He’s been making people smile and, by his own admission, upsetting people for 40 years and has no plans to hang up his jester’s hat.
Jake Mangle-Wurzel is preparing to mark 40 years as Huddersfield’s premier eccentric and will also celebrate his 80th birthday in May.
Jake, who lives in a caravan at Salendine Nook, is already well on with his autobiography which is titled The Making of Mangle-Wurzel.
Needless to say he expects the book to become a best-seller and then be the basis for a film.
“When my book is finished I will hand it to a professional writer who will edit it into a best-seller and then it will be a major film. I would like to be played by Christopher Ecclestone as he is long and lean like me.”
He intends the book to be a ‘warts and all’ account of his life, including his battles with depression and run-ins with the law.
“My first 40 years were misery and then I saved myself and turned myself into this character, the incredible Wurzel.”
Jake – born John Gray – changed his name to Jake Mangle-Wurzel in 1978 following a long battle with depression and suicidal thoughts.
He says his methods of overcoming depression ought to have prompted demand from mental health charities for advice and speaking engagements – but he has been ignored.
“I have offered myself to the leaders of these groups as an inspirational speaker because I was there for 25 years of my life, from 14 to 39...but nobody has come back to me. I am disgusted that they have not taken me up on my offer.”
Jake claims to have written half of his autobiography to date, all in long hand.
“I am writing it in sections. About my parents, my great grandfather, my depression, my RAF career, my engineering apprenticeship, my marriage, my daughter who is coming up to 47. I am writing about how I changed my character.”
Jake says that he didn’t have a sense of humour until he changed his name from plain John Gray.
“For the first 40 years I had no sense of humour. People who know my wit now cannot believe this. It’s a miracle and I am a genius.”
The book will chronicle his various scrapes with the authorities, including the council and the police.
He will also reveal more about his relationships with women.
“I am on my seventh wife,” he says.
“Jackie (his wife) is a vampire who lives in Leeds. We married at Leeds Town Hall on my 71st birthday. We speak on the phone regularly. It’s unconsummated – that would spoil it. We are just good friends.”
He admits that he can be rude about people and that he has a “love-hate relationship with females” and doesn’t have much time for the human race in general, preferring the company of dogs.
His current companion is a dog called Willie Wurzel.
“I have half a dozen really true and sincere, loyal friends. Since I was 14 I have felt a barrier between myself and the rest of humanity.
“I just don’t get on with people including journalists. Since 14 I have been obsessed with fact and sincerity but I have found humanity awash with lying, selfishness and greed.
“I just can’t get along with it. I let the world live as it wants and I live as I choose.”
Jake says the book will include his take on battles he’s had with the authorities.
“It will be warts and all. I am going to drop loads of people in deep ****.”
Jake says that his outlook on life has remained hopeful through the ups and downs, including fires which destroyed his home and possessions.
“In spite of all the losses I am still joyful, hopeful and buoyant.”