Emo signing the new paperback edition
This excerpt involves the importance of insuring one's
Willie Robertson of the London firm Robertson-Taylor had that
task... Read on.
There are too many anecdotes involving myself
and Willie Robertson but I've singled out one.
Around the early '80's I had seen the picture
of a fox in a suburban London newspaper. It had apparently been found
lonely and forlorn on a patch of land, shrinking away from the bustling
London traffic. As the animal was normally associated with habiting
rural areas it was considered, by the person that had found it, to be
a tame fox. That person had taken the poor animal back to his flat in
Wimbledon and phoned his local paper that promptly put out a plea.
"Could anyone offer this poor tame animal a good home?"
Being an animal lover who at the time owned
a seven acre estate in the Sussex countryside
I respond, phoning the paper.
"We've already had 6 calls. Can you give
us details about who you are, where you live?", they asked.
"Yes my name is Keith Emerson, I have a
7 acre estate in Chiddingly, East Sussex.
I'd love to care for the fox and give it a good home."
"Thank You. We'll get back to you".
Five minutes later the editor of the paper phoned
"Are you "The Emerson" of Emerson,
Lake & Palmer?
"The very one."
"Great! We'd love to do a story on this.
Here's the address....... can you pick the fox up tomorrow?'
"Yeah! No Problem".
As I hung up the phone I suddenly remembered
that I had a lunch appointment with Willie the next day,
in the very exclusive, "Mortons" of Berkeley Square.
The next morning I drove up to London in my
Morgan Plus 8, 2-seater sports car and finding the address the newspaper
had given me, made my way up through the graffiti scrawled staircase
of a block of flats. I was shown into a small living room and there,
chained to a sofa was the fox.
"Why is he chained up? I thought he was
"He's just a bit nervous."
But as he encouraged the animal into a large grocery box for shipment
I noticed a set of very large incisors. I appreciated the impressive
array and hoped that the exhibition was just another sign of nervousness.
"I call him Roger. 'Roger the Fox', but
now you've got him, you can call him anything you want!"
I looked again at the large canine teeth that
were trying to gnaw away at the cardboard.
"No, Roger's a very nice name." I
And with that I carried the box down and into
my two-seater sports car to continue my journey into London. I parked
the Morgan, gingerly lifted the grocery box out and carried it into
Willie's Bruton Street office.
"My Dear Old Cigar! What have we got here?"
"It's a fox". I said proudly revealing
Willie's expression changed, giving the contents
the look a fish gets that's way past it's sell date. The contents of
the box was not too impressed with Willie either and flashed its set
of ivory gnashers to prove several points all at once.
"His name's Roger, don't worry, he's had
a bit of a rough journey in my sports car.
If we leave him alone for a bit he'll be right as rain".
And with that I upturned the box, dumping Roger
on the luxurious carpet of Willie's office. Willie gave the situation
the required distance called for; somewhere outside his office door
and the quickest exit into Bruton Street as I tethered Roger to his
office table. As we left for 'serious beakers and num nums' at nearby
Mortons I assured the secretary that as long as Roger had a bowl of
water and the occasional live chicken there should not be too much of
It was a long lunch-hour, during which we discussed
all the things that could go wrong in the awful, traumatic world of
rock and roll and how to insure against them, whilst downing vast quantities
of Pinot Grigio.
Making our merry way back into the office 2
hours later Willie's secretary swept by us muttering something about
'having had it'. It may have been the unfamiliar smell of wild animal
feces that struck a home run up our nostrils first. It didn't exactly
have the play-off aroma of a domestic animal, more the bitter-sweet
twang of wild life played out in the theatre of defiant captivity while
two humans had gotten shit-faced.
Roger looked a lot happier now that he'd relieved
himself of everything he'd eaten over the last few days. Rather like
an M.C. Escher drawing, Willie's office table seemed to defy gravity
by remaining standing on only three legs. Roger had the fourth one in
his mouth. I thought it best to let him keep it.
"Oh My!" exclaimed Willie. surveying
a sea of destruction normally reserved for the likes of Led Zeppelin.
"Sorry 'bout this." I said trying
to load Roger into what was left of the grocery box.
"Oh My!" exclaimed Willie again,
having noticed the telephone wires had been chewed up, "I need
a serious beaker."
"Mind if I join you?"
"Oh My! Silly not too. One for the stairs
my dear boy!"
The journey back to Sussex was further complicated
by Rogers insistence to keep poking his head up to see where he was.
Rather than risk getting my hand bitten off I let him enjoy the passing
scenery. It wasn't everyday you could see a long haired rock-person
driving a two-seater sports car with a fox as a passenger. I was normally
the first away from the traffic light; the other drivers on the road
too stunned to drive. I finally made it home and tried to make Roger
as comfortable as possible in my barn studio. The next morning Roger
had trashed it in much the same fashion as Willie's office and I began
having serious doubts as to the creatures domesticity. He finally ran
away after biting me clean through my finger, audibly popping the finger
It was probably best, but I did worry whenever
there was a fox-hunt in the area and I hoped Roger gave the red-coated
brigade a good run for their money.