Friday, 11 May 2007
Prince Monolulu, a horse, and I don't know who the woman is.
There used to be a pub outside the main entrance to the Race course. It was called the Sefton Arms and has since been replaced by something horrible. The original Sefton Arms was a large ramshackle affair wreathed in smoke and beer fumes, and looking like something from the pages of Dickens. On Grand National Day its doors were opened and inside it was packed with winners and losers and women who catered for the needs of both. People drifted in and out of the smoke, including small boys who’d make for unguarded or forgotten drinks and down them before anyone noticed.
Outside the place was packed and you could hear from some distance away the voice of Prince Monolulu, a self styled chief of the Falasha tribe of Abyssinia. In reality he was Peter Carl Mackay born in the West Indies and at the time the most famous black man in England. Dressed in feathers and colourful robes he’d stand outside the course shouting “I gotta horse…I gotta horse…!” and make his money by selling inside knowledge and tips on certainties. Every so often there’d be rumours of famous Americans whose faces we’d pretend to recognise, convincing each other in the process. Gregory Peck came more than once but he didn’t have the charisma of Prince Monolulu.