Mr. Mouse is a Folk Hero waiting to happen
I’m currently on a week-long research expedition at the ‘Mr. Mouse Farm for the Unfortunates.’ And to be quite honest, it’s going way better than I’d hoped. (This coming from an
outrageously optimistic dude.)
…snapped scores of fantastic,
utterly memeable PORTRAITS of Mr. Mouse,
…we camped in “The Killing Fields” our first night.
Not in the tent, but on the cargo netting… 40′ up.
It was like the world’s biggest hammock.
And the following day… we even ran the course at a leisurely pace. (Thanks James!)
(Which is to say that this time around I skipped enough ice water obstacles to avoid hypothermia.)
Oh, and thanks to a new obstacle Mr. Mouse is testing – one that simulates IEDs and involves copious amounts of TNT – the police arrived just 20 minutes after James and I. (The neighbors had called to complain… something about “explosions” on the farm.)
But far more importantly, Mr. Mouse has opened up to me like never before.
We’ve had a complicated relationship since I first reached out to him 18 months ago. Especially after my cover story hit newsstands. (Explanation… someday.) But during this 2nd visit our dynamic has changed. Tonight, for instance, I sat at his kitchen table until almost 4AM as he shared – with unbelievable lucidity – too many holyfuckingshit stories to count. Tales from his life before Tough Guy. Some funny, some tragic, some so wild I thought no way until he produced documents to prove it.
Here’s a business card from the early 70s, when he was a renowned (if not wildly eccentric) Wolverhampton hairdresser.
(Yes, those are boobies. And yes, that’s him. Though it was just a smart publicity stunt. No naked girls actually worked there, though many men showed up in hopes of seeing them.)
Here’s a Superman stunt to promote his horse sanctuary in ’78…
And here’s Mr. Mouse at the starting line of the Wolverhampton Marathon in ’85 (an event he organized).
It’s almost inconceivable to think the $250+ million dollar industry he pioneered isn’t even the most interesting fold in his life’s accordion, and yet I’m fairly certain it pales in comparison to some of the shit I heard tonight.
Which brings me to this…
After a year and a half of interviews and two visits to his farm, I’m pretty sure he’s one of the most extraordinary character I’ve ever come across. Here’s a visionary who was decades ahead of his time and then, faster than you can say ‘Facebook’ – whoosh! – the world whipped past, rendering him an anachronism at best, irrelevant at worst. But I’m dedicated to changing the narrative.
Mr. Mouse is not just a once-in-a-generation character… he’s once-in-a-wormhole. He’s the kind of figure that usually only surfaces in fantastic works of fiction. Or Daniel Day Lewis movies. And somehow – by luck or kismet – he’s entrusted me with exclusive rights to his outrageous life story. I’m looking forward to synthesizing his (iridescent) existence for you. What form – and how long – that takes will soon be announced.
And please, if you like what you’ve read, please share this post.