THE CITY: London. The year: 1984. Bus number 266 from Harlesden to Brent Cross Shopping Centre.
When the bus reached Cricklewood, there was a used car dealership on the right hand side of the road. Nothing special about the cars or display – in fact I never saw a potential customer looking at any of the motors. I imagined what the owner of this used car dealership would look like. I imagined the owner of this car dealership to be involved in dodgy dealings, making fake promises and being extremely slippery. I imagined the owner having to employ someone to protect him from the angry mob on his trail. I imagined the owner to be called Arthur Daley!
Minder – many will have fond memories of the well dressed, well spoken, cigar smoking gentleman who was the proud owner of a used car business. First impressions can be deceiving and if you were unlucky enough to buy a car from Arthur, you’d be fuming whilst stuck on the North Circular Road with the car bonnet up. Yep you’d been scammed!
This mild mannered, Jaguar owner Arthur Daley did not just dabble in used cars, he had a stream of other avenues he dabbled in – import and export of fine wines, furniture sales, fine art, cutlery, electronics, fine clothing, shoes, event marketing and even protection! His lockup was the central storage location for the dodgy items to be flogged to innocent buyers.
How could such a man get away unscathed from all these dodgy dealings? Enter Terry McCann … Minder. Terry was the opposite to Arthur – honest, loyal, hardworking and thoughtful. As an ex Boxer, Terry was useful with his fists which is the reason why Arthurs’ empire survived. It was not unusual for Terry to have a punch up with furious customers who’d come to ‘sort Arthur out’. So for all the loyalty shown by Terry, how did Arthur treat and reward him? No different to how he treated his innocent customers … by ripping him off!
Relationships: they say that opposites attract – that’s certainly true in this case. Terry threatened to leave his employer on many occasions – sometimes he did leave, but soon he’d return when his smooth talking ex-employer talked-up big wads of cash to be earned.
Arthur and Terry were likeable chaps in different ways. Arthur was slippery but we’d find ourselves chuckling at his antics. Terry was a likeable chap and all round nice guy. Their relationship was hostile at times but they thrived off each other; more importantly, they couldn’t live without each another. That’s what happens when opposites attract.
Enjoyed the blog? A nostalgic collection of blogs featuring a fun and factual look back at British advertising, leisure and entertainment from the 70s and 80s are featured in the new hardback book, Section N Underpass. Get the rundown by clicking the front cover below: