A few days ago I got an email from Michael Morgan, who’d acted as press agent for Ray ‘The Cat’ Jones (the greatest burglar ever and one of my mother’s cousins to boot): “I wonder if you could find time and get in touch with me regarding a story about ‘Ray the Cat’ in Wales on Sunday on 1st November?” I replied: “I have to go into The City on Friday, if you’re still based around Dalston maybe we could meet at the The Masque Haunt (the Wetherspoons on the corner of Old Street and Bunhill Row) at 3pm on Friday? If this isn’t good let me know another day or time that is… And if you’re not in Dalston any more let me know…” Since I’d not heard back, and I felt like heading home to The Island (Isle of Dogs E14 that is, not Long Island) when I’d finished my editorial tasks on the Semina fiction series in the Book Works office, I called Michael Morgan on his mobile. Unfortunately all I got was an answer service, so I left message saying I’d head to the Masque Haunt anyway in the hope that he was there.
I arrived bang on time and had the joy of going around all the solitary afternoon drinkers (about a dozen) asking if they were Michael Morgan. None of them were, but I got asked plenty of questions by a couple of drinkers who seemed a bit bored. Is he a relative? Why don’t you know what he looks like? Why do you want to find him? Where’s he from? Is he thin and tall? So as a psychogeographical exercise in the classic ‘letterist’ style, this non-meeting sparked off many conversations and was very revealing of the ambiance of that particular bar (progressively proletarian, during the daytime anyway, and far more so than when I used to drink there a decade ago)… but I’m still curious to know what there is to discuss about the recent Wales On Sunday article. The piece by Nathan Bevan merely repeats in Michael Morgan’s words a story I’d blogged way back in June using a rare example of Ray The Cat’s own writing.
The long and the short of it is that Ray was always insistent he became a major league burglar to avenge himself against the cops, who’d fitted him up and in the process inadvertently caused the death of his brother. It’s nice to see information about my most famous criminal relative becoming more widely known, since Wales On Sunday clearly reaches a few people who don’t regularly check this blog, but what really interests me is putting fresh information about Ray The Cat into the public domain. This was, of course, one of the things that really pleased me about my last Ray Jones blog, I was making available a story that as far as I knew was not until then a matter of public record. And it is, of course, particularly important that this tale of a fit-up becomes as well known as Ray’s legendary jewel thefts and prison escapes.
Hopefully I will manage to meet up with Michael Morgan soon, and get some new stories. But if you have any tales about Ray ‘The Cat’ Jones, please get in touch. Only by stories about Ray being collected and disseminated can his legend live on!
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!
Comment by Zen Master K on 2009-11-21 14:13:34 +0000
Last time I met you in the Masque Haunt you had a double Laphroaig with an espresso chaser. Weird!
Comment by Snake Oil Martin on 2009-11-21 19:12:15 +0000
I have a special liquid that will entice everyone called Michael to come over and talk to you every time you enter a pub. A bargain at only £20!
Comment by Michael Kearney on 2009-11-21 19:21:10 +0000
If it wasn’t for Ray The Cat, Brian Epstein would never have signed The Beatles.
Comment by fi on 2009-11-21 19:48:34 +0000
and that is a piece of music history worth contemplating I would say..
Comment by Benjamin Peret on 2009-11-22 12:10:00 +0000
What did Ray Jones dream about when he was locked in a prison cell?
Comment by Shirley Jones on 2009-11-22 13:07:12 +0000
I’d like to play Ray’s mother if there’s ever a movie biog of his life.
Comment by I’m Franklin on 2009-11-22 14:05:52 +0000
I’ve also thought if you got naked and greased yourself up you might be able to slid though the bars of a prison cell… and if the prison was located near a nudist beach you could just blend n with that scene and eventually steal some clothes to make your getaway! Either that or get into knitting on the nudist beach and make yourself some new clothes…..
Comment by Harry Houdini on 2009-11-22 14:40:46 +0000
Ray The Cat Jones is my metaphorical son!
Comment by Dick Miller on 2009-11-22 15:01:40 +0000
All the Walter Paisley-style hep cat’s think Ray The Cat Jones is the coolest cat of ’em all!
Comment by Jackie Whitehead on 2009-11-22 16:32:56 +0000
Ray The Cat was always so much more of a man than that twerp Peter Scott, whose sexual obsession with me caused so many problems at Churchills Club when I worked there – including a punch up in which Andrew Meadows, son of the owner Harry Meadows, got hit. I don’t know why Ray and his mate Tatters Catham bothered training Scott up in their burglary techniques, Scott was such an stupid squirt.
Comment by Peter Parker on 2009-11-22 18:02:53 +0000
Reading your various blogs about Ray The Cat’s human fly like activities left me climbing the walls. You make ordinary decent criminals like Ray soound so much better than bent cops!
Comment by Giorgio Moroder on 2009-11-22 18:17:52 +0000
Ray The Cat rocks!
Comment by Dixon Of Dock Green on 2009-11-22 22:39:49 +0000
If I’d found the scum who fitted Ray The Cat up on my patch, I’d have had them banged up! There’s nothing I dislike more than a bent copper! Shake in your shoes turncoat policemen, you’re nicked!
Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-11-22 22:47:47 +0000
Speaking of Book Works (and referencing a past blog), did those books for that New York book fair ever turn up or have they disappeared from this dimension?
Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-11-22 23:26:48 +0000
I just got the news when I was in on Friday that the books had finally got through to the distributor in LA after much bureacratic delay…. and I should go and post this on the original blog too! Thanks for reminding me.
Comment by Michael K on 2009-11-23 20:01:09 +0000
If it wasn’t for Ray The Cat, Leggy Mountbatten would never have signed The Rutles.
Comment by Doris Stokes on 2009-11-23 20:02:49 +0000
Last time I met K in the Masque Haunt, he put a can of Red Bull into his Talisker. The cheeky monkey
Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-11-23 22:11:08 +0000
That’s a waste of a good malt!
Comment by Doris Stokes on 2009-11-24 08:49:57 +0000
You tell him, Stewart. hahaha
Anyway, being as K often consults me to try to contact Paul McCartney in the afterlife about that £5 he’s owed, I’m probably going to be seeing him at the Masque Haunt in the near future. You should come down for a knees-up
Comment by Michael K on 2009-11-25 16:02:30 +0000
You’re dead, Doris. I consult you because I want to get in touch with McCartney in the Here and Now. I ain’t afraida no ghosts!
Comment by Doris Stokes on 2009-11-25 16:05:59 +0000
Hahaha. Oh you’re a silly boy, Michael. I was just chatting to Mary Whitehouse earlier about that time you came out of the bathroom with your flies undone. And since you an’ me aint wearing any underwear, I think Mary nearly had to phone the Director General at the BBC. Oh how we laughed!
Comment by Michael K on 2009-11-25 16:20:02 +0000
I think I remember…but tnext time I don’t want you bringin’ any of your otherwordly gangsta be’atches to The Masque Haunt. Number one, therey have a limited range of sauces in the Wetherspoons chain of pubs and there’s no point in asking the barmaid for chutney and chives. And Number Two I’m already getting enough GBH of the earhole from them indoors without having to deal with the likes of Mary Whitehouse bending my inner ear.
Plus, if Home comes, he’ll be ideologically opposed to whatever she’s drinking
Comment by Doris Stokes on 2009-11-27 18:43:12 +0000
But I thought Home liked Babycham!