A Dove Tail Joint
The lewd and highly erotic way with which Slingsby simultaneously wielded
his saxophone and gyrated his hips made many an admirer go weak at the
knees. His rugged good looks, his musicianship and his carefully cultured
mystique encouraged a huge number of admirers to try to get under his
emotional armour. But when approached he would curl up in his shell like
an aardvark under attack.
one person could truly coax him out, and that was Sally. Where Xero
had a tendency to be brusque, she was charm personified with a welcoming,
reassuring smile. If he was often oblivious to the feelings of those
around him, Sally was compassionate to a tee. They both kept themselves
very busy: She was a dab hand at making sequinned costumes, while
Xero preferred bashing holes through walls and doing "renovations".
moved in together fairly soon after meeting at a Leeds party and
their complimentary natures became ever more obvious as their home
life developed. The one major bone of contention in their relationship
was how to find enough days when they were simultaneously at home.
She worked with a magician who performed all of his tricks particularly
ineptly - The act revolved around her being the one in control.
She played the stunningly beautiful archetypal magician's assistant
but was forever having to rescue situations. Art imitating life,
maybe. She and the magician were very successful, performing on
a cabaret circuit that took in most of the UK and a great deal of
What Sally brought to Xero's life were poise, reliability, refinement
and humility. Xero brought her chaos, wildness, wackiness and a vulnerable
genius. He was hopelessly devoted to her. Before I left on that evening
when the Bedford died, Sally took me on one side. I'd already thought
that she'd been looking a bit worried.
" Don't let anything happen to him."
" He'll be right Sally. Don't worry. You know Xero, he's built like
a brick shithouse - he can even get hit by a bus and leave the bus with
" Yes, but I know his self-destructive streak too and I want you to
keep an eye on him. I'm relying on you. You know what he's like - he'll
finish a gig and go from one end of the optics behind the bar to the
other, and then turn round and drink his way back again. I want you to
keep on his case. Make sure nothing awful happens to him"
With that Xero came back from the toilet, poured another bottle of lethal
home brew and picked up an album cover to roll yet another joint.
" You two are conspiring about something aren't you? I can tell something
fishy is going on"
he was with Sally, that open smile appeared more often. Her spiky,
punky beauty reflected off him. It was as if there were two Xero
Slingsbys: the abrasive one that the public saw, and the sensitive
soul who hid crouched inside his stocky frame. The women he encountered
on the road stood no chance of getting under his shell. He was "spoken
for", as they say round Skipton way.
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