It’s 12:00 at night and I’m sitting here listening to Nat King Cole on my record deck. I like old vinyl …even the feel of it. Today I bought an old Gene Vincent LP in town and that was my excitement for the day. I go into the record stores every day and wander around…… That’s about all I do. I often feel I should be ‘doing something’ – but what ? It’s strange really , the fact that I don’t know anybody. It is I suppose remarkable…. – It doesn’t bother me , at least no more than anything else but it is rather strange – sort of. But that’s neither here nor there. So what’s all this got to do with John Samuel Humble ? Well , nothing really ….nothing in particular.
He was on TV tonight , a programme about him that is and it got me thinking. He seems a rather tragic figure , a lonely man – a loser , to use a somewhat cruel phrase but for all that his hoax was a great success. If it wasn’t for DNA and modern science they never would have caught him. There was quite a lot of footage of him being interrogated and much of the time he did not look too well , his hands appeared to be shaking ….. His crime of course was serious but he looked more like a victim himself. I do like the man’s name ; John Samuel Humble has a certain ring to it – It would be a great name for a serial killer. He looked defeated , in fact every photo of the man I’ve seen reinforced the idea I have of him as a victim. But the actual hoax , the tape that is , sounded very convincing. Why he did it we just don’t know and it’s likely that he doesn’t know either. He was surprised and even frighted at the success of the whole thing and went so far as to phone the police to warn them that it was in fact a hoax. You could say he was a bit too clever for his own good.
But he’s famous now. He’s immortalised himself. He’s a celebrity of sorts. If he was a different kind of man he could ( when he get’s out of prison) probably make a good living out of being Wearside Jack. As it is a lot of other people will no doubt manage to capitalise on the whole thing. He seems to have had a sad and lonely life and there is no reason to belive that that will change when he gets out. He’ll go down in history as some sort of unfortunate / dimwit / fool …..or worse. There is a Wearside Jack on Facebook but it’s just some rock group ( they’re probably useless). Wearside Jack/ John S. Humble is famous. His name /names will outlive ours. He’s not quite ‘cool’ but he’s made his impression. So – so what. What’s the point ? What does all this prove ?
If all this had happened in the good old days Humble would have become a caution. Parents would be telling their children , ” If you don’t go asleep Wearside Jack will get you” or “If you don’t eat your greens I’ll have to tell Jack”. If it had occurred in the 30’s in the USA someone would probably have written a ballad about the man. Sonia Sutcliffe meanwhile has moved back into the home she shared with Peter Sutcliffe. She’s probably there right now all alone in one of the upstairs bedrooms looking out the window like some latter day Anthony Perkins. It’s strange that she should have become a stress councillor of all things, but there are a lot of strange people out there aren’t there.
I originally published this in my Silly Old Twit blog in 2010. I was rereading it last night and remembered that Humble had- at least before his arrest- no friends……apart from that I enjoyed reading it again and thought that you the reader of this Man with no Friends blog might like it. I don’t intend to start dragging out all my old Silly posts but once in a while I may pick out something I feel is interesting. Your feedback is always welcome.