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Monday, 30 July 2012

Mob Justice

There isn't, when you get right down to it, a lot of humour in a discussion of child molestation and/or statutory rape. (Is statutory rape the name for it in the UK? Or do I watch too many American cop shows? You know what I mean, anyway.) With that in mind, this post will not, in all likelihood, be one of the wittier ones I've ever posted; if I can be said to have ever posted anything witty.

(I usually use real names on here, on the basis that *I* come off worse than anyone, so other people can't really complain. Not so here, for reasons which I should think would be obvious, so meet Ricardo.)

When I was a wee nipper my Mother was friendly (not like that, heads out of the gutter!) with a bloke called Ricardo. He wasn't a resident of the worlds friendliest street, like us, but he lived not far away and would often be at our house. The reason being that he was somewhat ostracised by the rest of the estate and we were the only people who didn't treat him like scum.

Personally I think that in his situation; not that I would ever be in his situation, I hasten to add; I would most likely have moved away and made a fresh start. For whatever reason; be it financial constraints, or the fact that he was born and raised in that area and didn't want to be chased off; he refused to leave.

So what was his situation? What was the reason for his being something of an outcast? Well, a few years earlier he had been convicted and sent to prison, albeit for a short sentence, for having sex with an under age girl. Boooo! Pervert! Paedo! Etc.

Here's the aspect of what he did; and bear with me here; that means I've always felt sorry for him. He was in his late teens, and the girl in question was 15. The relationship was a long one, to the extent that she was basically living in his house toward the end. Her parents were aware of, and approved of, the relationship. He was a regular drinking buddy of her father and brothers. Yes, he was breaking the law, and I'm not saying I approve of what was going on, but it was accepted by all involved.

Then they broke up. You can see where this is going, right?

Suddenly she and her parents were crying all sorts of foul, he was under investigation by the police, and his friends and neighbours; who had known him for years and were fully aware of the relationship in question; were disowning him.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, this is all his version of events, right? And of course he's going to skew things in his favour. Well, yes, he was the one who told me the story. But all the neighbours who remembered the situation confirmed it. No-one denied that what he was saying was true, no-one denied that they had been perfectly fine with it when it was happening, but still they all refused to have anything to do with him. Because he was a paedo and a perv.

How many of the people on that estate were throwing abuse at him because they genuinely believed he had done something wrong? And how many were doing it because of a knee jerk 'he shagged a kid!!!' response to an emotive legal term? Worse yet, how  many were using the fact that others were doing that as an excuse to do the same; we can treat this guy like shit, so we will treat him like shit?

Here's the thing; I absolutely don't think he was entirely without blame. If nothing else, he was stupid. But anyone who thinks that teenagers on either side of the age of consent don't have sexual relationships has got their head buried in the sand. And anyone who thinks that such relationships should lead to prison sentences and a lifetime of abuse, is no friend of mine.

Had I been a few years older I would perhaps (definitely would) have pointed out that this made them, not to put too fine a point on it, a pack of hypocrites. I didn't though, because I was young, scared of most of these people, and didn't know what hypocrite meant.

 Of course, I wasn't a few years older. I was a little kid, and I was slightly bemused by the whole affair. In fact, I should think that it's only because of what happened a few years later that the incident has stuck in my memory at all.

But that's a story for another day.

Yes, I bet you thought I had a point to make or that the story was building to some kind of redemptive crescendo, with him being accepted back into society. Fools! Considering the kind of estate we were living on you're lucky I'm not telling you about him being beaten into a coma and his house burned down. No, I just wanted to bring Ricardo up whilst I was writing about this particular time in my life, so he didn't come out of nowhere when his true place in my tale is revealed. It's no happier for him than this part was.

Stay tuned folks.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Hairy man child

A discussion of nicknames. Knicknames? No, definitely nicknames. I think.

The first nickname I ever had was the traditional in my family 'tut', given to the oldest son of the oldest son etc. I was Tut, my Dad was Tut, Grandad Bully was Tut... I don't know how the name got started and no-one in my family could tell me either, but one thing I do know is that I never really took to it. In fact, to be honest, whenever anyone referred to me by that name it always felt; and I'm aware that this is yet another symptom of my burgeoning paranoia; like they were doing so in a condescending fashion, sniggering at me.

 I don't know why I felt that way about the name, but I did. Maybe I felt I wasn't worthy of it, or on the other hand, maybe I felt that I didn't want to be associated with that lineage. The 2nd is more likely.

So the first nickname I had that I actually felt that I could embrace, and didn't feel like a closet insult, was the one I got when I was about 10. It reflected an aspect of my personality rather than a quirk of my birth and it was given to me by someone I liked and looked up to. I felt like I'd arrived.

The name in question was Professor. It started out as Mad Professor but was cut back to just Professor after a while, presumably for fear of being deemed offensive to those suffering mental health problems. I'm just guessing there, I never asked the question.

Anyway, the name was given to me by a lad called Lee, the older brother of a girl called Aisha (spelling questionable), whose name I was never sure how to pronounce and it would wind her up something rotten; she insisted it was like Asia but with a 'sh' sound instead of 's', so Ashia. Which looks all wrong written down and doesn't really trip off the tongue when you speak it either. But that's by the by.

My mother became friends with Lee's mother when she moved into our street. For some reason that I never quite got to the bottom of, and wasn't really any of my business anyway, Lee and sis didn't live with their mother, or their father for that matter, but rather with their grandparents, and would only visit some weekends and school holidays, so it was a while before we met them and when we did, it was mostly Aisha?? that we had dealings with because Lee was a few years older than us, and therefore outside our circle.

Except when he was in the house when we were hanging out there, which was often because they had a NES, and were therefore cool as fuck.

Just Look At It. Pure Nostalgia

 If it was sunny, it was Wayne and Lisa's tents, if it was a rainy day it was Aisha's NES. That was the status quo for a long time.

I looked up to Lee in the same way the rest of them looked up to me; the poor, blind, ignorant fools; which is to say that because he was older he was automatically cooler. Except he reallywas, because while I had little choice in the matter; often being under strict instructions to 'look after' the younger ones; he could have ignored us totally if he'd wanted. Instead, he... tolerated us, I guess.

So why did Lee christen me Mad Professor? Well, it was a combination of 2 things; firstly, I wore glasses, and secondly, I insisted on reading the instruction booklet of a game, cover to cover, before I ever picked up a controller. A speccy who reads? What else was I going to be called?

The name never really caught on, to be honest, but it served the very useful purpose of supplanting Tut for long enough for people to get out of the habit of using it. Since then? I haven't ever really had a nickname. Oh, there has been the traditional 'stick a y on the end of his surname' but in my eyes, calling me Finchy isn't so much giving me a nickname as it is acknowledging that you can't be bothered to come up with one.

In recent years, a customer at my place of work has come up with the somewhat unique, Ewok. Because of my habit of going 6 months or more without a haircut, and therefore, on occasion being slightly hirsute, he thought it would be funny. and to be fair to him, it is. But where the true genius lies is in the fact that once again, just like with the Professor tag, it's actually a contraction of a longer name, which was; wait for it, you'll like this; Ewok, son of Bungle. Son of Bungle! How good is that? So obvious in hindsight, but who makes that connection? An Ewok. And Bungle. Genius.

That name hasn't really caught on either, and it's only that one guy who uses it. But still, what a fucking cool name. Ewok, Son of Bungle. You've gotta give the guy credit for that.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Look At Me!

Not a lot of content on here the last few weeks, for which I can only apologise. Whiny self pity got the better of me and I only like to talk about whiny self pitying things on here when I've had a while to get over it and can mock myself. So look forward to the story of the last few weeks some time in 2015.

I felt a little bad about the lack of content and decided that I would do a proper epic post this week, with much wailing, gnashing of teeth and searing insights into my psyche. Then I decided I couldn't be bothered, and I OWE YOU NOTHING! NOTHING, DO YOU HEAR?!? So instead I thought I'd take this opportunity to pimp yet another new online project of mine that I shall no doubt neglect just like this here blog.

Youtube. That's a thing. A thing which I don't really understand and which intimidates me slightly, in that 'the world is very big and a lot of people live in it and every single one of them is funnier, more talented and better looking than me' sort of way. So naturally, I've decided to give it a go.

I've got videos on my youtube channel already, but the bulk of them are on there because posting to youtube and then embedding the vid in my blog post was the only way I could figure out how to put videos on my blog. I'm sure there's a more direct way, but I'm a dunce, so...

I also did a series of really really badly shot, badly edited, stream of consciousness drivel videos called 'Watch A Shit Show For A Month' a while back. I think 3 people watched, which was 3 more than they deserved, and I never did a second month (although I will, when I get around to it).

What I've decided to do now though, is to branch out a little from talking about the TV, because I'm more than that, damn it! I'm going to talk thing...and that Well, to be honest I don't know what I'm going to talk about but I'm sure stuff will present itself. You see, I'm going to 'vlog'.

Now, I'm well aware that 'vlogging' (and yes I am going to punctuate it in that way every time I use it because IT'S A FUCKING RIDICULOUS WORD) is something more often associated with the young, but what the hell, I was young once, right? And we didn't have youtube back then. So I'm protesting that the yoof shouldn't get all the good stuff. That's what it is, yeah.

Anyway, I'm daring to dream that people might actually watch but even if they don't, what the hell, I'm having a bit of a laugh, so I'm happy. The introductory video went up yesterday, and you can watch it here, if you so desire; feel free to leave a comment, either here or, you know, on the video, which probably makes more sense, and let me know what you think, even if you just say "It's shit and you're embarrassing yourself."

Next week, if I'm here at all, it'll be a proper post with a tale of my mis-spent youth. Honest, Guv.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Hardened Criminal Part 2

I'm writing this blog post on a Sunday. It's for posting on a Monday but it's being written on a Sunday. I just thought I'd let you know that, so you can attempt to figure out, while you read it, why I felt the need to point it out. It must be relevant to the post in some way right? Ooh, mysterious...

I'm a little lost off with where I am in my life story at the minute, what with diversions to talk about all the women I perv o... I mean talk to, on twitter and to have a bit of a dig at my libelous brother and of course jumping ahead to the days of bicycle beatings, but I'm gonna try to get things back on track this week. Maybe.

Lots of members of my family are criminals. Reformed criminals, to be fair, but at the time that I'm writing about now, that part hadn't happened yet. As a result, it was something of a foregone conclusion that I too would enter the family business of taking what belonged to other people and making it mine, whether they liked it or not. I think there's a name for that, but I can't quite think of it.

Now, I'd like to tell you that the thought made me distraught, and that I tried everything in my power to avoid the icy grip of a life of crime, but that my familial connections made it impossible and I was dragged back every time I tried to crawl away. I'd like to tell you that, but I can't. I didn't resist. It didn't even occur to me to resist. This is just what people in my family did.

A couple of minor shoplifting occurrences and the taking of a bottle of tippex from the receptionists desk at the opticians; I was quite proud of getting away with that one; were my only offences until the day one of my Uncles, who shall remain nameless so as not to incriminate the, er, guilty, decided that the time was ripe for me to go on my first burglary. Exciting stuff!

The allotted night didst swift arrive, and we set off, clad all in black, to the local comprehensive school. I'd been there often, because we would sometimes kick a ball around on their fields at the weekends, and cutting through their grounds was a good shortcut to the river on a hot day. I had never actually been inside though. Until now. My little heart was all aflutter on the way there; even the torrential rain couldn't dampen my spirits. 

Unc insisted on going the long way around and approaching from the woods, which I felt was a bit of a waste of time but what did I know, I was 10. Still though, it was a bloody long walk.  Anyway, we came up on the school, he did something very clever to a window and hey presto, we were in. At which point he lay on his belly on the floor and slithered away like a snake. Which made me laugh.

See, I'm not an expert on these things but I'm pretty certain he may have been watching a few too many movies. It was a school for crying out loud. What kind of security system did he think we were dealing with here?

But anyway... We were in a large kitchen with loads of desks in the middle. I assumed it was for cookery classes but I learned later that that was a gross inaccuracy; it was a Home Economics/Food Technologies lab. Shows what I know.

The whole thing was destined to go tits up, of course, because I was involved so how could it not? Alarms went off and we were out of there, except he was damned if he was going empty handed so he waited until I was out then threw a microwave out to me. Which I dropped.

Then he was out and we were running; with him carrying the microwave because he didn't trust me; and we get... to the corner of the fence, whereupon I slip on my arse in the mud and can't get up. (See, cos I said earlier there was rain? That's foreshadowing and shit, that is.)

I manage to pick myself up eventually and we head into the woods. We hide the microwave for retrieval the next day, because he doesn't want to be seen on the streets with it, and then we head home. The long way around, of course.

The odd thing about the whole incident is that on the night in question my Unc was stressed, angry, blaming me for screwing up and panicking like a motherfunter. Yet, within days, the story was that he had deliberately set the alarms off and made a hash of things, in order to 'scare me straight'. Ha, nice cover job son, but I know the truth!

We went back and got the microwave the next day. It didn't work. A damning indictment of our schools funding? Or because I dropped it in a puddle? YOU decide!

So there you go, the night that my criminal career escalated, and pretty much peaked. I'm not saying that was the last time I ever nicked anything, but it was all petty rubbish and it didn't last long.

Oh, and if you're wondering, the reason I mentioned writing this on Sunday to post on Monday and asked you to figure out why it was relevant was... to see if you would try to work out why it was relevant as you read the post. Did you? Go on, tell me you did.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Stephen King I aint.

I just got a new laptop and in the long, drawn out and laborious process of transferring my stuff from the old machine of death; sold to me by one of the original salvage workers who gutted Noah's Ark; to my shiny new state of the art miracle contraption, I came across a few bits and pieces, buried and forgotten in the dingy recesses of it's memory, that I thought I might share. 

This seems like as good a place as any, so you're getting one today. I hope you all don't mind that I'm once again moving away from the stated purpose of this here blog, which is to chronicle my childhood, but what the hell, a diversion now and again lightens the mood, right?

This is a scrap of what I assume was going to be a short story. I say I assume because I have no memory whatsoever of writing it. I often, when it's late and I can't sleep, start banging away in a stream of consciousness fashion and see what comes out. I rarely bother to save these sessions though and the fact that I did in this case probably means I had hopes for this one. Unfounded hopes, as it turns out, because I obviously never went back to it. 

Oh, and don't ask me what the 'rumoured entertainment' was, because I haven't got the foggiest.

Here we go...

All up and down the street a deathly silence lay heavy over the people, hunched as they were in their porches, sheds and cars. This wasn't the kind of weather you'd normally want to be out in, but this was a special night, and no-one was going to be the first to admit defeat, to go inside, to give up their chance of seeing... what was rumoured to be about to happen.

Of course, they were just as unwilling to admit that. Everyone was there for the same reason, and they all knew it, but to hear them tell it, they were looking for their dog that had run off, or they were fixing a hinge on the door or, as in old Jim Macie's case, they were "just checking for rats lass, they likes to shelter in me shed when it's raining, the little buggers." A plausible enough tale, but I couldn't help thinking he wasn't paying that much attention to the inside of his shed. And it wasn't that big, how long could it take to check it over?

No, the rumoured... entertainment, I suppose, was why he was out. It was why they were all out. In fact, I think I was probably the only person in that whole street who wasn't itching for the rumours to be true. It saddened me. These people were my friends; or my parents friends, which is as close as you get when you're 12 years old, home-schooled and the next youngest person in your street is 30;  I liked them, in some cases I admired them, looked up to them, wanted to be like them whebn I grew up. Or at least, I had, until the visitor came.

The visitor was called David. No-one ever knew his last name, not even Mrs Clancy, whose spare room he was lodging in. I couldn't believe she would let a total stranger move into her house without knowing his last name but she just laughed, in that slightly wild laugh that Mrs Clancy always had when she was drunk; which was often, since her Husband had died in that car crash; and said that "he's a nice lad, it'll be fine. Besides it's nice to have a bit of company round the house, know what I mean? Stop your fussing and get away home."

And that's it folks. That's all I've got. 

I can't help thinking that it's probably a good idea that I never finished it. I mean, a story that begins with talk of an oppressive silence and a paragraph later has a conversation? Shocking. Anyway, I'll be here next week, either with another bit of old rubbish from my documents folder or an actual proper post, I haven't decided yet.