John Gibson: The story Max wanted to tell me

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They’ve left Max Bygraves without a name. Rubbished him. Savaged him. Piled the dirty linen a mile high.

Bit of a lad, slapsie Maxie admittedly, but I’ve exhumed some words from our interviews over the years and you’re reading now from the Gibpress Files, a fitful series.

The obits have told you that Max serviced Spitfires at Turnhouse and that he virtually made his entertainment debut in Princes Street’s Havana Club.

While his fellow pros idolised him, Max did have his detractors. Bernard Manning said of him: “I’d rather have a six-foot nail driven through my foot than listen to him.”

And Ernie Wise recalled that “the Germans abandoned their invasion plans for Britain when they heard Max was here”.

“Maybe they did,” Max commented defensively. “The fact is that I wasn’t even singing at the time.

“I don’t say I have the world’s greatest voice. But I do have one thing that’s acceptable on record, I sing in tune. They don’t have to put me into an echo chamber.”

Never mind, Max, I’ll always treasure that postcard of a tulip from Amsterdam.

Sweet success

Goody, goody gumdrops! I’ll have a quarter of barley sugar drops, a packet of liquorice allsorts, some dolly mixtures and, oh, a bag of cinnamon balls.

Old-fashioned sweetie shops are said to be returning to some high streets. Some new bakeries, too. Why should Greggs have it all their own way?