and resources trying to find this man:

Who he?

He’s John Humble who convinced the police in 1979, via hoax letters and phone calls. that he was the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’.

Hoaxers are usually eliminated very quickly from police investigations but this one had them hook, line and sinker. His actions allowed the real ripper to commit at least another three murders.

Humble was eventually caught, tried and sentenced in 2006. He was released in 2009.

The real Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe was finally arrested on January 2nd in 1981.

This fascinating article, by Jonathan Margolis tells of him being the first reporter with the information that Sutcliffe had been charged, thirty years ago today.

Margolis writes in today’s Mirror:

The man, Tom Garside, couldn’t have been more welcoming. It turned out Tom and his wife Mary had been convinced for months that their strange neighbour was the Ripper, but couldn’t get the police interested.

My mouth fell open as the Garsides talked about Sutcliffe and my shorthand deteriorates as it goes along, such was my excitement at the details emerging.

He was a lorry driver, they said, and his wife Sonia was a supply teacher.

The Sutcliffes were “a queer sort of couple” but good enough neighbours.

Mary told me: “He has an old Rover he works on a lot. He goes out late after other people have gone to bed, and he doesn’t come back until the morning.”

“The strangest thing,” said Tom, “was that he often used to burn his clothes on a bonfire in the garden and it always seemed to be after one of the murders.”

Extraordinary.

Cool Blues

Scots guitarist Miller Anderson.

Thanks to Tam Marley.

Evangelist Latest

Hilarious article here by Andy Borowitz about Pat Robertson amongst others.

Remembering some of Robertson’s previous proclamations, at first I thought it was a news report rather than satire!

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