History needs rewriting – MY HISTORY!!

(This post contains the never before seen Curlyman contract from British Telecom – it came about during my pioneering years when one phone line just wasn’t enough and I was buggered if I was going to pay for any more, seeing the revenue I was bringing in for the phone company – so I blatantly asked them to give me 5 more lines – FREE!!  This they did in the most hush hush manner, it included the said ‘8 commandments’ contract – #3 is a real hoot…)

Now on to the issue at hand…

A few days ago when looking to see if I could enter a Wikipedia page about my pioneering work in the UK entertainment biz I did a prior web search and found this little gem on the official British Telecom site, Connected Earth, that plots the ‘history’ of ‘how communication shapes the world’. There I am second para down…

It was the 1980s when prices fell and answering machines became personal. The tyranny of the telephone was tamed… you could now filter your calls and choose whether to answer or get the machine to take the call. Fun tapes with celebrity sound-alike voices became the rage and people began to express their personality in this way. Amazingly, one chap (known as ‘Curly Man’) recorded inventive and amusing messages that were changed so regularly that people rang in to hear them. The demand was so high that he became a media star for a few months and needed extra telephone lines to support demand!

YIKES!! 2 months, ARE YOU SERIOUS (thank you McEnroe – I sympathize) – so I gathered myself to re-write history and CORRECT this ridiculous ‘statement’. I also found out that one can not write about oneself for Wikipedia (kinda understand that), so if anyone reading this would like to submit for me (I’ll supply ‘the story’), I would be mucho obliged – I figure I did make a huge success from humble answering machine beginnings and it’s a fun, wacked out success story, so why shouldn’t it be in there??


below is what I e mailed the mighty British Telecom…


Hi there – whilst doing a search of my persona under this name, I came across a mention of the ground breaking work I did in broadcasting in the early 80’s using answering machines on your web site. The info needs seriously updating (not being rude) but what I did many years BEFORE the Internet deserves more of a mention than:

 Amazingly, one chap (known as ‘Curly Man’) recorded inventive and amusing messages that were changed so regularly that people rang in to hear them. The demand was so high that he became a media star for a few months and needed extra telephone lines to support demand!

 page:  http://www.connected-earth.com/Journeys/Livingwithtelecommunications/Livingonthenetwork/Telephonesandprivacy/index.htm

My quirky broadcasting did indeed START with bizarre answering machine messages but it went on to broadcast 45 minute programmes to thousands of people on a weekly basis FOR 6 YEARS (unheard of on answering machines), so much was the success that amongst my many media mentions (TV/Radio) I was one of terry Wogan’s guests on his TV show!

My work for the UK music business (using BT lines) was ground breaking and got me front page of Music Week (the UK Billboard, see below) 17 years before I Tunes played 30 second clips of music!!!

I pioneered phone line broadcasting from 1979 until 1985 whereupon my pioneering idea raised nearly a million pounds and the 0898 company Cablecom Productions was born (still alive to this day!).

I still have the BT contract letter (see below) from the pioneering days when they assisted me in my quest for a ‘joint Curlyman venture’… I also have the letter from 10 downing Street which initially assisted me in getting my first BT meeting!!!!!

Ask anyone in BT that might be around from the day, if they remember Russian Roulette and the ‘MIND NUMBING’ financially successful -‘Mr. Angry’ – they were both my creations??????

So with all due respect, I do hope you see my point that your mention of me in the historic archives is a ‘tad’ dismissive considering that which I achieved…

I hope you are not holding against me that I ‘knocked’ Buzby (the million pound  BT advertising logohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1mS8nF3Dk8) for much of my pioneering period, it is after all 30 years ago!!

The ‘real story’ is indeed a great one and should be documented on such a website, should you wish for more I would be honored to collaborate.

I moved to Los Angeles in 1991 and went into my own art business. Thank god I did, ‘cos I never saw the Internet coming!!

I look forward to hearing from you…

Respectfully yours,

The Curlyman!


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5 responses to “History needs rewriting – MY HISTORY!!

  1. Al

    Hi Curlyman, You were ahead of your time!
    Have you found the recordings of the Curlyman shows and all those messages on the Thameside Radio Revisted podcasts? They’re available on iTunes and fmthen.com

    • Jeffrey Cane

      Hi Al – YIKES guess I’m slow on replying!!! Didn’t see this until NOW – hopefully it doesn’t take you 7 years to do the same!!!

      • Sue Hill (was Westmuckett)

        Oh wow – I listened to you and you even jumped in on my telephone message – You played Abracadabra by The Steve Miller Band for me – I had those little gold Curlyman stickers on everything for a while – Ooops, I sound like a stalker but you were really entertaining 🙂

      • Hi Sue – my legacy lingers on!!! Thank you for writing. How did you find me??? Those were the pioneering daze – LOOK WHAT i STARTED
        !!! I presume you are in the UK, I’m in California and have been for the past 30 years. You may well like to take a look here http://www.thecurlyman.com – pretty much the entire history in clippings, letters, audio and… Just got a VCR player over here to look at all my TV stuff that I haven seen in 35 years!!! Use angelcurator@gmail.com for any further contact – Cheers my dear – Curly

      • Did you get a reply today Sue?

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