[Home]Rossi, Francis

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Few people, when they hear the name Francis Rossi will immediately think of Mornington Crescent, but it is a matter of record (or was, the files having been destroyed by fire under suspicious circumstances in 1987) that Rossi was one of the "Bright Young Things" in the Streatham and Mitcham (S&M) MCC in the mid-1960s. Indeed, from 1964-66 he was club champion for three years running, and was accorded the honour of being profiled as "The Player To Watch" in the Spring 1966 issue of MC Player magazine.

He styled himself a disciple of the demon Ruttsborough, and often used gambits derived from the play of his master to destroy his opponents' carefully-laid strategems. Streatham Mental Hospital is thought to have experienced, around this time, an unusual number of admissions where the single word uttered by the stricken patient was a faint "Ongar", a clearly-recognisable consequence of a Ruttsborough-style ambush. This daring, indeed dashing play brought Rossi to the notice of Mrs Trellis, with whom he struck up a regular correspondence, alas not at the time of writing published. It is to be expected that, if it were to be brought into the public domain, that it would shed a great deal of light on the future career of Rossi, and also on the past career of Mrs Trellis.

Sadly, Rossi was led away from a glittering career in MC by a fellow club member, one Richard (Rick) Parfitt, who joined in 1967 and immediately formed a succesful pairs team with Rossi. This prospered from the combination of Rossi's instinctive attacking approach and Parfitt's more analytical style, as part of which he developed a diagrammatic representation of the game state around which he would idly doodle pictures of matchstick men. Rossi was much impressed by this, and was moved to compose a song on the theme, which became a staple in the repertoire of the Saturday night band that Rossi and Parfitt had formed together. Had a talent scout not wandered in on a gig by the band (not then called Status Quo), the future, both of rock and roll, and of Mornington Crescent, might have been very different.

Many websites chart the history of Rossi, Parfitt and Status Quo, but none have as yet documented the above history, surely an unaccountable omission. Whether one reckons the role of MC an honourable one or not is for the reader alone to judge.

[HB]


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Last edited April 1, 2007 3:43 pm by Simons Mith (diff)
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