An Ode To Waynes World's Del Preston

"The shopkeeper and his son, that's a different story altogether"
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"The shopkeeper and his son, that's a different story altogether"

"So, Jeff Beck pops his head round the door and mentions there's a little sweet shop on the edge of town..."

The immortal words of the greatest roadie who ever lived. He went to Woodstock and partied with Ozzy. He counts Keith Richards among his personal friends and can regale with tour stories involving Bengal tigers and M&Ms. Not only that, he helped Wayne's World 2 to be one of the only comedy sequels actually funnier than the original. His name is Del Preston.

The story goes like this: local TV presenter Wayne (Mike Myers) wants to put on a rock concert in Illinois but doesn't have the experience or resources to do so. Jim Morrison appears to Wayne in a dream and tells him that if he wants to pull it off, he must go to London and track down legendary roadie Del Preston (played by Ralph Brown, or Withnail's Danny the Dealer to older film fans).

From the moment we meet Del hanging upside down like a bat on the advice of Keith Richards, he is the star of the film. Clearly affected by too many late nights, Wayne and Garth are never quite sure whether the offbeat Londoner is being friendly or about to knock them out, his behaviour becoming increasingly eccentric as time goes on. 

Throughout the film Del delivers line after quotable line in his floaty British accent to comic perfection, the highlight being his Ozzy Osbourne story in the diner. Everybody else plays off him brilliantly too. Wayne and Garth's faces after the immortal "I had to beat them to death with their own shoes" line is a belly laugh in itself. 

There was another reason to love Del. In a film where larger than life American bands represented the zenith of cool, with Alice Cooper and Aerosmith held up as rock gods in a world completely alien to my own at the time, it turned out that the man they all idolised, the only one who could save the day, was a Londoner. As a '90s kid, Del was my idea of a national treasure. Here's some of his best lines:

"Well, instead of a guard dog, they've got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shopkeeper and his son, that's a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes"

"I have to ask. Didn't you think it was a trifle unnecessary to see the crack in the indians bottom?"

"Listen, sonny Jim. Sleeping like this will add ten years to your life. I learned it from Keith Richards when I toured with the Stones. This may be the reason why Keith cannot be killed by conventional weapons."

Garth: "You were at Woodstock? What was it like?" Del: "It rained all morning, and then it cleared up in the afternoon. And that's it, I almost remembered something else, but it's gone."

Del: [pointing at his scrapbook] "My old lady put that together. We must've toured every concert hall and venue in America. Me, my old lady, and the road." Wayne: "Is that you and Bob Dylan? Who's that old lady?" Del: "That's my old lady."