One of Xero's favourite pastimes was meandering around the backstreets
of Leeds 6 collecting junk from the skips which were to be found outside
the many houses being renovated to house ever more students. He had a
lock-up garage full of the rich pickings he had found over the years.
Slingsby intended one day to build his own girocopter out of the junk
he had amassed, but for the time being he made do with getting around
town on his fully customised unicycle. Like Eric, he was something of an instrument
maker, although his own inventions often more closely resembled the plumbing
from beneath a sink.
from Tubby Titters, there was the U-Bendophone, the Pandemoniphone and the Bikepumpophone.
The Pandemoniphone was a coal scuttle with
dials affixed to the front in the shape of a face. On top was a
rustic keyboard made from offcuts of timber and ancient piano ivories.
Each key set off a different car horn, so that a random pressing
of the keys sounded like gridlock on the Headrow in rush hour (were it in Rome, not Leeds). This
instrument was renamed The Death Pandemoniphone and retired from
active service when Xero touched it and nearly died of an electric
shock at the Cafe Damberd in March '85.
once discovered a second world war tank microphone which, when strapped
to his throat, somehow picked up his saxophone. When he fed it through
an auto-wah it sounded like a heavily forcefed goose on laughing
gas. If you'd like to hear it, have a listen to "Up Down", a tune
in the remarkable signature of 15/16 time which he, Louis and Gene
always had immense difficulty finishing in synch.