Deputy Tony was the result of an unusual union of a Maori chief and a mermaid. The young Tony was equally at home on land as he was in the sea. His mother found life out of the water somewhat uncomfortable but was responsible for his lifelong love of seafood. His father was invariably absent and eventually left altogether having eloped with a dugong. Inter-species relationships are quite common in New Zealand and it is no secret that the current prime minister is married to a Shetland Pony. Tony’s mother felt the strong migratory urge common to all mermaids and eventually heeded the call. Tony was left abandoned.
As luck would have it an itinerant and as yet unknown guitar player named Joe Brown was travelling around New Zealand, playing for his supper. He took pity on the poor boy and allowed him to travel with him. As Joe lay sleeping in a barn or under the stars Tony would pick up his guitar and strum a few chords, within a few months had become a virtuoso.
The time eventually came for Joe to return to England, the swinging sixties had begun and he wanted to be part of it. Joe’s act now included Tony and the two of them set off for England on a succession of tramp steamers. Tony would still practise the guitar every evening and legend has it that as they passed through the Equator off the coast of Peru a large fish could be seen following the wake of the steamer, Tony’s mother perhaps, we will never know?
The young Tony offering some useful advice to Joe