Friday, 14 November 2008

Three chords and a stick-on ponytail

I cannot help it. I  have a guilty well of fascination for any truly brazen fraudster. I would never suggest they didn't deserve their punishment, or that what they were doing was to be encouraged, but as someone who's permanently apologetic and slightly nervous, their audacity astounds me.

Some months ago, I discovered the extraordinary story of Gene Morrison, who set himself up as a forensic scientist and faked a career from it, having completed his qualifications at the University Of Owning Lots Of CSI DVDs. My favourite part of his scientific methodology was his 'lie detector' machine, which was actually just a normal computer. He would decide himself whether he thought an investigatee was lying, then press a button so the word 'false' would flash up on the screen.

Today, on the way home, I read in London Lite the story of a man who was impersonating Francis Rossi from Status Quo. I am quoting the newspaper directly here, as their words need no elaboration (Is this plagiarism? I don't know, but let me attempt to counter it by saying that the London Lite is a marvellous free newspaper. Of all the free evening newspapers in London, it's in the Top 2):

"The trickster promised Dover's town councillors that he would perform free at their festival with his 'friends' Sir Paul McCartney, Charlotte Church and Queen's Brian May. 

The council was duped into letting him judge a carnival float competition and attend a VIP event at Dover Castle.

There were inconsistencies which could have given the game away. Like why the conman did not possess a Francis Rossi-style ponytail, or why he could not play the guitar. According to reports, the man claimed: 'I can't grow my hair long any more. A fake ponytail is stuck on three hours before a gig.' Asked to play the band's hit Rockin' All Over The World, he declined, saying he had arthritis."

I don't know what lesson we can learn here apart from, if you didn't realise it before, you should never, ever trust a man in matching denim jacket and jeans.


Anonymous said...

That story is brilliant. Have any members of Dover Council actually seen a picture of Status Quo ever?

Inspired by this I will be turning on the Christmas lights in Bromley High Street on Saturday, if you would like to come along. I've told them I'm Gene Simmons from Kiss.

Miss R

Sad middle aged man said...

Moreover, have any members of Dover Council actually heard Rocking Over the World? Surely anybody with even a passing knowledge would know that the introductory riff is actually played on the piano by Andy Brown - and therefore even the real Francis Rossi would not be able to play it.