Thursday, 15 December 2011

A Bloody Good Poking!

I remember it as clear as day now. We were walking home from primary school; me and a certain Neil White and I don’t know how the conversation began but it fell into  a ‘my dad’s better than your dad thing’. I do remember this though it was him that started it. Me and Neil had a few running’s here and there and he knew not to piss me off or I would just get wild and jump on his back and smash his head on the floor. I was wild when I was younger and would often fly into fits of rage and couldn’t stop myself from going mental so to speak.
Anyway Neil told me that his dad would knock my dad out (I don’t know why) but there you go, that is what he told me. I said “no way, my dad would give your dad a hiding”. Neil came back with his snappy reply, “na my dad would give your dad a backbreaker!” For those of you who never watched WWF that’s the World Wrestling Foundation and not the World Wildlife Foundation which I find are easily confused. The backbreaker is a move from WWF and not WWF O.K.! So I say that he could try but my father’s stronger and that he would outmanoeuvre his dad and reverse the move on him. It was getting intense now and there was more and more malice lacing every word that was slung.
Neil had reached his limit or what seemed to be the limit of his imagination and to be honest with you I don’t know why he was defending his father because it wasn’t his real dad; no he was defending a man which we’d nicknamed Dafydd Cont which when translated would mean David the Cunt. He was mean to them and used to belt them; but I suppose he had to stick up for him, but then again, he did not have to initiate the mudslinging.
So apparently Dafydd Cont had a gun because he was a farmer and he was going to shoot my dad no problems. I told him that I’d phone the cops and that they would swarm his house. This it seems would not stop Dafydd Cont because he would boldly blast his way out of the situation smoking the policeman as he parted them out of his way, akin to Moses and his miracle at the red sea.
My father had a work shop in our house where he used to build the Irish pipes (Uilleann Pipes) in the evenings. In this workshop was a machine called a Lathe which is used to turn wood from blocks into conical form and also it is used to drill them out. So I tell Neil that my dad would grab his dad before he could get to his gun and commence in putting his body on the lathe; setting it spinning at a faster and faster speed, until eventually his head would come off and all his guts would come flying out of the stump of his neck where his head used to be. This did the trick and he was quiet the rest of the way home!
The ensuing day was just a day like any other I got dressed and shuffled my way to school as slow as I could, and when I got there Mrs Barlow the lollypop lady would give me her ritual boot up the arse saying to me “come on slow worm”. When I got to the classroom it was evident that the news had come from the top down through the chain of command that the headmaster wanted to see me.
I approached his door with the same air of deflation that always filled me when I had to go there. Knock knock! Come in said Mr Jones. Well how could I describe Mr Jones let me begin by saying he was small in stature and he wore pink pinstriped shirts. He wore gold rings and had tight grey trousers; the type that was specially made for teachers and could only be found in mail order catalogues with an inbuilt come in the back pocket of course! Mr Jones loved golf and he would drink from a mug that had a picture of a woman clad in a bikini, and on it there was some golf related gag about a birdie. Mr Jones was a ladies man and always reeked of some pungent aftershave. Mr Jones commanded respect and he gave me a row in front of the assembly one day because I had not saluted him as he made his way into the school, and the reasoning behind this was that I was busy playing and I did not see the twat coming and besides the wind was blowing the other way so I couldn’t smell him coming either. Mr Jones wore hushpuppies. Mr Jones had an affair with Mrs Pat. Mr Jones’s hair was always slicked back the same way.
I pushed the door open and walked in, “come here!” he bellowed and so I promptly walked over and in front of his desk. Well Mr Jones leapt out of his chair with much enthusiasm and vitality and came bounding towards me as quick as a flash. Mr Jones’s weapon of choice was his chubby little digit (index) extended firmly which he used to poke you in the chest as he gave you a ticking off. Well this time though he started off a little differently; improvising with a grab of the shirt pulling me to my tiptoes, and then letting me fall back down to my feet before he commenced his prodding. “Ginsberg” he bellowed, “now”(poke) “tell” (poke) “me” (poke) “the” (poke) “truth” (poke) “and” (poke) “don’t” (poke) “give” (poke) “me” (poke) “no” (poke) cock and bull story (poke) (poke) (poke) (poke)! By the time he had finished with me I was pinned against the wall, well I didn’t know why I was here like most of the times I was here; I just didn’t know. “I don’t know what you are talking about Sir,” I told him plain and simple because it was the truth. “Oh you know Ginsberg.” “No, no I don’t Sir”. “Your father killing Neil White’s father”, “oh that Sir I didn’t start it, it was him!” I wanted to go on but he told me to go and stand outside his office as usual.
I stood there for an age I watched my friends go out to play and I watched them come back in again; the dinner lady’s passed and smiled at me I grinned my toothless grin back at them. Mrs Roberts and Mrs Pat (Mrs Pat was the one having the affair with Mr Jones) stood there discussing me as if I wasn’t there at all saying this that and the other; I hadn’t an idea of what the hell they were going on about; except that I knew it was a ploy to make me feel worse. Eventually Mrs Roberts turned square at me and said one of those sayings that I never understood, you know one of those riddles that they always fire at you when you are a kid. “Look at him; it’s as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth!” I thought for a slight moment to myself that butter does melt in my mouth, yes it does melt in my mouth so that makes me normal, there’s no problem then, its decided! I had decided to tell them the good news and so I chirped back at her defiantly “butter does melt in my mouth!” I gazed at her after saying this and could see that a wry smile was beginning to creep across her face and so instead of letting it show; she and Mrs Pat briskly turned and trotted themselves off. Hmm I had a sneaky suspicion that they liked bad little boys.
Eventually I was relieved of my exhibitory position from outside the head masters office and was allowed to go and have dinner. Ah the sweet taste of freedom Mr Jones’s is a twat and he doesn’t know that me and Richard Peter’s stole crisps, drink, and overcharged our classmates when we were running his shop (we pocketed about 40 pence), and we watched him count the takings in front of us and didn’t bat an eyelid.
Anyway so I get reprimanded all because Neil White does not have an imagination and has the cheek to go and tell on me to his mother who in turn tells the head master. Punished for having an imagination and I thought schooling was supposed to reward us for having talents like these.
So we were on our way out of the school one day me and my older brother Raphael and all of his friends. As we exited the building we started spying into the headmaster’s office through a little gap in the blinds; low and behold Mr Jones was snogging Mrs Pat. All the lads were drawing in their breaths and making exclamatory noises. “Www yyy” they went as they were greeted by the scene. “What’s the matter?” I said as I jostled inn all elbows because I was much smaller than them because they were older. It was true Mr Jones and Mrs Pat were going at it hammer and tongs, or more to the point they were hammering each other’s tongues! The lads told me that they were having an affair, “what’s that?” I asked them. I was informed that if you are married to someone then you can’t go snogging someone else. “Oh” was my reply not really understanding the principle of the whole discussion. When me and Raph got home we informed our mam of what we had witnessed at the headmasters office; well her eyes lit up as we filled her in and she asked us if we were sure. “Of course we are everyone saw it”. I could see by her reaction that this was a bad thing, and there was that sanctimonious shithawk ploughing into me, and all the while he had been having an AFFAIR! Wait until my fingers grow Mr Jones and you are dead meat!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Death of my Beloved Green Slug!

My car died today! ‘The old slug’; that’s what I used to call her and every time I went in her I used to say a little prayer. I used to talk to her trying to maintain our relationship; patting the dashboard exclaiming that we are good friends and that she should keep her part of the deal up by just clocking up the miles.
When I used to take her on expeditions which wasn’t often we would pass by people that had broken down standing by their vehicles awaiting recovery I used to exclaim aloud “please don’t let that be me”. My hands are a little shaky now; all I’ve consumed today are 2 cups of coffee a tin of beans and a child’s portion of chips. My ex-girlfriend told me the other day that I play the poor man always and that I’m trying to draw attention to my woes constantly. I am not! I am down a dark shitty hole at the moment which is my own fault and my hands ache from trying to claw my way up. If only I had not been an obsessive gambler than maybe I would be sitting in front of the fireplace rolling on the floor with the kids. (Was I playing the poor man just now)?
My money will come through tomorrow morning (hardship fund) from the University; £150 that should keep me going for a while! And so for the time being I am just going to sit here and write in the warmth of Pete’s Eats café. I only want to charge my laptop up really so I can watch a film in bed later on; oh the excitement of my life nearly makes me spontaneously combust sometimes.
I feel like the character from Crime and Punishment (Raskolnikov) more and more these days, and sometimes I even contemplate buying a toy gun from Bargains Galore in Caernarfon to try and do a ‘stick-up’ somewhere, I lie in bed envisioning the plan every strategy goes through my head; even that will have to be put off now for I am carless. Doing a stick-up and making a getaway on foot is too foolish even for me, although on the other hand it’s so foolish it might work. First I would have to check out the bus timetable to see what time they are going and secondly I would have to be able to afford the bus; hang on I could pay for that with the money from the stick-up. Alright I’ve got it! I’ll hire one of those limousines that ladies hire when they are going out on their hen-nights, at least then I could make my getaway in style maybe getting carried away and throwing some of the money through the window as I pass by the bus stops. “Oh driver could you stop at Bargain Booze please, I need to stock up on cigars and alcohol PLEASE, and anything you like!”
Anyway back to the present and I have just been phoned by some publishing company. I got quite excited at first and then I realised it was because I had been on some website last evening and they had my details. At first the website seemed very promising as they always are you know saying things like “we take the hard work out of it” and all the other garb that’s affiliated with these sites. Finally after watching their little video and signing up to their website I arrived on the final page and there it was; basic package £760 pounds and then the prices continued upwards. Well someone from the company (a lady American, sickly) phoned me up, and to be honest with you my heart skipped a beat until it dawned on me why she was phoning. I instantly informed her that I had no money and she kept pecking at me with her persistent sales techniques. I felt like telling her about the current situation that I find myself in, but ended up just telling her that she was barking up the wrong tree if she wanted money. She kept on, for gods sakes! If only she could smell me over the phone then she would see that this is the odour of a person that does not have access to money. At any road I got rid of her and I did not do it in an abrupt manner because I have done that kind of job before and so I can empathise with her (well a little).
And so I was heading for Rhyl in the car because I was going to sell the last thing of value that I had. The car had been acting kind of funny for a little while now anyway;  the heaters had conked out and it was doing the kangaroo motion when I started it up and so I had to rev the fuck out of it until it got going. Well today on the motorway a funny knocking noise decided to make its début just as we were nearing our destination, the power went as we were going up a hill and smoke plumed from out of the bonnet. “Oh fuckinell”, I rev her up pushing my foot down as far as it would go hoping that this would remedy the problem. No such luck, she was dying on me there and then. I was it seems a little naïve to think that I could fix the problem by merely slamming my foot down on the accelerator. Luckily we were headed down a bit of an incline and I managed to get her into some kind of layby before she spluttered to a sudden abrupt ending. I suspected that this was the last of her.
I had to phone my mother  because she had donated the car to me because in these area’s you essentially need a car, that is if you do not want to squander the major part of your day waiting in bus stops for buses. Besides this I needed it to take the kids here and there. So she got on the blower and gave me a number to ring.
“Was the smoke black or white”  “erm white I think”, I answer. “Do you know what’s the matter with it?” Goes the guy on the other end of the phone as I answer, “Well it’s broken”. I did not proclaim to be a mechanic and the chances are that if I were a mechanic then my car would probably be running O.K and then I wouldn’t need to phone to get road side assistance. It’s like when you phone 999 for emergency assistance and the person asks on the other end of the phone if you are the injured patient, and then they ask if you are unconscious, and you think to yourself if I’m the injured patient and I am unconscious then how the hell can I be phoning you? This is the way things have gone though, and you can’t rage against it because there’s nothing there to rage against, just a system; some other person whose fault it isn’t on the other end of the line, or some forms. Dead end roads that lead you to the ever familiar feeling, that you are just shit, at the bottom of a ladder.
I stand by the side of the car as the smoke bellows out! It’s cold and wintery and I am starved! Luckily I had left a tin of beans in the car with the foresight that times might get tougher. Well that thought had come home to roost and so I grab the tin of beans and snap off the lid with the ring-pull and proceed to slurp down the beans with much vigour; so much so that I actually inhale one of them and it makes me gag. I cough it back up and then swallow it again. A train passes by and I think to myself what a sorry sight I must look to the onlookers.
I went to the boot of the car because I remembered I had some of my work clothes in there, a pair of waterproof trousers and a lumber jacket. I put them on over what I was wearing already which was a long grey trench coat, jeans and a sheepskin hat and scarf. Well I must of looked nuts with the trench  coat protruding out and flaring from underneath the lumber jacket. Last night I had watched a film called Mongol it was about Genghis Khan’s child hood and his rise to power. Well it inspired me and in it there were scenes of him walking for miles through the snow over the mountains and falling through ice into lakes and all the rest of it. I don’t watch many films to be honest with you so when I do they tend to have a lasting effect on me; you know like when you watched Goonies when you were a kid and instantly wanted to go out with your friends for some similar adventure or similarly thinking your some kind of karate expert after watching ‘Enter the Dragon’. Well anyway I stood there by the side of the road exclaiming to myself “come on Matt, this shit’s nothing”, pretending that I had some of Genghis Khan’s spirit in me to fend off the cold and the shitty situation in general. As I said it, it worked, and then after a short while it wore off and I started to shiver and curse the wind and rain, it seems that Genghis’s spirit was not strong enough, I’ll have to find a new one!  
Finally the road side recovery man turns up and assess the damage “your head-gasket’s gone mate”! “Oh fuckinell, that’s bad”. It is bad you know, I have heard people talk of this happening and it is always in a bad light. “How much do you think it will cost to fix it?” “Well you won’t get much change from £500 mate”! I think that means it will cost about £500 to fix or there abouts.
After a brief discussion with my mother it is decided that scrapping the car is the best thing for it, and so I relay the instructions to the recovery man that we are to head for the scrap yard in Bangor. I noticed that he had a photo of his children in the cab of the van (three girls), and so I started a discourse on kids, he obliged and filled me in on his situation telling me of his daughter and her study’s in child care and this that and the other. I thought that he had the ideal set up being a constant father with a steady job and his life filled up with the comforts that all these things bring. It turns out that he had a daughter from a previous marriage, after he told me this he went a little quiet and withdrawn. In a strange way this made me feel better about myself.
We got to the scrap yard and weighed the car in. Not long after this I asked the woman in reception if I could get a bag off her to put all my possessions in. She told me that the car would have to be weighed-inn again and so I went back and shoved all the stuff that I wanted in. I couldn’t be arsed at this point so I just got the stuff that was most important. I told the lads that they could keep the rest, rigger boots, some golf clubs and bits and bobs; you know just shit that I had horded and thought would become useful one day; most of it was from my days of working on the skips. I got £110 for the car.
My mam turned up and drove me home and as I was leaving the car she asked me for the money- well it was only fair she did give me the car, but I thought she might let me keep it (kick in the balls, but justly so). And so I have just asked the guy in the café at what time they close and he told me “now”, and so I’ll have to go back to the refrigerated dark house and try to find a DVD to watch to set me off to sleep! So “goodbye cruel world.” Well at least until tomorrow!...........

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Creating a Mantra!

I grew up in a house that was awash with riches; not that I appreciated them at the time. At any road all the exposure must of ingrained its mark on me, for when I was a pup I recall asking my old man if he would get the Sherlock Holmes instrument for me. He pondered on my prerequisite for a while before ascertaining a solution for my demand; I had asked him to get me a Saxophone, (because Sherlock Holmes’s pipe looked like one)! We never used to receive any of the things we asked for usually; no fancy computers or any of the stuff that the other kids got, but if we asked for something like this our old man would do his darndest to get it.  Well he obliged and one day we set off for Bangor to go and visit a man named Rustle (he was the one)! He was the one who had a collection of saxophones besides other paraphernalia, and his house was wonderful; it was crammed with all sorts of things like ‘fog horns’ and this that and the other. For me it was like some treasure cove and I just stood there in awe; I don’t know if my recollection is spot-on but I’m pretty sure that Rustle was vested in Safari gear!
We procured the Saxophone and it was mine! It had an old beat up case – now I had to figure out how to play it; I do not recall if this was instantaneous or if the urge caught me at a later date but whatever I started to play somehow.
When I was thirteen I received lessons in school from some dry bitch whose (big thick yellow moustache) name escapes me for obvious reasons now. Well I used to turn up to her lessons freshly laced with the smell of stale cigarette smoke and play those boring tunes that they try to teach you when you begin to play. At this point I had been playing along to my old man’s jazz records with artists like Cannonball Adderley, Rahssan Roland Kirk (Roland Kirk) and John Coltrane. So her attempts to get me to play ‘Oats Peas Beans and Farley Grow’ were wasted on deaf ears, and so in the process of trying to play these ‘turn-offs’ I used to stray off the script improvising what I thought was a passion filled jazz type improve. Her face was an encapsulation of disdain (sad bitch), and so I used to stick to the script.
One day the old bag music teacher turned up no more, and in her place was an old gent whose name escapes me as well now, but not because I just forget the shit people’s names; no on the contrary I just forget things sometimes, because I’m slightly fallible. Well this guy was cool and he played along with you on the saxophone. His saxophone was a nice one and when he played spit bubbles appeared around the corner of his mouth. My Saxophone had a bunch of elastic bands wrapped around it because the spring mechanisms had broken. He told me that I reminded him of a guy that used to play in a band with him; they had played here and there - in places such as Butlins and the like; I respected him for this; well at least he had been around and was not a dreary bastard like the other one! Ha!
We had a recital to give in the school assembly one day and news had reached the music teacher that I was good on the saxophone and so she decided to give me a forefront saxophone driven recital piece. The piece we were to play was ‘Abide with me’. It was a hymn and the rest of our class were to play it on the glockenspiels whilst the teacher accompanied us on the piano.
We were given sufficient time to practice it, and so I did, every day after school. I spiced it up putting little jazz runs in here and there and playing it this way and that. I was totally comfortable with it. Well days and weeks passed and I did not notice that the day was upon us, until I was cutely informed by someone that tomorrow was the day that we were to give our recital.
No problems then; well not for me anyhow! The headmaster gave his usual shitty speech about some current affairs and things that were going on in relation to the school and the mandatory religious offerings that had to be thrown in. Well finally it was our turn to go on (yes)! We walked on from the side-wings of the stage to our respective positions; the rest of the bunch sat at desks where their glockenspiel’s had been placed and the music teacher sat at the piano. Me well I was front and almost centre.
I looked out in front of me and the assembly room never looked this way to me before and before me sat a sea of people that I knew, the hardy lads, the sexy girls, the funny ones, the geeks and all the in-between. She struck up the chords on the old grand piano and everyone started up on the glockenspiels. I waited until my part kicked inn counting the beats off, ‘O.K here I go’; eyes pierced me expectantly.
I can only describe the following sound that ensued as follows; an evil spirit had accosted my body and used it to express the sound of its tormented soul; funnelling it through my bloody saxophone!  “Go away evil spirit and fuck off dry mouth”. My heart pumped like a thing that pumps a lot; O.K it was like the thrust of a horny frog.  Out pour the hideous sounds again! It was music, yes - it was it was freestyle jazz, but then again not even I knew that I could get this kind of sound out of the god damned thing! On and on I go in what seemed to be an age; trying to regain my skills, but it was no good though the laughter and tittering from my comrades was destroying me. My heart pounded!
Wait a minute I had an idea that would regain my prestigious status as a musician and so I stopped. At this point everybody else did as well, a barrage of laughter kept on coming from my comrades. I turned around and said this “can we go from the start?” The bitch was trying not to grin, and so she put her head down and I turned to face my comrades. At this point I think I would have preferred some jeering instead of the raft of laughter that kept on coming.
They struck up on the piano and glockenspiels again. I had to hold it together but all self-reasoning had gone and only fear; adrenalin and that evil spirit that had come to possess me remained. This time it was worse; I mean the noises were worse; try donkeys shitting barbed wire out continuously! That is the only description that even comes a little close to the out of worldly shit fuck noise that kept coming. TIME DID NOT ELAPSE ETERNALLY! Knees were being slapped and the odd tear of joy had come to my comrades eyes helping their quests for camaraderie.
Finally oh finally as if the day would never come; emancipation arrived and we all proceeded to make our way off the stage. When I arrived  at the wings of the stage; the chemistry teacher was there to congratulate me on my performance; he patted me on my back whilst he battled with the fits of laughter that were making his body vibrate and he uttered these words, “well done Matthew, it’s the first time that is always the hardest”. What a twat!
For about two to three weeks after this debacle when I strolled around the school yard I encountered the odd bunch of comrades here and there pointing in my direction making donkey noises ” Aw-EE, Aw-EE”. I put my head down and carried on, well that’s all I could do; well it was the best start that I could get! At least I knew what it was like and not what it was supposed to be like, and so:- “head down and carry on”! I adopted this as my mantra.