Saturday, 1 May 2010

Marriage and other snags.

When Ricky May discovered the lead skater in the Pat Gregory Ice Show dead from heart failure back stage at Souths Leagues, you would have thought the message would have gotten through but an addict is an addict and food was his downfall.

He might have been in dodgy company, hanging around with Irko and his mates, but it wasn’t loose women that kept him out late. However, Ricky’s wife Colleen wasn’t to know that and worried.

Coming home at dawn was nothing new, but unlike the old days when Colleen was a soubrette at Sydney’s top night spots and he would meet her after work, she now had her gorgeous little brown skinned blue eyed baby Shaney and was grounded. So now, after his gigs he hung out with other entertainers. At first he came straight home but after a while his pattern went back to staying out late and she became suspicious enough to have him followed.

Now, anyone who has ever seen Colleen knows any man who cheated on her must be totally insane. A natural blonde with blue eyes, a face so perfect she could have been used as a template by cosmetic surgeons and a body, well, let’s say she made Miss Universes, all of them, look frumpy. But we don’t always see ourselves as others see us. After a week the detective agency report arrived.

‘Mr May departed South Sydney Leagues Club at one AM, proceeded to Harry’s CafĂ© de Wheels and was joined by a Mr Norman Erskine. They had coffee and a floater. (Pie and peas). They then drove to the Royal Motor Club. They watched the late show there, and were joined by two other men, leaving at 3.15.

'That group of four caught a cab to Kings Cross where they entered the Hasty Tasty Restaurant and Mr May had Beef Stroganoff and a beer.
At 4.30, they left the Hasty Tasty, catching a cab to Chequers Night Club where they met with the late night band and had a drink with them, then they all went to an all night hamburger joint where Mr May had hamburgers with chips and a milk shake. From there, Mr May was dropped off at Souths Leagues where he collected his car and drove home, arriving at your door at 5.55 AM.'

Every day for a week a similar pattern was reported. Col was devastated. Where others might have been relieved, she was seething.
“He wants food more than he wants me!” she shouted at the report and decided to undress the problem. That night after Rick left for work, she took Shaney to a friend’s house and prepared her trap. Early next morning she was ready.

Half an hour before his arrival, she prepared her herself for battle. Ricky was worth fighting for, so she showered and did her hair just the way he liked it. She made up her face, not that it needed making up, perfumed herself with his favourite and then totally nude except for her highest heels, she waited. As the garage door closed she rose, went to the fridge and pulled out a three metre string of sausages and draped them strategically around her faultless body, being sure not to obscure her best assets.

He came through the door and stopped in amazement, eyes wandering over the sausages.
“Rick! I’ve had enough. It’s the food or me. Your call!”
He took her hand tenderly and kissed her on the lips before turning her away from the door.
“Coll, I love you so much”, he breathed into her ear, removing the sausages. “I can hardly wait. Let’s do it now!”
Then, hurrying her through the house, he grabbed a large pan from the rack and stopped at the stove, dropping in the sausages.
“Let’s cook the snags!”

Epilogue: She did leave for a short while, but they were soon back together and as predicted, she and Shaney lost him to a heart attack in 1988, aged 44 years young.
Sadly missed by his family, his mates, his fans and his golf club. A great talent and a gentle man.


  1. It was sad to lose him so young but a food addiction is just as serious as any other. I am enjoying reading about your memories of Ricky May.

  2. Gigglesnort - this is a cracker of a tale Stafford - great writing. I can't believe he was only 44 (way too young to die). Food addiction is a terrible thing and Selma is right, just as hard to overcome as other addictions (and deadly to boot).

  3. * Sweet Colleen *
    * Dreamgirl Extroidenaire

    Your 15 Mins of * Fame *

    * Perfect Face
    * Beautiful Body
    * Wonderful Wife to 'Dear Ricky May '
    * Mum to Lovely Shaney

    *** A Place of Prominence

    In Guitar Man Stafford's
    * Diary of Delectable Show Biz Delights *

    * Ice Queen Pat Gregory..
    * The envy of many * Skate Dreamers *

  4. This is a load of s**t Stafford. I cannot believe you would print such crap and have people believe it as true.
    I am a relative of Colleen and Ricky so I know this to be untrue.

  5. Thanks 'Family Member' for your comment. I am sorry I cannot contact you directly and discuss it. The story came through friends who claimed to have been there and/or were told by Rick about the sausage incident just after the (alleged) event.
    Rick’s problem with food was well known and a source of concern to us, as was the rift with Colleen, both true at the time. Their reconciliation was a relief for all who loved them. They story was faithfully retold as it was told to me but as people are wont to do, was most likely exaggerated for effect as most stories are. I loved Rick for his humanity and his enormous talent and sincerely apologise for any offence to anyone, particularly if Family Member is Shaney who I am sure is, and should be immensely proud of her wonderful parents, Rick and Col. I am proud to have known them and anything I wrote was from love and the sense of fun was shared on stage (and off) way back then.


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