The Multitrade Kid…cont’d..
Part Urgh – The Puberty Years….
School, what a nightmare and a waste of time. I’d decided I wanted to be one of the lads. Grafting on a weekend and on school holidays. But school? What is this shit they’re trying to brainwash me with? Dissecting frogs, algebra, Anne Boleyn…..what use is this to me? I want to eat big fry ups. I want massive hands and muscles. Scars and burns like the blokes my old man works with. Like my old man. By now I’d started calling Dave, my step dad, my old man. I was proud of him. 6’3, ex merchant seaman, hard as nails, liked a fight and a drink. Nobody messed with someone who had half his nose missing. I never did find out why or how. I already got the picture. I wasn’t going to risk actually asking.
So this was it, every weekend and holiday was the same. Mucking in with the wagon and the lads raking and spreading. Getting a ride on the Blaw Knox, I never did find out the proper name. It’s the machine that pushes the tipper and spreads the red-hot asphalt. I didn’t really care what it was called, just because I was the nuts sitting up there under the tarpaulin and the sun, dirty, smelly and a couple of quid richer. I didn’t get paid much, just a bit of pocket money. But it was enough to get the train in to Carnaby Street occasionally. I wanted brogues, loafers, staypress trousers, the haircuts and the image. But most of all I wanted a Crombie. This was about 1980 by now. I had an income. I had hard skin on my hands through graft and I had zits. I could have anything I wanted and I had the one thing no 14 year old wanted. Big, fat, juicy zits. Why now!!! I got my Crombie, complete with the red fake handkerchief in the breast pocket. You’d find me with my skinhead mates stomping up and down South East London. Zits forgotten. Off to the youth club to chat up girls. Drinking gin and sniffing glue behind the clock tower while all my classmates were tucked up in bed skint. This was it, I was on my way!
It wasn’t long before I started to get in the shit. It started with detentions. Then report cards. Then suspension. The arguments started at home. “You can’t tell me what to do….you’re not my dad!” You know the score. It got worse and worse, almost – and I say almost – violent. I’d have stabbed him if it weren’t for my mum. That was the night I left home. May the twenty third, nineteen eighty three. I was fifteen years old. Out on my own. Bring on the world bitches. I’m coming to get you.