"Touch my inside leg and I'll kill you"
When Gresham Blake met Ray Winstone
"Get in the pool you muppet!"
When Gresham Blake offered to hand-deliver Ray Winstone's newest suit he wasn't expecting to have a gun pulled on him. The pair had history. A good one as far as Gresham could figure; he'd made several suits for him and the actor had always seemed pleased with the results.
So what did he do? "I did what any self-respecting bloke would do when someone's waving a shooter in your face - exactly what I was told," says Gresham. But he knew it was just a practical joke, right? "I suspected it was but Ray ís a bloody good actor isn't he."
Gresham had arrived at the actor's house with a photographer friend; Ray had kindly offered to have some promotional photos taken in his new whistle. The photo shoot had started cordially enough. But things took a turn when someone made a smartarse joke about the pool reminding them of the set of Sexy Beast. "The next thing I know," says Gresham, "he's pulled out this gun, pointed it at me and was shouting 'Get in the fucking pool'."
A suited and booted Gresham was in the pool for an hour. "In the end I was thinking 'Just shoot me will you, I'm bloody freezing!" Still, it was pretty cool to have Ray Winstone point a piece at you, even if turned out to be just a prop from one of his movies!"
Gresham first met Ray when he was commissioned to tailor a coat for the actor to wear in a Bet365 advert and they'd hit it off straight away. Not long after that Ray had called wanting a DJ making for an awards do, then a white suit for a trip to Sicily and then some shorts for a trip to South Africa to watch the World Cup. This four-piece suit with matching overcoat (pictured) is the latest Blake/Winstone collaboration."
Ray has a way of making you do what he wants. He's cool - everyone either fancies him or wants to be him, and that's because he's a nice character," says Gresham. "It's like the time I threw a party at the London store and he told me he'd help get it into the papers."
"In the middle of this party he started whispering to me 'Drop your trousers'. I was like 'What are you talking about?' but he just kept on snarling 'Drop your fucking trousers now!' Anyway, I did and it went in all the papers. There I am supposed to be this sophisticated tailor and I'm in The Sun with my pants down - just like he'd planned it. Diamond geezer!"