Taken from an interview with Derek ‘The Draw’ Hussey, Ian’s former chaperone and now lead singer of The Blockeads, for the updated edition of Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Life of Ian Dury.
“I knew about Ian’s previous personal aides, ‘The Strangler’, Fred ‘The Spider’ and Big Raymond, and I told Ian, ‘I’m not going to go out and get involved in punch-ups ‘cause I’m an old hippy. If it comes to it, you’re going to have to change your tactics’. He said, ‘What’s all that about?’ I said, ‘Well in future, we’re going to have to cuddle them to death‘. He said, ‘That’s all right, that won’t be a problem’. He did change his tactics, but it didn’t really make any difference because when we got there we got assigned the biggest bouncer at the gig and they were normally called ‘Tiny’. My brief then was if anything looked like it might go off, I would look at ‘Tiny’ and he’d look at the prospective problem and I’d turn around and ‘Tiny’ would have normally extracted whoever it was that I thought might be a bit iffy. So I didn’t have to do any minding, I was an arm rest. But he said that it could be a right laugh’. And guess what? It was.
“Gigs had to be convenient for getting on and off. When we started again in 2000 it wasn’t exactly like it was when he’d finished in 1980 and we were doing gigs that weren’t quite so user-friendly. Once in a pub in Belfast, there was a little bunk bed ladder and he couldn’t get on. The landlord sawed the stairs out of the cellar and screwed them on to the stage so we could walk up and get on and off. Ian hated looking like he was struggling. The American president Roosevelt had polio, but no one ever knew and he never used to get out of the taxi near a gig, and Ian liked that. He didn’t think he had anything and he didn’t want anyone to think he had anything. So we had to be very discreet if we possibly could.
“His attitude was, ‘It’s all right, I can get about, but don’t think I’m crippled because my disability doesn’t affect me. I can still do pretty much anything -with a little bit of assistance, I can do anything’.”