THE CITY: London. The year: 1984. Bus number 266 from Harlesden to Brent Cross Shopping Centre. It was a journey I did about once every couple of months. I can still remember sitting on the top deck of the bus and staring out the window. Many of the times I did the journey the days were grey and dull and there was an aroma of damp on the bus. As the bus travelled through Cricklewood, there was a used car dealership on the right hand side of the road. This car dealership had a range of used cars displayed in the forecourt. Nothing special about the cars or display … in fact I never saw a potential customer clocking any of the motors. I don’t even remember the name of the dealership. I was intrigued by this this bulk standard car dealership. I was intrigued as I imagined what the owner of this used car dealership would look like. My imagination of owner of this car dealership can be summed up by a name which is associated with dodgy dealings, fake promises, ducking and diving and in general being extremely slippery. I imagine the owner having to employ someone to protect him from the angry mob on his trail. I imagine the owner to be named Arthur Daily!
Minder. Many of you will have fond memories of the well dressed, well spoken, cigar smoking gentleman who was the proud owner of a used car business. First impressions can be deceiving and if you were unlucky enough to buy a car from Arthur Daily, you’d be fuming whilst stuck on the North Circular Road with the car bonnet up. Yep you’d had been scammed!
This mild mannered, Jaguar owner Arthur Daily did not just dabble in used cars, he had a stream of other avenues he dabbled in … import and export of fine wines, furniture sales, fine art, cutlery, electronics, fine clothing, shoes, event marketing and even protection. His lockup was the central storage location for all the items to be flogged to innocent buyers.
How could such a man get away unscathed from all these dodgy dealings? Enter Terry McCann … his Minder. Terry was the opposite to Arthur … honest, loyal, hardworking and thoughtful. Words didn’t flow from his mouth as eloquent as they did from Arthurs’, but he was a likeable chap. As an ex Boxer, Terry was useful with his fists which is the reason why Arthurs’ empire survived. It was not unusual for Terry to punch up numerous furious customers who had come to break Arthurs’ legs. So for all the loyalty shown by Terry, how did Arthur treat and reward him? No different to how he treated his innocent customers … ripped him off, gave him dodgy jobs, had him shifting furniture and would call at unsociable hours to ensure that his business stayed afloat.
Relationships … they say that opposites attract. That’s certainly true in this case. Terry threatened to leave his employer on many occasions. Sometimes he did leave but soon he would return when his smooth talking ex employer talked up big wads of cash to be earned. Typical of some couples who argue, threaten to leave, leave and then eventually come back to each other … opposites attract. The strange thing was that both Arthur and Terry were both likeable chaps in different ways. Arthur was slippery but you would find yourself chuckling at his antics. Terry was just … well … a likeable chap and all round nice guy. I have a sneaky feeling that for all the hostility they showed towards each other, they thrived off each other and couldn’t do without one another. That’s what happens when opposites attract.