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Mrs Shufflewick

    

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The close-up below is from the cover above right of "The Entertainers: Pubs, Pearlies & Pints" (London LP 91359, 1964), which predates the two solo albums by several years. The album is a various artists music hall show, and on the album Mrs Shufflewick is considered the star (at least on the liner notes) and has the longest segment, 12:46. You can hear it by clicking the jukebox.

hear Mrs Shufflewick

  

Patrick Newley on Mrs Shufflewick, from The StageOnline, May 19, 2005

Mrs Shufflewick was a drunken old dear, a Cockney of the type that you used to see propping up the bar, perched on a stool and drinking port and lemon. She had a fund of stories to tell about herself and the more drunk she got each night, the dirtier they were. Sometimes she got so drunk she fell off the stool and they’d throw her out.

I knew the real Mrs Shufflewick, who was a small man who looked like a pixie. His name was Rex Jameson and he was a variety artist who hit the big time in the fifties and sixties and went on to attract cult audiences in the seventies. I was his manager for several years up until his death in 1983.

Offstage nobody called him Rex - he was known as Shuff and he looked nothing like his brilliant characterisation. The only thing he had in common with Mrs S was that he too was a notorious old soak, so much so that managements were often loath to take a chance on him despite his talent.

One lady who did give him work was his old pal Dorothy Squires, the singing ex-Mrs Roger Moore. A volatile lady, she was known as Battling Dot and was not to be trifled with.

One day my phone rang and a crazed voice shouted, “Is that Rex Jameson’s manager?” Startled at this approach, I nervously said yes, but before I could get any further the voice, now hysterical, said, “This is Dot Squires, see. I’m hiring the Palladium next month. It’s my fans, they won’t let me go. I want Shuff to open the show.”

Delighted, I reached for his date book. Dot added, “There’ll be no bloody drinking on my show either” and slammed the phone down.

Come the big day Shuff arrived in the Palladium No 2 dressing room with two carrier bags. One had the costume. The other was stacked with booze. “Don’t worry,” he said smugly. “I’m only having the one.” My face broke into a worried smile.

“Five minutes please Mr Jameson.” That was the tannoy. We went upstairs and into the wings.

When Shuff opened the show the audience roared its approval. His ten minute spot ran to 18 and the audience loved it, especially when he looked up at the theatre ceiling and said, “Look at the fucking dust up there.”

Unfortunately, Dot had been standing in the wings and had heard the remark. As Shuff came off to loud applause, Battling Dot ran towards me and grabbed me by the arm. “Mr Newley,” she screamed, “let me tell you this - nobody, but nobody, swears on my fucking stage!” and as she pushed me I nearly fell down the stairs.

Dazed, I returned to Shuff’s dressing room where the great man was pouring a large scotch. “I’ve always loved Dot,” he said with a smile. “She’s real variety you know.” Quite.

autograph I got off eBay

  

Above, 3 shots of a 1968 program

Below, two pics from the above magazine, from 1972

below, with Mark Flemming

Below, 1955 show