Thursday, 5 July 2018

THE DONOVAN-SIGGERS DETECTIVE AGENCY - SHINING THE LIGHT ON JAGO

My friend, David Siggers, lives in London and has already been the subject of one of my blogs: 'MY FRIEND, DAVID SIGGERS' in November 2017 - press this link to read that story. He has also been the impetus behind a more recent blog-post: 'THE PRISON WISDOM OF JAGO STONE AND BARON GIDDENS' in April this year - press this link to read how David kick-started that story. I visited him at home in Willesden in May and we discussed the excitement and the novelty of creating a biography that is dependent in significant part on the contributions of other people, some known, some unknown. Here's a picture of David with family from around that time, a couple of months ago:

Auntie, Belinda, Aba, and David


David in April had discovered the Guardian letter that Jago had had published in 1975 and alerted me to that source in my self-styled Donovan detective agency. Now, as June gives way to July, David is back in awesome research form. He has been so good I have incorporated him into the agency as a full partner. We are now the Donovan-Siggers Detective Agency. Here is the story, but first another



picture - David with his daughter, Aba:



David's 1st email - Jago 1 - 30 June:

A link through the British Newspaper Archive to the Daily Mirror, Thursday October 9, 1975 and The Inside World Today column by Peter Senn - and tucked away bottom right, this story:

* Great train robber Ronald Biggs, currently in Brazil, is being asked to become honorary chairman of a new British organisation, the Burglar Society, founded by reformed old lag Jago Stone to help rehabilitate ex-prisoners. It is thought unlikely Biggs will attend meetings. 

David's 2nd email - Jago 2 - 30 June:

A link through the British Newspaper Archive to the Coventry Evening Telegraph, Friday 12 May, 1972 which carried this picture and story as a flyer for a Jago Stone/Laurian Hagberg art exhibition in Rugby:




David's 3rd email - Jago 3 - 30 June:

A link through the British Newspaper Archive to the Coventry Evening Telegraph, Saturday 13 May, 1972 which carried this advert for the Jago Stone/Laurian Hagberg art exhibition in Rugby:




David's 4th email - Jago 4 - 30 June:

A link through the British Newspaper Archive to the Coventry Evening Telegraph, Friday 23 May 1975 in which this short article appears under the title: Jago Pays Up:

* Jago Stone used to rob
churches. among them was
that at Chipping Warden,
near Banbury. Tonight, Jago 
hopes to repay the church by 
giving proceeds of any sales
of his book, the "Burglar's
Bedside Companion", made 
during a signing session at 
Tina's Cottage Craft Shop,
Chipping Warden (7 p.m.).
  The reformed burglar lives
in the Chipping Warden 
area, and the days when he 
dressed up as a monk to 
make his raids have gone. In 
prison he also discovered his
talent for painting, and was 
seen on television recently
with some of his work. 

Tina's Cottage Craft Shop in Chipping Warden must, I assume, have belonged to Tina Shrimpton, who in the 60s had called herself Chrissie and was the younger sister of Jean Shrimpton, the iconic model. Chrissie had been the girl friend of Mick Jagger the rock musician, another iconic figure, in the early and mid-60s. Tina had opened a boutique in Chipping Warden in the early 70s that seems to have evolved into this Cottage Craft Shop. The first time the postmistress of the nearby village of Hellidon met Jago, he was advancing down the street wearing his fedora and cloak, holding a woman close on each arm. One of those women was Tina Shrimpton. I tell the story in 'Jago' in Chapter 6.


Chrissie Shrimpton and Mick Jagger - circa 1964 


I doubt that Jago did actually rob the church at Chipping Warden. Such an episode doesn't feature in the press cuttings that record his early criminal years. But it does makes a good story for the media whose attention Jago sought to help his business as an artist.

David explained in an email the next day how he had been moved to see what a newspaper search on a site he had found might achieve because of the way in which I had written 'Jago'. In his words:

"But what I think is interesting is that it happens. I mean input from me, and from the others, because of the way you have written the book. In many ways it is very inclusive … About a week ago in the Guardian there was an article about the way they can't find a new way of writing novels. I know your book is not a novel but I feel it's quite a new way of writing in many ways."  

                                                              -------------------

Thank you, David, for sensing that 'Jago' is breaking new ground. This biography has become a collaborative venture in which a range of participants play their part in the rediscovery of Jago Stone. I am both the writer and the editor of other people's contributions. If you are reading this now and thinking 'My memories, my knowledge haven't yet been recorded', please do get in touch and become involved. Your contribution will be acknowledged.

The last word lies with Aba - a metaphor for the task facing every biographer: