the pages of 'The Manchester Evening News'....
When A level maths tutor Gareth Clough and ambulance driver Lee Holden
both of Chorley Lancashire and motorcycle courier Christopher Gately
of Birmingham, all 31 decided to create a concept album around their
favourite rock band Kiss they expected that the most trouble that they
might get into would be as a result of copyright infringement but they
looked seriously pale and drawn this morning as they were released on
bail in relation to the investigation of the dissapearance of Karl Claudius,
25 an African Imigrant last seen indulging in "familiar banter"
with the three men and their houseguests, relatives of Clough who have
also been questioned.
On Friday 15th August Karl Claudius was calling door to door, acting
on behalf of N Power selling energy services. Most of the people on
his round politely but firmly told him "no thanks" as is the
norm but at 11 Goldcrest Close, shared home of Clough, Holden and Gately
something else transpired. Neighbours report that Claudus was visibly
agitated as he was invited in, only to leave shortly afterwards, "hurriedly,
calling over his shoulder". Later after leaving Goldcrest Close
he was seen to return and call at a number of other house "determinedly
avoiding number 11". Holden was seen to call menacingly "power
man" and an embarassed Claudius headed over to the house asking
"Who is Lee?". He was never seen again.
When police entered number 11 with a search warrant two days later
they found "a typical heterosexual male shared dwelling mess"
of musical instruments, computer equipment, copyrighted entertainment
products and half eaten sandwiches. The one thing that set alarm bells
ringing was the discovery of a piece of A4 paper with the word "Karl"
in capitals and Claudius' mobile telephone number in 1.5 inch type taped
to the wall in the living room. Discoverys of a further fifteen identical
sheets were made on walls and inside cupboards around the house. These
bizarre decorations were enough to secure arrests.
Clough, Holden and Gately are amateur electronic musicians who call
themselves the Kettle Cups and have had some minor success in Australia
and Japan, they have protested their innocence. They claim that the
proliferation of homemade posters featuring Claudius' contact details
was a joke and that they have no idea what has happened to him. Their
story is that on his first visit to the house Claudius asked to speak
to Holden whose name was on the electricity bill, he was advised to
call back later when Holden might have returned from work. He expressed
an interest in all the music and computer equipment and was told that
these two were principally the property of Holden. When he passed later
Holden had returned and been told all about him, hence the "power
man" call. Before Claudius could begin to extoll the virtues of
N Power electricity and gas Holden had persuaded him to buy some of
the Kettle Cups' home made records. A preliminary contract for energy
supply was drafted but more importantly to the Kettle Cups Karl had
arranged to return with some of his own home made records and agreed
to record a vocal for a collaboration. After he left Clough and Gately
had teased Holden that his new friend would not return and this is when
Holden had made the poster with Karl's number which he had left of his
own volition. The next day when Karl did not return with his records
or to record his vocal, several copies where printed up and displayed
around the house "in jest".
The police are reported to have described the alibi as "too bizarre
to be true or to be made up" The Kettle Cups are on bail pending
further investigation but are not expected to be charged. They are said
to have abandoned all plans for a follow up to their album "Knights
In Satan's Service" which they have withdrawn after the disappearance
publicity attracted the attention of church leaders and Kiss themselves.
They are said to have been emotionally disturbed by the police involvement
and have all lost their jobs. The incident again has raised questions
of whether the new low cost music production technology brough by affordable
home computer technology should be outlawed.
© R Stevens, August 2003