Butcher Boy ( Part 15 1976, Roy)
Second part for 1976.
In stark contrast to mine, Roys 1976 would be horrendous. It started well, Christmas had been a great earner and trade in both shops was great in January.
Lots of deals were happening, a lorry load of Tea had turned up and was dispatched very quickly through Mr Patel and numerous contacts. Colin and The Cousins were busy forging Luncheon Vouchers and this was a fantastic earner. It was like printing money but without the risk. Everyone took Luncheon Vouchers and you could buy almost anything with them. From Fish and Chip shops to Supermarkets, if you saw the LV sign on the door, you were in! No one looked at them carefully cos they were just Luncheon Vouchers, only worth 25p each. Roy was selling them to his contacts for 15p each, he was paying only 10p each for them so was making 5p a time. Not much you might say, but when you’re selling 500 books of them and each book had 20 in them suddenly its serious money.
But this was the year that Roy lost money on a deal. Lots of money. It hadn’t happened before and Roy was fucking furious.
In March we had attended a Black Tie Boxing event with The Cousins. There was a table of 8 of us. On our table was a guy called Richard. Richard owned a couple of clothes shops in Essex. He drove a Red Rolls Royce and thought he was the bollocks. He seemed to have money to burn. When we sat down at the table he said it was his round and we all agreed to have beer. So he ordered a case of beer, 24 bottles in a case. When a case of beer was bought over for us, Richard stood up and said “What the fucks this?” The waiter said it was what he had ordered. “No you stupid cunt, I meant a crate each!” he roared with laughter and so did all of us. Sure enough within 5 minutes we all had a case of beer beside us!
Not to be outdone, about half an hour later, one of the cousins stood up and said “ Lets have a bottle of whisky” Once again the waiter went away and got us a bottle of whisky. Same story, Teddy stands up and says “ No, a fucking bottle each!” This went on all night. It ended up with each of us having a bottle each of Whisky, Brandy, Bacardi, Gin, Vodka and loads of beer. We decided to give it all to the best boxer of the night. Imagine the young kids face, as we presented him with about 30 bottles of different spirits!
Richard had a word with Roy about Jeans, “ If you get any Jeans mate, I’ll have the lot” Now this was a dangerous thing to say to Roy, cos now he would put an order out with Gaz, and the boys would go to work and get them. Sure enough within 2 weeks Gaz was on the phone. “ Got the Jeans you wanted Roy, Levis, 5000 pair”
Great news for Roy. Roy made the call to Richard. I heard the tone of his voice change when he was on the phone to Richard. “ What do you mean, you’ll have 50 pair? I’ve got you fucking 5000 pair!”
Problem was, Richard had no idea he was dealing with professionals, he could talk big, but when it came down to it he just didn’t have the means to take this amount. He was also going through a divorce which was costing him a fortune.
Gaz turned up with the Jeans later that day. Roy said he would get rid of them as usual but explained to Gaz that his contact had let him down. “No problem Roy, let me go and have a chat with him and help him change his mind” Roy knew what this meant, Gaz would probably have someone beat him up or even worse!
Now, Roy was a criminal, no two ways about it, but he wasn’t into getting people beaten up or maimed! He told Gaz not to worry and he would have his money in a few days. He had no idea how he could get rid of them. He had flooded the market with Jeans just a few months before and no one really wanted any more. Certainly not 5000 pair of the fuckers! He paid Gaz £5 a pair for them out of his own money. So he coughed up £25000. He ended up selling them on for £10000, he lost £15000 on the deal.
Richards name was never mentioned again, he never went to any more events with Roy or the cousins. He sold both his shops in Essex and moved to Australia later that same year. I think he knew he had upset some serious people!
The summer of 1976 was the hottest on record, it started early and seemed to never end. Most days it was in the 90,s. Now, people don’t buy meat when it’s hot. No one wants a nice Sunday roast when it’s boiling hot outside, everyone has salads. We all knew this from experience but we weren’t prepared for just how quiet it was. People didn’t have barbeques back then, like we do nowadays, most of our customers didn’t even have a back garden. Also that summer there were talks about Fords going on strike ( they eventually did in September), most of our ladies husbands worked at Fords and decided to make cut backs. Instead of buying chops or steaks, it was now just mince and sausages. Basically Roy was losing money every week from the two shops!
But Roy was still spending big as usual, his bets were just as big, his wife was still buying the most expensive clothes, the twins were kitted out with the best of everything. Roy had just bought Sue a brand new Audi. So there were still big outgoings but the incomings were not as big.
I noticed something change in Roy in 1976, where as before this had all been one big game, now it had become a burden. He now had to have the deals, where as before he could take it or leave it.
He decided to sell the Plaistow shop and concentrate just on East Ham. Someone made him an offer for it ( one of Mr Patels friends), they wanted to convert three shops into a small supermarket. Roy sold the shop in September.
And then of course there was the gun fight, but that’ll have to wait for the next part!