South London - 1980's...
|A small introduction....
‘As I said mate, my names Charlie, what yours?’ - This was my first retort to a stupid question and my first real encounter with the Law (Old Bill, Gavvers, Filth) or whatever slang you used for ‘The Metropolitan Police Force’ in your given manor. I won’t lie, my heart may have pounded, I may have stuttered slightly and possibly may have wobbled under questioning but the main emotion I walked away with on another sunny day in South London was untapped excitement. Two big daunting cunts had screeched up and tried to intimidate my poor white ass about some bullshit that I apparently “Fitted” the description of some phantom car pinger who had been prolific in the immediate area. I was only twelve and unfortunately had had the pleasure of watching Brian De Palma’s impressionable ‘Scarface’ a few days before and well… you know where I’m going. With hindsight, I think Mr Montana is responsible for elongating a situation that could have been concluded much earlier. Far from saying “FUCK YOU!” to them I held my nervous ground as I had nothing to be too worried about. I wasn’t a car pinger that was a junkie’s crime! I was a twelve year old drummer on shift work, cheeky fuckers! Did I look like a skag head? Luckily I had given myself a day off and after much chastising, I was allowed to be on my lemon way and that was pretty much that. However, from that moment I think the Old Bill died on me and my distrust was deeply sown and any future relationship would be tempestuous for ever more.
Talking of the Old Bill, it should be noted that they are so very different nowadays, more organised and now the buggers have even got real guns and trigger trained men to fire hollow point shells out of those big shiny guns. Long gone are the days of tight trousered police marksmen who were trying to see over their big bushy black tashes into the aiming sight of a relic handgun. How things and time change hey! If a gun was even mentioned in the early days, eyebrows were raised and nerves jangled, even that’s changed. Shooters are ten-a-penny now. Back in the day, if the South London Press reported a gun related crime it rocked the whole of the council estate where we grew up, unfortunately half of the estate would also be reading that edition, looking to see if the report had managed to get correct descriptions of the alleged gunman or men. I could tell you untold stories about me and other nefarious characters and our ventures into the world of legal wrangles and the shady goings on that ultimately lead to those wrangles. Where do you want to start...? Let’s not fuck about, that’s what your here for and in due course your wish may be granted and you will be privy and hear some nitty gritty. As I said ‘Where should we start? It’s up to you really’
Have a little think…
I know what… I’ll make it easier for you. I’ll tell you about some news I had been waiting for that may well have started all this shit in the first place. A magical day and night I would never forget and for reasons that you’re racing mind will no doubt get wrong. 1987… It was my birthday. I was Fifteen years old.
A Birthday – 1987
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! – As I said - It was my birthday! The 9th of December 1987. Fifteen years old and already with balls like planets!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
It should be all down the Royal Albert Public House later. All the lads will be there no doubt. The ‘Albert’ was our local boozer and had served for many years as the manor’s main meeting point; if you ever wanted anyone or anything all you had to do was pick up the blower and give the Albert a bell and John the Landlord would guide the phones handset to the appropriate requirement. As the main meeting point the Albert was not only frequented by our good selves but also had the dubious pleasure of being host to some of the most connected bods in South London. The Heavy Mob! They were alright in small doses. Unfortunately it was also frequented by Kennington police stations CID plain clothes unit (Cunts in Disguise we used to call them! I’ll tell you about that lot later) and the habitual Dolites who would no doubt be spunking much of their hard scrounged money on many cold crisp Stella’s. A meagre fortnightly Billy Biro allowing for such luxuries, I couldn’t wait!
It was about half past ten in the morning and looked like it would be a gloriously crisp sunny day. The early morning sun beamed into the living room of the two bedroom flat I shared with my older brother Jason. As we were on the 10th floor the sun always seemed to be intensified, not only by the height of the sixteen story tower block but by the suns magnification through the living rooms three large square metal framed windows that gave a hazy vista of early morning South London. Net curtains were not a prerequisite due to the unlikely event of nosy neighbours! To have such weather this time of year was a bonus and to say the least, slightly odd. The beginning of global warming maybe? I and the world’s population had yet to be poisoned with such a theory! All we knew it was a sunny day and perhaps a warm front from northern Europe had arrived prematurely and today would be a good day! Having said that yesterday was a good day and pretty much a good fucking night! We had cheated and celebrated the previous day as if I would never make it too my Fifteenth birthday! Fortunately I did and that now allowed me to flick various stubby switches bringing to life several electrical items that would be sure to aid and cement the day’s birthday vibe. As switches clicked, various coloured LED lights shone. One Eagle graphic equalizer, one quad amp, an Akai twin tape deck, an old Technics 1210 turntable, two Jamo speakers and one Wharfedale subwoofer hummed into life as 240v surged through the necessary valves and components.
Placing the vinyl 12” version of Frankie Knuckles ‘Tears’ on to the already spinning turntable the electrical humming was replaced with cracks and pops. After a moments silence the needle found its groove and filled the crisp morning air with the tracks sublime intro. There would no be crying this day! As I said, today would be good day! My aspirations were cut short - ‘Turn it down you asshole, its fucking double early!’ - This request came via my rather bleary eyed big brother Jason, he continued his early morning greeting - ‘I’ve only been a kip about an hour you fucking donut. Turn it down!’ I momentarily thought about protesting but the look beaming through those bleary blue eyes into mine were enough to make my hand reach for the large beige volume control and reduce it a few notches. After scratching his nuts and acknowledging my compliance he moved past me, barefoot and with creased boxers firmly stuck up his ass through to the kitchenette.
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