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The Gypsy word for man is "Mush", it rhymes with push or whoosh. In the 1940's and 50's it was in everyday use, "Morning Mush", greeted many a person as they started their day. "Thanks Mush", would have been said to a friend for a favour granted. "See you Mush", would be heard when saying goodbye, "Sod off Mush", was an indication you should go elsewhere. "F*ck Off Mush", meant you should do so quickly. However, by the early 1960's, the expression "Mush" was dying, and by the late sixties it was dead, and the word "Mate" took its place. Somehow I missed the word "Mush," I was fond of hearing it, but that is the way with a spoken language, its a living thing that's constantly evolving, for nothing is forever........... .................................OR SO I THOUGHT.
Some friendships are forever, and in the middle of the eighties I had the pleasure of discovering that. After almost two decades of greatly enjoyed success I found myself experiencing something new......... Failure! My once golden touch had deserted me and much of it was my own fault. Yes, I could point to some bad luck but when one faced reality I could see I had been far too sure of myself, over confident to a fault. It could be argued that when failure comes in the door, friendship goes out of the window, and I did notice a decline in invitations to dine, I also discovered that with three special people, friendship was forever, one of these friends was Malcolm Scott. This memory is about him and it starts the day we met.
It was 1973 and I was flying high. My five year old company had four shops and I was in my office in our central Warehouse when I discovered that my London based Advertising Agency had failed for the second time, to supply my promotional signs on time. My mind went back a few days to when I had been in one of our shops and had found a scruffy little leaflet stuffed in the letter box. It had been from a firm called, "Signs and Posters", and I had binned it. I phoned the branch Manager hoping the rubbish had not been collected and thankfully it hadn't. Just two hours later I and my driver walked into the small workroom of one "Malcolm Scott". He looked at me, nodded, and uttered the words, "Alright Mush", an expression I hadn't heard for years. I was to learn there were many expressions unique to Malcolm. I could tell he was weighing me up as he gazed at me in my smart suit and I sensed his manner seemed somewhat defensive, I was to later learn his first impression of me was....... "Tory Git"! I explained who I was and what I required of him and I left him with an order. He supplied it on time and his work was excellent and in the months that followed I gave him more and more work and he never disappointed.
I found him a fascinating chap for he was strangely knowledgeable. He was also great company to be with and his work was always superb but I also discovered he had very strong opinions. I recall one occasion just before the Christmas of 1973 when we were enjoying a pub lunch together. "I suppose you're a Tory", he said. When I replied, "No", he asked, "Liberal"? I shook my head and he half rose, "Labour", he enquired, clearly pleased. That soon changed when straight faced I replied..... " No Fascist"! Malcolm immediately erupted as he furiously told me what he thought of me and I do not believe it would be physically possible to stick my work where he suggested. But then, and with a few more choice words as to my parentage, he was up and away and back whence he came, he didn't even wish me a happy Christmas.
How I loved his amazing honesty. Think of it, he was just starting out in business, and with a young wife and a baby son to support, he had told his potentially best customer to go and make love to himself. Here was a man you could trust for he was someone you could rely on to tell the truth, and he was a man who still called people......."Mush"! It was a couple of days before I saw Malcolm again and he arrived with his usual Mush greeting, "I've realised you were winding me up", he said to me with a grin and once more all was well between us. During the hectic years that followed my company opened a dozen more shops of our own and several for other people. In all of them, Malcolm supplied the many signs we required and we worked well together. He seemed to understand just what I meant when I explained an idea to him and sometimes his suggestions improved on what I had envisaged. I have often said that much of my success was due to meeting Malcolm Scott and I thank providence for him stuffing that scruffy little "Signs and Posters" leaflet through one of my shop doors.
All things come to an end and in 1985 circumstances meant I sold my big house on the hill. I was soon to leave its walled garden and crunchy gravel in and out, drive. It was a house I had loved. When I moved to Wales Malcolm Scott was among the first to visit us to see if I was well. I was, but it was nice to know that our friendship had nothing to do with the work I could give him. In my younger days I had always arrogantly said I would be either a King or a Peasant for there could be no in between. My income, however, was now one of a peasant, but I found my ego remained as did my humour. Very soon I had awarded myself the title of, "King of the Peasants", and soon after, "Kens Kingdom" was born. Malcolm and his family would visit "The Kingdom" often and the vast amounts of wines, beers and other gifts they bought with them, helped us enjoy the new life style. They helped me realise that regardless of how much money I had, I would always be rich for wealth is an attitude of mind.
Shortly after I met Malcolm in 1973 I met his wonderful wife Janet, As the years passed I watched their two boys grow up to be fine young men. Our two families became the closest of friends and we enjoyed some superb times together because of that scruffy little piece of paper that once advertised his talent. My wife and I also suffered the saddest of times when our darling Jan died, she was the best of the best and no one could be missed more. Duncan and Ali, her Sons, have become like our favourite nephews. Each of them a "Good Mush" in their own right, and now they have wonderful families of their own.
There is a line in a "Sound of Music" song that states, "Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good". Well, for me to deserve a friend like Malcolm "Mush" Scott, I must have done something wonderful!
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