Sunday, June 08, 2008


Reading a review of entertaining sounding "Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Burton, Harris, O'Toole and Reed" sent me back decades yesterday to the day that Sean Cashin, a schoolmate, told me - out of the blue as I recall - that his uncle Fergus was ghost writing Oliver Reed's autobiography.

I don't recall giving it another thought until I saw a copy of "Reed all about Me" in the local library. I was intrigued enough to borrow and read it, and delighted to find that the middle section - though apparently written in the first person by Oliver Reed - contained several excellent stories of the carousing of one Fergus Cashin which had only the most cursory connection, if any, to the putative author.

Memory roused yesterday, I googled him and found that in his pomp:
Nobody ever came into this newspaper business and left a bigger outline on the saloon bar floor than the magnificent Fergus Cashin. He was the grandest, most rip-roaring, one-man riot who ever tripped over the uneven pavements of old Fleet Street.
In his day he was the prince of all characters, an awesome giant of fun and fighting and a late-night legend in every joint in the West End that stayed open until dawn.
Opening hours were any time he was awake
....... read on .....

He's lost to us now, but even in the twilight of his years:
Fergus had given up liquid lunches but not the liquid dinners when I worked with him a decade after he had thrown his final punch in The Street.
My first day in journalism was at the Woking News and Mail in the summer of 1986 and at 11-ish the swing door was kicked open, and in walked Fergus.
That evening, he invited me for a jar at the office local, The Red House.
After that, journalism became fun.

Tremendous stuff. Fergus Cashin, a Welsh Born Icon.

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