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Magic man of mirth and music

PUBLISHED: 13:03 30 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:49 13 July 2010

Man of Magic: Malcolm Emery

Man of Magic: Malcolm Emery

Born into a well-known family of Sheringham fishermen and boat-builders in 1950, Malcolm Emery first went to sea almost as soon as he could walk.



In the late 1800s, his great-great-grandfather “Buffalo” Emery built the town's second private lifeboat - the Henry Ramey Upcher - working out of the family's boat building yard on Lifeboat Plain.

Man of Magic: Malcolm Emery

Born into a well-known family of Sheringham fishermen and boat-builders in 1950, Malcolm Emery first went to sea almost as soon as he could walk.

In the late 1800s, his great-great-grandfather “Buffalo” Emery built the town's second private lifeboat - the Henry Ramey Upcher - working out of the family's boat building yard on Lifeboat Plain.

At the age of 12, Malcolm spent his Sunday mornings polishing the propellers of the RNLI boat the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows and, after leaving Sheringham Secondary Modern School, he went crabbing, also working on the family fish stall.

After 7 years spent fishing for local brothers Teddy and Billy Craske, Malcolm - then known as “Plug” - went deep sea trawling out of Lowestoft.

A talented drummer and harmonica and melodeon player, he appeared on stage with local bands from the age of 11. And after he returned to Sheringham, his music career began to take off.

He founded the 7-piece soul band Chain Reaction, later forming duo Razzmatazz, playing with the Jock Brennan Sound and, for 26 years, appearing with popular north Norfolk group Milk and Honey.

Charged with the responsibility of entertaining young audience members during gigs, Malcolm - or Razz as he became known - gradually built up a comedy and magic act.

He became a fully-fledged clown 20 years ago and, with his partner “Auntie” Pearl Bishop, has since performed at events ranging from carnivals to birthday parties all over the county.

The pair, both of whom are members of worldwide clown organisation Clowns International, have been the official Norwich City Football Club clowns for 10 seasons.

Razz, who is the adopted clown of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and was for a number of years resident clown at Great Yarmouth pleasure beach, is also an Equity committee member, and has worked as an extra on TV series including Lovejoy and Tales of the Unexpected. He lives at Cromer.

THE LOWDOWN…

What is the best thing about your job?

Seeing all walks of life; I can work in 3 completely different environments in one day.

And the worst?

If there is a worst thing it is that I've got to be on top no matter how I feel. In the entertainment world, you are only as good as your last show, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

What one possession would you save from a fire?

My Hohner Corso de luxe melodeon, which I bought from a man at Bodham 15 years ago. I've been playing since I was ten and although I can play just about anything, the melodeon is my instrument.

What is your favourite building?

The most amazing building I have seen recently is Gaudi's Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona. They started building it in 1883 and it is still not finished!

Where do you go to unwind?

My garden - I love growing unusual vegetables.

Have you ever done anything outrageous?

Sitting on Cromer beach in full clown make up and just a pair of shorts as part of an advertisement for the town comes quite close!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Nothing, I'm fairly happy with myself as I am.

What is your proudest moment?

Apart from being made a member of Clowns International, seeing my daughter Sophia being crowned Cromer carnival queen in 1992.

What is your earliest memory?

That would probably be ringing the bell for my father's hawking barrow when he went selling fish in the villages around Sheringham.

Who do you most admire?

My partner Pearl of course, but also Teddy and Billy Craske. They were the fishermen I first went to sea with and they more or less helped bring me up.

Do you have any fears or phobias?

Not as such, but I've had my problems as, working the entertainment world, if you are on a high all the time you can get down as well. But I have learned to recognise the signs and I now see each show as a voyage - it's a bit like going to sea.

What makes you angry?

The one thing that really annoys me is the question of second homes as, in my eyes, this has helped to break up our communities.

Favourite book, film and TV programme?

Three Fevers by Leo Walmsley, which tells the story of a Yorkshire fishing community, Ben Hur with Charlton Heston, and, on TV, Fawlty Towers is a comedy masterpiece.

How would you like to be remembered?

Hopefully, for providing people of all ages with a bit of laughter, fun and happiness.

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