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Copyright Dedication Prologue Part I, Youth: Once Upon A Crab This Is The Man That Sex Built El Vino

Collapso, Im On Hol-i-day Golden Age Partners The Great Escape Bridlington GOTCHA! New Member On The Road Wanted Unrequited Fitting In Bins Heaven Must Have Sent You Down, Down For You To Give Me A Thrill Yesterdays News Romance Destiny Exchange The Old Switcheroo Invasion Visitor Money For Nothin And Your Tripe For Free Two Meals And A Fight Plan Cow! Cheaters Dirty Tricks Clandestine Affairs Part II, The 1960s, A Boy Becomes A Bloke Saviour Betrayal Grampians July 22nd, 1960 Chalet The Finger Of Blame

A Doomed Attempt At Being Run Of The Mill Destinys Kid Choices Jog On Reunion Levitating Snack Wedlock Steakout Fork In The Road Yes, I Suppose I Will Marry You Part III, I Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest Shocks Assessment August 25th, 1969: Escape Attempt I Life On The High Security Wing Escape Attempt II, 23rd February 1970 Epilogue Tracklist About The Author

Johnny Crab
Andrew Brady Copyright Andrew Brady 2012 All Rights Reserved

For Jumbo

Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon em. - William Shakespeare

Prologue Oh, hello there. Well, welcome to my book then I suppose. Do come in, take your shoes off though if you dont mind, that way you wont get the carpet mucky. Its new, luxury shagpile. Have a seat and please, dont touch anything while I go into the kitchen and put the kettle on for us both. As you probably know by now, my name is Johnny Crab and my original Internet blog, which I have now edited and adapted into this modest tome was an attempt to chart the early years of my life during which I became the charismatic frontman of the best pub band in North East of England, Johnny Crab and The Rockpool Five. People have been going on at me for years now, asking me when I would just bloody get it together and tell this remarkable story of mine, of how me and a few friends, (all from modest working class backgrounds) became one of the top pub bands in the country and ended up nearly getting signed by top record label, Medallion Records way back in the March of 1983. Its just that up until now there has never been a convenient time for me to do it, I was always too busy getting involved in local charity work or spending a great deal of my own precious time helping to promote local talent. Its important to give the young ones a look in, especially when youve got Hull and the surrounding area pretty much sewn up for yourself. We now live in an age where, as you know, anyone can self-publish anything they want via the remarkable medium of the Internet blog and when I heard about this remarkable new technology I thought well, I might as well try it for myself. Also, Im seventy now so I think its about time certain people who Ive known most of my life nally know the truth about what I really think of them. Dispensing my memoirs in blog form also had the unintended consequence of forcing me go with a more serialised, episodic format and I was pleasantly surprised that at one point I achieved a total of twenty eight hits for just a single post. At the time of writing this introduction, my blog has had a total of three hundred and fty seven; make that... fty eight views now, a gure which is sure to climb far, far higher as word continues to spread. Quick note:

You will notice I have also interspersed my entries with diary snippets from my life as it is nowadays and that is for no other reason than you, or indeed future historians might nd them of interest.

The How And Why It was my intention when I originally started with all this load of old nonsense to show people that my ascent to the top wasnt all the straightforward path of successes and beddings of various stunning young women that people probably think it was. True success often comes at the expense of relationships, family and even occasionally sanity - it certainly did in my case, see: Part 3, 1969, I Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. Reader, it is my solemn promise that if you stay the course you will get a noholds-barred tell-all of each and every one of my many ups and downs. I wont cherry pick just the entertaining and/or heartwarming bits, although there are plenty of those believe me. No, youre going to get a 100% accurate account of what for you will be an astonishing journey into the heart of my very soul (and heart). Of the friends of mine who read my original blog some dared accuse me of hyperbole in my recollections and interpretations of the various incidents I describe, but I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth! I made every effort to lend a more objective slant to things, including digging out all my diaries, photographs, LPs and old Grandways receipts. To ll in any gaps in my reminiscences I spoke to friends, family and local historians/experts both over the phone and in person, all spread over the course of about a week. I torturously lled a full, two hundred page Pukka Pad with notes, writing really small and on both sides of the page. An exhausting and trust me, profoundly boring process, it was nevertheless necessary in order to bring you as rich and exciting an experience as possible. Basically Ive worked really, really hard so that you can just sit back and reap all the benets. So please, listen carefully as I lecture you about the various fascinating exhibits on display during your stroll with me around the museum of my life. Now wait, I know what youre thinking, museums are boring, and normally Id hold my hands up and say yes, I agree with you. But this isnt literally a museum, its a book but if it were a museum it would be one of those that have

screens and buttons you can muck about with that stop you from falling asleep. It would also have an excellent cafe that when you reach the end serves quality food at reasonable prices. There would also be state of the art toilet facilities with those hands free ushers that you just have to wave your hand in front of and Bob is most denitely your uncle. Shoosh. Oh, and there would be a shop which is lled with Johnny Crab and The Rockpool Five merchandise such as mugs, t-shirts, stationary and calendars which believe me, by the time youve nished reading this book, (walking around the museum) no scrub that, reading this book - youll denitely want to buy. Now, my incredible story spans a good couple of decades so this museum (book) has to be quite large and not only functions as a veritable museum of social history but it also serves as a parable of human resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Timeless themes such as greed play a part in my tale as do love, jealousy and of course all the wonderfully enjoyable sex Ive had. So if youre after titilation and/or revelation well then reader/museum visitor, youve come to exactly the right place!I should just point out here that I do go into some quite explicit detail about my, how can I say, more erotic, sex-focussed adventures in parts, so if you are offended by that kind of thing its probably best if you stop reading at this point and pick yourself out something milder to read. I wont judge you, I promise. Have they gone? Good, I really hate prudes. If you ask me they are they biggest perverts of all. Now, those of you who are a bit more open minded (like me) and dont mind reading raunchy, excellently written sex scenes (like me) then please, crack yourself open a can of Tetleys and listen, listen dear reader, as I drip feed you one of the best stories ever told over the course of a few hundred of pages give or take. It depends what size font youre using I suppose. Yours, Johnny V. Crab

Part I: Youth

Once Upon A Me At the time of writing I am sitting at my desk in the box room, in my own house just off Hessle road in Hull. I bought this place from the council during the right to buy scheme back in the 1980s for the sum of three thousand pounds. In todays money that makes my house worth about threehundredthousand pounds, although I cant be sure about that, I would need to get it valued to give you a truly accurate gure. I am looking out onto the street through a threadbare and discoloured net curtain (the effect of which is a bit like looking at a sepia photograph). And, as I watch a feral youth smashing up a bus stop, he notices me and begins scanning the pavement for a rock to throw, all the while shouting, Peodo! Fucking peodo! What you staring at you fucking peodo! I am reminded suddenly of my own days as a young rebel, back before I met Jumbo Grebbins (my songwriting partner, you will meet him very soon) and how I used to sit under the dull yellow light of the streetlamp on the wall outside my mums house (this house), bag of steaming hot chips in one hand, my trusty ick knife in the other to eat them with. I wasnt what you would call the academic type. I chose instead to fritter away my school career skiving off and running illicit games of onesies or jacks in seedy back alleys where the stakes would usually be cigs, but brass (money) often changed hands as did the odd tin of snuff on occasion too. There would be only one lesson I would attend on a regular basis and that was Sister Mary Crumps music class. Sister Mary Trump, the other children used to call her behind her back. Even I did. Kids can be cruel. My only O Level, a B minus in music was achieved thanks to her ne but perhaps slightly strict teaching methods (I still bear the scars) and an experience one evening in late August 1957 when, after polishing off a delicious meal of shcake, chips and scraps (scraps = orange fragments of fried cooking batter) all contained within a large oury bap, something happened that would alter the course of my life forever. An event that, if you like, lit the blue touch paper and set me on a crash course with my extraordinary destiny.

I licked the delicious grease from each digit carefully, tossed the paper over the next door neighbours garden wall then went down to the off-license to grab myself a quarter of Yorkshire mix, which is a bag of assorted boiled sweets essentially. The bell above the door rang as I walked in and the old man instinctively reached for his broom. I dont want any trouble young man. he said. Relax pops. I replied, taking off my sunglasses, revealing my piercing, cobaltblue eyes for the rst time. I just want some goodies - thats all. He nodded, Very well son, but dont you do anything while my back is turned, Ive got eyes in the back of my head you know. I went Pshhhhh. as if to say, yeah right old timer all the while surreptitiously ipping him the bird from the inside of my pockets. He never suspected a thing. People, old people, were just so afraid back then of what they couldnt understand, i.e. Youth culture and rock and roll, and I was part of the vanguard. I always liken it to the civil rights struggle over in America which was going on around the same time, albeit thousands of miles across the ocean. We couldnt help it if we wore leather jackets, nor could we help kicking over the occasional bin or sneering at people who we thought of as uncool. It was just how we were. The old man slid the wheeled ladder along the shelves which were crowded with jars containing all manner of delights such as barley sugars, humbugs and highland toffee then mounted it to grab the tub of sports mix from the top shelf (Id changed my mind about the Yorkshire mix). It was then that I heard something spellbinding, which had drifted through the air and poured itself into to my ear like a glass of very contemporary musical wine, a sound like nothing Id ever heard before in all of my fteen years on this earth. Like a y to the proverbial pile of crap I followed the sound - the melody. Mesmerised, I lifted up the hatch and crept around the counter as the short sighted old man, up there on the rickety ladder struggled to read the names on the large glass sweet containers. I ipped him the bird again behind his back, (and trust me - my hands were not inside my pockets this time) then sneaked through the connecting door and into a tiny living room where his family were all sitting, eyes glued to a small, wooden, black and white television with their dinners on their laps. This was an odd scene for me to be confronted with as in my house wed always had our dinner at the table, but I didnt let this strange set up distract me from what Id just clapped eyes on. It was the man responsible for the very sound that had drawn me here. It was none other than Elvis The Pelvis Presley, singing a little song called Jailhouse Rock.

I had never seen a television before, and the impact of this mind blowing piece of cutting-edge technology that unlike the radio or tranny transmitted not only sounds but also moving pictures, coupled with my rst experience of rock n roll truly knocked me for six. After metaphorically gathering my now absurdly elongated jaw up from the oor it had slammed into seconds earlier I walked back through into the shop feeling a strange mixture of confusion and euphoria at what Id just witnessed. Your sports mix. the old buzzard said and leaned down from the ladder, holding out the paper bag to me. I chucked the required two and six on the counter and snatched it both without looking at him, nor uttering a word of thanks. That night, as I left for home I felt a curious sensation, something which very few people can claim. I knew exactly what it was that I was put on this earth to do.

This Is The Man That Sex Built Ive had more sex than youve had hot dinners. Im fond of telling my son that when he comes round to borrow money. He challenged me on this yesterday and so I got some paper and a pen and worked out how many hot dinners hes probably had. I had to estimate the ones at his mums house as I havent been allowed round there since 1976, but I was fairly sure its more than hes ever had here. Anyway, I got out my little black book that details all of my sexual encounters to date (it classies them by length, location and my general sense of post-bonk satisfaction) and it turns out I was right, and do you know what? It turns out Ive had more sex than even Ive had hot dinners! A revelation which I promptly informed my son of as soon as I had double checked and conrmed the gures with myself. He remains sceptical but as I told him, Its all there sunshine - numbers do not lie. Anyway, as it so happens its on the subject of sex that I want to talk to you about today. My rst and perhaps most exciting ever sexual experience had with the glamourous (but unfortunately now deceased - try not think about that when youre reading the sex bits) Kathleen Burnside, who turned out not only to be my rst love, but in later years also my treasured condante and artistes muse. It was still the same day in 1957 and I was still fteen, walking back from the beer-off with a bag of delicious boiled sweets tucked inside my young pocket. It

had started to rain so I nipped into The Blue Lion pub on the off chance I might get served this time. I would grab some shelter, a swift pint and maybe I could chat a few of the regulars wives up while they were in the bogs. Now then young Mister Crab, the landlord, old Albert Burnside said as I handed over half a sixpence to the (clearly short sighted) barmaid. She rang it into the till and in exchange placed a pint of ale, overowing with deliciously thick white cream in front of me. Shouldnt you be getting home? Its gone half nine. Whats it to you Daddy-O? I said, trying out a new phrase I had learned that day in schoolyard from my friend Roger Crisp, who like me was developing an unquenchable thirst for all things American. My young, insolent lips were pursed and ready and I was just about to take my rst sup when the glass was whisked from my grasp by an arm from behind. My hand still hooked around the spectre of the pint it once held and my head tilted forward ready to receive the now invisible liquid contained therein, the heady aroma of a Cribbins Pale Ale was suddenly replaced by the sickly sweet pong of a ladys perfume. It wafted up at me and I was at once intoxicated (and not by the beer which I hadnt managed to have any of yet as I said.) It was unmistakably a bird who had robbed my sup. Oy! I shouted as I span around to nd her standing in front of me, holding my pint in one hand while in the other was my coat shed picked up from the neighbouring bar stool. It was the Landlords wife, the aforementioned Kathleen Burnside, the woman who was to pop my cherry and shag me senseless that very night. Johnny Vivian Crab, she said, handing the undisturbed pint over to a grateful regular, his eyes widening with greedy relish as he took it. I know your Mother. Shed be very disappointed if I told her you were in here. So what. I said, grabbing my jacket from her and shoving my arms into the sleeves. I pulled a comb out of my back pocket and began coifng back my full, Brylcreemed hair as I often did when I felt under stress, it helped to calm me down.She knows I drink beer. A sceptical look passed across her face which Im surprised I managed to notice as I was mainly xated on her more than ample, if slightly withered cleavage. Wasting no time with further questioning she grabbed me by the collar and dragged me backwards towards the door. I could hear the jeers and the raucous laughter coming from the regulars as I stared up at the ceiling and the heels of my winkle pickers scraped along the oor, leaving behind them a crooked white trail scratched into the oorboards. Their cruel mockery washed over me though, I just couldnt care less, Iwas too busy wrestling with a new and confusing emotion that had suddenly awoken inside of me.

That emotion had a name, and that name was Sexual Arousal. We reached the back door and just as I thought I was going to be turned loose onto the street again I felt a warm, experienced hand going down the front of my drainpipes. As Kathleens adept and probing digits proceeded to grope around inside my briefs I managed to overcome my nerves and utter the words, I see you like bad boys. She pulled me towards her then and began feverishly pecking me all over my face and neck while going on about how her husband never gave her any or something to that effect - I wasnt paying much attention to her words, her actions yes, but not her words. I remembered thinking, this woman must be demented, but like me she had needs and I intended to see them satised. Her husband Albert was a good man evidently but he was apparently a very cold sh in the sack. Dont suppose you fancy a quicky in those bushes do you Mrs Burnside? I ventured, my eyes rolling over in that general direction. I was really pushing my luck, I knew it butto my complete surprise and delight she did! I wont bore you with the details of what happened that balmy summer evening in 1957. At that stage I was far too inexperienced and clumsy to perform to the standard of some of my later and greater conquests, and as as for Kathleen it was almost as if shed never been touched by a man before the way she went at it. Id describe it as something more akin to a scrap than normal sex. What I can tell you that I absolutely, denitely poked her and then, when I got home my mum had a piping-hot dinner and a hot cup of tea waiting for me on the kitchen table. The perfect end to a semi-alright day. As I scoffed my well earned suet pudding followed by a simple (but delicious) egg an I wondered how long it would take before the number of romps I was to have would overtake the number of hot dinners I would eventually ingest. And indeed if hot dinners would even exist in the future or if wed get all of our nutrition from scofng brightly coloured pills that taste exactly like a standard eight-piece dinner; i.e. four veg, some meat, bread to mop up the gravy, cup of tea, rice pudding etc etc, but only take a second to eat. Quick note: Im off on my holidays tomorrow so I wont be posting for a day or two until I get settled. Sorry everyone.

El Vino Collapso... Im on Hol-i-day! Im back! Greetings! From Marmaris, Turkey. Im here with my friend (wink) Shirley one of those SAGA all inclusive deals. This place is fantastic, everything is laid on for you from the moment you wake up to the moment you, well - go to bed again. Sarnies. Pyramids of mouth wateringly delicious sarnies constantly being refreshed by the - Oompah Loompas I call em (LOL) - with all kinds of different llings, turkey, chicken, egg - some decrusted, some not. Brown and white bread available, whatever oats your boat, tickles your fance. And - this is no joke, you can have as many as you want whether its meal time or not. Its all laid on. Want a drink? Laid on. Fancy a cup of tea? Laid on. Bun? Laid on. Beer? Laid on. Some crisps? Laid on. Sausage sandwich? Laid on. Mars Bar? Laid on. Scotch egg? Laid on. Bit of nice cake? Laid on. You get the idea. Sitting here next to the pool in my Umbro shorts and my favourite white vest tucked deeply and tightly inside of them, I have absolutely no need to leave the hotel, just the way I like it. A glass of the old vino collapso next to my sun lounger and this new laptop computer my nephew Conrad bought me for Christmas on which Ive been writing these blogs balanced on my belly; Ive just ordered one of the Oompa Loompas to bring me a plate of chips and now I feel just about ready to start todays trip down memory lane. * It was 1958 and me and my best mate Wendell Jones, (later to be renamed Wendell Shedblaze at mine and Jumbos behest when he joined my rst band as lead guitarist, Johnny Crabs Polka Dot Quartet) were on our way to Withernsea by train. Those of you with knowledge of the East Yorkshire area will probably know this line is now not only defunct but derelict too despite my fundraising campaign back in the 80s to get it up and running again. This makes it all the more poignant I suppose that Im discussing it now. Oh and by the way, I still have no idea about what happened to the three hundred and four quid that was raised just in case you were wondering. Anyway, we were off on a jolly as our school careers had just come to an end and we were now for all intents and purposes men. Despite the fact that the creeping shadow of work hung over us like a big menacing shadow we were

determined to enjoy ourselves and have a weekend to remember before being pressured into some dreadful job or other by our respective families. Wendell brought his uncles banjo with him and although I owned my own microphone I saw no sense in using it while it wasnt plugged into anything, so I crooned into a fountain pen instead. I came to regret this decision however as it turned out to be leaky and I got blue ink all over my hands and some on my face and t-shirt. We went up and down the carriages entertaining the passengers with our act which mainly consisted of contemporary Elvis classics such as (Youre So Square) Baby I Dont Care, King Creole and of course, Jailhouse Rock. We werent very good back then but the passengers took pity on us at any rate and were generous with what little money they had. By the time the conductor reached our part of the train wed earned enough money to pay our fare with enough change left over for a packet of twenty cigs and a light breakfast. We arrived on the platform and I slapped my friend on the back as the guard blew his whistle and the train chuffed away. We waved as it disappeared along the tracks then turned our attention towards the coast which we could see just downhill from where we were standing. We watched the bright chinks of sunlight ashing upon the surface of the great North Sea and I turned to my friend, This is gonna be great. Just you wait and see chum. Theres a storm coming. Wendell said then, nodding over towards a heavy looking and dark collection of clouds on the horizon. Yes. I smiled, Yes there surely is. Cmon, lets get some grub inside us shall we. We took ourselves off to a local cafe and placed our orders with a miserable looking and if Im honest, not so easy-on-the-eye waitress. Ill have a hamburger please darlin, err double ipped with a side o mayo and dont forget the cheese. I had seen the classic American movie, Rebel Without A Cause that summer and had been nothing short of entranced by the charismatic young lead played by James Dean and tried to emulate him and his special vernacular whenever I could. The problem was I had only been able to afford to see it the once and so only managed a rough approximation of what I could remember about the things he said and did. I still considered myself a good enough facsimile of this character though and had the look down to a tee, everyone I met agreed when I asked them about it which pleased me no end.

She looked down at me and sighed, Look, listen love, we can do you sausage or bacon in a bap with either tomato or brown sauce, and by the way youre supposed to order at the counter. Christ on a massive bike! I exclaimed and threw my hands up in the air. Does this place even have a jukebox? She stared back at me wearing a blank and wearied expression. I already knew the answer. Sausage is ne. I said, signifying Id given up nally with a long disappointed sigh as I sunk down into my seat. Breakfast over and cigs smoked we headed off to nd a place to kip for the evening. My friend, the aforementioned Roger Crisp had told me about a YMCA close to the seafront which was at the time a mecca for artists, writers and musicians from all over Yorkshire. It was there he told me hed once met a young guy called James Jumbo Grebbins, a young poet from Hudderseld who told him about his plan to one day start a band that would take the north east of England by storm. Needless to say I was captivated by this story given my own burning ambition to become part of rock and roll royalty and join the ranks of Hank Marvin, Cliff Richards, Elvis Presley and the many others that I so admired. We shrugged on our packs again, lit up two more cigs and headed down the seafront towards our digs just as the heavens opened and rain began pouring down upon our young, still very inexperienced heads. Golden Age Just got in from a very, very good meal in the hotel restaurant, however I am now covered in mosquito bites which have mutated into these sort of boil-like welt things, so you can imagine, thats taking a bit of the shine off things for now. Bloody itchy they are too. We are here for three weeks though, so, with a helping hand from this new spray Shirleys bought for me they should heal up nicely. Shes a good lass and I am fond of her. Ive got bit of sunburn too, just across the chest but nothing to be overly concerned about. You will be pleased to know the rest of my body (minus my privates which remain milky white) has turned a rich, chestnutty brown. September, 1958

If there was ever a golden age and golden place of rock n roll (and there was) then this was it and Id unwittingly found myself slap bang in the centre of both. In the once thriving resort of Withernsea, a cultural melting pot sat on the seafront which at this particular time had no equal in the North of England. We arrived in the spacious lobby of the YMCA and sandwiched in between two hotels it seemed from the outside like a fairly unassuming place. On the inside however, it was a wholly different story. We entered, drenched right through to our underpants and vests and there at the bottom of the staircase a group of young Teddy boys with impressive Pompadour haircuts were harmonising with each other in front of a gaggle of Teddy girls, or Judies as they were often called. I looked at Wendell who seemed just as delighted as I was. However, our elation at having landed in such an extraordinary place was soon put paid to when a gruff man at the front desk started demanding we produce some money. An unshaven and miserable looking Albanian who we later found out was named Shpend (he made everyone there refer to him as Mr Shpend) stood in front of us grimacing and holding his grubby hand out. You want stay you give money. You dont have money you go. Was his brief welcome speech to us. I wondered what this man was doing working for The Young Mens Christian Association and if indeed they had any knowledge of just who or what was running their hostel. This must be a mistake, Ill ring them up later, I thought while rummaging around in my rucksack. I eventually produced half a sixpence, three boiled sweets and a couple of jacks. Thats all Ive got chum, I said, throwing it all on the desk, take it or leave it - but I suggest you take it. Shpends expression changed, he was grinning broadly now, revealing a set of half-way rotten brown teeth and he nodded over at the door which was apping open following a strong blast of wind. A huge storm had landed on the east coast and it was absolutely slashing it down now. Huge waves were crashing over the barrier wall and spilling out onto the promenade, we couldnt go back out in that. I looked at Wendell and my eyes traced downwards towards his uncle Micks treasured banjo. An hour later we were ensconced in our respective bunks, it was a room meant for four but at least for now we had it to ourselves. Wendell hadnt been speaking to me and with the rain still piling it down outside I decided to get get on with writing some lyrics. I looked around the room for inspiration. Couldnt get any. Our soaked Y-fronts were draped over the radiator, billowing steam rising

upwards from the dank grey material - hardly rock n roll. I decided to have a walk around and see if there anyone worth talking to. Perhaps my luck would be in and one of those Judies would be going spare. I descended the staircase from the third oor to the second and while I did so considered the relative merits of trying to steal a kiss from a cast-off. At least she would be keen, I thought. I froze in my tracks and licked my lips as I surveilled the lone Judie standing alone in the corridor. I was the wolf and she was my sex-prey. A picture wearing a powder blue pencil skirt, pale yellow espadrilles and a tailored jacket with the velvet collar turned up. She held a long, elegant clutch bag tucked under her arm and standing there, leaning up against the wall while ling her nails she seemed bored, which from my point of view made it the perfect time to pounce. I pulled my comb out from my back pocket and walked over, running it through my full, inky black hair. As I was passing I accidentally dropped it at her feet. She didnt move a muscle and continued nonchalantly examining her nails and chewing her gum. This was the type of girl who could drive you absolutely bloody barmy. Just what is it about a bird who refuses to acknowledge you? For me they always were and still are the most attractive kind. I bent down and picked my comb up. Her skirt was too low to see up so naturally I didnt linger down there long and continued on my way. I had to do something quickly before I reached the stairs so, in a ash of inspiration I spun around and said, Err, scuse me sweetheart, any idea what the time is? That did it alright. She looked up, seeming to notice me for the rst time and raised her (fairly chunky if Im being honest) wrist. Ten past two. You got any cigs? As Id long smoked the last of them I ignored the request and sidled up to her. Youre wrong about it being ten past two. Yeah? Yeah. What time is it then? I raised my eyebrows and put my hands on her waist then pulled her classic hourglass body close to mine. Sexy time. I delivered the line with a completely straight face and thankfully she didnt laugh as most of the other girls before her had done but melted, straight into my arms. Fancy a smooch baby? I said. It was then that I felt a heavy hand grab me by the shoulder. I gulped and turned slowly around to nd ve Teddy boys, the

same ones whod been singing in the lobby when we arrived, standing behind me in the corridor. In perfect synchronisation with each other they rhythmically punched clenched sts into cupped palms. That... The largest of them said, breaking out of formation and moving forward, ...Is my girl. I quickly threw the buxom Judie at him and held my arms up meekly in a gesture of submission. You can have her mate, I stammered, I dont even fancy her... I, I mean shes alright but... I was making things worse, I knew it. The girl started crying and big muddy globules of mascara spilled down her face which seemed to enrage the Teddy boy even more. He tried to rape me! she cried. His eyes widened and he sucked in air sharply through clenched teeth. I... I didnt I just... Button it kid, time to take your punishment. He pushed me to my knees and without leaving my gaze held a hand out behind him. Then, one of the others passed him a cricket bat, at the sight of which my legs turned to jelly and Im ashamed to say I my bladder gave way and I voided myself. Thankfully I was wearing my black drainpipes and the fact that they were dark meant that the colour change probably registered as nothing more than a trick of the light. Taking aim with both hands gripped around the handle he held the bat downwards with the tip resting on my damp, sweating forehead. I stared up at the pock marked beam of oak and the face of the Teddy boy bled out of focus as I read a name carved diagonally into the wood. Dogger. There were blood stains too, various dark red blotches which presumably belonged to all the poor saps that had come before me. Maybe this was how she got her kicks, I thought. Tempting in unsuspecting jugheads like me and then watching as her boyfriend beat the living crap out of us. Clever girl. As the bat was drawn backwards behind this Doggers head I shut my eyes tightly. Dont let me die Lord. I whimpered. I promise I will attend church every single week from now on until the day that I die. This briey caused all of them to break into peels of laughter, granting me a temporary but humiliating reprieve. It seemed like forever they were taunting me, holding onto each other for support while trying to catch their breath. I doubted it could have been that funny but regardless it soon stopped when Dogger gave the order and resumed his aim with the bat. I waited as once more he drew back.

Leave him alone Perkins. A voice said from somewhere up the corridor. Relieved to still have my bonce attached to my shoulders I tentatively opened one eye and peered to the side. Hes only a kid. Probably just thought she was fair game. You should keep a closer eye on your chick. This Dogger Perkins stared at his bird who just shrugged and walked off while blowing a huge pink bubble. Ill let you off this time. he said, but only cos I owe your mate here a favour. You better hope I dont see you round here again though. With that he clicked his ngers and one after the other his entourage followed him, doo-whopping as they disappeared down the spiral staircase. James Grebbins. My savior said, holding out his hand out to help me up. But you can call me Jumbo.

Partners Ive got really bad diarrhea now. Spent all day yesterday sat on the bog. Im starting to think this hotel isnt everything it was cracked up to be in the brochure (this is future Johnny speaking by the way). Weve phoned the SAGA representative who says hes on his way and will investigate the matter fully. Shirley reckons the fried mushrooms that Ive been having with my full Englishes (full Engli??) are the culprit. I tried to tell her that its not all mushrooms that give me the squits. She was of course referring to a couple of months previous when I was on the golf course with my grandson Jordan, son of my daughter Carol from my third marriage to Pat. I spotted a large, at mushroom growing on the fairway and inspired from having recently watched some repeats of Ray Mears on the Freeview I suggested we take it home and have it with a bit of steak. Jordan, the clever little git that he is refused to have any and I spent all night sitting on top of a nearly inexhaustible geyser of boiling-hot liquid turd. At least he was there to go out for more bog roll when I needed it - although he did refuse to call me an ambulance. Turned out he was right though after all, I didnt need one - but its the principle of the thing. Anyway, this time Im more than well stocked up with Andrex thanks to good ol Shirls and my current predicament means that I have plenty of time to continue with my memoirs. I believe we had arrived at another seminal moment

in my history, the historic rst meeting with my soon-to-be songwriting partner, James Jumbo Grebbins. * I was indebted to Jumbo after hed rescued me from the gang of Teddy boys which he informed me liked to be known as, The Face Smashing Crew. Lucky escape indeed. It turned out hed written a love poem for this Dogger Perkins so that he could seduce an older woman and had yet to collect on the favour. I met up with him a few hours later and we immediately hit it off. We spent all night walking along the seafront, smoking cig after cig, fervently swapping our deepest passions and most secret fantasies. He let me see some of his poetry and I in turn showed him my song lyrics. Like me he was a big fan of the emerging rock n roll scene and we discussed the merits of various different outts, Thing about The Shadows is, theyre all style over substance. I said. What youve godda understand about The Shads Johnny is that they get people hooked on the way they look and move so when you eventually listen to something like Apache, I mean really listen then youre ready for it - blown away by it even. He was right. Of course he was; despite being just an instrumental Apache is one of the best songs ever written by anyone, it even beats all classical music, a subject which I also know a lot about. Although I had a comparably impressive pair of lamb chop sideburns I was two full years younger than him and it would be another good couple of years before I would overtake him in terms of brains, looks and general all-roundexcellentness. But of course, overtake him I did. Jumbo had come from a broken home. His dad, Cyril, was an ex-chimney sweeper turned cat burglar and used to take the slipper to him for the slightest infraction. One day, after being sent to bed early with no dinner for setting re to the shed, in Jumbos own words hed Just got sick of it, and packed a bag before leaving home to travel around the East Riding of Yorkshire, writing and performing poetry for change. He had a guitar too and was starting to perform a few of his poems as songs but at that moment in time he didnt have much condence in what hed written and had been scouring the East coast, looking for someone to collaborate with. A search which was now over. We couldnt believe our luck that wed found each other and began to discuss the dizzying possibilities. What if we could get some gigs? There may be a real chance we could make some money out of our talent.

What I didnt have any notion of back then was just how far we would go together and that one day, in the far ung future wed end up playing venues as diverse as The Astoria in Hull (opening for a then little known act called The Beatles), BP Social club and eventually, Hull City Hall as support for none other than the surviving members of The Shadows themselves. Jumbo had a guitar and I had my incredible voice, what could we possibly have to lose? He agreed. We shook on it, stubbed out our cigs, lit up two fresh ones then at around two in the morning we headed back to the digs to inform Wendell. When we got a few yards away from the entrance we found a couple of The Face Smashing Crew on sentry duty outside. Dogger Perkins stood under the light of a street lamp, his legs apart, quafng the duck tail at the back of his head while a cig hung loosely from his gob. We watched from behind a wall as some of the others returned from inside the building and informed Dogger that they hadnt seen anything or anyone. Keep looking, I heard him grumble. His subordinates nodded grimly and off they went again back inside. Were gonna have to sneak in the back way. Jumbo said. Looks like hes changed his mind about dealing you a knuckle sandwich. You must have really got under his skin Johnny. What I didnt tell Jumbo, I think correctly assuming hed be annoyed with me, is that after the incident in the corridor I had tracked down Vera (the name of Perkins bird) and gave her one behind the bins! Id obviously been found out.

The Great Escape Im on doctors orders and have to make sure Im close to a toilet so Ive decided its best if I stay in the room for now. Im still suffering unfortunately and theres still no sign of the rep from SAGA. Useless. Last night was ok, I instructed one of the Oompa Loompas to bring me up a delicious (and healthy) salad Nioise and he very kindly stayed for ve minutes while I chatted to him about my day and made me a cup of Horlicks blended with a carrot as per my instructions. Theyre really good, hard workers. We could do with a few of them back in England and I told him as much. I told him hed like it there as we had things like the NHS, free museums and drinkable tap water. This morning, around seven thirty I woke up to nd Shirleys side of the bed empty and with just a make-up smeared pillow for company I decided I might as

well get up too. I made my way over to the balcony, surprised that I didnt need to go yet and pulled the sliding door to one side. The potent mixture of sun cream and chlorine hit my twitching schnoz immediately. I know from having my great grandson round on the odd occasion that the music piping out from the speakers behind the bar and into the communal pool area was something called R n B. Ive tried to get into it to prove I can keep up with current musical trends but I cant. I really cant - its just noise! I sat down on the plastic patio chair and placed a notebook I usually use for recording my bets in on the arm. The travel binoculars were exactly where Id left them, just behind the plant pot. From where I am ve oors up I have an excellent view of the entire pool area. This is just where I would want to be if I were a professional assassin, I thought. At seven forty two on on the dot (exactly ve minutes ago) Shirley emerged fresh from breakfast holding a large, sort of eshcoloured cocktail with loads of umbrellas and sparklers hanging out of it. She weaved through the sun loungers in her bright green sarong and headed straight for the straw roofed Paradise bar. I took a stubby pencil out of my pyjama pocket, licked the end and then made a note of the date and time. Now, lets get to other business shall we, its the reason why were all here after all - to hear about my life story. Now where were we? Ah yes, me and Jumbo were outside the YMCA trying to think of a way we could avoid me getting myself battered. * We decided that Jumbo had better go and explain our plan to Wendell and I for my part would remain outside. The Face Smashing Crew didnt have anything against him and so the idea made perfect sense. Id been waiting patiently a for few minutes when something occurred to me. How were we ever going to make it as a band if Wendell didnt have an instrument to play? Once he heard the news hed inevitably want to be involved and besides, we would need him. I needed to get his uncles banjo back if we had any chance of being the successful ve piece who would eventually go on to become the best band in Hull and the most of the East Riding. I nipped down the alley of the adjacent hotel and into its back yard. It was well kept and had nice a little area with tables and chairs for the guests. This was in stark contrast with the YMCA yard which just contained a couple of rusty old bikes and some overowing bins. I clambered over the fence and stood on top of

one of these bins then peered in through a window that was fogged up with condensation. The Albanian, Shpend was lying asleep on a thin camp bed next to a portable gas stove just underneath a large map of Albania haphazardly tacked to the wall. I started to wonder again just what this man might be doing here before realizing that actually, I no longer cared and had some rather more urgent business to take care of. I carefully jimmied open the window with my ick knife and stuck my head in to have a more detailed look around. A large and scuffed dufe bag in one corner of the room lay accid and empty, and all of his clothes were either strewn around the oor or hung up to dry on a washing line which stretched from one corner of the ceiling to the other. My eyes drifted back down to the snoring Shpend. Id somehow missed it before but he was cradling Wendells uncles banjo in his arms as he slept. I was resolved to retrieve the instrument whatever the cost, I wouldnt be discouraged - we needed to start this band. I prised open the window a tad more and began pulling myself inside. As I released my foot the dustbin lid I was standing on slid off and clanged to the ground. A startled cat wailed in surprise and shot up and over the fence. I froze with my legs still dangling outof the window and watched as Shpend stirred, only ever so slightly then pulled the banjo tighter towards his naked, very hairy chest. Heavy sleeper, I noted. I was condent that I could retrieve the instrument without him waking up, all that was needed was an adequate replacement. I went up to the larder and opened it. Perfect. I whispered and reached inside, moved a can of mouldy Spam out of the way and grabbed the heaven sent item. I walked over to the camp bed and watched for a couple of minutes, doubts were creeping in again as I tried to determine if I should really be doing this. Once Id made the decision however it was as if I was on auto pilot. No fear. I leaned in and pulled on the instrument up through his limp arms. While I did this I was simultaniously pushing the leg of pork upwards, swapping it for the banjo in an act of derring-do I have never since equalled. Shpend didnt wake up, didnt even stir despite the fact that he was now cradling a slab of raw meat. Job done I ran back around to the street and found Jumbo and Wendell waiting behind the wall with my belongings. I handed the banjo over to a stunned Wendell who was speechless with gratitude as he held it in his hands. I slapped him on the back and turned to Jumbo. It wont take them long to gure out what happened, he said. They probably know what room you were in. We best get moving. Agreed.

The time had come to leave Withernsea behind and try and get some gigs in a bigger town that had more going on and where no one wanted to batter us. We didnt have a brass farthing between us but as luck would have it, Jumbo had already arranged for a friend to help him out with passage to a place further along the coast called Bridlington, which at the time was a thriving seaside metropolis. It had loads of pubs, clubs and bandstands which equalled hundreds of potential gigs. Gigs equalled birds and birds equalled rumpo! We arrived at the trawler at about three in the morning and Jumbos friend seemed acutely uneasy at the sight of me and Wendell. You said it was just you you didn't mention these two would be with you. Things have changed, Jumbo replied, are you telling me you cant help me out? I thought you were a man who could get things done - I guess I was wrong. The young man looked around furtively. He was, like Jumbo around eighteen years of age. He tentatively sidled up to him and asked, Did you get it? Oh I got it alright - it wasnt exactly easy neither. He reached into his rucksack and pulled out a black and white photo of Tommy Steele signed with red ink. I had doubts as to its authenticity but his friend, probably eager to complete the exchange snatched it quickly away and stuffed it into the large central pocket of his lthy rubber dungarees. Ok, youre on. But my dad will be here soon so you lads need to be quick. Follow me. We clambered aboard and after being handed two cigs and an egg sandwich apiece for the journey we were quickly hustled into the large central area where all the sh were to be dropped. This is the only place you wont be discovered. Jumbos friend said as we were lowered down into the darkness on the end of a rusty chain. Youre on your own now lads. Around ten or so minutes later we heard more people coming aboard and then shortly after that the engine roared into life. There was nothing to do but stare up at the stars, smoke our cigs and scoff our sandwiches until the rst catch of the night would be unceremoniously dumped on top of us. Tomorrow we would be in Bridlington, where opportunity most denitely awaited.

Bridlington 31 September, 1959

Id fallen asleep, it had been the only thing to do given the circumstances get a bit of kip. I immediately vomited when I came to again. I was cold, I was wet and I could move my arms and legs but only ever so slightly. What should have been straight forward projectile sick gushed and bubbled down my chin for want of space. The pong really did overpower and I struggled with my convulsions not to immediately let go and do it again. Finding a at surface with one foot I strained and pushed myself up through the oily mass of sh in which I was contained. My head emerged inside a large, brightly-lit warehouse where frenetic activity raged all around me. Three and two wholl give me three and two...Sold! for three and two. We were in an early morning traders sh market in Bridlington and I was trapped inside what looked like - to my expert sh and chip enthusiasts eye, a container of freshly caught halibut. I rotated my head around and looked for signs of the others. I was beginning to fear for their survival - or consider that maybe theyd ran away and left me here for a laugh - when across the oor on another stall the at corpse of a plaice stirred before Wendells startled bonce popped up underneath it. He was wearing it like a hat. Wendell! I yelled, Thank Christ youre ok. Bloody ell you look a right state! Speak for yourself. he said, then managed to free his left arm and raise it above the pile to look at his watch. Its gone half six, we should get a wriggle on and nd Jumbo. Agreed, I said, and strained once more to move. Little by little, inch by slimy inch the tightly packed pile of sh loosened and shifted around me and eventually I was able to push upwards and free myself. My body no longer being present had a catastrophic displacement effect which caused hundreds of sh to surge forwards, spraying out all over the oor of the warehouse. The trader who owned the pitch turned around just in time to be lifted into the air and get carried away on a mini tsunami of dead halibut. His legs cycled in the air hopelessly as he came to a stop just yards away so I took the opportunity to leap on top of the opposite stall and rescue Wendell. With no small effort I yanked him out and then we both scarpered down the central aisle. The other traders and punters were still trying to gure out what was going on as we looked around desperately for Jumbo. We need to go, Wendell protested, tugging on the sleeve of my leather jacket. Theyre gonna call the bobbies. Just you see if they dont.

Unconcerned I kept scanning the warehouse for signs of my friend. Then I saw it, the contrast of Jumbos unmistakable jet-black quiff poking out from underneath a pile of bright pink crabs. Thats them. Someone shouted, Lets grab them and give them the hiding of a lifetime followed by a good clip around the ear. Its what they need. Another one said. We grabbed an arm each and in a ash we had freed the wet and shivering Jumbo (the crabs had been packed in ice) and were on our way at a good clip towards the exit. I managed to grab a handful of whelks and stuff them in my pockets as we headed out into the street, and then, after scarpering down a series of cobble stone alleys we realised no angry mob had followed us and we were at last home free. Roughly half an hour later when we felt sure wed not been followed I divvied out the stolen bounty to my compadres. We feasted on them as we rested on a bench next to a half-built Bridlington Spa Theatre, an appropriate metaphor I suppose for our not-yet fully realised careers as rock n roll idols. After our delicious salty snack it wasnt long before the conversation turned to what we should do next. Well I need a good bath. Wendell said. Johnny, I think we should go home to Hull. This weekend has been a really good laugh and everything but this is no life for people like us from good omes. Our mamsll be frantic. Theres nothing for me back there. I said, staring solemnly into the distance, then kicked an empty shell over the wall and out into the cold vastness of the turbulent North sea. No, were not going back, not yet - not until were a proper band with a solid set and a large following of absolutely cracking birds.

GOTCHA! Shirley has left me. Let me explain. I managed after a lot of mucking about to get us moved to another hotel. The bloke from SAGA reckons hes found nothing wrong at the original one as far as hygiene goes but there might be a small chance Ive eaten some E-coli or something. Says it can happen no matter how clean a place is, Im not sure I believe that but there you go, thats what he said. Anyway, useless as Ive been to

Shirley during my recovery period shes managed to nd her own entertainment in the shape of getting her leg over with a thirty year old Turkish barman. Shes sixty ve! When I confronted her with all the evidence (the photos I found of him on her phone and notes that Id taken from the balcony) she just shrugged and said, Mert tells me he loves me Johnny, something youve never done. It is true, I never tell birds I love them, its a rule I have - but she knows that, she knows Ive been hurt too badly in the past to risk being hurt again. Shes shacked up with him for the time being, God knows where - but the worst part is we have to y home together, and Im not looking forward to that! They warned me she was a player, I should have listened I suppose, I just never thought shed end up playing me! At least I might get a song out of it. I suppose thats the main. Pain and heartache brings creativity, thats something Ive had to learn the hard way. And, its no great loss really. She had a decent enough set of jugs for her age but thats about the best thing you could say about her. * 13th of December, 1958 I stared, dazzled by the bright lights as the audience clapped us on. The pub was packed to the rafters and this was our debut - our big chance. Wed elected to play one of mine and Jumbos very rst collaborations entitled, You Stole One of My Chips, I Stole One of Your Kisses and everything seemed to be going well. During the intro Id sidled up to the mic condently, clicking my ngers by my side in time to the music but when my cue came to start singing something strange happened. Something thats never happened to me before, or since... I opened my mouth to sing but no words came out! How did I end up standing up here on this stage embarrassing us all in the rst place I hear you ask. We couldnt be in the big leagues, packing out the pubs and clubs already could we? The short answer is no, of course we couldnt. This was a talent contest and me and the lads were the rst act of the night. We had spent the past few months establishing ourselves and sharpening our act by busking on the seafront. It started off well enough but now it was the middle of winter we werent doing very well. Virtually no punters meant we had no money for food or cigs and so as a result our moral was at an all time low. We scavenged our breakfasts, lunches and dinners from bins along the promenade

which, despite the fact that we often got into a scrap with the odd seagull, kept us reasonably well fed. I got a particularly nasty gash across my forehead when I came to blows with a really big one over half a shcake that someone had slung. I called Jumbo and Wendell over when the vicious thing tried to peck my eyes out and with three against one we battered it easily. Victorious but now hungrier than ever we claimed the bounty as our own and divvied it out three ways. Freezing cold and without a place to sleep, when nightfall came we made our way back to our temporary home in a bus shelter near the centre of town. As we were walking past a branch of Woolworth and Sons, arguing about whose turn it was to have the big cardboard box I noticed a poster and quickly snatched it off the wall. Lads lads, look at this. I said. They stopped bickering and meandered over as I started reading aloud, Talent contest at The Fox and Undertaker - First prize twenty shillings. A fortune. And its tomorrow night! Jumbo grabbed it off me to examine it for himself and I drifted off on a private little ight of fancy, thinking of how we could spend all that bloody lovely money. I could buy a proper microphone like the one the pros use and perhaps we could even press our rst single. We needed a name for our band too. What could we call ourselves? We compromised that night. Animosity gave way to a renewed sense of camaraderie and we all slept soundly, huddled together in the same cardboard box - the good one, dreaming of the possibilities. * Back up there on the stage and my mouth felt dry, I croaked and took a long drag of my cig. It had burned down to the end and I yelped and icked it away as it scorched the tips of my ngers. Jumbo and Wendell played on, looping the introduction in the hope I would get my act together and start the song but I just couldnt do it. Nope, nope - its no good lads. I said, turning to them. You might as well stop. They exchanged glances, they were both sharing the same expression, a mixture of bewilderment and fury at my untimely ineptitude. The now quite irate crowd had begun booing and hissing and shouting for us to Geddof. I had shamed us in front of literally tens of people due to my unexpected attack of stage fright. Not the most promising of starts to our young career I have to admit.

At the back of the room the four judges, all male, all ancient with huge paunches protruding over their belts, were sitting behind tables covered in empty, froth stained pint glasses and cigarette stub packed ash trays. We stood there helpless as one by one they all raised a white card each with a big fat zero printed on it. And we were dignied about it, there was nothing to be argued, I had failed quite miserably due to an unexpected attack of performance anxiety. The reason we didnt preserve what dignity we had left and leave straight away was down to the fact that someone had tipped me off that there was a free jug of ale going spare as a sort of booby prize for the worst act of the night. Sure enough, when the results were announced we were crowned worst turn and I went to the front to claim our beer tokens. I gave a cheeky bow as I pocketed my prize in response to which I received yet more boos and jeers. I was past caring. I had accepted what had happened and knew in my heart that next time would be different - I had simply been the victim of nerves, that was all. Bugger off. I yelled whilst chuckling and ipping the Vs at everyone. Cheers. I said to the others back at the table, to which they reluctantly raised their glasses, clinking them together. Id clawed back a modicum of respect thanks to the fact that Id kept my ear to the ground and although we hadnt won the money I had at least provided us with something. Just as all our collective lips were pursed, ready to take our rst, I suppose not-so-well-earned sups, a man appeared at the foot of the table. We all peered up at the slim gent of around average height who looked to be somewhere in his mid to late thirties. Something told me he wasnt your average square however, he certainly didnt look like one in any event. He wore a pale grey suit and checkered shirt complete with boot-lace tie tipped with silver. His hair was thinning on top but he had a very respectable pair of chunky sideburns and managed to cover the developing bald patch on top with two side partings brought together in the middle in a kiss curl, slapped down with grease at the front. I thought maybe he had a glass eye or perhaps a lazy one, I wasnt sure and it would have been rude to ask. He wasted no time in introducing himself as Chris Bielby, talent agent extraordinaire, and despite watching me die a death up there on the stage he claimed hed seen something in me. No, Im being serious, you got star quality sunshine. He winked at the others, You lot as well. I noticed his watch as he gestured at Wendell and Jumbo and wondered if it was real gold. He spoke with an American accent despite explaining to us that he was from originally from Drifeld, coincidentally Jumbos

home town. The accent was, according to him, due to the fact that he spent so much time Over in Memphis. Im gonna make you lads biggest band in the whole damn North East of England. Your name up in lights twenty foot high. His eyes appeared to mist over as he held his hands out before him, as if picturing the sign with our name somewhere up above. Another round of pints for my new buddies here Terry - I got big plans for you lads, you wait and see. Big plans. We were intrigued and I suppose a little bit attered by this strange new character and so, seeing as hed bought us all a beer, invited him to join us. We spent the rest of that night sitting around that table in the back room of the Fox and Undertaker and listened to Chriss tale how he ended up as one of the regions biggest talent agents. We nodded politely as we absorbed his very drawn-out story. This man could hold our futures in his hands and we, or at least I knew it was important not to let on that we were bored. Why dont you lads come round to my house for dinner? he said nally. My wife makes unbelievable stufng. Wed be glad to have you. I looked at Wendell who was slumped over asleep. I kicked him under the table and he jolted back into the land of the living, wiping a dangling glob of drool away from his chin. Why not, I said, speaking for the other two, we could do with a good feed actually. I grimaced and looked down at the oor as I admitted Weve been living out of bins for the past few weeks. Chris laughed like he thought I was joking then my eyes drifted down to my all but empty pint glass and I swished what was left around in the bottom before raising it above my face and shaking the droplets loose into my gob. Errr, suppose we better get going then. I moaned, patting down each and every one of my pockets. Id hoped Chris would get the hint and get another round in. Great, so see you guys Thursday then. He replied, failing to grasp what I had been getting at then walked back into the main bar to get himself last orders. I was quite taken by the guy but Wendell, ever the cynic said he thought he was a massive bullshitter and wed end up even worse off if we trusted him with our careers. Things can hardly get worse than they are now Wends. I pointed out, gleefully waggling the lit end of my cig in his face. Given what had happened just that very night he had to agree.

A couple of days later we arrived at Chriss place. A modest semi-detached house in the suburbs of Bridlington with its own driveway where a sparkling pink 57 chevy was parked up. Sheesh, Jumbo said as we walked up the path towards the front door. Looks like someones doing alright. Think the cars his too? Course its his, said Wendell, he picked it up in Memphis for his wifes birthday. I remember cos its the last bit of his story I heard before falling asleep. Jesus what a boring arsehole. I gawped up at the stone cladding facade, One day Ill have a place like this, maybe even bigger. Just you see if I dont. The door swung open and a blast of hot, delicious central heating hit us slap bang in the face, Heyyy, lads, Chris said. Come on in. Welcome to my little place. My wife Pam is in the kitchen cooking dinner so youll meet her later on. In the meantime let me introduce you to my three daughters, this is Brenda, Marjorie and Phyllis. The girls giggled as we went crimson in their presence. I took off my cap and twisting it in my clammy hands stammered, Its an honour to meet you crackers... I, I, I mean birds, I mean girls... Uh - sorry. Three chicks for the three of us. Sex on a plate, my favourite kind of sex. Plated sex. This day was getting better and better. So you like my daughters huh Johnny? Chris said, noticing the fact that my eyes were practically hangin out on massive stalks. Take your pick and shes all yours, go ahead - I mean it. The one that Id mentally pre-chosen anyway, by far the best one, was a bit plump around the arse area for my tastes but she was ok I supposed. I ngered my cap nervously in front of me and raised a nger to point. Why thank you sir I dont know what to say I... Whoah not so fast there buddy boy. he said, pushing my arm down back to my side. Shes all yours when youve sold a million records and theres a gold disc hanging on that wall over there. Now, lets sample that stufng I was goin on about before. Dinner was ok I suppose. And this supposed magical stufng was well, a bit dry if Im being honest. Things began to look up again though when Chris took us outside and showed us something we werent expecting at all. I got you a little gift, now I know we havent known each other very long but...

Wendell tutted, so I quickly jabbed him in the shoulder, giving him a dead arm. ...but this thing has just been sitting here in my garage and well, I suppose I might as well just show you as go on about it out here in the God damn freezing cold. He lifted the garage door and there it was, a clapped out 1953 Austin Trojan Bosworth Maxi. If youre gonna do gigs youre gonna need some transport. So, if you can get this old girl xed up then shes all yours. Hold on, did you say something about gigs? Jumbo said. Ah, oh did I forget to mention it? Chris replied and slapped his forehead as in a mock gesture of absentmindedness. I booked you a gig on New Years eve in Doncaster. Sheesh my memory sucks sometimes. Hey Johnny, you better not screw up again like in the talent contest the other night. Im countin on you lad. Wendell led me away for a quiet word at the back of the garage as Jumbo and Chris began discussing what parts the van would need replacing to get it up and running again. I dont like this Johnny, I mean why is he being so nice to us? He hardly knows us. Do you think he might be one of them... Yknow... He leaned in to me and whispered, A kiddy ddler. Relax, I said, placing my hands on his shoulders, He just knows raw, burning hot talent when he sees it - thats all. Everythings gonna be ne. You mark my words, were about to hit the big time my friend.

New Member This hotel is nowhere near as good as the last one - Im starting to wish I hadnt moved. In search of a half decent sausage I actually went out this morning. The sausages here are ok, you serve yourself breakfast from the buffet in the usual way - with tongs. Theres big metal tubs of each thing, the sausages (my favourite breakfast item by a long way) are kept piled high, are piping hot and have a lovely sheen to them but theyre just not the same. I think theyve got some weird herb in them or something, they taste all sort of, perfumy. I ended up going to this place down the road that shows Only Fools and Horses on a big screen all day long. Fantastic. Ive been coming to Turkey for the last fteen years and never once ventured outside the hotel. What a fool Ive been.

Not anymore, this is the start of a brand new me. Im ready to soak up anything and everything that Turkey has to offer, apart from the food of course. Ive spent all day watching classic episodes while penning a new song about Shirley, but its really a song about every woman Ive ever known. Its called I Never Said I Love You and it will make its debut at The Crown as soon as I get back to Hull. Now, time to grab a glass of the old vino collapso and get on with the next chapter of my story. * 28th of December, 1958 So now we not only had ourselves an agent but also our very own van and by extension a semi-decent place to kip. Magic. We also had this gig in Doncaster to look forward to. It had been a very good week up till now and it was about to get even better. By day we carried on busking on the seafront which gave us the chance to practice our set and by night we would clamber over the fence of the local scrapyard and hunt for the parts we needed. One evening, lthy and exhausted after a particularly successful scavenge we decided to send Wendell off to the chippy. Me and Jumbo had gone out early morning and killed a seagull, we thought we might cook it and eat it as we didnt have enough money for sh, battered sausages, onion patties or anything else. It was bound to taste alright, we assumed. About eight in the morning, just as the sun was coming up Id held the rope and slowly lowered Jumbo down the cliffside while he trained a spear (Id fashioned one using a tree branch, a pen knife and some string) on the unsuspecting gull. One lucky throw later and it was ours. We had been rotating it on a make shift spit outside the van in the car park round the back of The Trophy Arms - for a few hours, and wed just taken it inside to start carving it up when Wendell returned with a neat grey parcel of lovely hot chips tucked under his armpit. As he doled the bags out he started making bizarre claims that on the way back from the shop hed spotted our new agent, Chris Bielby driving the number sixty two bus into town. I told him he was obviously seeing things. Why would Chris be driving a bus around when hes got tons of acts to manage? I pointed out. You could see the cogs working behind the eyes as he mulled over my awless logic. He had to concede I had a point and saying no more about it, we began tucking into our dinner.

I was just carving through a particularly tough bit of charcoaled wing when there was a knock on the van door. Go away. I said through a mouthful of mashed up potato and feathers, Were having our teas. Im here about the advert you placed in the Bridlington Chronicle. The mufed voice said. Im a drummer, Kenny Shannons the name. Flipping heck! I exclaimed and leapt to my feet. Just a min. I put my plate on the oor, pulled on my braces, licked my palms and slicked my hair back as best I could then yanked the door open and stuck out my hand to shake his. Johnny Crab, I said, lead vocalist and band leader - and you are? Kenny Shannon, he repeated, good to meet you Johnny. A tall lad in neat threads and a pair of horn rimmed glasses he cut an impressive gure, a bit like a young Buddy Holly. So whats the word from the bird? Jumbo said, sticking his head around the door, taking care not to spill the chips he had rested on his knee. You got much experience being a drummer sunbeam? Well, Ive only been playing for three weeks, Kenny admitted, but I do have my own drum kit and I can drive too, I believe those were the two prerequisites for potential band members. Thats right, I said. Hey, youre a bright kid. Hows about you join us for our next gig. Well see how you do on a trail basis and then well take things from there. Sound alright? I pulled out a crumpled set list from my inside pocket and shoved it into his chest then pulled back the sliding door and slammed it shut before hed had a chance to ask me any awkward questions. I grabbed my plate, sat down and started tucking into my grub again. Lads, I said, Weve just scored ourselves a driver. Doncaster here we come.

On The Road Quick update: Ive managed to marshal some support from a few of the other inmates and we raised the issue of the sausages with one of the SAGA reps. She said she cant promise anything but will talk to the hotel about the possibility of changing the brand they use. Thats people power for you. I think I might just be getting a taste for politics.

* 31st December, 1958, New Year's Eve We nished tting the last part we needed, a steering wheel, just in time for the day of our rst ofcial gig. It didnt really x on to the steering column properly being that it was originally part of a bus, so as a result looked quite large in our tiny van. We crammed the equipment in the back where me and Wendell sat and Jumbo was up front with our driver and new band member Kenny and also his girlfriend of the time who hed brought along for the ride so to speak, Pauline. Pauline was an absolute top-drawer stunner and I was smitten from the very rst time I clapped eyes on her. The band code of honour which Id foolishly drawn up and made everyone sign a few days before prevented me from trying to shag her however, so at least for now I would have to keep my grubby hands to myself. Yep, Pauline was a cracker alright and whats more she knew it. In order to be able to sit next to Kenny she had to position herself astride the engine cover in the middle. From where me and Wendell were, sitting higher up on the equipment we had an excellent view up her skirt thanks to a redundant central rear view mirror. For the next few journeys on which Pauline was to ride along the front passenger seat became much sought after and was the cause of quite a few heated arguments between the three of us I can tell you! Jumbo usually ended up there as he was the oldest and used to make us laugh by turning around when Pauline wasnt looking and making a face that resembled Les Dawsons Cosmo Smallpiece. Looking back Pauline did seem like a naive young lass with regards to the clothes she wore. And what Kenny was thinking introducing her to a group of virile, very t young lads in their prime I do not know. Further down the line shed almost cause us to split due to her mind games. Now she was a player. The snow had started to come down just as we set off for Doncaster but we had no idea just how bad it was due to get. It was of the kind that takes you completely by surprise by just how bloody much of it there is. By the time we had hit the A614 it had slowed but thickened into huge akes that were oating down to the ground with an ethereal, weightless grace. The muddy brown of the elds on either side had now been completely replaced with vast sheets of uninterrupted, crisp whiteness. We pressed on, trundling up the single lane

highway, but thanks to the fact we hadnt managed to nd any windscreen wipers in the scrapyard we were driving more or less blind. Every now and again Kenny would reach around with a newspaper and have a go at ipping as much ice as he could off the windscreen but within half an hour we were completely overwhelmed. To top it all a gasket or something blew and smoke started billowing out from under the bonnet. We had to pull off the road into a lay-by and try and x the bloody thing. Thinking back that probably saved our young lives. It would have surely been suicide to try and press on in the blizzard without being able to see, but when youre a virile, very t young lad in your prime you can almost convince yourself that youre invincible. I took out my lighter to illuminate the map, noticing that we had broken down only a hairs breadth from Doncaster. While Jumbo and Kenny stuck their heads under the bonnet to try and gure out what was wrong (I knew and still continue to know very little about engines) I declared my intentions to go behind the bushes and write my name in the snow. Take your time chum, a smug looking Wendell said. He was taking advantage of the situation to chat up Pauline and had given her his sheepskin to keep warm. Swine. I muttered under my breath. I was just nishing the N when I heard a distant wailing sound being carried on the wind, it was coming from inside a patch of woodland not far away from where I was standing. I concluded that I must be hearing things being that we were in the middle of nowhere so carried on and nished my piss. The hot steam rising from the snow dissipated, and as I shook off the excess wee from the tip of my penis I heard it again, only this time slightly louder. This was no gment of my imagination. Curiosity got the better of me and before I knew it I had zipped myself up and was trudging my way through the freshly lain snow towards the tree line. It almost came up to my knees. Crump... Crump... Crump... The wailing got louder as I approached and I knew whatever was in there would most certainly spell trouble but I just had to nd out what in the name of buggery it was. Perhaps I could help in some way. I emerged some minutes later and although I couldnt see any of the lads from where I was I could hear them calling my name. I pushed the huge, cumbersome pram Id just discovered down the same path Id trodden just ve minutes earlier then nally, red faced and exhausted, I reached the road. Look what I found. I said, Its a lickle baby.

The thing had stopped crying thank God, I was willing to bet it had appreciated me getting rid of the squirrel that had been curled up asleep next to its head. Hold on, Wendell said, I think I might know what this is. He opened the van up and went straight to the back where we kept the pile of used chip wrappers. You may or may not remember but back in those days sh and chips were wrapped in newspaper - and I hasten to add tasted better as a result! He hurriedly separated one from the rest of the pile and brought it back outside then smoothed it out across the bonnet of the van. There was an article on it from a few days previous about a baby that had been kidnapped near the village of Goole. It ended by saying, Any information leading to the whereabouts of the bairn or its kidnappers will be rewarded. Please call The Police on 01677 345.... Crumbs, I said, They must have dumped the poor kid when they realised they werent gonna get away with it. Tell you what we could do with that reward though - problem is that not only do we have a gig to get to, but were nowhere near a phone and the bloody vans buggered. Talk about a conundrum. Wendell added. The snow had fallen so fast and lay so thick in the past half hour that we were almost completely obscured from anyone who might be passings view. It was a total whiteout and very few cars were going by now anyway. Jumbo came up with the idea of lighting a re so someone might decide to stop and see what was up. We quickly gathered as many as the aforementioned chip papers together as we could, along with some twigs we found just beyond the roads boundary and set them alight. It wasnt burning very well, or rather it was burning far too quickly, so, while Wendell was relieving himself behind the van I got Pauline to give me his sheepskin and slung that on too. A few seconds later and it was burning high, strong and bright. Wendell appeared from behind the van and looked at Pauline warming her hands, she was trying not to look in his direction. Then he looked at me, and then back at Pauline again who was now trying desperately to stie a giggle. We both shared a conspiratorial (and sexually charged) glance but before the ummoxed Wendell could say anything we noticed a car was pulling off the road and coming to a stop beside us. It turned out to be just our rotten luck that it was a police car out on patrol, theyd spotted our little blaze and pulled up just in front of the van.

As soon as Jumbo realised it was the bobbies he was off like shite from a stick and scarpered into the woods. It was a sort of Pavlovian response that hed developed which meant that whenever he saw or heard a siren he had to ee the scene, regardless of whether hed done anything illegal or not. Unfortunately they had seen him run and so were immediately suspicious about the rest of us. Err, evening ofcers - errrm, we found this baby. I said, gesturing meekly to the pram as they got out of the car and walked slowly over towards us. What do you mean you found a ba... Sarge What is it Hopkins? Cant you see Im in the middle of something here? Nothing - it... Its just that this pram matches the description of the one belonging to the stolen nipper from the Grimshaw case a couple of days back. So it does Hopkins... So it does. Ok, youre under arrest sunshine, for the kidnapping and attempted burning of a defenceless baby. Crumbs. I said.

Wanted Johnny Vivian Crab, born to parents Stanley and Enid Crab, Hessle Road maternity hospital Hull. Attended Sacred Heart school for boys and achieved only one O Level in music. I dont think his mother and father would be very proud of their son if they knew he were here - do you Hopkins? I started squarely into the face of the sergeant and said, Youve got nothing on me pops and you know it. How did you get your hands on my records so fast anyway? Ever heard of a phone son? As well as talking to commissioner Antrobus at Humberside station Ive been in contact with my counterpart over in Bridlington where you lot say youve been staying and they told me that someone matching your description was seen murdering a seagull on North Beach a few days ago. What do you say to that? Look, we were just hungry thats all, since when is that such a crime? Looks like your mate Hopkins here hasnt missed a meal in a while. Tell you what, why dont you try going without for two full days while sleeping in a bus shelter - then

well see what youre capable of. Anyway, it was Jumbo that killed it not me, I just held the rope and made the spear. Ah yes your absent pal Mr Grebbins. he said, pulling out another le from underneath mine. You know hes got form dont you? Was caught a few months back in Sprotbrough with a suitcase full of stolen goodies. Shop nearly went out of business thanks to that little toe rag. Well Jumbos changed, we all have. All we wanna do is make a go of this band. Were going right to the top - you mark my words. I was starting to sweat in the bright light of the angle-poise lamp they had trained on me. I looked down at the Formica table top and noticed my cig had burned down almost to the lter. My hand shook as a long column of ash went crooked then dropped off the end. You Teddy boys are all the same. He stood up suddenly, his chair ew backwards and he snarled. Rotten to the core. I beg your pardon sir, I said, but Im not a Teddy boy Im a greaser. Theres a big difference yknow. The sergeant exhaled through his nose, picked up and sat back in his chair then looked at me appraisingly for a second before changing the subject entirely. I bet youd like a cup of tea wouldnt you lad? Crikey, youre not wrong. I replied, leaning forward, getting interested in something he had to say nally. Id been there a full two hours and no one had even mentioned putting the kettle on. My lips were parched and were starting to dry up and ake. I could murder a brew actually. Uh, ay up Hopkins, he said, slapping his cohort on the arm with the back of his hand, theres that word again - murder, you have somewhat of an obsession with killing things dont you Crab. Even innocent cups of tea - and if we hadnt stopped you it would bebabiestoo wouldnt it. He seemed pleased with the way hed drawn everything together. Youll get your precious cup of tea when youre ready to start talking and not before - Hopkins, take him down to the cells. Make sure hes fed well and given plenty of water to drink but under no circumstances give him a cup of tea. Water! I exclaimed, revolted. Who drinks water? Someone get me a lawyer. The fat one, Hopkins led me down the corridor and pushed me back into my cell, a different one from the others - presumably they wanted to keep us separate so we wouldnt try and concoct a story between us. As he slammed the door on me I heard a voice from behind. Now then, you look like a nice young lad, you shouldnt be in a place like this.

Try telling that to Chubby Checker out there. I mumbled as I turned around to face him. I jumped slightly, a bit startled at the state of the old chap. Bloody hell, how long have you been here chum? The frail looking creature was sitting on one of two at mattress at the back of the room, just under a small window that had bars on the inside. He appeared to be carving something into the wall, perhaps a tally, with a sharpened match. He had a long, straggly grey beard and was wearing a shirt and tie and also a lthy mac, but crucially, no trousers. Oh just about three hours but Im in and out of this place all the time really. I see, and what are they saying you did? Oh I denitely did it mate - dont you worry about that. I like to expose myself to women, respectable types, you know. Got myself caught outside the W.I. tonight with my trousers round my anks. It was absolutely - great. He smiled and sighed deeply as if reminiscing about the lurid act before suddenly his eyes widened and he got all worked up again, bringing up balled sts to his chest. You should have seen their faaaaaaces! Not a bad nights work then, I said, not wanting to get on this maniacs bad side, Me Im in for kidnapping a bairn and trying to burn it. He looked a little wary of me then, Oh I denitely didnt do it mate, I said, holding my hands up, dont be scared or anything. Just then, Jumbos face appeared at the tiny window at the back of the cell. I went over, stood on the mattress, jammed my hand through the bars and, it only opened a crack but it was enough. Jumbs, I cried, How did you nd us? This here is Doncaster police station Johnny, they towed the van here to use as evidence. All I had to do was hide in the back while they came to collect it. Its parked just round the corner - and the best part is that Doncaster Catholic Mens Club is just across the street. Ive taken all our equipment over and set it up. All we need to do now is get ourselves over there - and all you need to do is think of a way out of that cell. Excellent work Jumbo, I said, Really, truly excellent. Ok, you get back over there and assure them that were on our way - tell them that were stuck in trafc or something - just stall them. You can leave the rest to me. He nodded and ran back through and out of the car park. Now I needed a plan. I looked at the old pervert and mulled over the idea that maybe I could persuade him to let me cut off his beard and glue it to my face so I could use it as a disguise. But no, that wouldnt do at all. Id still be trapped in a cell for one thing. Why would they let me out just cos I looked like a tramp? I stepped off the mattress and looked at the thing hed been scratching into the wall. It wasnt a

tally after all but a rudimentary rendering of a penis and balls and underneath it hed signed his name, Giles. Then, it hit me. Bang. I started thumping on the metal door until the hatch nally slid open and the squinting eyes of the ofcer, Hopkins appeared. Problem Crab? You can tell the Sergeant Im ready for that cuppa now. I said. He appeared to smile, the hatch slammed back across and I heard the jangling of keys. Ive got to hand it to the sarge. he said as he opened the door, I never thought youd crack - certainly not so quickly. Yeah well, I said, turning around to Giles and rolling my eyes, A cup of teas a cup of tea isnt it ofcer. A couple of minutes later and I was sat in the interview room again alone. Waiting. I had a hot mug of tea in front of me, as promised, while a clock clacked along on the wall opposite. I blinked then because instead of the hands of a clock, for a moment I thought I saw two miniature electric guitars, one fretboard pointing at the nine and another at ve-to. The ticks were even replaced by the sounds of twanging - if you can believe it. A timely reminder that my bloody gig needed getting to before it was too late - the mind can and does do some unusual things when under stress. I blinked and said fretboards were replaced by drumsticks (better) and then again by pianos (that didnt work that well and I couldnt tell what time it was) and then again before it returned to its natural state of just being a boring old shit clock. I waited for what seemed like an eternity for the sergeant to come back into the room again. Hed be hoping I would admit to something I hadnt done but what I was actually going to do was throw the hot beverage in his smug face, then run out into the corridor, grab the keys to the cells somehow off one of the other coppers and then free Wendell and the others. A solid plan Im sure youll agree. A few minutes later he walked in holding a le, chucked it onto the desk and sat down. A heavy, oppressive silence ensued as our eyes met. His narrowed and so did mine. My ngers twitched on the handle of the cup as the ominous sound of guitar clanging started up again in my head, this time louder and quite a bit more clangy. Was I actually going to do this? Youre free to go. he suddenly muttered, The real suspects were just arrested in Upper Whiston trying to nab another child. The ofcers had to beat it out of them but they admitted to three other crimes, including the one we booked you for. Seems like I got you all wrong Mr Crab. I was so infuriated by your youth,

good looks, cool and nonchalant persona that I forgot my rst duty, which is to look at the evidence and then act upon it accordingly and responsibly. Youre free to go... And again, I really am very sorry. I took a deep breath then released again, I was going to make it to our rst real gig after all.

Unrequited Were going to jump forward a few months now, to 1959 and we were grateful that springtime had at last arrived, it had indeed been a harsh winter but the snow long since melted and the gigs, well they were coming in thick and fast thanks chiey to our agent and band guru, Chris Bielby. We were still sleeping in the van which, when we werent at a gig more or less permanently resided in the car park of The Trophy Arms. In return for the landlord, Phil Turnstile letting us stay there we had to do odd jobs for him occasionally such as placing bets at the local bookies and cleaning out the gutters and what have you. It was really hard work but we were always rewarded with half a bitter and a spam sandwich afterwards. Back in those days that was a pretty fantastic deal. We were now performing under the name of Johnny Crabs Polka Dot Quartet (I came up with the name) and had amassed quite a following in the Bridlington area. Wherever it was that we played I always spotted the same six our so ecstatic female faces in amongst the crowd and I would mentally pick out the one I wanted to have my wicked way with after each gig. Making a come hither sign with a curled index nger I would coax one (or occasionally two of them) backstage and show them the time of their lives. Now I wont pretend and say that they were all absolute stunners, they werent - but what they lacked in looks they more than made up for in enthusiasm. Yes I was beginning to carve a reputation for myself as quite the ladies man and Bridlington had now become my seaside adventure playground of sex. Wendell had, on mine and Jumbos advice changed his surname from Jones to Shedblaze and was now courting the delectable Pauline. Kenny was over it more or less, the chemistry between those two had been too obvious and too powerful to deny from the very beginning. A few weeks after our triumphant concert in Doncaster they announced that they were a couple. I was furious at this as I had ipped a sixpence with Wendell weeks before and won the toss. It was

agreed as it came up heads that I would have rst dibs on her if she ever got sick of Kenny but evidently binding verbal contracts didnt mean anything to him. I remember I used to watch her in a certain low cut top that she liked to wear, sitting on one of the deck chairs wed nicked from the beach and set up outside the van. I would stand, mesmerized for what seemed like hours by how the sunlight bounced off her proud jugs and watch as she whispered sweet nothings into my lucky friends ear. I was falling deeply, deeply in love - with the wrong bird! My pride was hurt and I needed to do something to take my mind of things. I was thinking one day about my stint in the cells back in Doncaster and how it had felt to be an innocent man locked up for a crime I didnt commit. Based partly on my conversations with Giles the asher I wrote a song called Doncaster Prison Blues. People, i.e. Wendell said then and still say sometimes that it has startling similarities with the old Johnny Cash number, Folsom Prison Blues and have suggested the possibility that maybe I might have heard it somewhere and copied it. Im not saying you did it consciously, he and others would say. But I disagree entirely and maintain that if anyone copied anyone it was him that copied me and not the other way a-bloody-round! Anyway I was thinking of that and also of my home town of Hull. Kingston Upon Hull; future home of The Deep (the worlds only submarium), the stunning K.C. Rugby and football stadium and William Wilberforce, musuem owner, swash buckling freer of slaves and slayer of Napoleon. I hadnt been back there since we left the previous December to go on our hols. Nobody knew who we were back there yet (shocking as that might seem now) and one thing I wanted desperately, more than anything else in the world was to return the conquering hero. I came up with the brilliantly original idea of doing a gig at Hull Prison. The others were unconvinced when I rst told them about it but they soon came round when I explained it would be fantastic publicity for us and would also help boost the bad boy image we had been cultivating. The inmates would no doubt love it and we would be giving something back to the community at the same time. If this didnt get our picture in the Hull Daily Mail (something that I craved more than anything else in the world) then I didnt know what would. I started working on some new material that I thought prisoners might relate to. First, I made a list about what I thought an average inmates daily concerns would probably be. It went something like this. 1. Where the next cig is coming from

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Being on the receiving end Dishing it out Outwitting the screws Meal times Conjugal visits Picking out books from the mobile library

Jumbo and I worked and reworked these themes into what I believe are some of the best lyrics weve ever written and Wendell and Kenny for their part began composing the music. Before too long we had almost an entire set worked out and would practise it by night in the back of the van. After a particularly intensive session one evening Jumbo, Wendell and Kenny all went into the Trophy for a well earned pint, or a W.E.P as we used to call them. . Weve always been fond of acronyms as a band - although Ive no idea why, I think perhaps it was a bonding thing. H.D. = hot dinner or hot drink. S.D.M. = sit down meal. P .F.S.D.M. = proper full sit down meal. F.B.N.S = feels but no sex. Are just a few of the ones we used to bandy around back in the day. Still do sometimes. Anyway so they all went for a W.E.P as I said but I felt I was on a bit of a roll . creatively speaking and wanted to make a few adjustments to the arrangements of some of the songs, so I decided to remain in the van. About ten minutes later there was a knock on the door. I slid it open to nd Pauline standing there with thick black mascara running down her stunning face. She looked a right state. Wheres Wendell? She blubbed and barged her way through into the van. I need my Wendell. Why dont you come in, I drawled sarcastically, Look, Wendells err, gone out. Anything I can help you with? Not unless you can stop my dad from splitting me and Wendell up - he said hes going to send me to a convent if I dont stop seeing him. He thinks all you lot are bad news. Ive tried to tell him otherwise but he just wont have it. At seventeen Pauline was already a world class liar and skillful manipulator but of course I didnt know that back then. My rst instinct was to comfort the poor girl so I started with a standard shoulder massage. I led her over to my sleeping bag, started rubbing her back and neck and as she became more relaxed the river of crocodile tears gradually stopped owing. I cant go to school in a convent. I just cant. she stammered. Her bottom lip trembled as ugly, electric-green snot trailed out of her contrastingly, absolutley lovely nose. I have to admit, I didnt know what to think.

I stopped rubbing then turned her around and gave her a great big hug, telling her everything was going to be ok and that we, as a band would look after her. Really? Really. I held her face with both hands and bravely wiped the snot from her top lip with my thumb, icked it at the wall then said, Pauls. You are the most extraordinary creature I have ever clapped eyes on. And with that we melted into a deeply passionate snog, our youthful tongues darting every which way. Searching, probing, darting, icking, ipping, licking, eating almost. I couldnt believe my luck and began busily taking off my jacket and thumbing off my braces. This is wrong. She suddenly blurted. In the midst of passion I had unwittingly wiped her mascara all over her face, she looked a complete mess. What about Wendell? What about him? I said, Cmon darlin, lets just have a bit of a kiss n a feel - no one has to know. I moved in closer and we locked lips again. She tasted of suet I noted. I wondered if thats what shed had for dinner and the thought made me hungry. While distracted by this I made the mistake of grabbing her left jug and she pushed me back and slapped me hard across the cheek. No, I cant do this - I cant betray Wendell. she cried and started pulling at the handle on the van door. It eventually opened and she ran off blubbering, before disappearing into the darkness of the pub car park. I hung my head, sighed and slid the door back across. There was nothing left to do now but light another cig and carry on working on my music.

Fitting In Ive met an old friend here in Turkey - just bumped into him while I was out shopping for a pair o shades. Its funny how things happen sometimes. I was just trying on a pair of silver wraparounds and matching bumbag when I noticed him in the mirror serving someone behind the till. His name is Roger Crisp - I believe Ive mentioned him already - and he told me how he moved out here about four years ago when hed nally had enough of all the immigrants coming over to the

UK and nicking all the jobs. Hed come up with the idea of opening an English supermarket when for the life of him he couldnt nd a can of baked beans anywhere. It turned out there were a load of ex-pats in the area who were also sick to the back teeth of the local food and had been absolutely crying out for it. The climates fantastic out here Johnny but thats about it. I should have gone to Spain really - yknow there are places out there that are just like England but you get the sun too. You barely see the locals. He grimaced at an old woman standing at the bus stop outside. Here its a different story - theyre all over the place. His idea was and still continues to be a massive success. I suggested to him over lunch that he should consider changing the name of the shop from Crisps to just Crisps, without the apostrophe. It would still mean the same thing and would give the passing consumer an indication of what they could buy there. He said hed think about it. Were going to meet up again tomorrow so Ill see if I can come up with a few other ideas as well. * April 24th, 1959 The van was starting to disintegrate. Rust had eaten away much of the underside and large gaping holes had appeared in the roof and side paneling. We doubted very much whether it would survive this latest trip up the A165 en route to Hull, but survive it did. We made it back to my illustrious home town, but only just. As we pootled up Anlaby Road Wendell pointed out to Pauline some local landmarks through the window. She made the appropriate cooing noises when shown a half way completed Hull Royal Inrmary which I believe at the time was the highest building in all of Europe. At this point Pauline had never been outside Bridlington and in her eyes Hull might as well have been New York or even Tokyo for all its similarity. Our little tte--tte the other night, what amounted to a kind of pre-sex tussle but without the sex, hadnt been forgotten and occasionally, when Wendell wasnt looking, I would catch her stealing eeting glances at me but ones that were charged to over-capacity with wild and crazy sexual energy. I hated going behind my friends back in this way - I did, but my feelings were just too profound and too important. I just couldnt deny them. We couldnt deny them. When Wendell heard about Paulines dad wanting to send her to a convent he decided to notch the relationship up a gear and ask her to move in to the van

with us. I dont blame him really, or her for accepting given her clear lack of options, but with all those young pheromones oating about in such a tight space I knew I was going to have a hard time controlling myself. Like Pauline, Jumbo and Kenny had never been to a big city like Hull before and so were very excited about what it would be like. I had told them stories about the famous docks and the bustling Hessle Road where you could meet people from all over Hull, buying and selling their wares. They listened intently while I told them about the intoxicating smell of sh mixed with cocoa from the industrial estates and how groups of bare footed orphans larked about on still uncleared bomb sites from World War II. Even the streetwise Jumbo was nervous we might get mugged or something but I assured him that at least for the time being it was safe on the street and not only that but you could still leave your front door wide open and no one would even think about coming in and nicking your stuff. Different story now of course. We arrived at my house about three o clock in the afternoon and I knocked on the door. I was nervous about seeing my parents again after being away for such a long time. I neednt have been though as I, indeed the whole band were given a very warm welcome by my Mum and Dad. We went in and sat down in the living room where my dad was sitting in the old rocking chair, smoking his pipe. I introduced everybody and Jumbo nervously took off his cap and amusingly started referring to my dad as sir all the time which I had a good old private snigger at. It was funny to watch someone like Jumbo, a born rebel being so well behaved and respectful towards a member of the adult population. My dad had a budgie called Rory whom hed taught to be racist (I dont know why - you have to remember it was a different time) and when it saw Jumbo it started going absolutely wild and repeatedly using the N word while apping about like mad inside the cage. It was an awful little git really now I think back on it. Anyway, we were all totally confused by this as Jumbo was as pale as they come. Hed even shown me photos of his mum (deceased) and dad (alive) once and so were they. My mum was very embarrassed and apologised profusely. She tried to tell the Rory to pack it in but the insults just kept on being hurled as it hopped around the cage, pausing occasionally preen its feathers. Finally, Jumbo admitted that he had West Indian heritage. He explained to us that his great grandfather had been stationed in Bombay in the 1880s and married his secretary who was a local girl, which had apparently caused quite a bit of controversy at the time. Perhaps thats what your budgie is referring to. He speculated.

Nonsense, Wendell said, chipping in. He just knows the words, he cant know what they mean, hes just a bird - in any case he wouldnt be able to detect that you have any foreign ancestors. How could he?' The smell maybe? Kenny said. Yeah, its maybe pheromones or something. I added. We tried an experiment to settle it, we got Pauline to stand next to the cage and waited to see what Rory came out with. Silence. It seemed that it had expended all its energy having a pop at Jumbo and had none left for her. Then, just as she was turning around to go back to her place on the sofa we heard an unmistakable, Phwoarrrrrr, Jeeeeeeezussss. emerge from inside the cage. Even Rory, a simple, pea-brained racist recognised Pauline as one hell of a catch. We all had a good laugh at this and when wed all settled down my mum asked if anyone would like an M.O.T. Err, thanks Mrs Crab, Jumbo said, but I think well need to see a qualied mechanic, I doubt its even worth it though the state the vans in. Me and Wendell exchanged knowing glances. Shes asking if you want a mug of tea, I chuckled, Thats what we call it in our house. Oh dear Jumbo, youre not having a very good day are you. Another round of guffaws ensued and I slapped him on the back and said, Come on chum, lets take you round the back and I'll show you my ferrets.

Bins Me, Jumbo and Kenny slept in my bedroom and Wendell and Pauline elected to stay outside in the van. They were taking advantage of having it to themselves for once. Late at night, after wed all had a bath I came up with the idea of digging out my granddads binoculars from the rst world war and we put them back to work again by not training them on enemy soldiers, no, but on the the little porthole on the side of the van. We couldnt see very much but it was fun to try, all of us standing there in our freshly starched pyjamas we passed them to each other as we smoked cig after cig after cig, whispering about all the things we would like to do to Pauline if we ever got the chance. Kenny conded in us saying that Pauline was frigid when he went out with her which I could well believe as this had been my own experience not days earlier. According to him they never had full blown but had at least graduated to feeling each other up.

By now, I really was itching for some no-holds-barred, no-strings-attached, full-blown-sex of my own with just about anyone who was willing and since we had no luck seeing anything worthwhile through the net curtain I trained the binoculars on a house just opposite. Then, nally I saw something. My Mum had been in at some point and placed a fresh plate of sandwiches on top of the chest of drawers and I grabbed one while passing the bins over to Kenny. Twelve o clock, I said, absolute stunner taking off her knickers and bra. Fill your boots chum. An excited Kenny urgently fumbled with the strap and then peered through the lenses across to where Id indicated. I cant see anything I, oh wait... Aggghhhh Johnny you absolute swine! I was laughing my head off and spitting sandwich crumbs everywhere while I jabbed my nger at an absolutely furious Kenny. Jumbo, confused by this grabbed the binoculars and had a look for himself. Ho ho ho, nice one Johnny - shes about sixty. Crikey look at them milkers their almost on the oor. I doubt theres much milk left in them droopers mate. I quipped. After having a good chuckle at the old bird and snacking on a few more sandwiches from the pile we had another cig each and then it was time to hit the sack. I took the bed of course, being as we were in my house. Jumbo was laying under the window so he could compose poetry in the light of the street lamp and Kenny was on the oor just to my side. Myself, Wendell and Jumbo had been used to being in a conned space together but while we had to sleep every night in the van, Kenny - the only one of us who was actually from Bridlington, was able to remain at his parents. Between us we had developed a kind of understanding and recognised the fact that occasionally we would each individually need to blow off steam, being as we were three virile, t young lads in our prime. Generally, when someone was doing what all virile, very t young lads in their prime needed to do it hardly registered. We either slept through it or were able to just soldier on and pretend it wasnt happening. Either way it wasnt that big of a problem. Now all this talk about Pauline (and even if Im being totally honest, looking at the old trout opposite) had made me get some pretty serious urges in the old downstairs area and I decided there was nothing for it, I would simply have to crack one off. I had turned off the lights so it was pitch black and I was just getting into the swing of things - managing a decent compromise between noise level and speed - when I suddenly adjusted to the darkness. Kennys beady eyes came into focus and he was staring up at me accusingly as I pulled on my pud. I scowled at him, then, without taking my left hand out from inside my underpants

turned the other way to nish what Id started. This was my bedroom and my house and there was no way I was going to stop now, not for Kenny, not for Jumbo (although as I said he wasnt bothered), not for anyone. The next morning we got up bright and early so we could get ourselves down to Hull Prison on Hedon Road. I hadnt made any appointments but didnt envisage any problems getting to see the governor. He cant have much to do I thought - its not like prisoners go anywhere and must just do pretty much the same thing every day. A place like that probably runs itself. We pulled up at the Southcoates Lane entrance, just outside the main gate and walked over to the guard station. A kind of upright, rectangular box with space for a chair, a tiny desk with room for a cup of tea and maybe a paper, but very little else. Alright chief, I said while tilting my head sideways. My quiff blew across my forehead as I cupped a cig with one hand and lit it, were here to see the governor about putting on a concert for the inmates. I made a big O with my lips and puffed out three thick smoke rings in quick succession. I wanted to give the impression that I was a man of the world. The guard looked me, then his eyes slowly traced over to Pauline and his gaze lingered on her while he picked up the telephone receiver and dialed a single number. A visible shiver ran through her entire body and she gripped Wendells arm tightly. Tell them its Johnny Crabs Polka Dot Quartet. I mouthed helpfully as he spoke to the person on the other end. I pursed my lips, squinted and nodded at the others, a signal to them that all would be well once the governor knew we were there. He was on the line a few moments longer then put it back down. Ok lads, time to sling your hooks now. The governors not interested in whatever it is youre up to - hes a very busy man. Were all busy men mate. I spluttered incredulously, before sighing deeply, taking a brief pause to think and then turning to face the others. Well, what shall we do now then boys and girls? Reckon we might as well just go. Jumbo said. Yeah we dont wanna get in trouble. Kenny added. And so, with that we all clambered back into the van and went back to mine.

Heaven Must Have Sent You Down, Down For You To Give Me A Thrill

(Shakin Stevens, You Drive Me Crazy) After we got back from the prison I spent the rest of the morning trying and failing to book us some gigs around town but it was no good because no one had heard of us in Hull. I had to hand it to Chris Bielby, he must have pulled quite a few strings to get us on the ladder back in Bridlington, this was going to be harder than I thought. We decided we would head back there late afternoon, after all we were the top act, it would be career suicide to give all that up now. Yes, we would stay there for the time being, polishing our act and making some new contacts. The time just wasnt right for us and perhaps the mainstream were just not ready for what we were offering, which was basically the future of music. But they would catch up, they would catch up soon enough. I found out from my mum over lunch that Albert Burnside, the landlord of The Blue Lion had died a few months back from a heart attack. I was sorry about this, of course I was, but I just couldnt ght the urge and had to go round immediately to see how Kathleen was doing - I was sixteen now and eager to show her how much Id learned about the art of sex in the past few months. Maybe, I thought, which was wishful thinking - I admit that now, I could even teach her a thing or two. I offered to go and buy some coal as an excuse to get out of the house and my dad tossed me a shilling to go and get a bag from Copelands on the corner. The others would have to look after themselves for the time being as I had urges that I really needed to satisfy. I went round the back, pushed open the wooden gate and went into the barrel-lled delivery yard of the pub. I looked up, saw a net curtain twitch and then Kathleen appeared, it was eleven oclock and she was still in her dressing gown with her hair up in rollers. State, I thought. She gestured for me to wait and then, a couple of minutes later she appeared at the back door. You better come in. she said, and so I dutifully and expectantly followed her into the kitchen. How are you coping? I said, grabbing myself two custard creams (one for me, one for the pocket) as we sat together at the table. She didnt answer. Evidently she wasnt interested in talking about her late husband. Instead she stopped lling the kettle, put it down and made her way around the table to me. She caressed the side of my face and then brought my eyes up to meet hers by placing two ngers under my chin. Youre looking good Johnny. she said.

Not fteen minutes later we were upstairs and going at it like the clappers. Kathleen was, ooh Id say about fty at the time but to a youngster like me that just made things all the more exciting. When Id nished some ten minutes later she clambered off me and exhausted but content I fell into a deep and satisfying slumber. I was standing in Queen Victoria Square in Hull city centre. All around me people careered about chaotically in individual ying pods with transparent glass domes on top. I ducked as a man in a business suit almost took off the top of my head as he sped along but he noticed me at the last minute, just in time to pull back on his joystick in order to avoid me. Phew. To my right another man was ogging Hull Daily Mails from inside a booth which hovered just above the ground, I passed him a couple of hexagonally shaped credits and he gave me a copy. I read the date rst, July 2nd 1998. Then underneath I was surprised to nd my own face staring back at me, but as an old but still quite handsome man. The headline above it read, Boring Town Docks Museum Forced To Close As Millionaire Music Mogul, Johnny Crab Buys Up Site To Make Way For Museum of Rock n Roll. I looked up from the newspaper and turned around. Behind me was a pair of glass doors. I could see my reection in them, and it appeared I was wearing a wedding dress, complete with veil, and the newspaper Id been carrying had now magically transformed into a bouquet of owers. Johnny, Johnny... I was being nudged awake by Kathleen. I opened my eyes to nd she was handing me a delicious pint of mild and I snatched it without thinking twice, licking my lips. Ahhh, just one of the many perks of having a bird with a pub. I said as I leaned forward so she could uff up my pillow. She rolled her eyes playfully then went over and searched around in her jewellery box for some earrings to put on. I sat up in bed and fumbled with my packet of fags then pulled a slightly bent one out and lit it. Kathleen smiled at me in the mirror then turned and leaned across the bed before lovingly wiping the foam moustache from my top lip with the tip of her thumb. Cheers babe. I said with a wink. An old scratchy gramophone record was playing in the corner of the room, something from the 40s I assumed - it certainly bore no resemblance to my era,

the era rock n roll, the only music as far as I was concerned that mattered. As she went over to the window and opened the curtains I told her that soon, when I started making tons of money from the band I would replace that ugly old gramophone with a brand spanking new record player. Oh you dont need to do that, she said, I like my the one I have well enough. Listen cherub, I need to open soon, and Im sorry but no one can see you leave. I understand Mrs Burnside, Ill sneak out the back. But before I go though I was wondering if you could give me a bit of advice about something. I explained all about my love for Pauline (she didnt mind, like me she was only in this thing for the sex) and how she was in love with me but just wouldnt admit it to herself. Ive tried talking to her about it but she just gets in a big massive mood with me. I thumped my st into the pillow so as to communicate to Pauline that this really meant a lot to me. What you need to do is get her a gift, something that shows how much you care about her. Get yourself down the market and pick her something nice out. My expression morphed from one of anger and frustration into sheer gormless delight. Of course! She was right, getting Pauline a prezzie was exactly what I needed to do and I had something absolutely perfect in mind! Thank you Kathleen. I said, For everything. I winked at her as I pulled my drainpipes back over a pair of oppy, dark purple Y-fronts and then it was time to make my exit. I returned to the house an hour or so later with the brown package tucked under my arm and found the lads were packed up and ready to go. My dad explained to Kenny and Jumbo a few things about the van and what they would need to do to keep it running as long possible and they listened to him patiently while I said goodbye to my mum. She shoved ten bob in my hand and closed my ngers around it despite my protestations that I would be ok, and wished me luck in my ongoing quest for stardom. Well be back here one day, I said, and well be the biggest thing this town has ever seen. Is that a promise son? No Mum, I said solemnly, thats just a fact.

Yesterdays News After six hours of stopping and starting on the road back to Bridlington we trundled down South Marine Drive back towards the Trophy. A huge cloud of oily black smoke puffed out of the back of the van as we chugged up the steep hill and we all simultaneously held our breath then exhaled again with relief as we successfully traversed the hump and turned right into the car park. A worried looking Phil Turnstile was waiting out front as we pulled up. Kenny switched the ignition off and feeling slightly concerned we all got out of the van. Whats up Mr Turnstile? Jumbo asked, the gravel path crunching underneath his feet as he approached. Yeah Mr Turnstile, Wendell said, You look like youve seen a ghost - everything ok? I dont know how to tell you boys this... But here goes - Ive given away your pitch, you can no longer stay in my car park Im afraid. Given it away? I said. To who? As if in response to my question music started playing, it was coming from the far corner - Fats Dominos Blueberry Hill; I hadnt noticed them when we approached but there they were, a group of young musicians standing outside a bright red Bedford Valiant - at least a third bigger than our own van, much newer too by the looks of it. They were all tall and handsome, all except the singer who was in contrast actually very short and wasnt bad looking per se, but as far as I was concerned he didnt have even half of the requisite amount of dash for a frontman in a rock and roll band. All of them wore powder blue jackets that reached past their knees and half-mast black trousers with bright white socks showing. The uniform of a Teddy boy. They looked a bit too good now I thought about it, and with their elegantly quaffed pompadour hair it appeared suspiciously like they were doing some kind of nal rehearsal before a gig. His arms hanging half limp at his sides and feet turned inwards, the singer knocked his knees together and crooned into the empty car park, Ive found maaahh thriiillll, awnnn Blueberry Hi-illll. Aye up, the sax player said, noticing us and stopping suddenly, looks like our competitions back from the big city - how are you boys? Youre in our spot. Jumbo said, ignoring the clearly false pleasantry. Your spot, the singer said, looking round at his cohorts wearing a look of mock surprise. we didnt know this was your spot. Allow me to apologise on behalf of my group, Percy Rocket and The Sound Effects. Im Percy Rocket, this is Mick Prentice - sax, Sid Guthrie on guitar and Fred Craker on the double bass.

They all played a little sample of their instrumental prowess as they were introduced - like they were on stage. Fred Craker ended his with a little ourish he span his double bass round on its axis before giving a little wink and bow of the head. Well thats all very nice Mr Rocket, I said getting a bit narked, but unfortunately for you, we were here rst and well, I cant see us both sharing this car park, I doubt Mr Turnstile here would allow it. Word from the bird is that you left town, the one called Craker said, jabbing his cig in our direction. Ah yes, thats right isnt it, Rocket added, clicking his ngers, - what I think my colleague Fred here is trying to say but is too polite to spell it out for you is that this here is clearly a case of nders keepers, losers weepers. I reached for my ick knife but they were even faster on the draw. Dont try it Crab, Rocket warned. They all had their blades held out in front of them and were in full attack stance, one foot placed in front of the other, the other arm held behind for maximum stability and steadiness. They had done this before. I looked behind me for a bit of support and discovered my friends were a bit second rate when it came to knife ghts and were still rummaging around in their pockets to nd them. I groaned then pressed the button on my weapon, snapping it back into its metal shell. Well done. Percy said, Hey - you boys should be thankful. Your leader here is a smart kid - he just saved your lives. You win this round, I muttered, butyoull slip up sooner or later and when you do Ill be just around the corner ready to make my move. You lads nished then? Phil said, walking between us, Onny Ive got a delivery coming soon and I need this space for the lorry to get in. Pshhh, no problem Mr T, Rocket said, were just about to leave for our gig at The Trout and Cartwheel anyway. If you could just make sure these gents dont try and steal our spot while were gone wed really appreciate it. Jumbo nudged me - I knew what it was he wanted to say, it was us who were meant to have that bloody gig in the Cartwheel tonight. They must have nicked that off us too. Fast workers. I decided not to bring it up - didnt see the point in putting us through any more humiliation. Phil shrugged and scratched the back of his head. Mrghh, theres not a lot I can do lads. You went away after all didnt you - how was I to know you were coming back.

There is one way to settle this. Jumbo said, stepping forward. Its called a drag race - know what that is? Course we do. Percy said. We practically invented em. Racing for pinks insurance papers... Whoa hang on, just wait a minute now, - you want to challenge us to a race? In that thing? Jesus mate youre on - just let us know the date and time and well be there. With bells on. Guthrie added, slamming st into palm. I looked back at our old, clapped out, pile of crap van, then back at theirs and then at Jumbo again, and I wondered if he had gone completely insane. Friday, thats in three days time in case you cant count. he said, Be at Devils Cliff at sundown and well separate the men from the boys. Winner gets this carpark, pink slip o course and... ...The other bands complete set of musical instruments. There was a sharp intake of breath all round as Jumbo said this. Pauline gasped the loudest just as Wendell drew her head tight to his chest and she grabbed the sleeve of his leather tight, letting out another little rodent-like squeak. I was beginning to come round to the idea however. I could see Jumbos logic, this was indeed one hell of a gamble but if it paid off and we became the owners of their vastly superior kit there would be no stopping us. Youve got some balls son Ill give you that. The thickset Fred Craker said, who was now nonchalantly leaning up against their van picking a couple of stray strands of tobacco from the end of his tongue. Hes not your son. I said, And well be there Friday so you better make sure you are too. I signaled with my thumb for the others to get back in the van and then we backed up out of the car park, most embarrassingly hitting a lamp post on the way out. They were laughing and jeering as the exhaust pipe came loose and began scraping along the tarmac then, as we turned right, back onto South Marine Drive I looked in the cracked wing mirror and found that they were now running after the van, shouting and throwing empty milk bottles and broken bits of brick at us. Speed up Kenny. I pleaded. Im going as fast as I can! He replied. Ten minutes later, a bit shaken up by the whole incident but basically ok we pulled up outside Chris Bielbys house and me and Jumbo marched to the front door. We needed to ask him what the aming hell had been going on while wed been away and what he intended to do about it.

Oh - its you. His wife said. She had her arms folded as she leant against the doorframe and glanced from me to Jumbo and then back again. Bit rude. I commented, glancing at Jumbo. If youre looking for Chris, then hes not here, hes at the depot. The music depot?' No, not the music depot Johnny, She sighed, hes at the bus depot, working. The door slammed in our faces and we walked back up the path to the van. Looks like you were right Wendell, I said, hoiking myself back in through the side door. Turns out Chris Bielby is a bus driver after all. Kenny, set coordinates for Brid bus depot... ...Engage.

Romance Just half a day after our return and we were discovering to our horror Percy Rocket and The Sound Effects posters were plastered absolutely bloody everywhere. On pub walls, in butchers shop windows and pinned to church notice boards - you name a surface and they had it covered. Theyd evidently been busy in the couple of days wed been away. We ripped as many as we could down on our way to the speak to Chris but later we would get them all, Id make sure of that. We drove into the bus depot around eight oclock to nd Chris sitting in the cab of the number sixty two with a cig hanging loosely from his gob. He was just getting ready to leave for his round when we pulled up in front of him and blocked the way out. Jumbo wound the window down and signaled with a thumb for Chris to get out and I ran around the back of the bus to preclude any possibility he might be tempted to split on us. He nodded at Jumbo, switched the ignition off and the engine growled to a halt. He then let go of the wheel and raised his hands up slowly above his head. Im not sure why he did that, perhaps to show that he wasnt carrying a weapon or something. Anyway I met him at the back and led him over to the van by the elbow where the others were waiting. He didnt struggle and in a long winded confession, nally admitted to us that he was no talent agent after all and that his

primary work actually consisted of driving buses. It had all been an act apart from the accent apparently which he was unable to drop. Chris discovered years later much too late for him given the amount of bullying he fell victim to while at school (and work) - that he was a sufferer of something called foreign accent syndrome which is a real thing - google it if you like. But back in the fties no one knew what it was. Chris had dreamed up the story about frequent long visits to America as a cover for his afiction which as it happened also went some way to impressing us after the talent contest the previous December in The Fox and Undertaker. So it wasnt all bad. Its all Ive ever wanted since about three years ago. he said, shrugging, I saw you kids up there and thought to myself, now I can take those lads straight to the top - all they need is a little bit of guidance. After I left the pub that night I managed to convince my wife and family to go along with it, thats why no one mentioned I was a bus driver that time at dinner, and to be honest, well, we needed the money. Id recently blown all our savings on that beautiful 57 Chevy you saw parked in the driveway. Its gone now like, back on the forecourt. You lied to us Bielby, I said, and thats not something The Polka Dot Quartet can forgive very easily - and now weve got this other band to deal with, what are you going to do about that eh? Ah Yeah I know, he said, Ive seen them play as well, theyre pretty good. Youve got your work cut out for you there lads. I stared at my pals incredulous. Can you believe this chump? First he takes ninety ve percent of our earnings when hes not even a proper agent then he starts promoting our biggest rivals to our faces. Look, just tell me what it is you lads want and Ill try and make it happen for you. Id still love to be your manager if youd let me. Well funnily enough we were just discussing that in the van and well, ideally wed like to crack America. Chris didnt do a very good job of stiing a grin and clearly trying not to burst out laughing replied, Look, I think maybe we might just be getting a bit ahead of ourselves. How about this, we keep our sights set a bit more locally for now, see how things go and then Ill see about getting you lads some plane tickets - deal? There were shrugs and looks of general approval exchanged within the group as we all seemed to come to an unspoken consensus but then I remembered that swine Rocket and asked Chris for the second time what he planned to do to help us.

That my friends is a toughie. He began. Problem is I know Rocket, well more precisely I know his Dad, Bernie Entwhistle. I actually went to school with the guy and well, like his son hes a bit of a bully. He owns Entwhistles brewery which also happens to make him the richest guy in this town. And once that spoilt little git Percy decides he wants something well then he gets it, no questions asked - and this year that thing he wants just happens to be his own rock and roll band. You mean Percys surname is really Entwhistle and The Sound Effects arent really his friends? Correct on both counts. The way I understand things is they get free instruments and unlimited publicity thanks to Bernies immense wealth and connections, and in return they allow Percy to be the frontman of the group. Theyre just using him. Now if your dream was to be a rock and roll icon and someone offered you a way to achieve that the easy way around then you might just be tempted to rearrange your principles slightly too. Of course. I said, turning to the others, That explains why they were able to take over the Bridlington scene so quickly. Very clever. Look, theres this other situation weve got ourselves into. Somehow... My eyes rolled over at Jumbo as I said this, Somehow weve ended up agreeing to a drag race against The Sound Effects in two days time and if we lose then we not only forfeit the van, but all our instruments as well. Dont suppose you know of any mechanics that can t us some sort of turbo boosted rocket engine do you? I mean itd be great if we could make it so re came out the back and spikes out of the wheels but wed settle for just a bit of a bump in speed to be honest. Sheesh. Im sorry to hear that lads, I mean the van was pretty nifty back in the day but theres no way... Ah, actually, no wait. I think I might just know someone who can help. Chris took out a small pad and pen from his Bridlington Bus Corporation suit jacket then quickly scribbled something down before tearing off the sheet and handing it to me. As he did so I saw that same ash in his eye as Id seen the rst night we met him. Now I was sure it was glass. Youll nd an old acquaintance of mine at this address named Albert Pullcroft, known locally as Goosey. If anyone will be able to help you out then he will. Just tell him I sent you. I stared at his scrawl, nodded, then poked it in the coin pocket of my jeans. Looks like your customers are getting a bit annoyed with you Chris. You better get going. He turned to nd a sour faced old crone sitting by one of the windows, jabbing at her watch and pointing towards the exit of the depot.

Alright, keep your fanny on you old bag. he said through a clenched-teeth smile whilst waving at her and nodding. Good luck with that then lads and Ill see you when you get back ok? And again, sorry for being a massive big liar. * That night, parked up on the seafront we treated ourselves to pork faggots and gravy wrapped in newspaper - we deserved some cheering up after all wed been through. After Pauline had nished mopping up the last of her gravy with some crusty bread she announced that she was off down to the beach for a bit of a walk and to smoke a cig. Wendell had fallen asleep jammed in the corner of the van in his sleeping bag after polishing off most of Jumbos unnished meal (as well as his own) so I grabbed the opportunity and shot to my feet. I took the gift Id bought for Pauline from out of my rucksack and raced out of the van, muttering something about having bad wind from all the offal and not wanting to expose the others to it. I ran down the stone steps leading down from the promenade and onto the dark, empty beach. Not far off in the distance I saw the faint red glow of a burning cig oating in the darkness and followed it. I found her sitting on the sand not far from the crashing waters edge and I stopped a few yards away, watching how the light from the smoldering ash lit up her cracking features each time she drew on her fag. What a top drawer stunner she was. Ahem, Johnny, what... What are you doing here? I just came to... Well I came to apologise. I said. Ive been acting like a big bloody fool lately and, and well its not much but I got you this. Its just a little something to show you how sorry I am and how much you mean to me - to the band. She took the brown parcel and started tentatively to pull on the string that held it together. And youre sure this is just an apology? You dont want anything in return? You wont know anything until you open it, I said with a wink. Nah just joking. I added, holding my hands up. Dont slap me will you babe. Her eyes told me that she knew was acting against her better judgement but like all females she couldnt resist the lure of a free gift - no matter where it came from - and so began eagerly ripping off the paper before pulling out the treat inside.

Its... A pair of knickers. I nodded proudly, holding onto my braces, then sat down beside her. Finest polyester they are, most expensive ones on the stall. Mouth hanging agape she unfolded them and then held them up in front of her. The obscured moon shone diffusely through the custard-yellow material. Theyre... Well, a bit big. Go ahead, I said, try em on - I wont peek. I noticed some bloke was staring at us as he walked his dog on the opposite end of the beach near the tidal wall. What do you think this is a gang bang? I shouted, Beat it old timer - or experience the paggering of a lifetime. I searched around for a good sized stone then chucked it and sure enough he cleared off, muttering something about calling the police and letting them deal with us.What an idiot. When he was at last out of view I turned to Pauline and waggled my eyebrows before stripping off as fast as I possibly could. Think fast, I said, chucking my Y-fronts at her face then ran headlong into the the freezing water. Come on in baby, I shouted into the darkness, its bracing! I waited for a good few minutes before eventually realising she wasnt coming so I swam back to the beach only to nd her gone - as well as all my aming clothes! I picked up the abandoned knickers I had bought for her, the only thing she had left behind, and balled them up before angrily trying to kick them into the sea. They didnt go anywhere and instead got hooked onto the end of my foot so I wrapped them around a stone and had another go. Splosh. That did the trick. Completely starkers and freezing cold I ran back up the hard stone steps back towards the van where the whole gang were waiting for me outside laughing their heads off. Jumbo had his Instamatic, complete with ashcube ready and snapped me several times as I dove inside to grab my clothes. You bunch of swines. I shouted, sticking my head out the door before pulling it shut. Ill get you all for this.

Destiny We woke up about ten o clock the following day and went straight down to have a scrub in the sea. I watched as Wendell and Pauline both scrubbed each others backs. In a strange twist Wendell had found the pair of knickers Id

bought. They were just oating along by so he began to use them, applying soap to the rough material and treated his girl to a thorough epidermal scrub. A double humiliation on my part. If only he knew what I was up to, I thought while I gave my downstairs department a quick rub under the waves. We headed back to the van to dry ourselves by the warmth of the heater then, after scofng a sausage sandwich apiece in a local cafe we set off to the address Chris had given us. We had asked some old chrome dome who owned the cafe for directions and were surprised to learn that to get to it we would need to leave Bridlington and go half way up the road to Drifeld. Wed been travelling up the A614 and were just outside the village of Ruston Parva when Jumbo saw something. Look Kenny, pull in there, he said, pointing to a crooked wooden sign at the side of the road, that must be the place. Globules of rain spattered down on the windscreen and the new wipers my dad had installed back in Hull had a hard time keeping up. I peered though the side window as we passed the sign to our left. Pullcrofts Farm. A bloody farm, Wendell said, since when have farms got anything to do with rock n roll? I dont think the answers were looking for are here - Kenny, turn around, Ive got a very bad feeling about this. Keep driving Kenneth, I said, leaning over from the back and placed my hand on the wheel, making sure he kept us pointed in the right direction. Chris sent us here for a reason and I intend to nd out what it is. We bounced along the dirt track, splashing through brown puddles that had formed in shallow, uneven craters until we nally came to a ramshackle old farmhouse at the end. A squat man in dirt splattered wellies was standing outside holding a shotgun against his shoulder. At his side stood a large white goose. This went some way to explaining the nickname, Goosey. Kenny turned the engine off which as always sounded like it was grateful of the rest and he - and the goose started towards us. Which one of you is Crab? he said as I wound the window down, That would be me my mate. I replied with a grin, and jabbed my hand out to meet his. He spat in his palm and shook it somewhat violently, staring round suspiciously at the rest before nally settling on Pauline. She made her - by now trademark - squeaking noise and shrank back in her seat as he licked his lips and stared lingeringly at her with a pair of dead, yellow eyes.

We dont get much fanny around here. he said thoughtfully, falling into a semi-trance as he mused on this fact before snapping out of it again just as quickly and looking back at me again. Well, you lot better come inside - I havent got all day. He gives me the creeps Wendell, Pauline said, holding onto his leather as we tramped up the path to the house, following Pullcroft and his little feathered friend. Relax Pauls, I said, turning around and walking backwards to face her, he likes you thats all - and that can only be a good thing. A few minutes later we were sat around a large wooden table in this Gooseys kitchen smoking cigs while he made us some sort of tea from what looked like nettles and twigs. He took the pot off the stove and poured the vile smelling mixture into ve mismatched cups then divvied them out between us. I stirred the thick, green liquid and wondered how I might get rid of it without offending him. Arent you having one Mr Pullcroft? I asked. Nah, Ive just had a normal tea thanks. He replied, So, Bielby sent you eh? Slippery cunt that one. Erm, pardon me Mr Pullcroft, I began, but me and my gang arent exactly sure why were here - would you mind lling in the gaps so to speak. I mean, what is it you actually do? Well, he began, letting off a small but very potent trump against the stove, causing the ames to momentarily icker and glow green. I might as well just show you as go on about it - why dont you lot follow me and Jason round the back. Whos Jason? Ah, oh... Got it. We did as he said and minutes later found ourselves standing by an innocuous enough looking waist-high fence. Pullcroft took a pair of small binoculars from around his neck and handed them to me. Look over there Crab. he said. I did as instructed and peered through the lenses. I ddled with the dial on top and the image bled in, then out, then fully into focus - it was a cow, grazing alone in a far off eld.I passed them to Jumbo and he had a look for himself. Its just a boring old cow - so what? Oh hang on there appears to be some sort of device strapped to it. I looked back at Pullcroft who was busily taking something out of his pocket, a small, black box with a large, single red button on the front. He pulled out a little antenna and aimed it at the horizon.

Wendells face twisted up in revulsion as we all realised what was about to happen. The event seemed to unfold in slow motion. Wendell covered Paulines eyes as Albert Pullcroft calmly put his nger on the button - then, Click The cow disappeared in the blink of an eye and all that remained in its place was a small mushroom cloud rising up from the ground quickly before it dissipated, leaving nothing behind but a wisp of grey smoke. You exploded that cow. I yelled. Thats right, with a bomb made out of its own manure. Heh heh - irony. It was old - it was either that or shoot the poor beggar. He shoved the - now useless - metal box into my chest then he and Jason tramped off back into the house without another word. We need to get out of here - now! Kenny said. Shurrup Kenny, I replied, you dont know what youre on about - we need to at least hear what hes got to say. I hate to say this, Jumbo said, but I agree with Johnny - Chris Bielby might be a liar but hes no idiot. He must have sent us out here for a reason - and everything happens for a reason - thats why I wrote that song, Everything Happens For A Reason. The group split, Pauline and Kenny went back to the van and Wendell came with us as reluctant back-up, just in case anything went wrong - this guy did seem a touch unhinged. I gave instructions to keep the engine running in case we needed to escape quickly and he agreed without hesitation. Im not staying here a second longer than I have to - dont you worry about that. We went back inside and found the revolting old buzzard pissing on his log re, trying to put it out while his pet bird nibbled on some sort of swill from a dog bowl in the corner. I cleared my throat. Ahem. He put his todger away and turned around. I need to go out now to run some errands. Have you lads made a decision? We need to get rid of a rival band Mr Pullcroft, I said, - but we dont really want to kill them. Are you some sort of terrorist or something? Im just a simple farmer who happens to make bombs in his spare time. Thats all you need to know. Now do you want to buy one or not cos I really do need to get going.

Wendell shook his head at me, and Jumbo for his part wasnt much help with his contribution of a very loose and the most non-committal of non-committal shrugs, but then I had an idea. Err, do you have anything small enough that would disable a 1956 Bedford Valiant, for instance ooh lets say - during a drag race? He took off his at cap and scratched his head through limp, greasy hair that only barely covered his bald dome. Mrgh, dont usually do custom jobs - itll cost you. How much? Ooh, lets say... Ten bob. Ten bob! Jumbo cried, throwing his arms up. We dont have that kind of money - cmon lads lets get out of here, this guys clearly lost his marbles if he thinks we can pay that. Now hold on a minute Pullcroft said, raising a nger. While they were busy arguing I reached into my pocket and pulled out the shiny silver coin that my Mum had given me just a few days earlier - exactly ten bob. Id forgotten all about it. As I turned it over in my ngers I remembered the conversation Id had with her when she gave it to me. Im gonna be the biggest thing this town has ever seen, I had said. For a eeting moment my Mothers ghostly image appeared on the face of the coin, replacing the prole of a young Queen Elizabeth. Is that a promise son? She had said to me. No Mum, Id replied, thats just a fact. She also added something she hadnt said the rst time round which was, Youre gonna be the biggest thing since sliced bread. Buy the bomb Johnny, buy it. The image faded then I pushed in between Jumbo and Wendell who were still arguing with Pullcroft and held the coin aloft. How soon can you have it ready? I splurted.

Exchange I am writing this on the plane back to Hull. Shirley is sitting next to me in a seat that I paid for and sitting next to her is Mert, the Turkish barman shes fallen for in a seat shes apparently paid for. Dear oh dear.

Im not sure about the wisdom of bringing him back to Hull in the current economic climate but she seems determined to make things work. I told him he should probably try the kebab shops if he was serious about nding a job. Failing that I could put him in touch with my nephew Conrad whos got a mountain bike shop just outside Goole. Oh here we go, Shirleys just got back from the bogs and is now telling me to mind my own bloody business. No problem, Ill do that. Im going to nish off this stick of Pepperami then get on with the next segment of my memoirs. Up yours Shirley you daft cow. May 1st, 1959 The next morning I was sitting in Raymondos cafe next to Fun City Amusement Arcade. I had just nished reading an article about a guy named Mally Purvis who had won a competition to become the next town crier and was now perusing the entertainments section of the Bridlington Chronicle looking for any mention of The Sound Effects (of which there were many) when a nger appeared at the top of the central fold of the newspaper and pulled it down, revealing Jumbos miffed face staring down at me. Missed you at rehearsals this morning mate - had something better to do did we? I think we should kick Kenny out of the band. I said, dodging the question. Hes been second guessing my authority a bit too much lately, after all, am I not the leader of this band? And anyway, what with Pauline running away from home theres hardly any room in the van some days - someone has to go and I can tell you this much, it aint gonna be anyone with a set of cracking tits I can stare at when Im bored. Jumbo sat down at the table and, uninvited, grabbed a piece of my toast, And when we sack Kenny whos gonna drive the van eh Einstein? You? You havent got a license and neither have any of the rest of us - and what if we need to go out of town again? Although we hadnt had a non-local gig since New Years Eve I had to concede he had a point and agreed to keep Kenny on - at least for now. Its time Johnny. Jumbo said, Goosey said hed meet us at Gummers Wharf at noon with the... A waitress passed by the table so he neglected to utter the actual words, instead leaning in closer and whispered, With the package. I necked the last bit of my tea, gurgled it, swallowed it, then belched and stood up, icking away toast crumbs from the front of my t-shirt. I noticed a big

yellow butter stain, nothing that couldnt be xed with a splash of tap water though. Weve got bags of time. Its quarter to and Gummers is only ve minutes walk away. Either way Johnny we better get going. He might be early and you dont keep a bloke like that waiting. We met up with Kenny, Wendell and Pauline then reached the agreed meeting point and found Jumbo had been spot on - Goosey, the old git was early. We found him and Jason sitting on a bench overlooking the wharf. He was stroking the top of Jasons little pin head and in his other hand he held a small package. You did it then? I asked. Aye. Looks a bit small, are you sure itll be enough to take out our enemys van? And it needs to look like an accident too - with not a trace of outside involvement. Goosey exhaled deeply, he appeared annoyed. Let me explain something to you boy, Ive been doing this for longer than you and your mates here have been drawing breath so when I say its sufcient then believe me, its sufcient. As far as your rivals and the police are concerned, itll just look like a fault with the engine. Not a trace of this thingll be left - you can bank on that. At that moment I heard the sultry smooth sound of a saxophone and the moody twang of the double bass being carried on the wind and I knew. I knew it was them, busking not a mile away in our old spot on Sands Lane. I pulled out the ten bob from my pocket and ipped it over to Goosey who raised a hand and caught it mid throw. He quickly trousered it then held out the Tupperware box in which the manure bomb was contained, and on top of that was an identical trigger to the one hes used to blow up the cow, red button and all. I tried to take it from him but he held it back, One last thing Crab. It wont but if... If something should go wrong then you never heard of me. Understood? Yeah yeah, whatever you say pops. Im serious sunshine. If I nd out any one of you has grassed me up then youll be getting a visit from me and Jason here. Ill bury you up to your neck then cover your eyeballs in birdseed and let him peck them out for his tea. Are we clear?

I looked down at Jason who was also staring up at me now and gulped. For the rst time I sensed a great darkness within him and I didnt doubt it would be an absolute pleasure for him to make me an eyeless wonder. I remembered suddenly Chris Bielby and his glass eye. Could it be? I gulped and nodded. Understood Mr P We never heard of you. .

The Old Switcheroo North Beach, Devils Cliff: Friday, 7:30pm There was a real buzz in the air. People had come from miles around to see the race and also to probably enjoy watching us lose. The respect people had for us was fast disappearing and it was spoilt rich kid Percy Rocket whod pulled the plug on it all. One minute youre it, the next youre not. Just the way it works in this industry I suppose. Only we werent going down without a ght, not yet. And we had our own supporters too, a small but enthusiastic group of die-hard female fans who Id shown a good time to in better days, Jumbo too, not Kenny though, he was still hung up on Pauline even months after theyd split. Poor kid. I loved Pauline too but I wasnt about to let that get in the way of me getting my delicious oats. It was a real party atmosphere with music, a barbecue, jugglers, there was even some bloke taking bets, not that anyone was backing us mind. More fool them I thought - when this bomb goes off theres not a cat in hells chance Percy is gonna win this race. Not a chance. I found myself wishing I had some money I could put on Kenny, after all I would get fantastic odds; but then I remembered that I would soon be in possession of a set of lovely new instruments, the thought of which satised me greatly. Wed planted it the night before, a simple operation which basically consisted of waiting for them to go to the pub - to The Trophy - just as we ourselves would often do when we lived in the car park and then we, well I, simply lifted up the bonnet and slotted the Tupperware box lled with souped up cow shit and wires into an empty space. The race wasnt due to start for half an hour and we were giving the van a nal buff with some turtle wax. How will I know when to step on it? Has anyone

got a starting gun or something? Kenny asked, to which I replied with a broad grin, Maybe Pauline could stand out in front and ash her Tobys. A sniggering Jumbo emerged from under the van with a black, oily face, and I reached down to slap his free hand in a low ve. Pauline wasnt so impressed with my comment though and demanded that Wendell do something. What can I do Pauls? he said with a shrug, you really should learn to take a joke. Pauline yanked her shawl around her and stormed off. After Id stopped laughing (which wasnt for another ten minutes) I eventually informed Kenny that Phil Turnstile had been called upon to do the honours as regards starting the race, then we all got back down to the more serious business of getting the van ready. Not that it needed much readying as we knew the outcome would be the same whatever state it might be in. All we needed it to do was start and then the rest would be easy. I applied a bit more wax to my chamois then, just as I made contact with the van again I noticed her in the wing mirror. A vision of incredible beauty in a white oral print dress. She stood against the breeze, her white-blonde hair blowing across her perfectly arranged features; eyes, nose, mouth etc. She appeared to be admiring me as I worked. I looked down and saw that just Jumbos legs were protruding out from under the van again - he was hard at work, and with a noisy tranny under there keeping him company he wouldnt be able to hear what was going on up above. You missed a spot. she said as I turned around, discovering to my delight she was even more of a world class stunner in the esh. She turned around and walked away in the opposite direction, swinging her little handbag at her side with me following close behind. You were watching me darlin. I saw you. Dont deny it now. I cant remember looking at you in particular love, I look at lots of stuff maybe I was looking at your mate with the sideburns. She meant Kenny, and I knew that was impossible given I was a vastly superior man to him in almost every way you can think of, but I played along all the same - didnt see the harm. Owww, I said, clutching my chest with clawed hands, I think you just broke my heart love. I caught up again and she stopped in her tracks. I placed one hand on her shoulder while with the other I brushed her rice pudding-coloured, silky smooth hair to one side. Whats your name baby?

You rst. Alright, Im Johnny Crab, leader of Johnny Crabs... Polka Dot Quartet? Very good baby, I see youve done your research. Everybody in Brid knows who you are. Clever girl, but I still dont know your name though do I love. Seeming somewhat more bashful now she looked me for the rst time, directly in my eyes. Its Pat, Pat Grogan. Pat Grogan... I rolled the words around my mouth and tasted them like I would a ne wine or a guest bitter. What a captivating name! I could write a hundred, nay a thousand songs using that name as my inspiration alone. Fancy going for a cuppa with me Pat Grogan? I know a great little place. Thought you had a race to get ready for? Ah the lads can nish up - the works all but nished now anyway. Whaddya say? Indulge me? Not ten minutes later we were sitting opposite each other, supping tea in my new favorite cafe, Raymondos on Quay Street, the one next to the Fun City Arcade. Fix me a sausage sandwich please Ray, I shouted from the booth. Skinny Ray as he had become known to us ambled over in his crap covered apron with a pad and pen, then I looked at Pat before turning back to him and smiled, Ill tell you what Ray, why dont you make that two. Wow, are, are you sure? I mean, Ive got my own money. You put your money away love. I said while digging into my pockets, then pulled out a handful of change. I felt a knife-like sensation penetrate my gut as I realised I might not actually have enough money to pay for it after all, but luckily fate was smiling on me that particular day. And theres more where that came from too. I lied, Oh and Raymondo, make sure you put three sausages in mine and not just two cut down the middle like you did last time. As she walked away I whispered to Pat behind my hand, Ive got my eye on that stingy old freak. Pat giggled and touched my arm, Youre so masterful Johnny - I like that in a man, someone who knows what he wants and how to get it is rare these days. Thats why people say Im so great. I replied with a quick shrug.

Pat smiled then bit into her freshly delivered sausage banjo which had been sliced down the middle. I watched as the tomato sauce dribbled out of the back end which, contrary to annoying the hell out of me like it should have done, only endeared her to me more. Then with a mouth full of mashed up bits she burbled, So after the race whats the plan? I mean, you do know youre going to lose dont you? Whoa, wait a min love. Who says were gonna lose? Im just saying. Their van just looks so much faster and better than yours you must... I held up a hand to indicate she should stop talking and after chewing and swallowing the last bit of my sarnie then dabbing the sides of my mouth with a napkin, I leant across the table. Were not going to lose because weve got something that other set of jokers dont. And whats that? Grogan said in a mock conspiratorial whisper, resting her hand on her chin and smiling sweetly. Heavenly bird. Absolutely celestial. A bomb. I said, Weve got a bomb. I xed her in the eyes, jabbed both thumbs back at my chest and added, Planted it in their engine yesterday by yours truly. As we sank what was left of our teas I explained all about going to see Goosey Pullcroft the other day and how wed purchased then slipped the Tupperware box into The Sound Effects van the previous evening. She demanded to see proof so I wasted no time in pulling the black box out of my pocket and placed it on the table. One press of that red button and KAFOOF, their engine - along with their careers is toast, history - the past. Were gonna wait until right at the last moment to set it off so as to humiliate them to the very max. I leaned back in my seat and surprised myself by quite involuntarily letting go of a high-pitched, girlish giggle. I had evidently overexcited myself by relating our plans for the race to an outsider. Pat didnt seem to mind one bit - in fact it seemed she was even more turned on now than when Id treated her to a sandwich gratis, so, with this in mind I suggested we go out back into Raymondos yard. What better place for a clandestine kiss n rub? She agreed and after sneaking through the kitchen while Ray was at another table I lifted her up onto one of the bins, then closed my eyes and leaned in with smooch-ready lips, slowly, slowly, almost there surely. But what was this? I was unexpectedly greeted by a cold nger resting on my tongue-moistened lips. Drat.

Pat pulled away from me all of a sudden, jumped down off the bin and walked back into the cafe with me, lovesick puppy trailing close behind. Whats wrong, I whined, - youre not frigid are you? Pleeeeease tell me youre not frigid. A girl like me needs a bit of romance Johnny. She smiled as she opened the door to the street and backed away from me. Maybe Ill see you around. She turned away from me then and her little pony tail icked to the side. Cute. She began whistling a tune, something familiar. Was it... Blueberry Hill? Not if I see you rst sugar tits. I said under my breath, then turned my head sideways and, narrowing my eyes I drew deeply on the soggy end of my almost exhausted roll-up. I was watching her bum wiggle from side to side as she walked back up Quay Street until nally, she turned the corner and disappeared from view. I went inside to settle the bill then headed back to where the race was happening, roughly ve minutes later. I found the gang ready and raring to go. Jumbo, Wendell, Kenny and Pauline were all round the back having a pre-race smoke. I noticed the bonnet was still open after Jumbo had given it its nal tune up so I went around the front and when I slammed it shut found none other than Percy Rocket standing there. Ah, I was just looking for you - to wish you boys good luck in the race. Who needs luck when youve got tons of excellent skill? I said. And you think your man - Kenny is it? - Hes got what it takes has he? Well soon nd out wont we. Kenny said. He was standing behind me now along with the others. Now lets get this show on the road shall we? Rocket smiled and then with two ngers he gave a quick ick of a salute before walking away, back towards his own gang and his own van. I patted Kenny on the arse for luck as he climbed into the driving seat and clicked the accid, useless seatbelt into place - for all the good that would do and could feel the adrenaline now, coursing through my veins. We cant lose. I said to myself, We cannot lose. Mick Prentice, their chosen driver pulled up next to our van and pulled a grim face at our Kenny while revving his engine. Kenny in turn revved his and the rusty chassis began to shake violently in protest. I gave a quick shake of the head not to tempt fate by pushing the van too hard before the race had begun and then landlord of the Trophy, and evidently part-time drag race adjudicator, Phil Turnstile walked over. Rules are simple. No bumping, no name calling and no using secret weapons such as oil slicks, tyre shredders or drawing pin dispensers. The course is a simple round the block affair and the winner will get exclusive use of my car park and

ownership of the other bands van and instruments as per the agreement made the other day. He turned around then to the assembled crowd. Ladies and gentlemen the stakes could hardly be higher as two of the top rock n roll outts in all of Bridlington battle it out in a race for their very livelihoods. So now, without further ado, I declare this race - on. With that he pulled out a white handkerchief from his trouser pocket, held it up above his head then brought it down. Prentice was off like shite from a stick and Kenny wasnt far behind. There was a huge bang and the usual fat clouds of black smoke pufng out the exhaust, but thanks to some of Jumbos adjustments and enhancements it was now running better than ever before. The crowd whooped and cheered, girls were waving pairs of knickers in the air as the vans sped on by, Prentice making the corner rst, closely followed by Kenny. It was then that I saw a familiar face weaving through the crowd and making her way towards us. It was the girl from earlier, it was Pat Grogan. I nudged Jumbo in the ribs as she made her way across the road. See that curvy shagpiece with the bleach blonde hair mate? Believe it or not thats my new bird. I grinned at her as she got closer but it was if I wasnt there, like I was a ghost - she walked straight past me. You were saying. Jumbo said, then we both watched as she walked over to Percy Rocket and threw her arms around him, planting a huge wet smacker right on his lips. I dont understand I... Never mind that now, Jumbo said, here come the vans - you better get the trigger out quick smart. Prentices van came hurtling round the corner rst, as predicted - despite our enhancements, and it looked like we would denitely need to use old Gooseys turdbomb. I reached into my inside pocket for the black box detonator but found it empty. I felt that same knife-like sensation in my gut just like when I thought I couldnt afford the extra sarnie earlier and started patting down the rest of my pockets. When it became clear I didnt have it anymore I stuck my nger inside my collar to let a column of hot, fetid steam escape from inside my shirt, I was starting to come to a most terrible, terrible realisation. She stole it... She stole it. She stole it. Shit shit shit shit, oh fuck shit...

Wendell and Jumbo were standing either side of me and our van was now close enough that I could see Kenny hunched over the huge bus steering wheel, a look of erce concentration on his face - pedal to the metal - but he also had a passenger. What the aming hell is Pauline doing in there? A red lipped Wendell said as - thanks to the shock - he dropped his raspberry ice pop. I looked across at Percy who was looking back at me too now. Pat Grogan was standing behind him with her arms around his waist. She was smiling and so was he, holding the stolen device, pulling out the telescopic antenna. Then, he held my gaze a moment longer as the nger went down, down, down. The bonnet of our little Austin Trojan separated from the body of the van and ew up into the air, high above the rooftop of the row of shops to its left. As Prentice crossed the nish line that wed drawn horizontally along the road in yellow chalk, Kenny was some way behind and was now fast losing control of the van. He yanked the wheel to the right in a desperate bid to pull it out of the spin it had fallen into. But around and around it went, all the while powering forwards with each rotation, and each time the front end faced us the look on Kenny and Paulines faces appeared ever more horried. It eventually slowed and tipped over, scraping and sparking along the tarmac, nally coming to rest on its side just in front of the yellow line. The crowd was silent. In shock at what they had just witnessed. Percy and the rest of The Sound Effects were not in the least bit surprised or concerned about what had happened though and were jumping up and down and high ving each other for a job well done. Me, Jumbo and Wendell ran over to the where the van lay and Wendell leapt on top of it and pulled Pauline from the open passenger side window. Her hair was all over the place which made her look a bit demented, she also had one or two scratches but she appeared to be basically ok. Then, unbelieveably she threw her arms around him and blurted, Oh Johnny, thank God! Then she grabbed both sides of his head and started showering him with kisses. I looked on as he carried her away to safety at the side of the road. Surely she meant to say Wendell, not Johnny. Wendell appeared not to notice however which was understandable the amount of stress he was under, just minutes ago he didnt even know if his bird was dead or alive. Id forgotten about Kenny but thank Christ he was ne and popped up out of the same window wed pulled Pauline out of. He had a charred, blackened face and his hair was standing on end thanks to the backdraft of the bomb blast but he too had escaped any physical damage. What happened? He croaked.

The smell hit me then, an overpowering stench of cow pat and sulphur coming from the smoking wreckage of the trashed engine. Peels of laughter were coming from behind me. Rocket. I said through clenched teeth and booted the roof of the van. Jumbo emerged from the back side and was holding up his guitar, snapped in two but still attached by the strings. The rest of the gear? I asked. He responded by simply giving a stiff shake of the head. You had your gear in the van? Blimey this day just keeps getting better and better. I turned around to nd Percy and his crew were directly behind me now and most of the spectators had left the scene, probably in case the coppers turned up. I would say round two goes to me. And it looks like there wont be a round three now that your worthless careers have been destroyed. The four of us were in no condition to ght. Kenny was still out of it, Wendell was tending to the hysterical and shell-shocked Pauline and Jumbo was too distraught about his guitar to muster up any righteous fury at this stage. Here - souvenir. Percy said, and threw the detonation device at me. I caught it with both hands. Itll serve to remind you of whos the boss in this town, and if you ever think of pulling something like this again Crab, well maybe youll think twice. This town and all its potential fans belong to me now - goddit? I suppose now youll be wanting my ownership papers for the van? I asked. I dont want your shit van. Rocket chuckled. This was never about that. This was about teaching you boys a lesson and I think, I hope youve learned it well. Cmon boys - lets go - were late for our next gig.

Invasion It was approaching the end of May. Chris Bielby, feeling guilty about what happened with the bomb and the fact our plan had backred on us had been letting us stay in his garden shed on the condition that we, on no account interacted with any members of his family. His wife wasnt exactly my biggest fan anyway and kept their three daughters, when they werent at church or school pretty much under lock and key.

Food wasnt a problem, we were told we could have whatever they chucked in the bin and on that basis we lived fairly well on leftovers which, when we could afford it were supplemented with the odd bag of chips from a place at the top of the street. For plates we used the vans old hubcaps which also served as a daily reminder of what had happened to us, the van, our instruments and the very pressing need to get back on top. Wendell had left the band and gone back to Hull to become an apprentice in his Dads welding company. Hed forced a confession out of Pauline a few days after the incident with the bomb, remembering what shed said when hed pulled her out the van - the slip of the tongue where shed mistakenly said my name instead of his. Shed nally admitted that she was in love with me, Johnny Crab after all and that she couldnt see things changing. A real turn up for the books. This of course resulted in a massive bust up which almost ended in sts were it not for Jumbo stepping in and making us see the value of our friendship. He told us that we should never let any mere tart come between that. If anything, no one should have Pauline and you lads should just leave it at that. He wisely said. In any event I had summarily rejected her on the grounds that I no longer trusted women and meeting Pat Grogan, despite the fact that she had turned out to be a liar, a spy and Percy Rockets girlfriend had also taught me that there were plenty of cracking birds in the world and that on no account should I limit my options just because one happens to live in the same ippin van as me! Pauline got together with Jumbo in the end and she carried on living with us in Chriss shed, an arrangement that suited us both. Having a bit of muff around certainly brightened the place up a bit and we suspected, given a few well placed compliments we could probably convince her to clean the place on the odd occasion too. So now it was just me, him and her in there, Kenny, you will remember lived in his own house and we didnt have much use for him until he could afford to buy a new drum kit. We had more room in the shed than we ever did in the van but with the disadvantage that occasionally, in the middle of the night I would stub my toe on a bike pedal or stand on a rake on the way back from relieving myself in the garden. One evening, I made myself scarce in order to give the new lovers a bit of space and besides which I was starving and in need of a good feed. I rang the doorbell and managed to bum a shilling off Chris. He rummaged around in his pockets and produced the coin quickly in an effort get rid of me before warning me not to make a habit of it and slamming the door in my face. I went across the street, then after a short wait I caught the bus into town.

A short while later I found myself walking into Raymondos and discovered the place was absolutely crawling with Teddy boys. Chocolate milkshake please Raymondo me old mate. We dont do them Johnny, he said, while placing two plates of egg and chips under the noses of two hungry young Judies. I nk you know that. Cliff Richards Summer Holiday piped lazily out of a old, grease splattered tranny as he slung his lthy tea towel over his shoulder and shufed back behind the counter. Dandilion and Burdock then please, I sighed, and put one of those curly straws in it - you do them dont you? I pulled a stool out and sat down next to a young man dressed in a tweed suit. Problems? he asked, as he observed me suck down my drink in one go. Like me he had blue eyes but thats about where the similarity ended. He was taller than me and had crew cut which was plastered down with oil and a neat little brown tash which lent him an air of quiet sophistication. How did you guess - another one please Ray. Hang on a minute, youre that Mally Purvis arent you. Ive seen your picture in the paper. Hows the town crier gig treating you? They say youre the youngest ever. Well I cant complain. he said, Yeah, I get free sandwiches, sometimes entire meals at the functions I attend and Im not exactly short of female attention if you know what I mean - forgive me, of course you do. I do get recognised quite a bit though and - no offence - but the attention is starting to wear a bit thin. No, no, none taken mate. So the chicks are more interested since you got this gig then are they? Whys that then? Well, they seem to like the traditional velvet robes for some reason, mostly the older ones - councillors wives and the like. The whole things a bit of an enigma to me, could be that they think I wield some sort of mysterious power or something. I dont though, as I keep telling people, the role is strictly ceremonial. I see. I said, then put my hand out to shake his, Im... Johnny Crab - I know who you are chum. I used to like that song you did, Love is just a... ...honky tonk emotion? Thats the one yeah, what happened to you lads anyway? I havent seen you around for a while. Bit of a long story that one chum, but well be back on top one of these days though - you mark my words. I began sucking on my drink again just as the bell above the door jingled behind me. The place went deathly quiet. Everybody stopped with their

conversations and looked over. A cold tension suddenly lled the air. I didnt dare look back myself, something told me this was going to be trouble, and trouble tended to follow me around these days. Curiously, at the same same time as the group led in some interference caused the tranny to tune itself out briey and exude static noise. It was almost as if the negative vibes they were emitting were the cause of it. It lasted for just a few seconds though and as Cliff Richard resumed his harmless croon people got back to the business of gulping down mugs of tea and gobbling up greasy fried food. I eventually gathered up the courage and peered over my shoulder to nd that none other than Dogger Perkins and his gang of dreadful henchmen, The Face Smashing Crew had just strolled into Skinny Rays and consequently back into my life. They ipped menus off tables as they strolled around, cockily marking out this brand new territory as thier own. I remember thinking that they must have been fresh off the train from Withernsea as anyone who was anyone in this town knew that Raymondos cafe was now the place to be seen. And, as far as I knew (and back then I made it my business to know) they hadnt been in there before. Word was spreading quickly that Bridlington was fast becoming the North Easts new capital of rock n roll and clearly they wanted their slice of the action. One of them picked up a young mans jacket which had been draped over the back of his chair, then, while standing behind him and xing his girlfriend with an insouciant glare simply dropped it on the oor. I felt for the lad even in spite of the fact he was a Teddy boy. The look in his birds eyes told me that she was at once frightened and highly aroused by this turn of events. She stared accusingly at her boyfriend as if he should have done something, but what could he possibly have done? They were bigger than him and they were more numerous. To even turn around while it was happening would surely have spelled a beating. No, the only thing he could do was pick up, dust off his jacket and hope they didnt come back for more. They continued scaring some of the local talent by going up behind them and whispering boo in their ears. They clicked their tongues, winked and did that thing where you point at your eyes with two ngers then back at some girls sort of threateningly, as if to say When Im next ready to have it off with someone, its you wholl be right at the top of my list. Ive done it myself a fair few times so I know. Finally, and to the relief of the majority they eventually plonked themselves down at a table, and in a nal urry of activity got down to the more practical business of perusing menus while lighting pre-meal cigs.

Blummin hell, thats all I need, I muttered, just as my glass of milk and sausage sandwich, cut into quarters as per my instructions, was set down in front of me. Do you know that group of young bullies? Mally asked. Yeah, you could say that. Dont look now but the big one thinks I tried to bonk his girlfriend. I need to get out of here as quick as bloody possible. I grabbed the plate and slid all four segments of my untouched buttie into my inside pocket then ipped up the collar of my leather. Mally kindly got up with me, offering to walk beside me which helped to block their line of site, then we made our way towards the door. I was sure Id be spotted but no, Id gotten away with it and was free. All thanks to Mallys help a major crisis had been averted. That place has really gone down the bog. I grumbled, kicking a pebble as we walked down the promenade. We were sharing one of Mallys cigs, I honestly dont know why I still go there, they dont even have a ippin jukebox. I tell you what mate, if I had the money thats what Id buy. Then Id shove my collection of records in the arseole, rent it out to establishments such as the one we just vacated, then simply sit back and watch as the brass came ro-lling in. I squinted and puckered my lips as I made a rubbing gesture with my thumb and forengers as if to emphasise just how lucrative such a venture would be. Mally was walking with one hand behind his back and had a nger pressed to his lips, a la someone who was in the process of having a brilliant idea. You know, he said, holding the nger aloft now, conrming my suspicions, I think I might just have an idea about that, but to pull it off I would need you to agree to use some of your connections, experience and perhaps a few of those rock n roll records you just mentioned. What are you up to tomorrow? Im free most days at the moment. I said, wondering just what it was he could be cooking up. Class, then Ill meet you here shall I? How does two in the afternoon sound? Theres just a few things I want to check on rst before I go into any more detail. Great. I said, throwing my hands up in the air, delighted at my sudden and most unexpected bout of good fortune. I shook his hand for a second time. See you on the ipside then. I dont think he knew what see you on the ipside meant - he didnt strike me as the type of bloke who knew much - if anything - about rock n roll culture or its parlance, but there was this fact that hed recognised me as a man of many talents and that was within just an hour of knowing me - perhaps he wasnt just a completely clueless jughead with bad hair and rubbish clothes. I was certainly

very intrigued by him and something told me this eccentric stranger might just be the answer to all of my money worries. It couldnt hurt to hear him out in any event. He repeated the sentiment. Yeah, see you on the ipside then my friend. Then we shook on it then went our separate ways. Aptly I caught the number two bus back to our temporary home in the dreary Bridlington suburbs. It was lled almost to capacity with raucous groups of Teddy boys who I gathered were coming back from a concert at the spa, and as I sheepishly walked down the gangway clutching my ticket I scanned around for the best place to sit. I plumped for next to where the conductor spent most of his time standing, at the front next to the drivers cab so they could chat. If any of these dreadful Teddys realised that me, a lone greaser, former frontman of The Polka Dot Quartet had got on and took exception to it, he might be in the mood to protect me. My heart was in my mouth most of the way as I listened to their inane chatter about hair cream and brogues, all the while guzzling cans of Champions bitter and bottles of spirit wrapped in brown paper bags. Thankfully I made it back without incident. Someone did notice me when I got off however, and as the bus started pulling away a toilet roll was ung at me from one of the windows on the top deck - God knows where that came from, I thought as it bounced off the top off my head and unfurled itself along the pavement - maybe the bogs of the spa. But now I was safe again, that was all that mattered and after rolling it back up I shoved it under my arm. After all, we needed it. Thanks losers. I shouted down the road as soon as the bus was out of sight. Ill wipe my arse on that. Rain started to fritter down as I made my way down the alley at the side of Chriss house and as I entered the garden I chanced a quick look under the lid of the bin. Bingo. I pulled out a couple of slightly burnt pieces of veal which were resting right at the top on a well thumbed copy of The Peoples Friend. I assumed Chris and Pams kids to be the ungrateful culprits. I mean ok, Pam was no Fanny Cradock but she was a decent enough cook. Maybe she got caught short and took her eye off the ball, these things happen. I wasnt about to turn down a couple of choice cuts in any case. I saw that the sign that meant Jumbo was getting his oats, (a pair of underpants hung on the handle of the shed door) had been removed so it was safe to go in.

I found them sound asleep in each others arms. Nice. I silently and carefully pushed the blackened cuts of veal into a small, secret compartment in Chriss toolbox (my hiding place) and slipped into my sleeping bag. Lying there I thought about what Mally could have been talking about earlier, in any event I would nd out tomorrow. Then, as my eyes adjusted to the darkness I noticed some kind of strange, white egg-sac cracking open in the corner of the ceiling. I let out a gentle whimper and shrank down in my sleeping bag while I watched as an army of infant spiders came charging out and spread themselves around the walls of the old shed.

Visitor Myself and my new best friend Mally Purvis were standing outside a set of huge, barn-like doors on an industrial estate to the east of town. Mally pulled out a big jumble of keys and grappled with the bulky padlock while I held the chain steady. Hed explained to me on the way there that one of his duties as Bridlington Town Crier - according to tradition that stretched back nearly ve hundred years was that he, as well as the man who dispensed the latest news to the townsfolk was the ofcial key bearer to all council properties. It was a responsibility that was meant to be strictly ceremonial, but, he concluded, he hadnt asked for it so why not exploit it. He found the right key, a small stubby one then twisted it in the padlock, breaking its rusty seal. The chain clattered as I slid it out sideways then we pulled the wooden door to one side. What is this place? I asked, pushing it closed behind me as Kenny had instructed. Dancing particles of dust were visible in the narrow shafts of sunlight streaming in through the slits and cracks in the old wooden doors. There wasnt enough natural light to allow us to see properly however so Kenny ipped open his lighter and walked over to the wall, using it to illuminate a large metal switch. He pulled it down, it went clack and the rows of lights up on the ceiling ickered into life. We were standing in a huge hangar-like structure lled with wooden boxes of all different shapes and sizes piled up on top of each other. As we walked in between the shelves Kenny began with his explanation. Every town, village and city in England is twinned with one overseas, either in Europe, America and even parts of Asia. Bridlington is no exception to this and, due to a quirk in local bylaws is the only place allowed to twin itself with a new city each year. Following me so far?

I nodded. Im with you chum, carry on. Well, the twinning process decrees that when a new town is found a cultural exchange must take place and dignitaries from both cities have to visit the other at least once in the following year. Bridlington town councillors have been exploiting this loophole for a while now as a way to get free holidays and have systematically been plundering treasures from the local maritime museums to take as gifts for their opposites in other parts of the world. Bloody hell. I said, somewhat taken aback by the dark machinations of the world Id stumbled into. Thats disgusting. That, my friend - is councils. So where does this place t into things? I asked. Do me a favour would you Johnny and hand me that crowbar over there. I did as instructed and handed it to him. He jammed it in the top of a large box we had stopped in front of marked in a military style stencil that read, Property of Bridlington Town Council, and began prising the wood apart. It splintered, cracked and then he stepped aside as the front dropped open. It hit the dusty oor with a thud then Mally pulled out some large clumps of straw, and a second later, underneath all the packing, a shiny, brand-spanking new jukebox was revealed. Dillsburg Virginia, latest city to be twinned with Bridlington in January of this year. This is what their mayor gave to ours when he came here. A broad smile spread across my face. And nobody wants it? I mean - whats a quality piece of kit like this doing stuck in here? It belongs to the city, like everything else you see in here, its all public property. No one can touch it. Were public, I said. My thinking exactly. Mally replied. Yknow Johnny, they say the sweetest fruit resides at the top of the tree and you wont nd many local councillors disagreeing with that statement. Thats why, after doing a bit of thinking Ive decided to take on the mayor in the forthcoming elections. Yes I know what youre thinking - Im young and perhaps lacking in experience but I can only see those things working to my advantage. When people look at me they wont just see the run of the mill, career politician with just his own interests at heart. No, theyll see optimism, dynamism and more than that theyll see hope. Im going straight to the top mate, that you can bank on. I liked his attitude as, like him I knew I was heading for the top too. A different kind of top sure, my top was more rock and roll oriented but it was still a top, and with the help of this jukebox I might be on it sooner than I thought.

On the way back into town Mally explained to me that an inventory was done every six months on the warehouse by the city treasury. As long as we had the thing back in its box by that time then no one would be any the wiser that wed nicked it and we could do what we liked in the meantime. We caught another bus and arrived back at my place around lunchtime. I wanted Mally to meet Jumbo and have a look at the shed. Not that I was proud of where I lived or anything but I felt if he knew more about my situation hed understand that if anyone was motivated to make money with him then I was. I thought we could also deliver the good news about the jukebox venture while we were at it. We arrived and I swung the door open, walking straight into a pair of damp brown underpants with cream piping that hung from a make-shift washing line. I wrestled with them briey then pulled them off my face and tossed them on the oor, gasping for air. Now then sunshine - you must be Johnny. the man in front of me said, Sorry about me kegs. He was naked apart from a pair of shoes, some grey socks pulled half way up to the knee, another pair of high-waisted, paisly underpants and a battered trilby with a feather in it. He was a big pile of acid pale esh covered in unevenly distributed clumps of uffy grey hair, back and front. Sitting there on a stool, it appeared Id interrupted him in the middle of washing his clothes in an old tin bathtub. I am Johnny yes. And who might you be sir? Ah sorry mate, Im Cyril, Cyril Grebbins - Jumbos Dad. I stared at his stubby yellow ngers as he put his hand out to shake mine. Err pleased to meet you Mr Grebbins. I said. Likewise. At that moment Jumbo and Pauline came walking up the garden path, hand in hand. Jumbo was carrying a parcel of chips under his arm and seemed a bit surprised to see me. Uh, Johnny, I thought you wasnt gonna be back till later. I see youve met my Dad. Yeah. Whos this? This is my new best friend Mally Purvis, I said proudly, the kid I was telling you about this morning. Cyril came out of the shed, pulling his Y-fronts up even further than any decent human being would ever dare. The central bulge appeared as if hed

stuffed an elongated birds egg in there, a smooth oval protusion surrounded by a frazzle of grey pubes on either side. Pufng away on a saggy roll-up he said, Mrghh Purvis eh, they should call you Per-vert. I had to admit he had a point - I didnt know how Id missed it. Do you mind us calling you Pervert? I asked. It can be like a sort of funny nickname or something. Mally shrugged. You wouldnt be the rst ones to come up with it - thats what they used to call me back in school. I suppose, if you really feel you need to then I suppose its ok. Right, I said, rubbing my mitts together, are there enough chips in there for everyone to share? Ive got some choice cuts of veal that I found last night I was thinking we could put it all together and maybe have a bit of a feast. We can celebrate mine and Perverts new venture and, I suppose the sudden and unexpected arrival of Jumbos dad. Cyril looked sheepish, scratching the back of his neck, his other hand resting on his hip. You dont by any chance mean them veal cutlets that were in that old blue toolbox do you? Sorry, I err, didnt know they belonged to anyone. I polished em off earlier this afternoon.

Money For Nothin And Your Tripe For Free Fantastic morning. I watched Rambo with a proper, full, nineteen-piece English breakfast in front of me, followed by a banana Yazoo and a Kinder Bueno. Ive been recovering from my holiday you see. The rule is you need two days rest for every week youve spent abroad. I spent three weeks in Turkey so that entitles me to six glorious days of milling around the house in my undergarments. Yesterday, my grandson Jordan dropped off an old Freeview Plus box they dont want anymore and Ive been working my way through a few of the lms theyve left stored on it. Im going to paint the upstairs bathroom then Ive got Freejack with gammon and chips penciled in for this afternoon. Working from the top of the plate in a clockwise direction, this is an itemized list of what my full English consisted of, just in case you are interested:

1.Egg A 2.Egg B 3.Scrambled Egg 4.Cress on the Scrambled Egg (item 3), above 5.Grilled tomato 6.Tinned tomato 7.Fried onions on top of the tinned tomato (item 6) 8.Large, at, grilled mushroom (very well done) 9.Chopped creamed mushrooms (again well done) in garlic butter sauce 10. Hash Brown 11. Bacon slice A 12. Bacon slice B 13. Bubble & Squeak 14. Sausage A 15. Sausage B 16. Sausage C 17. Black Pudding 18. Beans 19. Fried Bread * June 1st 1959 Me and Jumbo did what we called the milk run every morning. We had to vary the place and time constantly as the success of the whole thing hung on us maintaining the element of surprise. In the area that Chris Bielby lived in back in 59, - unbelievable as this may seem now what with all our aircraft hangar supermarkets and futuristic milk oats - deliveries were still being made by horse and cart. What we would do is, either Jumbo or myself would hide behind a wall at some point ahead and the other would follow as the cart made its deposits to the porches along the street. As the cart was passing, the one hiding behind the wall - which on this occasion was Jumbo - he would run out and yank his trousers down, then bend over and pull his bum cheeks apart. If you could do a loud trump too, well that was a bonus, but in any case it was usually just enough to expose yourself. If the maneuver had been executed correctly, the startled horse would rear up on its hind legs causing the driver and his mate to struggle to stay upright and keep hold of the reigns, then, while they were distracted I would

sneak over to the back of the cart and grab a couple of bottles of the white stuff. Id managed a pack of sausages on this particular morning too which was just as well as now we had an extra mouth to feed. Jumbos Dad, Cyril Grebbins we had learned, was on the run from the police. Him and his friend Richard Gilchrist had knocked off their local vicarage in Drifeld and they thought theyd gotten away with it too, but unfortunately for them one of the old trouts (his words not mine) that was there helping the vicar out, recognised his voice from under his balaclava. A manhunt was soon underway to arrest him and recover the churchs Sunday collection money along with a gallon of altar wine which we understood, was now long gone. After breakfast I pulled on a fresh white t-shirt, tucked it into my jeans and shrugged on my leather jacket. Me, Jumbo and Pauline were off to meet Mally and collect the jukebox then we were going see if we could rent it out to somewhere in town, maybe to a cafe or one of the pubs we used to play in back in the good old days when we had instruments. I looked down at Cyril who was still snoozing in his sleeping bag and gave him a little kick to the ribs. He coughed a bit then lifted up his eye mask before lighting a pre-rolled cig. Steady on girls, he grumbled, wheres the bloody re? Were off into town to meet Mally Purvis, I said, the kid from last night. Oh yeah, Purvis the pervert. Bit of a queer bugger if you ask me. Heh heh heh. Mallys alright. I said, and hes really helping us out with this jukebox business so try to keep your opinions to yourself when he comes round will you. Oh and we wont be back till late this afternoon so we need you to stay out of sight. The bloke thats letting us stay in this place isnt exactly happy about us being here, never mind a fugitive from the bobbies. Is that clear? Message recieved and understood your royal majesty. He said this while making a sarcastic little waving gesture with his free hand and lowering his head in mock deference. I wont be any bother sunbeam - you dont need to worry about me. Scouts honour. He made the sign of the cross, did a trump then reached into his trousers and pulled out a threpenny bit. Get us twenty cigs while youre out will you Jumbo son, theres a good lad. We met up with Mally whod organised a trailer that we could put the jukebox in. We attached it to the back of his crap three wheeler, covering it up with a sheet of tarpaulin then spent the afternoon wheeling it around various establishments trying to rent it out. It was no good, no takers, Bridlington just

wasnt ready for the idea. Rock and roll as a phenomenon at this moment in time was well established among the youth but as for the adults, well they just hadnt cottoned on yet. We arrived at Raymondos around three in the afternoon, which wed assumed for some reason would be our worst option so had been saving it till last. We lifted the thing off the trailer and with no small effort - given that we were also extremely tired, not to mention bored by now - hoiked it inside. I hope Skinny Ray wants it or its back to square one. I grumbled as we placed it as gently as we could on the linoleum oor in front of the counter. Whats that you lads have got there then? Ray asked, emerging from the kitchen and wiping his hands on his apron. Well Ray, I said, speaking very slowly so that thered at least be a chance, however small that hed understand. Its the latest thing from Am-er-i-ca, its called a jukebox and it plays rock and roll songs. This was greeted with a not entirely unexpected bovine stare on Rays part so Mally unravelled the cord that was hooked around the back and went over to the wall to plug it in. The neon tubing around the sides ickered and hummed into life and I went round the front to shove in the last penny we had. I pressed a couple of buttons then some records ipped across, one was selected by the robotic arm and The Big Boppers Chantilly Lace began playing. We scanned the room, looking around at the teenagers reactions. Some of them began by slowly bobbing their heads, some tapped ngers against mugs of tea and others I noticed were shufing their feet to the music under the table. Then, out of nowhere the place just exploded into life. Couples got up and started jiving with each other and there was soon a long queue for tea rells and plates of chips. To our delight he was very impressed and after a bit of negotiation we managed to hammer out a deal. He would rent the machine off us for half a crown a week and we would also let him keep fty percent of the takings. Mally also managed to wangle an extra bonus for us - a free feed to crown the deal. We ordered ourselves four jumbo plates of tripe and onions, washing it down with a cup of strong tea each. Then, we nished the whole thing off with a fat slice of quiche and a cig apiece before going our separate ways with Mally and wandering down to the bus stop. We arrived home to nd the shed empty, there was a accid sleeping bag covered in biscuit crumbs and the lid from a paint tin which had loads of stubbed out cig butts on it - but no sign of Cyril.

Just at that moment we heard a scream coming from the direction of the house. We dashed out into the garden to nd Chris running out of the back door brandishing a butcher knife. Did you see him? Did he come through here? Me and Jumbo looked at each other, feigning ignorance as we knew very well who it was he was surely talking about. Erm, seen who? I asked. An old fellah - wearing a vest and hat and not much else mind, my wife said someone was staring through the keyhole while she was in the bath. Relax Chris, I said, Anyway, how do you know he was old, your wife never saw his face did she? Just a beady eye surely, that and the sound of grunts n groans. Im thinking she could have imagined it. You know what women are like, especially when its their time of the month. Ill tell you how I know - I was in the aming living room reading the Chronicle when I saw him run by the door and scarper out of the house. Look lads, this just cant go on. Whatever is going on here Im almost positive its got something to do with you. Im sorry but need you out of here by the end of the week. You can consider whatever partnership we had terminated.

Two Meals And A Fight Talk about a hairy prat! Cyril cackled as we hoiked all of our worldly possessions into the back of Mallys three wheeler. I havent seen one that bad since I was stationed in Normandy. Well I hope it was worth it. I said, Your little peepshow has caused us a lot of bloody upheaval. Inwardly though I was glad about what had happened. I had been growing ever more frustrated with shed life and all the drawbacks that came along with it. I realised Id been too harsh in my appraisal of the humble van dwellers existence. At least back when we had the Bosworth we had a heater for cold snaps and wheels if we wanted to go anywhere. Thankfully though we neither had to move into someone elses garden nor purchase a new vehicle as, much to our delight, the contents of the jukebox at the end of the week gave us enough to put a rental deposit on a quite spacious at on the seafront. A lifeline that had come just in the nick of time. For the rst time in my bands young history we had four solid walls and a roof over our heads. Luxury.

It was the middle of the day and I was having a bath. You might remember those plastic trays that would form a bridge across the tub, you might still own one yourself, I dont know, but anyway, we had one for the soap and shampoo and what not, but on this occasion I was using it as a platform for spam and chips, a can of Champions and my wireless which was plugged in, via an extension cord to a socket in the hallway. Not ve minutes after Id braved the heat and lowered myself down into the water, Jumbo made an entrance, pulled his trousers down and sat on the toilet. You should be practicing Johnny, he said. a voice like yours only comes along once in a, hnnnnngggg, generaaaaaaaation - Phew, thats the ticket and then some. I should have been revolted at the intrusion, never mind the appalling smell but the truth is, by this point we were so used to living in such close quarters that there didnt seem too much that was strange about it. The rest of us cant exactly do anything until we can afford to buy new instruments but you, you need be getting your vocals in shape for when we can start doing gigs again. I do know that Jumbs. I said, shoving down another stful of chips. He wiped his backside then turned around and ushed the bog behind him. Youre absolutely right and I will, but rst I want to see how this thing with the Wurlitzer goes. Ive got a feeling this venture could make us some serious brass. I mean, look at where we are and thats just after one week. I held up my rubber duck as if to reafrm the reality of our situation. Im in an actual bath for Gods sake. Jumbo did his belt and y up then leaned over, grabbing himself a handful (of chips). Oy! I said, through a mouthful of mashed up potato - but it was too late to slap his thieving claw away. He tossed his head back and dropped the ball of stuck-together chips into his open gob then walked out into the hall. Godda be faster than that where me and chips are concerned mate. he chuckled. He wiped his hand on the wallpaper before changing the subject. Listen chum. Me, Pauline and my Dad are off down to the Rays if you fancy it. He reckons hes buying as a thank you to us for letting him stay here while the heat dies down back in Drifeld. I wondered where the old git would be getting his money from but, never one to turn down a free feed I agreed and told him I would meet them down there as soon as Id nished having my bath. I arrived about half an hour later to nd the place was absolutely rammed to the rafters and I had no doubt it was all thanks to the new jukebox. I nodded at a

rushed-off-his-feet Ray who just had time to throw one back at me as he ferried plates of food over to a table on the other side of the cafe. I scanned the room and saw Jumbo waving from a table theyd scored near to the window. I walked over, plonked myself down and Cyril handed me a menu. Us lot have already ordered but you pick whatever you want son, my treat. Mrgh, thanks Mr Grebbins, I said, Ill have a plate of egg and chips then please. I thought you just had some chips. Jumbo said. Whats your point? He shrugged, Just saying. I threw him a glare as he carried on cutting his minute steak, then the waitress came over. The boy here will have a plate of chips with two fried eggs. Cyril said, making a point of speaking loudly and holding up the two ngers. Very generous. I said, raising a surprised eyebrow at Jumbo while tucking a napkin into my t-shirt. Thanks a lot. She nished noting down my order then scooted off back to the kitchen. I was just about to bring up the fact that we needed more toilet roll and Id bought the last one when a shadow fell across the table, blocking out the bright sunshine that had been streaming in from outside. I peered up to nd my nemesis, the diminutive Percy Rocket anked on both sides by his band, The Sound Effects. I see weve taken to hanging around with smelly old codgers. He sneered, holding onto the lapel of his jacket with one hand while in the the other was a newly lit cig. How the mighty have fallen eh lads. A round of sneery laughter ensued and then, without warning Jumbo stood up in his seat only for a fast acting Pauline to grab on to the back of his jeans and yank him back down again. Leave it Jumbo, she said, youre playing right into his hands. This is exactly what he wants. Well what do we have here? Rocket said, his gaze transferring from Jumbo to Pauline. He gave a quick scan to her face before settling on her pert jugs. Let your bird ght all your battles for you eh Grebbins? Tell you what, shes got some spirit this one lads, I bet shes a cracking good bonk. Jumbo couldnt contain his rage any longer and sprung to his feet. He clambered onto the table and there was nothing Pauline could do to stop him this time - hed acted too quickly. Fred Craker stepped in front of Percy and intercepted Jumbos arching st which crunched against his massive jaw. A bloody glob of spit was ung sideways and although he looked momentarily disoriented,

it was obvious given his size that he would be more than ready for seconds, thirds and even fourths should it come to it. I thought not and decided Jumbo was a dead man, all of us were but since we were dead anyway we might as well go out ghting. I looked out of the window and noticed Percy had slipped out during the fracas and was running away towards the seafront, sort of half skipping and clapping with delight as he went. The look on his face to me read sheer malicious pleasure at what he surely knew was about to unfold. It was only then that I realised I was not only dealing with a dangerous enemy but a highly unstable one too. Craker, after shaking off the knuckle sandwich Jumbo had dealt him grunted, then picked him up by the back of his jacket and belt and swung him backwards, before launching him half way across the room. He smashed into two tables, knocking plates and cups ying then landed, spread eagled on the black and white linoleum oor. Girls screamed and ran outside as their boyfriends launched to their feet and put up their dukes, before the whole place descended into chaos. I got up and took on the ready and waiting Sid Guthrie. He was taller and wider than me but I had the advantage of speed and also of course the gift of an (almost) supernatural intelligence and cunning. I ducked and dived as he forced me backwards towards the other side of the room. He quickly began to tire and with his nal swing missed me completely and smacked none other than Dogger Perkins, whod just that second walked in, squarely on the side of the head. Guthrie might have had a chance were it not for the fact that he was now so worn out. With one swift uppercut from Perkins he was now lying unconscious on the oor. I looked down at him, relieved to be rid of one problem but then glanced back up at Perkins to realise Id only traded it for a much larger, angrier one. It took only a moment as the look in his eyes told me he was assessing whether he knew me as friend or foe. But then, the computations completed and the ticker tape result came in. Bing. A icker of recognition. The look morphed instantly from that of uncertainty to all out rage. You. His eyes were bulging and nearly bursting out of their sockets with raw fury. He raised a shaking nger, pointed right at me then said, You got my girl up the duffer - now youre gonna to die. I backed away, holding my hands up and ducked as a teapot came out of nowhere and ew over the top of my head, just grazing the tip of my quiff. Shufing pairs of youths who were locked in their respective private battles criss crossed the path between us as I made my way towards the back wall, but they

were of no obstacle to the rampaging Perkins. Engage Perkins special helicopter power. he said, which I thought was odd. Then he started swinging his arms around either side of him like they were two helicopter rotor blades - ones with sts attached to the ends - which cut down anyone foolish or unlucky enough to get in their way. He ploughed onwards, his sts whirring like mad, xing me with a glare so full of concentrated malice that I thought he might actually be serious about killing me. He was not a few feet away now with a trail of oored and groaning casualties in his wake when... CLONNNNGGG! Just as I was cowering in the corner, ready to accept my fate a small tea tray swung in from the right and clocked him so hard it left an indentation of his face welded into the metal. He stood, dumbfounded for a second, not quite accepting what had happened to him before his eyes rolled back in his head and then slumped to the oor. I glanced sideways to discover Jumbo was the one holding the tray and the one responsible for the fact I was still breathing in and out. Thats the second time Ive saved your bacon chum. he said, ashing me a smile and throwing down the misshapen receptacle. He hopped down from the chair hed been standing on so he could get up to Doggers face level then reached down, grabbed my up-stretched arm and hoiked me up. There werent too many left standing at this point. In one corner Toby Fulfords Teenagers in Love fought with Gordon Nesbitts Jive Bop Collective while in another Bernie Larkin and The Rockadoodles pitched themselves against Typhoon Terry Marsden and Four Whirlwinds. Through a gap in what I can only describe as utter pandemonium and carnage I caught sight of Cyril on the other side of the room, repeatedly smashing Mick Prentices head against a table, all the while Eddie Cochranes Summertime Blues piped out of the speakers in the background. Absolute bloody anarchy. We were about to leg it through the front door when we noticed the coppers had arrived outside with Ray there to meet them, gesticulating madly back at the building. I grabbed Jumbo and we dropped to the ground, crawled underneath a table then proceeded to pull ourselves forwards on our bellies towards the counter. We pushed broken bits of crockery aside as we propelled ourselves along and hoped that we wouldnt get embroiled in yet another ght before reaching the kitchens and beyond that, the back door - and then - freedom. From our vantage point at ground level we could see plates and cups raining down and smashing all around us. Winkle pickers shufing backwards and forwards, their owners still engaged in erce hand-to-hand combat above. Moments later those same winkle pickers were joined by the shiny black boots of

the local constabulary who had now started to break things up. We needed to get out before they began arresting people - the last thing I needed was a criminal record and if they caught Jumbo well, thanks to his record it might even spell serious jail time for him. We made it and found Cyril and Pauline in the back yard sitting on a couple of empty milk crates. Pauline was dabbing at Cyril's bleeding forehead with a handkerchief and Cyril, well he was refusing to hold still and was swinging mini punches in the air, regaling her with stories of how hed smashed about six peoples heads in. I could well believe it given what Id seen inside. I turned to Jumbo and noticed he too was developing a huge shiner on his left eye as well as sustaining quite a deep cut to the neck. Not looking too good chum, I said. Speak for yourself, he replied, Whered your trousers go anyway? I looked down and noticed that oddly, even though I was still wearing socks and shoes, my trousers had indeed gone missing. I dont know, I said, quickly tucking my t-shirt into my huge grey underpants, they mustve somehow come off in all the kerfufe. I looked up then at their frozen expressions. We stared at each other for a moment longer before bursting out laughing. What a strange day it had been! A moment later a dazed Teddy boy who I recognised as one of Doggers miserable crew came stumbling out of the apping-open back door, he was holding a tea towel to his lip which was dripping with blood. Me, Jumbo and Cyril looked at each other, all sharing exactly the same thought at exactly the same time and acting in perfect synchronicity, grabbed and then up-ended him, shoving him head rst into one of the bins. His legs cycled hopelessly and a mufed voice shouted for someone, anyone to help as we hobbled, injured but essentially ne, out of the yard and into the alley behind. It was then that we heard the sound of screeching wheels - this wasnt over yet. A vehicle came charging around the corner knocking a pair of bins ying and I thought our number was most denitely up at this stage. It must be the bobbies come to book us, I thought. As it drew closer though, it very quickly became clear that this wasnt a police car at all but Mallys moss-green, crap three wheeler, heading towards us at a good clip with its back door apping open behind it. We were saved! We all clambered in as he screeched to a stop then I reached over, grabbed the handle and slammed the door shut. I shouted for Mally to step on it then we drove away as fast as the old banger would take us.

Plan My nephew, Jordan, sent me a text the other day directing me to a small notice in The Hull Daily Mail about the demolition of the old cocoa mills due to take place on a local industrial estate. He was asking if I wanted to go with him and a few of his mates to watch it. It was a bit early for my liking, about seven in the morning but I thought it sounded quite good actually. So, with the help of an alarm clock I got up about an hour early and made myself a ask of tea and some egg sandwiches. Annoyingly, Jordans mates - greedy buggers that they are scoffed the sandwiches when they found them on the back seat of my car so consequently I ended up wishing I hadnt bothered. At least I still had the tea however and after parking up not far from the barrier I made a good strong brew and lit up one of my enormous duty-free Superkings. It was then I saw Shirley and Mert in the rear view, they were coming around the corner, walking hand in hand along with a few other curious and doubtless bored couples towards the area the demolition company had set aside for anyone wanting to watch the blast. I slid down in my seat then waited for them to pass before grabbing my binoculars, closing the door of my Mondeo and moseying on over. I leaned over Shirleys shoulder and whispered into her lug-hole, Hey shug. How are you keeping? She turned around slowly with a twisted face and blew a big cloud of stinking grey smoke in my face. Suppose youve been having loads of that tantric sex with T.D. over there (Turkish Delight, she knew what it meant as Id sent her a text immediately after I thought of the name). Dont suppose hes done the citizenship test yet has he. Johnny, what are you doing here? Saw it advertised in the paper same as everyone else. I said. Its a free country you know. Anyway, at least Im from here. I jabbed my chest with my thumb, Its my bloody taxes that pay for events like this. A klaxon blared in the distance and we ceased hostilities to look over in the direction of the old, red brick cocoa mill. Sue held on to Merts arm tightly and I raised my charity shop National Trust binoculars just as a huge ock of birds ew out of the building, then we watched as it imploded and swallowed itself, quickly obscured from sight as it became enveloped in a rising cloud of thick black smoke. Crap!

I declared and went over to one of the blokes in high-viz vests guarding the barrier, he was presumably there for health and safety purposes, to make sure no one got within a good mile of the blast. Did you know it was gonna be this crap? I asked. I got up at six o clock in the bleedin morning for this. Are you gonna knock down anything else today or is that it? What about that one over there - doesnt look like anyone is using it, get that one down too. He shook his head, Yeah thats it for today Im afraid - sorry bud. I exhaled deeply and shook my head, chucking him a despairing look. I weep for the youth of today. I said then stubbed my cig out under a big white Reebok. I really do. * June 11th 1959 I had thankfully sustained few injuries and the ones that Jumbo and Cyril had were only supercial. Aside from a dull aching of the ribs Jumbo complained about we had all done well to escape relatively unscathed. My trousers had turned up too. Theyd been back in the at lying across my bed all along. Evidently Id been in such a rush to get my free grub Id forgotten to put them on after my bath, a fact which both disturbed and amused me in equal measure. A few days after what became known as The Big Scrap me, Pervert, Jumbo and Pauline were strolling along the promenade in the early evening with a bag of chips apiece. The setting sun glowed deep orange and we were just beginning to feel the rst effects of the evening chill. Wed heard about this new band that had arrived in town called Ricky Taurus and the Star Signs - not to be confused with Dick Zodiac and the Star Signs (which also were an up and coming act from the same era) and I wanted to go and check them out. Its always a good idea to know who your competition is and whether or not theyre any good. We were just around the corner from the Trout and Cartwheel, still Bridlingtons premier night spot for local talent, when we saw a poster taped to a lamp post. It was an advertisement for the gig but with an added banner which cut right through the middle that read, Star Signs gig at the Trout Cancelled Due To Curfew

Blummin Curfew, I said, Since when was there a blummin curfew? While we were stood round the sign grumbling Jumbo had gone across the street and lifted a Chronicle from a stand outside a newsagents. He came back over with it and started reading, Its right here on the front page - look. Mayor Revelstoke has today invoked Section twelve of the Bridlington public order bylaws which decrees that no one under the age of twenty one will be allowed on the streets after nine pm. Anyone who is underage and found to be on the street after this time will be imprisoned until a custodial sentence can be determined. Its apparently in response to the scrap that happened the other day. And look here, theres a picture of you Johnny. It says that you were the one who started it. Congrats - your name in print for the rst time. Gimme that, I said, snatching the paper off him. This is slander this is. I jabbed at my photograph, it was an old one of me, grinning and giving the thumbs up while dressed in my cubs uniform. It wasnt even me, it was you Jumbo. Jumbo chuckled then lit himself a cig before offering me one from the pack. Cool your jets old pal. Its not the end of the world. You know what this means dont you. Pervert said, tossing his empty chip wrapper into the bin and licking the grease from his thumb and ngers. Takings from the jukebox are going to plummet at least fty percent and those instruments you were planning on buying Johnny, well, it looks like that ideas out of the window if you want to be able to pay your rent. This is just awful, Jumbo said, just awful - there must be something we can do. This is all that bloody swine Rockets fault. Maybe there is one thing we can do, I said. I was pacing up and down with my hands behind my back, and the well oiled cogs in my brain were starting to turn very rapidly. What is it youre plotting this time Johnny? Jumbo asked. Mally, you said you wanted to become the mayor and that the elections were only a couple of weeks away correct? Ahh Johnny I wasnt really being serious, I mean its never been done before someone my age becoming leader of the council. The chances of it happening are - well theyre astronomical. Well, lets just imagine for a minute you were to have a crack at running, what would it take for you to get elected, I mean, in an ideal world? Well, to start with I suppose Id need all of the money from the jukebox, not just the half Im getting now, and Id need a team of people around me to handle my campaign - and perhaps even a manager.

Listen gang, I said, putting my foot up on a bench, we need to squash this curfew shite, both for our sake and for the sake of every teenager and music lover in this town. And to do that were going to need to give all our support and life savings to our friend Malcom Pervert Purvis. Now whos with me? Im with you old friend. The voice came from behind me. I watched as Jumbos mouth dropped open and his cig stuck to his bottom lip before dangling off and dropping to the oor. I turned around to nd my friend Wendell Shedblaze standing there under the streetlight with his hands stuffed into his leather jacket pockets. The setting sun made his skin glow radiant orange and his black quiff was gently blowing across his forehead in the breeze. Wends! I cried, You came back. What happened to the welding job? Well the honest truth lads is that they gave me the sack, I kept falling asleep due to it being so piggin boring. Honestly, you dont know what the world of work is like lads. And I pray to God we never nd out. I said solemnly, glancing briey heavenward. Wendell, come and meet my new best friend Mally Pervert Purvis, Mally Pervert Purvis meet my old best friend and probably now best friend again which would probably relegate you to second best friend - so, sorry about that... Wendell Shedblaze. They shook hands and with pleasantries over with we retired back to the at. There we necked can after can of delicious Cribbins and plotted late into the night about how we would discredit Mayor Revelstokes daft policies, win the election for Pervert and most importantly, take back our freedom.

Cow! We went to pay our respects at Jumbos grave yesterday. It was his birthday and me and Wendell usually do something to mark it. I placed a parcel of warm chips next to the more run of the mill bunches of owers his less imaginative friends and relatives had left. Last night, we had a gig in Cottingham church hall so we played all his favourite numbers in tribute, mostly penned by yours truly but some by a few of the old masters - Gerry And The Pacemakers, Roy Orbison,

Curiosity Killed The Cat, The Blues Brothers, Erasure and The Commitments are just a few examples. I just love belting out that Musting Sally one. Timeless classic. We did a few old Shadows numbers too because, as you know, he was a big fan. I also debuted my new ballad, I Never Said I Love You, which we do with just a piano and a spotlight trained on me. There are drum and guitar solos that all come in at the crescendo right at the end. Itll be something quite moving when executed properly in a place with a proper lighting rig and decent acoustics. I have a framed photo of Shirley (taken on our holiday) which goes on top of the piano and I croon to it all the way through. We changed the original lyrics a bit, at rst they made out like she was my ex but then we decided it would make for an even more powerful story if she was dead (horric boating accident) and I was her widow. At the end of the performance I gently place the picture face down on the piano then I raise glass of Port to her memory before getting up and trudging off the stage. Wendell said hed seen someone crying at the back but he wasnt sure whether it was due to the song or not - because she was on the phone at the time. I poked my head out through the curtains just as people were starting to le in and take their seats. There had also been what I think you would call a craft fair going on, so it was a bit of a pain for our long suffering roadie Derek Fisk (with us since 81) to get everyone to stop looking at old Beezer annuals and home made dolls and pay us some bloody attention! Any nice milfs out there? Wendell asked from behind as he tuned his guitar. Few, I replied, its mostly just N.W.T.Hs though. (N.W.T.H = band code for not worth taking home) Dont think that precludes any sexual activity though because it doesnt, you can always bonk them in the bogs if you want, which our bassist, Len Warrior (who joined us after Jumbos untimely and tragic death back in the 80s) built his reputation on doing. Len, who you havent met yet, or maybe you have if youve actually met him, but I mean it in the sense of met him through these, my memoirs. Len was and still is the consummate ladies man. Hes not successful in the sense that I am successful in that hes bedded a string of absolute, top-notch stunners, more that he subscribes to the theory that if you throw enough shit at a wall, some of it is bound to stick. And stick it often does, simple mathematics for every twenty ve or so no chance mates theres always at least one, go on then which is maybe ok for the likes of Len but Id rather go back to theirs and sneak out in the middle of the night than poke them while standing in a puddle of someone elses piss. Ugly or non-ugly. Horses for courses though isnt it. Call me old fashioned but I still prefer to treat a lady like a lady.

Did you see anything worth a go in the car park when you came in Ken? I asked. Nah Johnny, as you say its pretty much Sagsville out there tonight. Heh heh - Sagsville. I repeated. I was proud of that one.

25th June, 1959 How about, vote for your local pervert. Youre not helping Cyril. I said as I gave everyone a bunch of crayons and a piece of scrap paper each. The room was lled wall-to-wall with thick, swirling clouds of grey cig smoke as they all worked hard on coming up with a slogan. Ok ladies, I said, The lucky winner gets a prize which is This can of Jubilee Stout and their design will be used for all the posters in the campaign. Good luck everyone and Godspeed. While they got busy with that I started yanking heaps of yellow, red and blue bunting out of a cardboard box I had balanced on the arm of the sofa. We were going to use it for a street party we had organised to formally declare Mallys intentions to run for mayor. Id tipped off the Chronicle who promised theyd send a photographer to cover the event so now all we had to do was organise the food. This is gonna be the event of the year, I cheerily proclaimed, pulling out the last of it and dumping it on the carpet, making sure it was all untangled and ready to use. I hope youre right Johnny, Mally said, cos if this all goes tits up then I wont even be able to become a councillor Ill have burned all of my bridges for good going against someone as powerful as Revelstoke. Everyone has a weakness. I said, Its just a matter of nding his and exploiting it. As I resumed unravelling the bunting I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It was a small brown envelope which had appeared on the mat in front of the door. I jogged over and opened it to nd no one there. I peered over the bannister and down the stairwell too, again, no sign of anyone. Whoever it was had been quick. I went back inside, picked it up and ripped it open.

It was one of those messages made by cutting out letters from different magazines and newspapers then glueing them to a piece of paper haphazardly, most likely with a pair of tweezers and rubber gloves to avoid ngerprints. Aye up, I said, looks like someone wants to remain anonymous. Whats that? Jumbo asked, leaning over to have a look as he took his empty mug through to the kitchen for a rell. He was going heavy on the M.O.Ts as I told the gang after our current supply ran out we would need to cut it, along with several other non-essential items from our weekly budget. 'Be at North Beach at 11pm. Leave the old git at home.' Flippin eck, what do you think thats all about? I dunno Jumbo, but I think we should keep this from your dad for the moment, it could have something to do with one of his past indiscretions. Might be a good idea to not tell Mally at this stage either, whoever is behind this could spell problems for the campaign and I dont want to worry him right now, hes got a lot on his plate what with the street party and his speech tomorrow. Me, Wendell and Jumbo made our excuses a bit later on, something about going to see Chris Bielby to ask him to be our manager again then left for the beach. It was quarter to midnight, long past curfew and we had been waiting for about half an hour and were just about ready to call it a night and go home when she appeared. Pat Grogan, bold as brass, dressed in a black pencil skirt, black shirt with the rst few buttons left open (leaving the lids of her royal jugs exposed), a red neckerchief and black satin jacket. Evening boys. she said, hand on hip as she sucked on a long, thin cigarette, then puffed out a cloud of smoke before pushing it under the sand with the tip of her espadrille. Ill give you evening boys. I said, which meant nothing I know but I was so angry I couldnt think of anything good to say. You led those swines to our bomb. Jumbo said, slapping his st down into his hand. Id be smacking you right in the chops now if you didnt happen to be a bloody female. I just wanna know one thing. I said. I walked over and began circling her. Did our time together mean anything to you? Anything at all? Or was it all just a load of old cobblers.

Youre an attractive guy Johnny, she said, her eyes following me as I walked around her, but dont atter yourself into thinking that every girl you meet in this town should fall under your spell just because you buy them a sausage sandwich, and besides She raised her little nger and wiggled it up and down, When I go all the way with someone I expect them to be able to be able to satisfy me if you know what I mean. Wendell and Jumbo both started cackling. You never even saw it you lying cow. I said. If you hadve done youd still be in shock believe me. Now, lets just get down to business shall we, and you let us know why were out here risking being locked up for violating the curfew? Ok, she smiled, down to business it is then. She brushed a hand underneath the ap on her handbag popping the clasp open, then she reached inside and pulled out a piece of paper, unfolded it, and handed it to me. I snatched it away and took it back over to show the boys. It wasnt a perfect likeness but it was Cyrils face alright, no doubt about that. We got it out of the Yorkshire Post, seems that old bloke you hang around with has upset a few people, half the East Yorkshire constabulary are out looking for him. What is it you want Grogan? I said, Money? Cos if it is then we havent got none. What Percy wants, what we all want is for your man Purvis to pull out of the forthcoming election. Convince him to do that and we wont call the bobbies on the cripple. Youve got twenty four hours to decide.

Cheaters Sheila Warrior, Lens wife and founder of Warriors Women Slimming Foundation arrived at my door in oods of tears yesterday. I let her in and put the kettle on. I knew what she was doing here as shed sent me a text giving me the gist beforehand, and Id sent her one back telling her to get her backside over to mine. Anyway, this kind of thing had been happening every few years since they got married, all the way back in 1978. I placed the hot cuppa down on a Johnny Crab and The Rockpool Five drinks mat, (you can have them made for next to nothing these days, Ive got loads

of stuff with our picture on it including teapots, mugs and mousemats) and switched the telly off. I found these jammed down the back of the sofa. she said, pulling a pair of balled up, purple, barely-there knickers from her handbag and handed them over to me. I looked across at her wearing a serious expression to indicate what was coming next was no joke. Panties. I said with a long sigh, I was afraid of this. I need you to do that thing you do. Please tell me its not just a rumour. Oh ho ho noo, no baby - its no rumor. I said. But are you sure you want me to do this? I mean, maybe youre better off not knowing. Ive seen hundreds of women come through these doors and I can tell you, most of them dont go home too happy. She blubbed into a handkerchief and sniffed. I just need to know Johnny and youre the only person who can help. I nodded, put down my cup, said Youre right, I am. then lifted up the offending smalls to my face, breathing in their exotic scent deeply. I closed my eyes as I let the unmistakably feminine aroma spiral up my nostrils then waited for the images to start sprouting in my minds eye. Well? Sheila said. She was on the edge of her seat as I came out of my trance, clutching her untouched brew. Ugghh, how long was I out for? I asked. About three seconds, did you get anything? My mouth is a bit dry, let me just have a bit of this tea (slurp). Ok. Look, its like this Sheils. Your suspicions, well they were correct, shes denitely a younger woman, Id estimate between forty ve and fty ve years of age give or take. Anything else you can tell me, where she lives maybe so I can go round and give her a good hiding? Thats not how this works sweetheart. I said, Youve clearly been watching too much C.S.I. - I can only give you that kind of information if it turns out Ive slept with her as well, and even thats providing Ive been to her house. If not, any scent I pick up just limits me to age, sex and maybe star sign. - Gemini for the record. So why was I helping Sheila nd out what my bandmate Len had been up to? Well the band code does forbid this kind of thing going on but, I assure you things are much more complicated than they might seem. For one thing Ive

always fancied Sheila and when you factor that in then well, thats when moral lines can start to get a little bit blurred. Besides, I was sick of her landing on my doorstep week after week, telling tales about Lens various indiscretions and me having to put up with the fallout. If you want to be a player, then for Gods sake be a player but dont get married too. Thats something Ive had to learn the hard way. Four aming times. Now she was hurt and vulnerable, experience told me this was the perfect time to pounce. And, dear reader, pounce I did. I was straight around that coffee table to comfort her and no mistake. I moved a pile of washing that had been sat there quickly onto the oor with a quick sideways karate chop and then sat down and extended my arm around her waist. I dont know how much more of this I can take Johnny, she blubbed. Talk about playing the victim. Im out working for most of the day, its hard enough competing with a younger model but when I cant even be there what hope do I have? What am I going to do? Just as I leaned in for the kill/snog I noticed the mega-budget fantasy epic Krull had come on telly and breathed a mini sigh of relief when I remebered Id set the Freeview to record it. Ill tell you what youre going to do. I whispered then gave her a peck on the neck and then the lips. Youre going to follow me up them stairs and let me cheer you up in the only way I know how. With loads and loads of very good sex. * 25th June, 1959 Threats had been issued but we still didnt know why. Pat Grogan would not say and short of beating it out of her she wasnt about to spill the truth. It made sense that they had sent a woman to do their dirty work, after all we had come out on top in the restaurant scrap and Percy Rocket, no different to any other bully was a lthy coward. We still had twenty four hours to decide what to do but the main consensus was that we should tell Cyril that the time had come for him to move on. Pat Grogan hadnt banked on us not really caring about what happened to Cyril - even Jumbo, his own esh and blood accepted he was starting to cramp our style. Pauline was basically scared of him and no other chicks had been round

since hed appeared on the scene. Time was running out, the burning re that was our youth was starting to dwindle to glowing embers - a mere echo of what it once was. We needed to get more girls into bed before we reached our twenties, and to do that meant not being saddled with the burden of a decrepit sponging fugitive from the law. Yet another setback cropped up in the shape of Cyrils friend and partner in crime Richard Gilchrist who I found sitting in the bath tapping fag ash into the dirty water between his open legs when we got home. A roguish looking but softly spoken chap, his arrival had further cemented in us the idea that we had to retake our young lives. How did things go at the beach ladies? Cyril asked as he shook a fried egg off a spatula and onto a piece of plain white bread before planting another on top of it, slicing it diagonally then shoving it in his greedy craw. How did you know we were at the beach? Wendell asked. Weve been watching you out the window me and Richard. Who was the tart? She give you something? I sighed and looked at Jumbo, You better show him the cutting. Jumbo unfolded then handed over the piece of paper to Cyril. He immediately recognised his own withered, horrible face staring back at him. The bulbous nose, the narrow eyes that were far too close together, the sparse grey whiskers and the hat that never came off his head, they were all present and correct. Its time to move on Cyr. I said, Im afraid youve been spotted.

DirtyTricks Looking good boys. I said rubbing my mitts together. We should even make a few quid by the end of this. Jumbo and Wendell were standing behind a table wearing chefs hats and aprons, selling home made pies to the public that had turned up to the street party wed organised to launch Pervs campaign. Cyril and Richard had packed up and left without making too much fuss earlier that day (although Richard did kick the telly in) so we were now back on course to take this election, reverse the curfew and get the Polka Dot Quartet up and running as a band again.

Mayor Dennis Revelstoke had declared the slogan for his campaign which ran, War on Teenagers. The posters had been plastered all over town and, as most people who voted in council elections were over the age of fty this obviously struck a chord. I could never gure out what old folks problem was with young mavericks like myself. Was it jealousy that they never experienced youth culture and rock n roll? Was it my looks, the way my hips moved when I performed onstage, my ability to get any bird I wanted into the sack, or something else entirely? It was just as well we werent looking to get their approval and had decided our best chance was to appeal to all the disenfranchised young people out there. Our, nay Mallys promise to lift the grossly unfair curfew would surely bring them to the polling stations in their hundreds and we would secure a landslide victory for the youngest mayor Bridlington had ever seen. Shit on a shoe Johnny, here comes trouble. Jumbo said, Look over there. Percy Rocket had arrived with his dreaded crew in tow; Sid Guthrie who was wearing a neck brace with his arm in a cast, Mick Prentice with a patch over his right eye and Fred Craker who had come out the most unscathed and sported just a small cut above his upper lip. We watched as they walked past the stalls ipping over craft goods and picking up sandwiches, snorting derisively at them, then tossing them back onto the plate from whence theyd picked them up. I see youve come to watch my mans campaign speech. I said to Percy as he drew closer. Hang back lads. They eyed me miserably while polishing sts into cupped palms as their pintsized leader walked over to me. Get rid of the old man then? He was speaking through tightly puckered lips as he lit himself a cig. Yeah, matter of fact we kicked him out just this morning. We hated the old coot anyway - he was starting to stink the place up to be quite honest. Well thats the trouble with old folk isnt it Crab, he said while exhaling a narrow cloud sideways towards Wendell, grinning at his useless attempt to waft it away. they never get washed do they, and even when they do they still manage to smell fusty like theyve babbed themselves several times over or something. Im surprised you think that way Rocket. Cos to want us out of the election race you must be in bed with Revelstoke in some way. Not literally of course. I bit deeply into my pork pie and started chewing while staring deeply into his soulless eyes.

Mmmm, better than lickin a fanny. I declared before continuing with my train of thought. Or maybe you are literally sharing a bed with the old git maybe not, but either way you and him are in cahoots. Pie? Pie not. he quipped, seemingly unfazed by my speculations about his private life. He grabbed it off me, peeled back a bit of the foil then bit into it. He seemed far too relaxed for my liking. Something was very, very wrong. Looks like your man is about to give his speech. he said, gesturing over to the stage. Hadnt you better get over there? Poor tosser looks nervous. Pervert was up there, tapping at the mic going Is this thing on? I turned back around to nd Percy had melted into the crowd now and his gang of henchmen had also disappeared. I didnt like it, not one bit. I went and took my seat behind Mally, I was nervous but wed spent a whole half an hour crafting, drafting and rewriting the speech the night before which he now held in his quaking hands. It was sure to go well. Ladies and gentleman, he began. His voice wavered through a short screech of feedback which I put right immediately by dialing down the speaker output. He held his hands open before him at this stage as we had discussed. and teenagers of this, our ne town of Bridlington Upon Sea... I looked down at the assembled throng, most of whom were paying attention, looking towards Mally as he delivered his speech but then I saw something out of place, it was movement - a type of movement out of accordance with the rest of the mostly static crowd. I spotted Fred Craker who appeared to be covertly pulling back the shirt collar of a spectator and dropping something down his back, something imperceptible from this distance but whatever it was it was surely trouble. I looked back at Mally who seemed to be getting more and more uncomfortable up there and was now starting to scratch under his armpits and around the, to put it politely, downstairs area. Then I noticed another member of The Sound Effects, this time it was Sid Guthrie repeating the same procedure as Craker, pulling out the collar, dropping something in. I panned across the sea of heads once more - Mick Prentice was at it too. The main reason I want to be mayor Mally started to say, then, unable to resist it any longer, shoved his hand right down the front of his trousers and began rummaging around like a man possessed. I heard murmuring in the crowd. People were saying things like, Whats wrong with this kid? Has he no common decency?

Hes deeply, deeply disturbed. Mally was doubled over now, bunny hopping across the stage as he raked feverishly at his nether regions. People were covering their eyes, women were swooning and collapsing left right and centre, revolted at the terrible spectacle that they were witnessing. It was then that the heckling started. From somewhere near the back, Purvis is a per-vert, Purvis is a per-vert, nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah was yelled and boy did it catch on quickly. The whole crowd were chanting it with their sts in the air now as poor old Mally continued to struggle. Suddenly the crowd parted in the middle revealing an old woman who had stripped off to her bloomers and was rolling around on the cobble stones. She raked and scratched at her repulsive, decrepit body and then - just like that the bloomers were gone. She had ripped them off in a t of desperation. There was a brief stunned silence before someone on the periphery said. Someone help her. Not me but someone. They looked around at each other, uncertain about precisely what should happen next, all wondering who would be the hero and come to the aid of the distressed, writhing pensioner. A brave man of around thirty tentatively stepped forward but just as he was about to reach down to pick up the old womans underwear his expression changed. He too began raking at his back before very quickly pulling his shirt off over his head. This strange plague then spread to another person, a younger girl, and then a woman - another pensioner. Before long there were between around fteen or twenty people in varying states of undress, rubbing themselves up and down. Its the pervert. Someone said, Hes the cause of all this. Hes infected us with some kind of perverts disease. I dragged Mally away behind the bandstand before the mob could round on him and told him to get out of his clothes and into the nearest shower as quickly as possible. I then ran down to where Jumbo and Wendell were standing, still in their chefs uniforms, watching it all unfold next to the pie stall. We found this on the ground. Jumbo said, holding up a small brown packet that had been ripped at the corner. I read the front which was printed in an old style, fairground type font which conrmed what I already suspected. Billy Cartwrights Extra Strong Itching Powder Very clever Rocket, very clever indeed. He knows his practical jokes although personally Id have gone with stink bombs but... We also found this.

Jumbo held up a pocket-sized hardback book which a quick look inside the sleeve revealed it had been checked out of Bridlington library not two days earlier. So You Want To Sabotage A Local Election? Somewhere in this book there must be the answer to how they managed to spike Percys suit before he got up to speak. I still dont see how its possible. Wendell said, as we were shifted this way and that by the undulating crowd. Thats how. I looked up from the paragraph I was reading and pointed to Pat Grogan who was over in the nearby car park, clambering into Percy Rockets van with the rest of them. She must have sensed our eyes on her and turned around, shoved one arm under the other, thrusting her st upwards before a chuckling Fred Craker reached around her waist, pulled her back and then slid the side door shut. The van puffed out a cloud of exhaust and then they chugged away from the scene of the crime. She must have given Mally a hand shandy or something before his speech, thats the only way they could have got the powder into his crotch area without him noticing. I mean its only a guess but I cant see any other way it could have happened. Jesus. Wendell said, staring into space. Its one thing using her to nd that bomb we had but another thing entirely to pimp out his own bird just to win a local election. Thats low, I mean thats really, really low. I licked my nger and quickly leafed through to the chapter on using wives and girlfriends as Sex Weapons against the opposition. Finger pressed into the central spine I ipped it around and showed Wendell and Jumbo. Its there in black and white with step-by-step instructions and diagrams too. You know this might not be all bad chaps. At least now we have their playbook and we might just be able to predict their next move - as well as steal a few for ourselves.

Clandestine Affairs Len has found out about what happened between me and Sheila. Read it in my blog. I dont know what I was thinking. I honestly thought he wouldnt read it. Lucky I didnt go into too much detail cos we got up to some pretty X-rated stuff

if you know what I mean. That sex swing I bought from Ann Summers took a right pounding. Im going to have to replaster most of the ceiling but it was worth it. He wants to meet me in the park to discuss it so Im due there in an hour. I dont know if he wants to batter me or what but Im thinking its a public place so I should be alright. Very nervous. * June 26, 1959 Mally and the campaign managed to recover from the itching powder outrage, most people realising that he had clearly fallen victim to some kind of sabotage, but we couldnt pretend that we hadnt taken a signicant hit. The photographer for the Chronicle turned up late, or bang on time depending on which way you look at it - just in time to capture the st-ght that had broken out thanks to someones over exuberant attempt at scratching himself which in turn resulted in a sock to the face for an innocent bystander, who then responded in kind. The pictures would now be associated with Mally in the collective publics mind whether he was at fault or not. So, because of this we decided the only thing to do was to try and sully our oppositions reputation. Level the playing eld so to speak by distributing the mud more evenly. Slinging it if you like. Stage one of Operation Super Vengeance as it came to be known was to hire a private detective we found in the Chronicle named Rex Thundercliffe who operated out of the back of his brother Tonys ice-cream van. You might think someone like that wouldnt be very good at digging dirt about local council ofcials but he actually turned out to be quite procient at it. Rex had set himself up as a P.I. after his business selling monkeys as pets took a nosedive and a belief that his wife had been cheating on him. He explained that although he suspected something was going on between her and the milkman he just couldnt prove it. His solution had been simple but effective, pretend to go out at the usual time to look for a job, but instead of going outside when he opened the door he would simply close it again after shouting, Bye love, Im going out now then scoot upstairs and hide in the bedroom cupboard. This went on for several weeks but much to his surprise, delight and I suppose confusion he found his wife wasnt having it off with the milkman after all. He had simply grown paranoid and bored due to the fact he had no work to go to and nothing to do. Something I myself

have been guilty of on occasion. In fact I remember one time in 1987 I went bananas for about three days. I even punched a bloke in the street for no reason anyway, I digress. It was while Rex explained to his brother Tony over a pint that although he felt ashamed of his mistrust of his wife he had enjoyed the long stake-outs in the cupboard and making notes about the people who came in and out of the room and their movements or lack thereof. It was mainly his wife and occasionally one of the children that went in there but still, it was enough to spark a new passion. It was upon hearing this that Tony suggested he should explore this new found interest and think about setting himself up as a private detective. He would let him use a corner of the ice-cream van as ofce space until he could build up a base of clients and when things were quiet he could maybe help him out a bit too. He explained to us when we met him in the pub that he had no intention of becoming his brothers gofer, doling out ice-creams to snot nosed kids but was running out of excuses why he wasnt able to help him. Look, I began, youre desperate for money and we cant afford a proper detective with all the legit qualications and the like. We need someone whos cheap and doesnt mind being out all day so what Im suggesting is this; we pay you half a sixpence a day, plus expenses, I dont want you to feel were taking advantage, and you get us all the dirt you can on Dennis Revelstoke. Whaddya say? Given that he as yet had no other clients and needed to practice his skills as an undercover spook he wasted no time in taking us up on our offer and we shook on it immediately. Two days later, we met him late at night at Gummers Wharf and he handed us the envelope which provided us with details about a few of Dennis Revelstokes more nefarious activities. We spread out the documents in the back of Mallys van and shone a torch along the assembled bounty which included photos of Revelstokes personal assistant, councillor Gordon Carstairs appearing to enjoy a piss against the statue of the towns founder, Roderick Grover Bridlington after stumbling drunk out of what was generally thought to be the local Freemasons lodge. We sent it to the local paper who promptly printed it and the article was rightly greeted by widespread outrage and condemnation from the general public. Other interesting nuggets showed Revelstoke being handed fat brown envelopes by local businessman from various locations around the city and shoving them in his inside pocket before shaking hands and getting back into his chauffeur driven car. We kept these as our nuclear option, knowing that would

they would be dangerous to use and would surely spell our mutually assured destruction. i.e. If they were to go down then we probably would too - perhaps leaving the eld open for a third candidate. But we didnt just rest on our laurels waiting for Rex to keep coming up trumps either. We used the library book we found at Mallys sabotaged election rally, the one about sabotage, and for several weeks tit was exchanged for tat, and tat was in turn proffered for tit. We responded to the itching powder outrage with aming bags of dog crap (and not always dog crap) deposited outside their HQ and even on the doorstep of the mayors private residence. I woke up one morning to nd a decapitated pigs head lying next to me on the pillow. Thanks to my one time dalliance with the odious but deeply sexy Pat Grogan they knew all about my biggest weakness and the effect its removal from my life had been profound. I wasnt able look a sausage nor a slice of bacon in the eye for the next three days and had to switch to eating plain fried egg sandwiches instead. I still got my protein x yes, but my morale, and as a consequence that of the rest of the team plummeted. Things were getting ugly alright. Neither of us would back down and as the night of the election dawned all bets were off, nobody could predict the result. It was young against old in a pitched battle for the very soul of the town. Would the old order prevail and make sure that the word boring would forever be associated with the word Bridlington or would the young folk triumph and bring the oppressive and unjustied curfew to an end, thereby returning the spirit of rock n roll to the streets. Well friends, you are about to nd out * The evening began in the at, where we now owed a months rent and bills thanks in part to the curfews effect on the jukebox takings. The bulk of what was left we had to give over to Rex Thundercliffe so he could dig more dirt on our nemeses and well, the guy had to eat while he was on the job. I couldnt deny him his six pints of smooth and a proper, full English breakfast every day. Mally decided he would wear his town crier uniform for the evening and we all agreed he looked nothing short of resplendent in it. We all clapped as he came out of the toilet trailing the fur-lined velvet robes behind him and he gave us a twirl as he walked into the living room. He looked regal, he looked like a condent, he looked like the next mayor of Bridlington. I grabbed his ceremonial bell off him and began pacing around the living room clanging it,

Hear ye, hear ye, and bow all ye citizens before your honourable, new, all powerful leader Malcom Perverrrrrrt. Purvis. Perviiiiiiis. We arrived at the town hall around nine in the evening, just as the rst round of votes were being counted. Rows of trestle tables snaked around the large function room in Bridlington town hall while seated at them were the various counters, nearly all women who were pulling piles of voting cards out of cardboard boxes sent in by the myriad areas or wards as they are known. They were in turn being observed by independent adjudicators at a ratio of two to one. The third candidate who was basically a fence sitter and was never really in the running, Ron Twilford conceded defeat early on in the count at roughly ten thirty in the evening, so now it was just a two horse race. It had been a very long few weeks and a few days earlier things had really begun to take their toll on me. Id lost weight, around a stone and a half and hadnt been sleeping well since I discovered the pigs head lying on my pillow. Early indications were that it was going to be close, too close to call until the majority of the votes had been counted and veried so it became evident we would be there for the long haul. We were told we would know for sure who had won probably around three in the morning. I carried my cup of tea on its saucer over to the window (we were located on the rst oor) and as I nibbled on a pink wafer found a great number of the public had gathered below, such were the high stakes of the outcome of this race. The battle lines were drawn and were now very much clearly in evidence outside the entrance to the town hall. Teddy boys and greasers who were enjoying a brief but uneasy truce stood one one side while the old age pensioners, business owners and general miserable killjoys - desperate to maintain the status quo were amassed on the other. It was getting late. It was around two thirty in the morning and I was now seriously exhausted, not to mention almost punch-drunk with boredom. I decided to go the toilet, squeeze out a poo and splash some cold water on my face, perhaps that would refresh me. I had done my business, which although had a fairly sticky quality to it passed quickly and without too much hostility and was over by the sink drying my hands on a paper towel, when in the mirror I saw one of the stall doors swing open and a pale looking Percy Rocket emerge, fumbling with his belt. You look a bit rough Rocket, troublesome one was it?

Oh I got there in the end. He replied, then he turned the tap on, grabbed a small tablet of soap and shoved his hands under the gushing and steaming water. I always do. So are you gonna tell me what this is all about then? Why you and Revelstoke have become such, dare I say - bum chums? I took great satisfaction in insinuating that they were having a sexual relationship of some description for a second time. He snorted, grinned then pulled his paper towel from the dispenser before wiping his hands and tossing it into the waste basket. I watched as he then proceeded to squelch across the wet-with-piss oor and began prodding doors open. He was making sure that there was no one in the other cubicles. Dont suppose theres any harm now Crab. After all, thisll all be over in, ooh I reckon about half an hour or so - Revelstoke will be rmly back in the driving seat of Brid council and you bunch of useless twerps will be ancient history. Bankrupt - and from what Ive heard destitute too. I may be a lot of things Rocket but Im no rent boy. I said. He looked at me wearing a slightly confused expression before continuing. Its like this, the deal was that me and my boys backed Revelstoke, did all his dirty work and in return I get a cushy job with a great pension in his core cabinet. Wait a min, I thought you were rich - your dad anyway. Why would you want a crummy gig on the crap town council. Alas my dear father is on the cusp of losing everything all thanks to a big deal thats now gone sadly sideways. He was going to be supplying Entwhistles Yorkshire Bitter to the entire Arabian Peninsula after a big time sheik came to visit the factory in Bridlington. Muhammad something - anyway he was so taken with the delicious, creamy taste he declared he was going to become the chief importer of the stuff. It seems several governments were on the verge of lifting the ban on alcohol for the rst time in centuries - but then, disaster I was practically falling asleep by this point and had to put my wrists under the ow of boiling water to try and stay awake. Continue. I sighed with a subtle hand wave. On a whim Sheik Muhammad changed his mind and not only that but the ban lifting fell through too. But the beer had already been brewed, canned and sent via cargo ship to Jordan. Evidently my father had been so blinded by prot he had neglected to sign a contract. Now hes broke and as a consequence - so am I. What about the other band members, do they know anything about all this? I mean you becoming part of Revelstokes inner circle.

They think that Ive made a different deal, one thatll make us the only ones exempt from the curfew, which will in turn allow us to grab all the available gigs in town and thereby become lthy rich off the proceeds. I cant say that idea doesnt appeal to me but I know something they dont, and thats that just like my fathers days as an bitter brewing mogul, the days of the Teddy boy are also numbered. Come 1960 well be old hat, a distant memory, nothing more than a footnote in the history of rock and roll. Therell be a brief revival in the late seventies sure but it wont really catch on. Aside from that its pretty much kaput - over. Youre a ne piece of work you are Rocket. You sold out your mates and the music you love for the tedious existence of a working stiff. Total disgrace. Maybe so Crab but... Jumbo burst in then causing Percy to pause mid-sentence. Quick Johnny, the results are coming in. Everything ok? he asked as he noticed Percy. Yeah. I said, throwing a nal lthy glance over at Rocket. I had no need to hear any more. Everythings ne. Cmon chum, lets get this over with and nd out whos won this bloody thing. Just as we came out of the toilets we heard an enormous cheer erupt at the end of the corridor, although it wasnt yet clear to us from whose supporters it came. As we rounded the corner the look on Mallys face said it all. Wed lost. Everyone, the local press, the politicians, a few local businessmen were quickly hustled through into the council chambers and Mayor Revelstoke wasted no time in taking to the lectern to deliver his speech. Thank you. Thank you everyone. Settle Settle down. Now, for as long as rocking and rolling threatens the moral fabric of this, our quiet and civilised seaside paradise that we call Bridlington and which our ancestors built with their own bare hands then this curfew will stand. This curfew will stand and there is nothing these wayward, ill-mannered youth - a great number of whom do not even hail from here - His focus was on the four of us standing at the back as he said this. - there is nothing they will be able to do about it. Ladies and gentlemen, I am once again so very proud to be elected your mayor. We took the applause that followed as our cue to leave, we slid out while the frenzy of people thrusted forward, lining up to congratulate Mayor Dennis Revelstoke on his third term. We sat down in a row on a long, green leather pew in the corridor.

Thats it then. Jumbo said. Yep, thats it. I repeated. It was then that the newly re-elected mayor appeared, anked by his entourage of core cabinet members and also the treacherous Percy Rocket in tow. Mally looked panicked as he saw that they were heading straight for us. Quick word with the boy? Revelstoke said, addressing me but of course referring to Mally. Go for it mate, hes no use to me now. I said, Do what you like. Mally pleaded for us to do something, anything as he was hustled into one of the many conference rooms that lay off the main corridor. He managed to poke his face out of the crack in the door before it slammed shut and shout, Youll pay for this Johnnyyyy.... Yeah right. I sneered. Then shouted back, Just cos you lost! Curious as to what this was all about we took it in turns looking through the keyhole with me getting rst dibs. I could have you killed for what you tried to do to me son. Revelstoke began, then took a small silver hip ask from his trouser pocket taking a deep swig of the contents. His lips peeled back over his teeth as he swallowed a gulp of whatever spirit he had in there. It looked like it had a kick to it in any case. But for now Ill settle for those ceremonial town crier robes that youll no longer be needing... Boys. Two of the councillors, one of them the aforementioned Gordon Carstairs grabbed an arm each while Revelstoke snatched away his white silken neckpiece and stamped it into the carpet. He then removed his ornate three cornered hat and put it on, grabbed the ceremonial bell from the specially made holster on his side and began ringing it slowly as he paced around him, much as I had done earlier that evening. Oyez, oyez, he began, hear ye people of Bridlington the tale of not a man but a boy who got too big for his boots. It was Jumbos turn to watch and he related everything that was going on inside to us, just as I had been doing. Theyre stripping him now - yep, hes starkers, Christ you can see the goose pimples on his sack. Jesus. Now theyre taking turns to sock him one in the stomach. - Maybe we should do something lads. I shook my head and said, His fate is in the hands of the Gods now. Giz us a look. Wendell said and budged Jumbo aside then lled in the rest of the details, telling us that eventually Percy, for his services and loyalty to the

mayor was made the new ofcial town crier and promptly picked up the grubby silken neckpiece and stuffed into his t-shirt. I bet he was smug as hell. Revelstoke and his entourage emerged seconds later, leaving poor Mally still reeling inside. He straightened his tie and walked over to me. I trust you and your band will be leaving Bridlington now Mr Crab. I dont think I need to remind you how difcult I can make things for you if you dont. I nodded and there was no more that needed to be said. Mally would never forgive us for what we let happen to him that night but it didnt matter. Wed realised there was no point in hanging around now anyway. Any chance of Bridlington providing us with a sustainable fan base, regular income and regular bonks with gorgeous willing groupies had crumbled under the weight of geriatric oppression. It was time to move on. When I think back now I realise that you could probably trace the decline of Bridlington as one of Britains premier seaside destinations right back to Johnny Crab and The Polka Dot Quartets departure that week in July 1959. By refusing to modernise and move with the times, i.e. accept rock and roll and our part in it as the vanguard - the bleeding edge - as a fact of life, the place got itself stuck in an inescapable, deep and high sided rut. Just another place in a long list of depressing East coast towns that refused to accept me and my band as the wave of the future. Cest la vie. (Thats life)

Uneasy Lies The Head That Wears The Crown - Henry The Forth, Part II (III, I)

Part II

The 1960s A Boy Becomes A Bloke

Present Day Below is a poem I wrote about something that happened to me last night. I hope you like it. I am watching from across the road as she appears from the inky blackness of night. She looks like a bioluminescent sea creature, one of those things you see on the Discovery Channel that live close to the ocean oor and emit their own light - like a kind of jellysh, but one that bears the huge, leonine head of an unattractive woman. Her sparkly black dress seems to undulate of its own accord as it twinkles under the yellow light of the streetlamp just outside Debenhams. Looking nothing at all like her prole pic, my date has arrived. Quick update: Len has left the band, he couldnt take it that me and Sheila had that elicit romp and has decided he is going to go solo. Good luck to him I say. I dont blame him after what I did and Im very grateful that he didnt beat me up for it (not that he could). Anyway Ive decided Im off women who I know or who are married to people that I know for now and have decided to join the world of internet dating! First one didnt go so well (see poem above) and I was glad I had chosen to hide inside Yankee Burger across the road so I could peer over the top of my menu and see what turned up before I decided if I wanted to go ahead with it or not. I didnt by the way. Anyway, Ive got another one tonight, lets hope it goes better than last nights asco. Wish me luck everyone! * July 21st, 1960

I stumbled out of bed, leaving my sex partner Jill still asleep and jogged to the communal bathrooms. I did a medium sized poo, which I recall was enthusiastically buoyant, i.e. healthy, then ushed. I decided against washing my hands on this occasion, then, just as I was about to go back to my room I noticed something strange about my reection in the bathroom mirror. My hair had altered somehow. Instead of the high and proud pompadour barnet I was used to sporting and was very well known for, my hair lay at and had a sort of bowl-like quality to it. It must have been the way I had slept and perhaps it had been tousled so much during the evening of highly charged, deeply passionate love making with one of my many female admirers that the whole thing had simply collapsed during the night. As I went into the corridor on the way back to my room I met Kenny. Eh up Johnny, whats gone on with your hair? It looks like youve got some kind of mop on your head or something. Odd isnt it. I replied. Well moptop, cant stand around here chatting all day when theres poos that need doing. We both chuckled and I gestured for him to pass with a playfully subtle bow and handwave then I opened my bedroom door again and went inside. As I closed it behind me I counted to three then, right on cue heard a mufed, Urrghhhh Johnny! coming from the direction of the bathroom. Classic. Morning sexy. I said, still chuckling and taking off my dressing gown. Revealed thereunder was a newly matured and impressively hirsute torso and ditto for the legs. I was wearing a pair of tight paisley Y-fronts and nothing else bar my newly acquired jewellery. I clambered back into bed. Whats your opinion on the new look then darlin? Think I should keep it? Suits you actually, she replied, sitting up and putting on her jam-jars. looks like a mop- -top. Yeah thats what Kenny said. Im thinking I might ask the others if they fancy copying it. It could be a new look for us going forward into the 60s. Wed save tons on Brylcreem too. I really like that name, mop top. You know I think I might just have invented a new type of haircut. Bing Bong, would Johnny Crab and the Polka Dot Quartet report to Mr Grampians ofce immediately. Thank you.

No rest for the talented. I said while rolling on top of her. I let my necklace with a gold guitar on the end trail across her gorgeous big breasts and round her big nipples before going up towards her face and dipping it in her open mouth. She loved it. I was going to let you have your wicked way with me again as well darlin. I said this with a little wink and then, once again got out of bed, shrugged on my dressing gown and went over to the en-suite sink to brush my teeth and treat my equipment to a speedy dunk n soak. Ah well. I met the others in the corridor a few minutes later, all looking a bit worse for wear thanks to the previous nights shenanigans. They were in various states of undress, pulling on their red coats and tucking pale, lemon yellow shirts into notvery-pristine-looking white trousers. I thought it was our day off. Jumbo grumbled as we walked down the wooden staircase on the outside of the staff chalet complex. Me and you both, I said, brushing my new fringe away from my eyes, lets just hope this is good news eh. Ah, good afternoon chaps. The owner of Grampians Holiday Village, Norbert Grampian said, Please, dont be shy - take a seat. We tentatively grabbed a chair each and sat down while exchanging worried glances. Now, as you know As he began speaking I looked down and spotted Wendell was lifting up an arse cheek, getting ready to release a surreptitious trump in my direction! I made it known that he should switch sides by shooting him a lthy look. Mr Grampian walked over to the window and continued on with his drone while looking out over the pool area, since I was a young boy I always dreamed about being in charge of my own holiday park, I used to draw pictures of what it would look like on bits of old toilet roll, spare wallpaper or anything I could nd really, and then I saw Kennys nose twitch as the rst wave of smell hit him and stied a giggle. Wendell looked on proudly and started cupping handfuls of the stale air from his arse area, scooping them upwards then shoveling it all sideways towards the rest of us.

Jumbo, who had been trying to pay attention to the lecture was the last to succumb, and his face involuntarily morphed from a look of deep concentration into one of confused anger at the sudden and unexpected olfactory assault. Luckily Mr Grampian turned around just at the moment wed all managed to more or less compose ourselves. So can I count you in? I looked at the others, a bit worried as due to Wendells surprise attack of gut rot none of us were in any way sure about what he was asking. Ummm, what do you say lads? I asked. Well, ermmm I dont see any harm in it. Jumbo shrugged. I suppose Im in too. Wendell added. Kenny had little choice but to give the nod too which seemed to please Mr Grampian hugely. Fantastic chaps, I really am very grateful. So, Ill see you in my ofce tomorrow at 11:00 am sharp? Enjoy the rest of your day off wont you.

Saviour We didnt wait to be evicted from the at in Brid. Revelstokes treatment of our friend Mally The Pervert Purvis had shaken us enough to want to leave Bridlington as soon as humanly possible. Things were chaotic in those few days leading up to our departure. We were without direction, without purpose and that was causing tension within the group. A rift developed between me and the rest of them, they blamed me for getting involved with Mally in the rst place and then sinking what was left of our income into Rex Thundercliffes private detective agency. He did a good job. I told them. Came through in all sorts of ways. This was hardly the point, Jumbo had responded. The others agreed and as a result I was left feeling betrayed, bereft and unsure about what I ever saw in this group of people I had previously been more or less happy to refer to as my friends. Their attitude stunk, it exasperated the hell out of me, especially since they offered no alternative plan on what it was that we should do next.

We ended up back at Jumbos old place in Drifeld for the following few months. Thanks to some advice from Kennys dad who had recently been made redundant, Jumbo and Wendell had discovered the delights of unemployment benets and the three of them seemed happy to spend their days languishing in the pub while doing absolutely nothing to further the great and important cause of rock n roll. As for me, well the jukebox scam had come to an abrupt end thanks to a surprise inspection by auditors and a tip off by none other than Percy Rocket, who was now going by his real name which was - and probably still is if hes still alive - the less impressive, Im sure youll agree, (Councillor) Percy Entwhistle. Hed been right though for the record, By January 1960 Teddy boys were all but extinct from our nations streets and even now, a few months after the election their numbers were starting to thin considerably. Unlike the others, i.e. Jumbo, Wendell and Kenny I was determined not to let the artist in me die and decided to go it alone for the time being. And so, in an effort to nd myself I hitched all the way across the country on a journey of personal discovery which took me to coastal Wales. I had one main question I needed an answer to and that was this: There was undeniably something about me. Something that set me apart from the crowd, I dont think it was too much of a stretch to say it was something magical, preternatural perhaps - call it what you will. I wondered was this something something I would always enjoy or was it simply a byproduct of ephemeral youth? I put this question to an old, grumpy and clearly very bitter haulier who had picked me up on the outskirts of Ruston Parva and was promptly pushed, thats right you heard, I was pushed out of his cab while we waited at a set of temporary trafc lights at a roundabout, not ve minutes after hed originally picked me up. As I swung out sideways, clinging on for dear life to the door handle I tried gure out what Id done to offend him but assumed that like many people he was just another sorry victim of the green-eyed monster. I fell to the road as we hurtled around a corner - biggest graze youve ever seen. Its not my fault that people choose to waste their lives in the pointless drudgery of boring work. I shouted as he pulled away, spraying a curtain of lthy rain water in my young and bloodied face. This kept happening, at some arbitrary point along the journey I was ejected from vehicle after vehicle - bikes, mopeds, trucks, cars - you name it I was chucked off or out of it. It just didnt make any sense! I ended up walking most of the way to Pwhelli, which despite the fact that at the time I was a virile, very t young lad in my prime still consider a massive achievement to this day.

I didnt walk the whole way though, if I had done I most certainly would have died and this would be a ghost typing these words that you are now reading and enjoying. No, the grubby, ever meddling nger of fate was once again about to stick its big nose into my life - but this time it would be for the better. Sort of. I was delirious, I was dying of thirst and I was hungry to the core of my very being. Four weeks on the road was literally killing me and I still didnt have a clue where I was going. Ghostly images of the people from the life Id left behind began to torment me as I plodded on down the motorway. Disembodied heads ew in from every angle and taunted me, calling me a failure, telling me I had no talent, yelling at me to get a job. I took swipes at them as they swooped down but of course hit nothing but thin air, sometimes falling arse over tit and landing face down in the mud in the process. Then said hallucination, be it Percy Rocket, Dogger Perkins, Pat Grogan or any of the others that had done me wrong over the past year would rematerialise somewhere else, perhaps in miniature, sitting atop my shoulder, or theyd be on top of a lamppost shouting obscenities down at me. I would shake my st at them and shout, I would even try to ignore them but all to no avail, they persisted and I continued to grow ever weaker. I had noticed a loose thread at the bottom of my t-shirt early on in my journey and would pull on it out of habit, perhaps frustration but the result had been that I was now sporting something that looked very much like a crop-top that barely covered my nipples. I had my leather jacket but just that on its own wasnt nearly enough to lock out the freezing winds that assaulted me on a nearly round the clock basis. Eventually my body ceased to function. It simply deactivated in spite of me. One day, around one in the afternoon my legs simply gave way underneath me and then everything just went dark. No pain, just a brief sensation of relief as my head hit the wet grassy embankment. Ah, youre awake! I was, barely. I coughed again and opened my eyes a bit wider, there were raindrops streaking sideways across the glass that my face was pressed up against. A single windscreen wiper in front was working hard, squeaking across back and forth in an effort to combat the torrential downpour outside. I was warm, I was dry but was I safe? And what was that terrible smell? I decided Id better check and see who it was sitting next to me driving this incredibly tiny vehicle I was now perhaps a prisoner inside of.

Where... Where am I? This here is whats known as a bubble car - one of the rst in the UK and you are its rst passenger - congratulations sonny boy. I just picked it up from the dealership - this babys brand spanking new. The fty-something bloke seemed excitable, hunched over the wheel, driving with one hand while in the other he held a oppy sandwich made with wholemeal bread. That explained the smell then. Ah - where are my manners - here. He rummaged around under his seat briey and the miniature car swerved and wobbled along the highway. We were overtaken by an oil tanker whose driver parped his horn and shouted something down at us as he drove by. But the mysterious stranger paid no heed. His hand emerged holding a beige pack-up box which he tossed over to me and I peeled back the plastic lid to nd inside a taught arrangement of two scotch eggs, another sandwich (pickled onion, like the one he himself was munching on) and a slice of plain an. Sorry about the stench, its my only weakness - pickled onion sandwiches. Fill yer boots - go on son, I dont mind, looks to me like youre in need of a good feed. Id been given the go head so wasted absolutely no time in poking a whole scotch egg down my hungry craw and practically swallowed it in one gulp. It was glorious. He seemed pleased by my gusto and after that handed me a thermos ask lled with sharp tasting dilute orange juice and I washed the home-made savoury treat down before getting started on the an. I dont know how to thank you. I said, closing the lid of the now-empty box. The whole thing had taken me just seconds to polish off. Ah you dont need to thank me. he said, I couldnt leave you lying at the side of the road like that. Whats your name anyway sunshine? Crab, Johnny Crab, leader of... Ah forget it. Pleased to meet you Mr Crab, My names William Heygate Colbourne Butlin, but you can just call me Billy, Billy Butlin. Pleased to meet you too Mr Butlin - and you can call me Johnny Crab, leader of. Ah no, denitely forget it actually - its just Johnny. Call me Johnny. And again, I really am very grateful for your help. How about you tell me a bit about yourself. Its been a long drive and Id like to hear something other than the radio for a change. What brings you to Wales?

It was the rst I knew that I was now in Wales, I thought the jibberish language on the roadsigns had been a sign of extreme dehydration and exhaustion, but I told him my tale, I told him about the whole sorry affair from start to nish. I suppose you think I should stop being such a hopeless dreamer and get a normal job just like those hallucinations? Thats ok - I can take it. He said nothing, just kept his eyes on the road and grinned broadly. You think its funny? I said, Cos if you think that rocking n rolling is some sort of joke then you might as well let me out now. What if I told you there existed a place, not too far from here where people like you, showmen - performers, could be employed to do what you love and get paid an honest wage for it too? Id say - with respect - dont play with me Mr Butlin, Ive been through a lot these past few weeks and Im not exactly in the mood for jokes. This is no joke my young friend, this is what I do. Do me a favour will you and keep an eye on that sign over in the distance, and as we pass it tell me what you see. I did as he said, the rain was still lashing down and showed no sign of abating but I could indeed see the large sign he was referring to, and could make out some gures; painted, frolicking gures - a man and a woman and a young child who appeared to be carrying a bucket and spade. We got even closer and now I could read the writing above the picture in a bold, yellow font. Butlins Holiday Park, 5 miles - Where Dreams Come True Is that, you? Indeed it is - I own the place, and not just that one. Im what you call an entrepreneur - one of the rst in the entire UK. And far from getting all upset by people like you and your ilk I actually rely on you to entertain my customers and keep them happy. You are in fact the lifeblood of my entire business empire. What do you say? Are you interested in nding out what this is all about? Am I ever! Cripes, what a stroke of luck meeting you. Luck has nothing to do with it my lad - I could see that you oozed talent when I scared off those crows, dragged you unconscious and put you in the passenger seat of my car. Around ten minutes later we were pulling off the motorway and onto a side road marked by another sign which read:

Welcome to Butlins, Phwelli. The place was closed - deserted - of course it was it was the middle of winter and nobody went away in the middle of winter, but I was impressed all the same. We drove in through the main entrance and I was awe struck by the sheer scale of the place. The outdoor pools (now covered), the fun fair, the numerous chalet complexes, the fancy dining halls and bars with exotic names (most had the word Hawaii or Diamond in them - it was indeed a dream come true just like the sign promised, and now thanks to my fortuitous encounter with Billy Butlin I was about to start making a living here. Billy parked up his tiny yellow bubble car outside the main reception building and as soon as we stepped out a man, who didnt look much older than me came running out. He looked slightly panicked and was wearing the now iconic red coat and white trousers which had sharp creases pressed into the front. Mr Butlin, such a pleasure to see you - we werent expecting you until tomorrow. Keep your knickers on Sleaford, this is just a ying visit, Im just here to check on the progress of the new monorail project. Im going to talk now to the engineers but I want you to take care of this young lad for me. Show him what weve got available by way of work and sort him out with a chalet and uniform. Yes sir Mr Butlin - Ill do that right away. I followed the man inside and unzipped my coat revealing my absurd, mudspattered white crop top and malnourished concave stomach. Id all but forgotten about it but this Sleaford character didnt seem to mind too much and responded with only the very mildest look of revulsion. I was a friend of Mr Butlin which in his eyes made me someone worth keeping on side. Creep. He directed me to a notice board behind the reception desk which displayed all the available jobs for the upcoming season. The reason there were so many unlled positions was down to the fact the summer season was still a good six months away and most of the recruiting was done at the beginning of the year. Whats a mo-no-rail? I asked, remembering what Billy had said and noticing there was a job going for a driver. Oh I thought you mightve noticed that on the way in. Come round the back to the ofce and Ill show you. I did as he said, dumped my bag by the front desk and followed him. The ofce had a window and when I walked in Sleaford was pulling back the tobacco stained blinds.

Et voila. My mouth dropped wide open as I saw it, a vision of the very distant future made esh - the space-age monorail parked at one of its many stops outside this very ofce. I can drive that? I asked, dumbly raising a nger and pointing to it. When its ready. Its still under construction, but yes, you can drive it - that is of course providing you pass the test. I had you gured for a redcoat but I suppose the monorail does have a certain appeal. You got that right chief. He pulled something out from under a pile of unopened letters and chucked it down in front of me. It was as thick as a phone book and slammed, spraying a cloud dust at me as it hit the wooden desk. I leaned over and read the cover: Monorail Safety Considerations and Operations - Volume One, 1959 Memorise that manual by the time construction is nished this January and the jobs yours. Good luck kid, I reckon youre gonna need it. I nodded solemnly, took the huge tomb and put it under my arm, I was eager to get started as soon as possible. This is a key to your chalet in B Block, youll be on your own for the time being but eventually youll get a room mate. There are towels and a kettle in there so just make yourself at home. At that moment Billy walked back in, he seemed to be in good spirits so I assumed his meeting with the engineers had gone well. Well, time to get back on the road, Ive got other parks to visit - did Sleaford here sort you out with something to do? Mr Crab has opted for the monorail operators job, until then weve agreed he will take on a janitorial role. I raised a nger to object, I hadnt agreed to any janitorial role, what was this? But luckily I was interrupted by Butlin before I could say anything, and perhaps jeopardise any future I might have had here. Ah, so you want to be the driver of my new space-age monorail system do you? Yes sir, very much so. I tapped the manual which I now held under my arm. Im just off to my chalet - Im gonna have a quick poo then I intend to start studying as soon as possible.

Thats the spirit lad. Im sure youll do a ne job. Dont forget to grab some toilet roll from the stores though, I doubt the chalets are equipped - again, Sleaford will sort you out. Ok, I suppose Ill bid you two adieu then - look after yourself Johnny. Sleaford. He tipped his hat and then, just like that he was gone. Unbeknownst to me at the time but I had briey brushed shoulders with an icon, a national treasure, and a man who recognised me as one of his very ne ilk. Great minds, great people have a gift for seeking each other out I have since discovered. We are bound together by some kind of universal imperative. I heard the engine of his car start up and then fade not seconds later. I remember thinking he must have been a very, very busy man and knowing what I know now, he surely was.

Betrayal You might be wondering why I began this chapter at Grampians holiday camp, back working with the boys in Kirk Sandall in Yorkshire when, as youve just been reading I had a perfectly good job at the famous Butlins holiday camp, thanks chiey to none other than Mr Billy Butlin himself. Well, problem was I didnt last very long as an employee there and heres why. I studied hard that winter, thats when I wasnt performing my role as park janitor, not that there had been a great deal to janit, being as there were no guests yet. I basically just walked around smoking and talking to myself. I sang as well but my heart just wasnt in it. Christmas came and went and I was allowed to stay on the park while the skeleton staff that looked after the place in off-season went home and spent time with their families. I told the manager, Mr Sleaford (Vince) that I couldnt go home because my parents were dead. A lie. The real reason I didnt want to go back is because I still felt like a failure. No, the plan would be to hit the books while everyone was away and, at the end of January I would ace that monorail drivers test and become a somebody again. A real somebody. Christmas day was just me in my freezing, unheated chalet with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders learning the monorail safety and operations guide by rote. I would pace back and forth reciting the three laws every monorail driver must abide by:

1: Never exceed ten miles per hour 2: Never leave a station without lling at least forty percent of all available carriages 3: No food or drink allowed in the carriages under any circumstances It paid off and by the time my test rolled around on January 26th, the day after completion of the track, I felt I had already spent a lifetime in the cockpit of the monorail, despite never having set foot in it - something the instructor himself remarked upon when he handed me my certicate and shook my hand. After that you couldnt keep me out of the thing. I was now the chief expert on the monorail system and nobody argued when I insisted I should drive it every single day until season start. I told people it was essential to keep it in use because if we didnt, vital parts might rust and its complicated, futuristic innards might be rendered useless come May. Another lie. I spent night after night at the head of that train, circling the empty park with a can of Jubilee Stout on the dashboard and a cig in my clawed, frozen hand. Yes it was still quite cold but with a balaclava and, ngerless gloves and the correct underwear it didnt effect me all that much. After my janitorial duties were done with I would coast along under a blanket of stars, it was the best three months of my life and I came to regard the train as my own, we had bonded, fused at the molecular level. We were one and the same, man and train, train and man. It was when the park eventually opened in May 1960 that the problems started, I hadnt anticipated how I would feel about people riding in what I had come to regard as my property. I would watch, horried as children spilled drinks in the pristine white cars, grimace as ice lollys melted and slid off sticks, scowl as feet were put up on seats. Why werent the parents doing anything to stop them? Ill tell you why, its because they were doing it too. I went to Mr Sleaford in the end and requested help, I suggested he donate some muscle to keep the public in line and stop them from wrecking the thing. I wasnt sure about what Butlin had originally envisioned for the monorail system but I felt sure the way it was currently being used was far from it. Sleaford responded by giving me one of the redcoats, a young man named Bernard Jewry on a temporary basis to go up and down the carriages before we set off to make and sure no one was eating, drinking or carrying on in such a way that I deemed unacceptable. Bernard, you may or may not realise would later go on to become glam rock superstar Alvin Stardust, singer of glam rock classic, My Coo Ca Choo.

We got on well enough and made what I thought was the perfect team, that was until he grassed on me for drinking on the job. To me heavy alcohol consumption had just become the norm, just habit and I didnt consider it a problem, after all Id been doing it since day one. Besides I could drive this thing with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back, it was all muscle memory now - not a thing that I actively had to think about. I suppose I had spent so much time on my own I had been used to following my own rules, but now thanks to Stardust I was about to get my marching orders and be separated from my beloved monorail forevermore. Looking back its clear that hed planned to usurp me from the very beginning, watching my every move, learning how the red stop button worked and how the green go button worked and when and when not to press them. I should have seen it coming. That job I had was the plummest on the entire park, probably all of Wales and hed wanted it all for his greedy little self. I dont hold it against him, not anymore anyway - after all I would probably have done the same thing in his shoes. I tried to reason with Vince, told him I would stop with the drinking but it was to no avail and even a phone call to Billy, who was at the time in Barry Island scoping out a brand new site couldnt put things right. He took a very dim view of alcohol consumption on the job and was apologetic but told me he would have to let me go. I had thoughts that I would pass my entire business empire onto you one day Crab as I never had a son of my own. But its with a heavy, heavy heart that Im going to have to give you the old heave-ho. One thing Billy did do for me is put me in touch with one of his arch rivals, an old school friend named Norbert Grampian, owner and manager of Grampians holiday experience in Kirk Sandall near Doncaster, all the way back East in my home county of Yorkshire. I decided that this couldnt be a coincidence, God or fate or time was once again meddling in my life, clearly wanting me to reunite with my old band, reform anew and retake Yorkshire, then possibly the rest of the world by storm. I placed a reverse charge phone call to Jumbo and was surprised when Cyril answered. He briey explained how hed been caught and served his time for the church robbery and that as soon as he got out chucked Wendell, Jumbo and Kenny out of the house they were squatting in. Theyre in Ruston Parva as far as I know, working on an egg farm. An egg farm? I said but half way through that sentence I was cut off by the dial tone.

Several dull phone calls later (at my own expense) I managed to track the boys down and lled them in on where Id been and what Id been doing since the last time wed seen each other. I told them about Billy Butlin saving my life, what that traitor Alvin Stardust had done to me and then about this new place, Grampians in Kirk Sandall. I told them I couldnt promise anything but if they met me there I would try my best to get them jobs too and perhaps we could even reform as The Polka Dot Quartet. It was worth a try, better than farming boring eggs on a crap farm back in Parva I was given my wages, it was everything Id earned since Id arrived which Id been hoarding in the ofce safe and it amounted to a small fortune. I placed another phone call to a musical instrument shop in Bridlington, Twangers. I knew the owner well from my days there and he gave me a good deal on a standard setup, i.e. Guitars, drums and the latest in microphone technology. I instructed him to deliver the lot to Grampians then I gathered my belongings, said my goodbyes and set off to catch the train back to Yorkshire.

Back at Grampians, July 22nd, 1960 Ah, good morning boys, new haircuts I see. Now, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to my son, Terence who, as you know from my speech that I did yesterday will one day be my successor. The hopeless bespectacled geek stood before us, decked out in shtail tartan trousers, half-mast and complete with braces stepped forward and went down the line shaking all our hands enthusiastically, Hello lads, my names Terence but you can call me Terry. He spoke with a raspy lisp and I guessed him to be around fourteen or fteen, owing to the fact his voice was starting to break. We all grunted out pleasantries as Mr Grampian continued. Now I want my son to learn this business from the ground up, from the inside out and hes going to begin with the most important part of any holiday park entertainments. It dawned on me then what we had been tasked to do, what wed agreed to the previous day but because of Wendells attack of rotton wind we hadnt heard any of the details. It didnt seem so bad though, take a kid, show him the ropes, maybe get him a shag - if it scored us a few points with the boss then who was I to complain?

After a quick round of dip dip it fell on me to take the rst shift and I reluctantly traipsed down to the bingo hall with the boy Terry in tow. I dont know what youre laughing at Wendell, I shouted over my shoulder, youve got him after me. We walked up onto the stage and I pulled on the tasseled rope, yanking the heavy velvet curtains apart. First thing you need to know is that bingo calling is not just a job, it is an art form. I began. And also, if anyone complains that I dont know the proper names for the numbers while Im doing this, dont grass. Thats the second thing you need to know, you never, ever grass on your work-pals. He stared up at me with his hang dog, acne spattered face and smiled through a mouth full of metal, nodding silently as I climbed the step ladder and began lling the machine up with coloured and numbered ping pong balls. Can I have a red coat? he said out of the blue, tugging on the leg of my trouser. Ill need to have a look in the stores. But you should earn it really, and you do that by being really good at singing or being able to play an instrument or dance or something. Basically you have to be naturally talented and looking at you, well, Im sure youre good at something sunshine but I doubt its being a performer. I dont think you understand. Terry said, I dont just want any jacket I want your jacket. I stopped mid-pour and looked down at him from the top of the ladder, he wasnt staring at me, his eyes were xated on my coat. My red coat. My redcoat. Take it off. he said. Take it off now and hand it to me or Ill tell my father you tried to molest me. I did as he said but not before emptying the pockets of onesie pieces, hardwon tidily winks and smelly tab ends that Id been saving for later. Thank you Crab. he said, shrugging it on. Shall we proceed? I groaned, realising I might possibly have a new Percy Rocket-type-situation on my hands. God forbid. My punters started ling in, led by Joyce Coggin, a young and exceptionally attractive redcoat who had joined just days before and had been put in charge of the old age pensioners club. Long tanned legs up to her armpits and quite an elongated head to go with it, (I didnt mind, in fact I liked that about her) that was Joyce and I had yet to bed her, and not for want of trying. What a tease she was. Still, a very attractive tease and a tease that at the time occupied my every waking thought. They say that the average man thinks about sex every seven seconds. Not true for me, at least at the age of twenty one, there was always a porno lm playing somewhere in the theatre of my mind, whether I was aware of it or not. I was a

raging bomb of pure testosterone and due to the fact I was so attractive I usually got what I wanted. Usually. Why dont you go and give out these bingo cards? I said, handing Terry a batch. He looked utterly stupid in my jacket, it was far too long and almost touched the oor but I darent say anything lest he inform my employer. Good idea Crab, he replied, snatching them off me. And I think Ill introduce myself to that choice morsel that just walked in. What Mrs Baggins? I laughed. Be my guest sunshine. He threw me a lthy look and walked down the steps on the right wing of the stage. I watched as he ambled around, tossing piles of cards haphazardly onto tables, some landing in the middle of ashtrays, some knocking over halves of ale. He had not one bit of respect for the job in which I had spent a month and a half working so hard on to make my own. This abominable little weed had to go. Two fat ladies, twenty eiighhhht. I said, speaking into the microphone and noticed him at the back chatting to Joyce Coggin. My Joyce. She looked up and smirked at me as he whispered something, I couldnt imagine what, in her lug hole. I looked down at the ping pong ball I held in my right hand and crushed it, then leaned forward to the microphone again. Droopy drawers, I said, through a clenched teeth smile, forty fooooour.

Chalet I swished what was left of my pint of bitter round in the glass and held it above my craned-back head, letting the malty dregs dribble into my open gob. I shook the remaining drops out onto my extended tongue, swallowed, went, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh then placed the pint glass back on the table. He was sitting opposite me, legs dangling off a stool and staring at me with his elbows on the table drumming his ngers together. I want to have sex Tonight. And I want you to nd me a tart to do it with. I swallowed back a belch which immediately converted itself into a trump somewhere deep inside of me and said, I assume this will be your rst time? I lifted up a cheek releasing a long stream of putrid gas going, Ooooohhhhhhhh. with the customary tightly puckered mouth. This always happened after Id spent a full afternoon on my arse calling out the bingo.

Ahhhh, Bistoooooo. I said, indicating that it was a smelly one but also that the episode was nished with at last. Maybe it is, maybe it isnt, he rasped. but she better be a stunner regardless or therell be trouble. I nodded, Youre the bosss son Tegs. and we plodded back to the chalets so I could grab a shower and get changed. Id placed him in charge of sorting out my collection of rare onesie pieces, thinking that would occupy him for at least half an hour, God knows where the rest of the band were, it was most denitely someone elses turn to look after the little git. In any event we were due to go on in The Hawaiian Varsity Grill Rooms that evening and so someone would have to relieve me. I pushed the button to release a nal jet of hot water then stepped out of the shower and toweled myself off. I returned to nd Terry laying on my bed with a can of open Jubilee in one hand, reading my diary (in fact it was the one I am using right now, at least in part to relate these very events. Confusing eh?!) I stormed over and snatched it away. Whos Pat Grogan? he asked, grinning up at me. Never you mind. I said, slamming it shut and shoving it under a pile of clothes. Now lets see what kind of a job youve made of sorting my onesies. I despaired as I opened the ornate wooden chest I kept them in. The Indian elephant ivory ones had been mixed up with the special edition Queen Elizabeth coronation pieces. The ordinary plastic were lumped in the same compartment as the Joseph Stalin October Revolution ones. A total bloody mess. I turned around to nd he was riing through my drawers again now. Hed pulled out another box, a long thin one. Oy! I shouted, diving over. Put that back! He had found the band condom which this week was my turn to use. Those of you younger readers may be a little bit appalled by the fact that we shared, never mind reused the same cock sock. But that was just what you did in them days. Im not going to apologise for it. We did wash it after each use so it wasnt all that bad. Made of the nest quality lamb intestine we had made the investment upon learning that we were to become redcoats, knowing that it would lead to loads of N.S.S. (no-strings-sex) with punters and staff alike. A much less expensive option than the alternative, i.e. getting someone up the duffer. Im going to need this arent I? The little squirt said, pulling it out and holding the limp and well used object between the tips of his ngers.

Steady on there matey, I said, snatching it away, then laid it back across on its silken bedding and closed the lid carefully, we havent even found you a lass yet. And that might be more complicated than you think. I say might will. After the evening show we all piled into Jumbos room. It was his turn to host it being a Wednesday. Friday night, the real party night was always my turn. We were all a little tipsy which was normal after a show to be honest. Wed gone on as The Polka Dot Quartet as we did twice a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays) playing covers, but we usually managed to sneak in a bit of our own stuff too. So we were in Jumbos room like I said and had been joined by most of the girls (as per) and I was having a bit of a sing while Jumbo strummed along on the guitar. They absolutely loved it. Putty in our hands as always. I would tonight, just like every other night, take my mucky pick. There was someone else I had to please though before I got my lovely oats Terry aming Grampian. I stopped singing for a moment and said to Jumbo, Watch this. before beckoning the git over. Its time. I said, then nodded to Jill, my main girlfriend of that particular week who looked smolderingly over at Terry before getting up and leaving the room. Are you I mean I can With your I nodded and said, Fill your boots chum, shes in my room waiting for you all naked and such. Go on, off you go my mate. Me, Jumbo, Wendell and Kenny watched from around the corner as he walked up the corridor, then tentatively knocked on my bedroom door. Come on iiiiiin. Came the call from inside. We tiptoed up the corridor as he pushed opened the door and waited for his reaction. Beryl, Jills best mate peeled back the covers revealing her gargantuan blubbery, fully-naked mass to poor old Terry and I slammed the door shut, locked it behind him then dusted off my hands. Beryl would do absolutely anything with absolutely anyone and was always up for it given a bit of encouragement from the rest of us. A few weeks earlier shed cornered Wendell and forced sex upon him while he was too drunk to do anything about it. You did have to be careful around her, especially when drink was involved. Still, Wendell got to add another notch to his bedpost so there was that. We all shook hands and congratualted each other for a job well done as we heard the mufed screams, then went back to Jumbos room for another can.

The Finger Of Blame Present Day Shirley came round last night. She was concerned that I hadnt updated my status or tweeted anything recently and wanted to know if I was ok. I tooled over to the door whistling the theme tune to Tales of the Unexpected and found her there, cig in hand. I gave her a cup of tea and told her I was ne and that I hoped everything was also ok with her and her Turkish lover. Turns out it is but it didn't stop us having a good ol fashioned snog n feel. We stopped short of a bout of F.B.S. (full blown sex) though. It didnt seem fair on either of us as wed both been hurt in the past and agreed we didnt want to go through it all again, being hurt that is, especially so near Christmas. It is true though, I havent updated my status or tweeted that much recently and Ill tell you why; Ive been too busy interviewing people for this project of mine, the blog that is. I was trying to remember how the Terry Grampian issue was resolved as I had drawn a complete blank. I never recorded that information in my diaries for some reason, which suggests to me either I was too traumatised, too busy or simply just couldnt be bothered. I went to see Wendell and he couldnt remember anything about it either but he did help by suggesting I go and see old Norbert Grampian in his residential home up in Filey. I had no idea he was still alive but apparently yes, he is. Correction, was. Ill explain. I drove up there yesterday morning and was directed by one of the carers, a nice looking sort - my guess Polish, one of those countries anyway - to the conservatory round the back where I found him sitting, slumped over in a wheelchair with a tartan blanket over his knees, covered in crumbs. He was staring gormlessly out at the sea. I was twenty one at the time I worked for him and he mustve been over forty which would mean he would now be pushing at least ninety ve. Christ, time really does y. Tempus fugit - Latin. Hullo Mr Grampian, I said and plonked myself down in a wicker chair, just as a cup of tea was plonked in front of me by one of the less attractive carers (English). I said thanks though all the same. I brought you a box of Family Circle and some mags to have a ip through. Dont suppose you remember me?

Y, your face, He croaked, raising a crooked nger, theres something about you. Are you... My son? Im Johnny Crab. I chuckled, pointing at myself, giving my ngers a quick twirl around the eyes while cocking my head to one side. Leader of Johnny Crabs Rockpool Five, formerly The Polka Dot Quartet... Ummmmmm. ...Best band in Yorkshire? Winner of Hull Daily Mails Search For A Star 1981? That one that they say was xed but wasnt? No? I got up and started shufing around the room, making tiny hip jutting movements and, with my arms crossing over each other as if I were playing a miniature drum kit started going, 'Tsss, t, t, tsss, t, t, tsss, t, t, tssss - And on guitar, Wendellll Shedblaaaaze, onnnnn druuummmms, Mr Juuuummmmbo Grebbbbbbinssss... Tsss, t, t, tsss... That ring even the tiniest of bells? You worked in my holiday camp! A redcoat! A-lay-loo-ya! I cried, throwing my hands up in the air and rolling my eyes, then sat back down and took a second slurp of my tea. Now were getting somewhere. Listen, I need you to do me a favour and remind me how I ended up leaving Grampians as one thing Im fairly sure of is that I couldnt have lasted longer than a couple of months, I never have in paid work - well, aside from the once. Anyway, Im digressing - and did it have anything to do with your son Terry I wonder? Well, its all a very hazy now but as I recall it was the June of 1960 and I had put you and that band of yours in charge of judging the sexy legs competition... Hold on, let me just press record on this dictaphone - click - Ok, carry on old timer. ...Where was I? Ah yes - The Polka Dot Quartet were a constant source of irritation and antagonism for me from the very beginning. You were always breaking hearts, breaking beds through having so much sex or not turning up for your shifts due to being hungover. It was true - I did want Terence to learn the business but I also knew having him to look after would give you boys a much needed kick up the backside. He was a handful alright, and didnt I know it. One day, in late July I believe - you, that band of yours and a handful of the other redcoats were running the sexy legs contest in the The Hawaiin Starlight Auditorium and it was all going smoothly up until a certain point. You were the compare that evening and according to reports became increasingly incoherent as the evening progressed. I conducted interviews with

the bar staff who told me you had only consumed your usual eight pints which I was assured wouldnt have been nearly enough to put you off your game but reports of you rugby tackling a girl while she was making a speech about the importance of feminine hygine suggested otherwise. At some stage, after a bout if projectile vomiting you handed the microphone over to Terry who had been waiting in the wings then went off back to your chalet complaining of dizziness and a headache. I clicked my thumb on the stop button of the tape recorder and looked up. I remember now, I blurted, I remember what happened - it was Terry! It mustve been. I left him in charge of guarding my pint when I was up on the stage introducing the acts. He must have spiked me with something. You woke up and your bed was ablaze. The re brigade said you must have fallen asleep with a lit fag in your hand and it had dropped onto a pile of tissues that had gone hard, I think you know what with. Anyway, fortunately for you, you woke up at the last minute and managed to stumble out. Unfortunately for me the entire staff chalet complex burned to the ground and had to be completely rebuilt as a result - nearly bankrupting me in the process. I picked up the thread. ...It was a miracle - and I even managed to rescue my diary but unfortunately all the songs I had written in the past year perished, along with my leather jacket and guitar. I had to let you go, you know that dont you Crab. He was responsible for nearly killing me which is effectively the same as killing music itself. And you, you knew all along? Whatever else Terry was he was my son and he went on to to become the managing director of Chessingtons World of Adventure, providing quality holidays for thousands of families at reasonable prices. Sometimes actions of questionable moral integrity are necessary in order to achieve a greater good. Im sorry I sacked you Crab, and Im sorry you missed your chance to make it to the big time but like I said - he was my son and I loved him every bit as much as I loved that park. Thank you for coming and letting me get all this off my chest. Now nally I can let go and join my wife Miriam in heaven. Goodbye.

Tears were streaming down my red, puffed up face. I yelled, No, dont go, you have so much to live for old man, dont die on me now, not like this. He closed his eyes, and he was actually smiling as the nurses came running through and so I placed my empty cup on the trolley carrying the debrillator and left the same way I came in, through the front door.

A Doomed Attempt At Being Run Of The Mill Oy, get off that grass you little arsehole. Cant see a sign mate. Im the sign. I growled, prodding at my puffed-out chest with my thumb. It was the 2nd of August, 1960 had become what is now known by local authorities around the country as an Urban Park Ranger but in those days the term was simply parkie. An oddly informal description of my job considering we were much more smartly presented back in them days in a proper suit, hat, tie and well buffed shoes. Whereas these days its all eeces, t-shirts, shorts and trainers isnt it. Go gure. The problem was that I had run out of ideas, Id ended up having to get a proper job back home in Hull due to the fact Id been let go from Grampians and my lyrics, leather jacket and guitar had all gone up in smoke. The rest of the band had been more fortunate in that they had lent their equipment out for a talent contest that fateful night and were therefore, unlike me, less inclined to give up on the dream of becoming rock n roll icons and join the vomit-inducingly boring treadmill known as ordinary life. My Dad had pulled a few strings for me. Many years ago, before he went on to become head of cemetaries in the city he himself had worked for the parks service - in the very park I was now beginning my tenure. I would earn the sum of three pounds a month in my new role, hardly a Kings ransom but it kept me in cigs and sarnies nonetheless. I had also moved back in with my mum and dad and as a result was on the receiving end of a delicious, piping-hot dinner night after night. They were glad to have me there; disappointed in me slightly yes, but they loved their son (me) and I in return loved them back.

My rst morning had been a struggle, I walked into the boathouse on the edge of the lake to nd them all sitting around a long rectangular table, smoking cigs and playing cards. Hullo, I said, Im Johnny Crab the new park attendant. Silence. I pulled out a chair, scraping it along the concrete oor and sat down. The men exchanged glances of mild irritation as I struggled to take my dufe coat off and hook it around the back of my chair. Another card was laid down, then another, and then another chucked top of that. Thick smoke swirled under the naked lightbulb which hung just above our heads. To the left of the pile of cards was a pool of money, both coins and notes. I reached over to a plate which was piled high with sausage rolls, I did it tentatively, so as not to attract too much attention, as if my arm were one those mechanical teddy pickers you nd on the seafront, and just as Id got my greasy paw around one a hand came out of nowhere and grabbed my wrist tight as hell. Put. That. Down. I did as he said and released. It dropped and I watched as it bounced and fell to the bottom of the pile, its fall cushioned by the springiness of its colleagues pastry cases. They say its all just arseholes and eyelids but sausage rolls were, and still remain one of my most favourite foods in the entire world. Confused and hurt I silently cradled my poor hand and watched as my wrist, which had turned the palest white from being gripped so tightly, slowly rell itself with rosy red blood. SNAP! One of them yelled and yanked the pile of money towards himself with a deep and guttural cackle. Godda be quicker than that if you wanna beat me you useless set of prat hairs. I sat there in silence for the rest of that morning and watched as they played game after game, inging casual insults at each other all the while. When they got sick of snap someone got up and returned with a battered box of Ludo, ipped over immediately afterwards to reveal a snakes and ladders board, drafts next, then cards again before at ve to twelve they all began, one by one, grabbing their bikes and disappearing off for lunch. Wheres everyone going? Fuck off.

As the last of them cycled away I realised I was now alone in the boathouse. A narrow trough of water cut into the building from outside and I peered over the railings to have a look. There were about three or four rowing boats all chained together, all in varying states of disrepair - looked like they hadnt been touched in years. I considered giving them a clean then dismissed the thought just as quickly as it had occurred to me. I knew it would be boring. I went into a room at the back and found a box marked uniforms so I pulled out the one that most looked like it would t and shoved it on. I then went over to the table, lled each of my pockets with the abandoned sausage rolls and went outside to commence my rst day of work proper. It wasnt long before I ran into trouble and I realised why none of them ever did anything. The kid stared at me blankly as if my authority and uniform meant nothing to him, so I repeated, GET. OFF. THE. FUCKING. GRASS. I wont tell you again sunbeam. Suddenly, in my peripheral vision several small gures began to emerge from the bushes all around me. I was surrounded by lthy feral kids. I desperately yanked sausage rolls out of my pockets and held them forth as an offer of appeasement but they were batted away and laughed at. I was cornered. I was dragged backwards into what we called The Star Gardens, a maze of shrubbery and overhanging trees. There they debagged me, about seven of them working in concert. My new trousers were used to tie my hands and legs together and then I was lifted and hung up by them from a tree branch, left there to rot in just my Yfronts, vest, socks and shoes. Well play on any grass we want to, wherever we want to - whenever we want to. the leader of them said, going nose to nose with me, his face now upside down from my perspective and to add insult to injury he was now wearing my hat. Youll do well to remember that parkie. Come on boys lets leave parkie here to think about what happened here today. See you parkie. Yeah see you parkie. The others sneered and then I was all alone. The sky went dark and heavens opened. I was there for what seemed like hours but was actually more like ten minutes. Then, suddenly there was a rustling in the bushes. H, H, Hello? I called out, my voice wavering as a lone salty tear rolled down my cheek and splashed into a muddy puddle below me. Is... Is someone there? Sh, sh, show yourself coward.

An old man with a long, silver beard emerged wearing a long coat. He appeared to be holding some kind of staff. I shivered as he walked towards me and managed to stammer, Please, dont hurt me mister, I... Im just a simple parkie. Its my rst day I, I, I... He crouched down, reached into his boot and pulled out a small knife with a serrated edge. I recoiled and whimpered and so he pointed his eyes up at my trousers which were knotted tightly around my limbs and around the branch. I understood then and bravely nodded my consent. With one swift movement the garment was chopped loose and I plopped into the wet soil with a tremendous splat, sending mud ying in all directions. I stood up, feeling dazed and slightly ridiculous in just shoes and underpants and then, after wiping my hand on a tree put it out to shake his. I hadnt forgotten my manners in spite of everything. Thank you kind sir, I said, please, how may I repay you? We need to get you dry. he said, Then well talk. Dry mouth, pounding headache and blurry vision. I woke up in an unfamiliar dark room. Long grey cobwebs criss crossed the ceiling. You took quite a knock to the head. A voice said, it seemed like it was from somewhere far off. My vision, along with the voice warped and stretched as I attempted to lift my groggy head. Ugggghhhhh, aaaaminnn elllll. I sat up with some difculty and was, I realised, laying on a fold-out camp bed. I rubbed my eyes. I was next to a window. I hooked a nger around the curtain peered outside. My retina was at once assaulted by bright white sunshine smashing through. I recoiled and my eyes closed again involuntarily before I opened them once more, this time more slowly, letting myself adjust. Outside sunlight tinkled off the white hair of several old men dressed in white pullovers and grey trousers as they laughed with each other and polished strangely shaped black balls with rags while standing on a sunken rink of attened grass. I felt a hand on my shoulder and almost jumped out of my skin. Easy now sunshine, I almost spilled this turnip soup. Try and have a bit, itll help you get some of your strength back. Youre the pervert I, I, mean the man that rescued me. I am, and unfortunately when I cut you down from that tree you sustained a fairly serious concussion from a knock to the head. I thought you were ok at rst but then you started blabbering on about being the future of music before collapsing. I had to carry you here on my back in the rain. Now, we need to make

sure you dont catch a cold. Come on eat up then well get you a new uniform sorted out - one that hopefully you wont lose. I began quickly shoveling spoonfuls of the thick broth into my gob. It tasted like crap but I was ravenous. Id missed lunch and the clock on the wall said it had gone half past three. The man sat down on a chair and lit his pipe. I noticed then that he was wearing a parkies uniform, the long coat that he had been wearing was hung over a chair to dry in front of a barely-working two bar re. I caught sight of the badge stitched onto the front that Id missed earlier, it bore the crest of Hull City Council. A standard issue parkies raincoat. Thats right. he said, aware that I had noticed. Im a park keeper - just like you. Cecil Chevertons the name. Where am I? I asked, placing the empty bowl on the oor and sitting up. This Why this is the bowling green ofce. He replied. This is where a real park keepers work is done from. But the others at the boathouse they For every yin there is a yang, for every day - a night. I am the antithesis of that lazy bunch at the lake, the antidote to their poison, the shiny ip side of their sullied coin, all of which unfortunately means I must operate in exile. That stick you were carrying when I met you. What was it exactly? Im glad you asked son. he said, pulling it out from behind the door and holding it horizontally in his hands. This is a park keepers weapon. Its primary use is for litter picking but, and its a big but it is also used for self defence and occasionally - attack. Could I touch it? I asked. Rule number one you never ever touch another park keepers litter stick, but, lucky for you theres a spare one Ive been saving for someone who truly deserves it. The chosen one if you like. He fumbled with a set of keys then and opened up his locker, his hand emerging a second later holding it, a shiny metal pole with a long stabby point on the end. He handed it to me and I examined it with awe. This was your fathers. You knew my father? Knew him! Pah! I trained him, taught him everything he knows. Ive got to say I never gured old Stan for a pen pushing desk jockey but in the end it was what he wanted to do and I didnt stand in his way. You should have seen the two

of us - youd have been proud of your old dad, he was one of the best park keepers this council has ever seen. I felt as though I were somehow literally touching the past by cradling my dads old litter stick. It was a deeply powerful and enriching feeling. Before Stan left he entrusted that to me and made me promise that one day, when I felt I had met someone worthy enough to become his replacement I should pass it on to him. Neither of us had any idea that man would be you, especially since you hadnt even been born at that time. Wow. This is a lot to take in Mr Cheverton. You know I used to think people who did ordinary jobs were boring and didnt really respect them or anything. But after being on the receiving end of the abuse those kids gave me after I was just trying to do my job, well everything just seems so clear to me now. I left the boathouse cos I didnt want to be there when those awful blokes came back and now Im here with you and Im suddenly reevaluating my whole philosophy. Life can be pretty bonkers sometimes Mr Cheverton. Those men are not bad men, simply cowards. When youth culture began to assert itself in the early 50s I knew things would get bad but I had no idea it would come to this. First I would nd the odd ower bed had been trampled on, then it was boys and girls names carved into benches along with a heart with an arrow through it, and now they just play football right in front of you on the grass as if youre not even there. I have tended these grounds for the last fty years and I wont see all that hard work go down the toilet thanks to this appauling fad of rock and roll. The others can hide but not me, I will defend this park till the bitter end. Admirable. Can I ask you a question sir? Please. Wheres the boss? I mean, shouldnt somebody have shown me the ropes as soon as I arrived? Yknow, got me a uniform and such. The odds are you have already met him. Goes by the name of Sadsy, full name Kevin Saddington and he is no different to the rest of that awful bunch, sitting there day after day stufng their faces while this place crumbles around us. Its time we had some new blood. And son like it or not but thats you. Destinys Kid

I was a nobody in this new world I now inhabited, one of the small guys, a pluton, a speck. But do you know what? I actually relished this thought, I was now just an average Joe, a working stiff - I was a nobody yes, but I was happy nobody. My training began at nine am the next day. I arrived at the bowls ofce this time instead of the boathouse and opened up my new my locker just next to his. I xed my tie in the mirror on the ip side of the metal door and, as the kettle whistled over on the other side of the room I began whistling along to the tune: Foot Tapper by The Shadows. Cheverton poured us both a cup of tea. Well start you on basic litter picking, see how you handle it. Its a windy day so you might end up having to chase the odd empty packet of pork scratchings a little bit further than youd like but thats just part and parcel of what we do here. And itll keep you t. Im ready for anything you can throw at me sir. I said, pulling on my hat and shrugging on my jacket. Thats handy then son, cos youll need to be. Ive got a little job for you later on which is going to require both courage and razor-sharp cunning on your part. I spent the rest of the morning learning my trade, laboriously picking up leaves with my new prodding device, my fathers old prodding device, and then walking for what seemed like miles to put them in the nearest bin. I knew the point of all this lonely, thankless, soul-crushing labour would eventually become clear, I just didnt know when. After a hearty lunch of oxtail soup and crisps back in the ofce he nally let me in on exactly what it was he wanted me to do. You have done exceptionally well this morning and there is nothing more you can learn from me. Now I believe youre ready for the main event. What I need is for you to do is simple; go back to the boathouse and make friends with the others. But... I thought... Dont worry, youll still be working for me. All I want is for you to listen in on their conversations then report everything back to me. Sound ok? But why? Are they doing something illegal? Aside from not doing a lick of work for the last twenty years I doubt it. No, I simply want to know what theyre saying about me behind my back. Oh. I said, a little surprised. Well youre the boss and I suppose you know what youre doing.

He nodded, said, Yes. then got up and went into his locker again and pulled out a small, brown paper bag. Ive got something here thats going to help you get onside with them, itll gain you their trust. He tipped it upside down and emptied the contents of the bag onto the table. Loads of miniature metal objects, tiny plastic houses and other bits and pieces came tumbling out. Its all the missing bits from their Monopoly set. Theyve been looking for them for years. You can say you found them whilst cleaning out the store room in the boathouse. Theyll be so grateful to have them back youll practically be a hero. This my lad will guarantee you a seat at their table - with benets. I swept them back into the bag then stuffed it into the inside pocket of my suit jacket. You can count on me boss. I said and did a stiff little salute. Id asked Cecil that morning how come the other parkies had been allowed to get away with not doing anything for so long while still getting paid week after week to which he replied simply, Its council. Something I didnt quite understand at the time but do now - only too well. Three weeks that fridge has been in my front garden. Three weeks. I arrived about three o clock, just as the last of them was returning from dinner. It was the boss Kevin Saddington - Sadsy. Found a stick then did you? he said, addressing me directly for the rst time. Not a word about the fact he hadnt seen me for the last two days. Why arent you out picking litter - youre not paid to just sit around in here all day you know. A round of guffaws ensued as they leaned back in their seats with their cigs in their hands. Five trails of grey smoke travelled alongside hot tea steam in a race up to the ceiling. I smiled and put my hand into my jacket, pulling out the crumpled bag. I think Ive got something you lads might be interested in. I said. I let the pieces scatter on the chipped formica table top then sat back and watched their faces light up at the sight of it all. Fuh - kiiiin - ellll. Where did you nd these!? a wide-eyed Sadsy said, quickly stubbing out his cig into an overowing glass ashtray. He immediately leant over and started examining the pieces. Ill get the Monopoly board. another one said, a clear sense of urgency about his voice, then raced to a cupboard at the back of the building. This is going to be amazing. I was in. It had been just as easy as Cecil said it would be. Almost too easy.

As the board was unfolded and the pieces positioned I declared my intentions to go out and do a bit of litter picking. I grabbed a bin-cart and slung my stick over my shoulder. Sure you dont want to stay and have a game with us Johnny? One of them said. You can be the top hat. With seven of us playing it should easily take us right up till home time. It might even spill over into tomorrow. Nah youre alright, I need a bit of a walk anyway. Thanks all the same though chum. I made my exit and instead of walking into the main eld area via the path that went along the lakeside I crouched down on the jetty and started listening in. Summat wrong with that kid if you ask me. One of them said. I couldnt make out individual voices. Think he might be some sort of puff? Or worse - a council spy? I dunno, I saw him with old Cheverton when I was coming in on my bike this morning. To be honest thats where I thought these Monopoly pieces were until this afternoon, in that old perverts locker. Yeah, along with all the dildos and snaps of nippers hes probably got in there too. Yeah. Choices We are going to fast forward a few years now and you join me, still a parkie, sprinting for my life through a thick layer of fallen leaves one crisp autumnal morning in October, 1963. Icy puffs of breath trail away behind my head and we pan upwards above the canopy to reveal that I am being closely pursued by a gang of around six angry teenagers. Running is more difcult than it used to be, I now weigh around fteen stone. I am not huge by any means but I have a big round belly that hangs over my trousers and this is thanks mainly to a diet consisting almost exclusively of jumbo sausage rolls and chip butties. I also have a moustache, a small rectangle of wispy black hair which I believe gives me the distinguished air of a man who wields a certain gravitas. I am convinced it helps me transcend my years and do my job more effectively. Twigs snap underneath my caked-in-shite shoes. Squirrels hesitate wide-eyed as I enter a clearing, rising up on their hind legs as if caught in some lurid act

before dashing to safety up in the trees. I pause to take a brief look around for the route I need to take and then press on. I know this park better than anyone, I have spent the last few years endlessly traipsing around, litter stick in hand, exploring every secret muddy nook, every lthy little cranny, and now it was paying off. I pull my suit jacket off in mid-run and hang it from a branch before diving quickly underneath a bush to my left. Then, I clamber into a hole that I have preexcavated and cover myself up the the eyeballs in bits of bracken and muddy leaves. I watch as broken bricks and clumps of mud are pelted at my coat and a few seconds later they arrive only to discover theyve been duped. One by one they are claimed by the trees and shot high up into the canopy by a rope looped around the leg. My traps have worked. Why were they chasing me you ask. The answer is simple, Id slashed the tyres on their bikes. I had been leading a double life, one as that of apprentice to Cecil Cheverton and the other as an undercover spy in the boathouse, providing a dossier at the end of every month to my mentor on all members of staff. Their movements or lack thereof and what derogatory comments they had made about, A: Mr Cheverton and B: The council. I enjoyed my job, it had turned out to be far more exciting than I thought it could ever be. One day Cecil and I would be staking out the toilet block with a pair of binoculars and a notebook from behind a wall, waiting for people who we thought looked like perverts before going back to the bowls ofce and calling the police on them. Another day I would be furiously scribbling down (other) notes in the boathouse toilet about everything I had seen and heard that day. I would usually combine it with a poo which both saved time and provided me with the perfect alibi. I maintained my cover by telling the lads how much I hated Mr Cheverton and about how I had often caught him looking at my arse when I bent over or how one time I put a dead pike from the lake behind the radiator in his ofce. They enjoyed that cos they thought he made them look bad by being the only one on the park who did any work. But going back now to the tyre slashing incident, well the truth was that I was angry. Angry and perhaps a tad confused.

Jumbo, Wendell and Kenny had paid me a visit the afternoon before. I had just nished shing out a dead squirrel from the middle of lake when I saw them and was making my way towards the edge. That your dinner? Jumbo said. All three of them were wrapped up in scarves and dufe coats, sucking on a cig apiece. Very funny. I said, ipping over the net letting the poor, drenched, stiff-as-aboard squirrel squit onto the grass. Have a bit of respect for the dead. I made the sign of the cross quickly, hoiked myself out of the water then got out of my waders. Sorry chum, it was just a joke. How are you? Youre looking Well. Dont Jumbo, I said, I know what I look like - Ive seen mirrors. Now, are you gonna tell me why youre all here or do I have to guess? Theres gonna be a concert. Wendell said. In Hull. Mally added. And you need me for what exactly? I said. We need you for what you are. Jumbo said. And whats that? Are you really gonna make me say it? Ok then. You are the best singer slash lyricist Ive ever known. Whats your point? - I said this while trying not to break out into a smirk. I was simultaneously pleased about having my talent recognised after all this time and embarrassed for Jumbo for being such a dreadful sycophant. My point is arent you sick of all this? I mean what are you doing trudging round a shit park all day when theres crackers that need having sex with. Look, theres more to life than chasing quim you know. Ive had to learn that the hard way. Besides, look at how clean this park is. It didnt get like this overnight. It took honest hard work and believe me when I tell you - Im proud of it. I grabbed the squirrel by its hind legs and started walking away, Youll have to manage without me. I shouted over my shoulder. Wait. Jumbo yelled. I stopped but I didnt turn around. The gig... I then turned around slowly.

If we get it wed be supporting The Beatles. I thought for a moment, staring down at the grass then met his gaze once more. Never heard of them. I replied and continued on my way.

Jog On #2Btru2getha Woman, 49 seeking man, must have OHAC (own house and car) as I have my OHAC and must also have a GSOH and ESNIANO (enjoy spending nights in and nights out.) Not interested in players as been hurt 2 many times in the past. #eyecandy254 Curvy female, 48 seeking trustworthy man for good times. Must enjoy both nights in and out, the ner things in life such as wine and also, Ive got enough kids of my own so anyone whos reading this whos got kids can jog on. No players. Also, if ur in this just 2 get in 2 my knick knicks then 4get it, youve got no chance. Favourite food: Nandos. #sexpixie52 CuRvaCioUs BuBbLY bLoNd3 StuNn3R! 50, looking for serious relaysh. OHAC essensh, if not you can jog on and look at the prole of the next mug! I am cute, s3xi, funny and love eating huge bars of cHoCoLAtE! I also luv soash netwerx. You probably wont get a look in! HAvE FuN BrOwzIN mY PiX! These are just a few excerpts from some online dating websites Ive been visiting, Ive left the faces out to protect identities but I neednt have bothered, most of the people who turn up never look like their prole pics and if they do then well, talk about the tip of the iceberg. Ive had to start demanding full body pics before I go anywhere near them. What a genuine shame because it shouldnt have to come to that. Its just as well really though cos I cheat a bit too to be fair,

Im a little bit older than most of these women but Im trying to play to my strengths. For example I do have my own house and car. I also have an excellent sense of humour. And as for kids, well I might as well not have any the amount I see them these days. Heres a snapshot of my prole if youre interested. #rocknrollcrab69 Sensitive and attractive band leader and entertainer from Hull looking for a bit of harmless, N.S.S. with absolutely any woman, preferably under the age of 50, must have decent body (mantelpiece not an issue). Favourite songs, Mustang Sally (I belt this one out at all my gigs and it always goes down really well), or anything from The Blues Brothers or Mike and the Mechanics. Honestly though, Im not boasting or anything but I genuinely do prefer my own stuff. No meths. * 28th October 1964 The lads visit had me rattled, what were they doing in Hull and who were these The Beatles Jumbo had mentioned? I guessed this gig must have been a biggy or they wouldnt have bothered contacting me. Id been out of the loop a long time alright and wasnt sure I could still sing well, let alone be capable of writing fantastic new lyrics. I stared at myself in the mirror on the inside of my locker as I loosened my tie and thought about what I had become. I realised one of the buttons had popped off on my shirt and my hairy white dome of a belly was poking through the gap in the material. I held my bulk in my hands while examining my moustache it was time for that to go too. An easy job, the paunch would take a bit longer. I saw you talking with some lads by the lake today, Mr Cheverton said from the other side of the room. They werent giving you any bother were they? I closed the bent door of my locker, twisted the key in the lock then plopped it in my pocket and turned around. No, I said, nothing I cant handle anyway. I just have a decision to make thats all.

And what do you need to decide? he asked. All this time, I began, Ive been thinking that Ive nally found the right path. Being a parkie Ive learned you can really make a difference to peoples lives. But lately Ive remembered that with music, providing you manage to press a seven inch you can reach so many more, give them an experience that they will never forget and probably have sex with them too. Mr Cheverton, I said, I havent had it off for nearly three years because of the way I look and also due the fact that Im here most of the time working. How can that be right for a virile, I suppose not very t young lad in his prime like myself? I I just dont know what the answer is. He came over then and put his hands on my shoulders. Thankfully the curtains were closed as I wasnt wearing any trousers - I wouldnt want anyone to get the wrong idea. The answer to your dilemma is where the answer always lies. he said. He pointed at my chest, In here. The human heart. What is it telling you lad? Nothings clear to me right now. I said, Its all just a big massive mess. Well Im just saying if you want to leave here and pursue your dreams then you have my blessing. This dossier weve compiled together of the activities of the other park keepers is just about ready to be passed on to the leader of the council, and thanks to your brave campaign of slashing childrens bike tyres weve cut down on truancy in the park by nearly a hundred percent. Not bad for a youngster. Thanks Mr Cheverton. I said, You know, I used to think people like you were only interested in spoiling peoples fun, but Ive learned that sometimes fun actually needs spoiling in order to protect important things like parks, and also if you need to get back at someone for something. Youve taught me a hell of a lot these past few years and I wont forget it. Come to think of it Im fairly sure I know what my decision is but if you dont mind Ill sleep on it and let you know in the morning.

Reunion I was beginning to relish the thought of getting back where I belonged, i.e. The leader of a brilliant band who were destined to go straight to the top. After a long night of tossing and turning I of course decided I could no longer work at the park. What had I been doing all this time? I have often asked myself this

question and have a few theories. One of which is that I had simply needed the break. This had been my sabbatical period, the moment of doubt every hero experiences before going on to do something really, really amazing. It had taken me a while but I had nally realised that jobs were just boring things that only complete mugs did, and believe me, I was and am no mug. The others had rented a at in Hull on Nornabell street, in a new building just off Holderness road. I caught the number forty two down there the next morning and gawped up at the newly built, pebble dashed tower block then checked I had the right address on the scrap of paper that was clutched in my mitt. A conrmation came not moments later that, contrary to sense seemed more solid than any mere correct address written down on any mere piece of paper it was the reassuring sound of rock n roll music coming from an open window, eight oors up. I pressed the buzzer then there was a crackling sound before an excited Jumbo answered, That you Johnny? Ill buzz you in. Err, yeah. I replied, wondering where the disembodied voice might be coming from. How are you d Remarkable technology. The door went, hnnnnnnggggg, then clicked open, allowing me to enter. I shook my head as I walked on through thinking, What will they think of next. I got in the lift and pressed the circular button with a raised gure of eight on it then braced myself while I was shot up at what felt like a million miles an hour to the top of the building. I pulled a hanky out of my dufe coat as the door went ping and exited just seconds later while wiping the sweat from my brow and continuing up the corridor. The door was already ajar and The Kingsmens Louie Louie was blaring out from inside. The volume increased exponentially as I pushed it open to nd more people than I had expected, all crammed into a very small room I mean it was effectively wall-2-wall quim - honestly, you should have seen it. Anyway, you might think I ought to have been delighted but not so. You have to remember what I looked like at this point, I was overweight, had wispy, patchy clumps of facial hair the result of a misguided attempt to appear more mature - and my fashion sense had long since taken a high dive off a very steep cliff, splattering all over on the rocks below. I was wearing my park keepers uniform and hat under my large winter coat and as I walked through I coughed and waved smoke away from my face as I attempted to greet the assembled quim, most of which were sucking on cannabis spliffs or "bongs" while draped over furniture and drinking out of tins of

Coronation Stout. There were some absolute crackers there, slender angel-like beauties with long hair parted in the middle, some wore tie dye dresses and head bands made from daisy chains. Celestial. They laughed and chatted with each other under a thick cloud of swirling smog. One by one they either looked up derisively at me as I stepped over bits of detritus or giggled, and said things like, Whos that fat shitbag? and What are you looking at square? I started to panic, I tugged on the collar of my shirt and was just about to turn around and leave when an intoxicated Jumbo stumbled out of the kitchen and shoved an open tin of ale into my hand and a spliff into my mouth. I coughed and spluttered not being a fan of hard drugs then handed it back, going blargh while he introduced me. Ladies, this is Johnny Crab, one of the best singer slash lyricists Ive ever known. Hes going to sing for us when we play the gig with The Beatles at The Astoria. Now if you could just excuse us for a couple of minutes cos were gonna have ourselves a band meeting. You got the gig then? I asked as he led me away. Well not exactly, Wendell said while going into the cupboard under the sink. He pulled out a fresh can and handed it to me. Scroooshh. I pulled back the ring pull and I icked some of the escaped foam from my ngers, the important thing is the birds think we got it. The truth is we havent called back the theatre yet. Theyve asked to hear us play and weve been trying to put them off until we got you back. You are the key Johnny - the key to everything. I laughed and chugged some more on my drink. Glug, glug, gulp Ahhhhh Result, I said, wiping my mouth on the end of my scarf, but what happens when we turn up and they see what I look like? Surely then well be snookered. Image is just as important as talent these days. Weve got two weeks to get you back in shape before we do the audition. an unfamiliar voice from behind me said. I turned around to nd it was a really small lad wearing a pair of dark sunglasses. He looked like what I can only describe as a very young Jeremy Clarkson. He had a big but narrow, upside-down triangle for a head. An inverted bulb topped with a mass of curly, black, pube-like hair. I instantly took a dislike to him and that has not changed in all the fty or so years that Ive known him. He held his hand out to shake mine. Stuart Thesher, but you can call me Stewpot. Stewpots our new bassist, Jumbo said, so now theres ve of us.

I admit I was annoyed at this turn of events, I could hardly complain though, after all it had been my folly that had gotten me sacked from Grampians, what they did after that was up to them. Five of us eh. I said, Then maybe its time we had a change of name. I held my hands out in front of me and stared into the distance, How about, Johnny Crab and The Rockpool Five. Well, wouldnt we need ve members to be called that?, Kenny said, Not including you that is. I shook my head and looked over at Jumbo. Still a clever little cunt isnt he. I said. Look, its just a name and it sounds good, especially with my name being Crab, probably the king of any stretch of beach. You Kenny could be renamed Kenny Starsh or something, and you Stuart, how does Stu Barnacle sound. Ummm. Jumbo, err Sea Urchin? Thats a shit name Johnny. Wendell said. Well no, no, its something think about it isnt it lads. Jumbo said, somewhat diplomatically as he led me out the room. He knew this thing was delicate and needed to be handled correctly because as you know, without me as their leader they had nothing. We did end up being called Johnny Crab and The Rockpool Five as you also know, which the others agree in hindsight to be a stroke of genius by me. However they did manage to hang on to their original names, much to my disappointment and irritation. Ill be honest with you Jumbs, Ive still got no idea who these Beatles people that you keep going on about are, but if it gets my even a sniff of whats in the knickers of any of this tasty clout youve got up here in this at - well then friend, Im in this for the long haul - and you can take that little promise to the bank and cash it.

LevitatingSnack Birds have changed Johnny, they dont just lie back and think of England like they used to. This is the sixties, the era of free love and believe it or not women have actually started to enjoy sex Christ some even talk about it openly! This was all news to me, up until now I hadnt met a single woman who had been anything like over the moon about me having it off with them. When it was over wed smoke a cig, maybe talk about music or failing that the weather but I

had yet to recieve a simple thank you for my efforts. And actually, now it had occured to me that I hadnt I thought about getting out my little black book and phoning them to ask why. Women talking about and loving sex? I had been out of circulation a good long while, I supposed it was at least a possibility that what Jumbo was saying could be true. Having said all this none of them were ever in danger of winning the Nobel Prize for sex either. It could simply be that Id been unlucky in my choice of bed partner. Part of your job as band leader is to be a heartthrob. he continued. A lothario. Wendell added. A fanny magnet. Stewpot said. All of that, along with that incredible voice of yours is going to get us to the top of that hit parade but rst we need to get you looking something like presentable again. Jumbo clicked his ngers and Stuart went over to the sideboard and removed something from one of its cupboards. He carried it over on a brown corduroy cushion that had mustard-yellow tassels around the outer edge. Jumbo placed his hands underneath the neatly folded garment and removed it. Thats my Your leather jacket yes, it wasnt destroyed in the re like you thought. But That bird of yours borrowed it the same night the chalet complex burned down, it was only after you left that she admitted to it. Well actually I caught her wearing it while she was out on a date with that Terry Grampian in Kirk centre but... I removed it and tried to shrug it on, but because I had gotten so bloody blubbery it didnt t me anymore. Steady on mate, one step at a time. It will t again, I promise, but rst we need to start your training. Training? I said with a raised eyebrow. What do you mean training? It began that same day, we went to an area called Sutton Fields in their van, their new van - bought second hand the year before apparently - and parked it up next to a small hill. It was then that Wendell pulled out what looked like an air rie and started screwing the various bits together. What are you going to do with that? I asked. I was freezing cold. I looked a total state standing there in an ill-tting grey jogging suit, black sandshoes and

uffy red sweatbands around my head and wrists. My t-shirt didnt t, but I tried my best to make it, stretching it down as far as it would go over my hairy rotunda. He didnt answer, just kept on silently screwing and locking the various parts of the weapon together. You see those trees over there? Jumbo asked, putting an arm around my shoulder whilst he held a saggy roll-up between his ngers. The smoke trailed into my eyes and was making them water, How fast do you reckon you could reach them? Well, I said, turning the corners of my mouth down and squinting, I had my hands thrust down the front of my joggers and was fondling my deliciously warm sprouts - the only part of my body that was warm - while I thought about it. allowing for a tea break and a sit down about half way maybe ten minutes give or take. You need to stop thinking like a parkie Johnny. Jumbo replied, slapping the back of his hand on my chest before glancing over at Wendell. Is she ready? he asked. I turned around to nd my best friend, the man Id grown up with and trusted with my deepest secrets and most private fantasies pointing the rie at my wedding gear. Im doing this for you Johnny. he said. Each and every one of these pellets is going to have your name on it. Im not the best shot in the world but Im not the worst either - its up to you to make sure I dont hit the target. I desperately looked around at the others who had formed a tight circle around me and were now chanting and clapping whilst wearing oddly gleeful expressions on their faces, odd because I thought this was supposed to be a necessary evil, not a fantastic day out for all and bastard sundry. Run, run, run, run I swear to God Johnny, Wendell said, if you dont start running in the next three seconds Im gonna shoot you right up the arsehole. But One. Please I Two Its for your own good Three! They all shouted in concert. I scarpered down the hill and as I started zig zagging up the eld heard them all laughing their heads off behind me. I panted out clouds of icy breath as loud shots rang out and pellets whizzed past my ears.

A couple of minutes later I had reached the safety of the tree line. I swung around a large willow to take cover, I had huge dark sweat patches around my armpits, chest and groin areas and was vomiting uncontrollably, spraying powerful jets of lumpy beige sick all over the place. Groggy and exhausted I steadied myself on the tree and peered around the trunk to nd the van careering towards me, bouncing along across the uneven surface of the hard muddy eld. They pulled up at my right and I limped over and rested both hands on the bonnet, staring at them all through the windscreen. You Swines. I managed to blurt before my eyes rolled back in my head and I collapsed, falling unconscious there on the spot. I woke up to nd I was in the back of the van again, lying at out, its corrugated bottom digging into my back. Water was being dribbled onto my face from a black plastic canteen being held by a pair of hands. I recognised them as Wendells because of the condition of his nails - he used to bite them a lot. Hes awake lads. Right, Kenny said, Ill pull up here, just outside the butchers. The door slid open and I was unceremoniously tipped out onto the main road. Lying there on my back I was surrounded by people walking back and forth and in and out of shops. I saw a dog trotting towards me, from my perspective it was upside down and it began licking my face with its huge stinking tongue. I rolled over onto my front and managed to shoo it away and then struggled to my feet. It was then I noticed a half of a sausage roll which seemed to be oating in mid-air in front of me. How could it be? I was so exhausted, so deeply hungry that I thought for a moment it was a mirage - or maybe it wasnt, maybe it was a gift from heaven, maybe I was in heaven who knew. I tried to grab it but just as I lunged forward with a protracted nurghhhh it oated away, just beyond my reach. WTF? I began running, and it in turn hovered away. It seemed just as I was nally within reach the thing would decide to shoot off again, ever elusive. It was mocking me, I felt. My mouth foamed at the edges as I thought about how that crumbly, buttery pastry would feel on my tongue, how the pink offal contained within would ll my now aching void of a stomach. I ended up diving for it and landing head rst in a pile of apples on display outside a fruit shop. I cut my forehead on a nail that was sticking out of the wooden display underneath readers it was not pretty.

The lads told me later that day, after Id slept it off that theyd in fact attached the sausage roll to a shing line and were driving alongside, making sure I couldnt catch it. All part of the training program theyd dreamed up between them. I was too tired to be angry and when they put me on the scales around seven that evening to nd how much weight Id lost in a single day (a full quarter of a stone) I actually began to see the funny side and realised it might all be worth it - maybe their plan was going to work after all. Tomorrow - more of the same. Something involving a bucket, thousands of ants and a gallon of treacle - I cant quite remember all the details, sufce to say it worked a treat. I went to bed and thought not of that, but what it would feel like to wear my leather jacket again and become once more a real somebody.

Wedlock Interesting day yesterday, I went round to Shirleys to retrieve a few things Id left there. Namely my toothbrush, a pair of thermals, my Mock The Week DVD and accompanying book / DVD interactive game. It was all very cordial, she invited me in and we sat down in the kitchen and had a cup of tea. There was a lot of noise coming from the living room, it was Mert, he had a load of his mates round and they were watching a football match I think - could have been rugby though. Im not a big fan of sports. Theyre here all the time. Shirley said, I think one of them is his brother but I dont know, they always speak in their language whatever that is - maybe Turkish, maybe not. I cant even tell. An unshaven Mert came in then, looking totally different to how hed appeared just a few weeks ago. His stomach was now a lot bigger for one thing and it poked out from underneath a red polo shirt. I could smell the stench of cheap lager on him as he wandered in and kissed Shirley on the forehead, grabbing her head from behind, really tight on both sides, pulling it back and going, Muaah. Now then my little bed and breakfast, he said, this is his pet name for her apparently, his English had certainly improved quickly I noted. little bed and breakfast Im gonna need to borrow your bus pass again today ok - me and the lads need to go in town and do a bit of business and that. Well what do you need it for? she asked.

Mert, still standing behind her pointed at her but looked at me, She a right nosey cow int she eh. He said this with a chuckle, then peeled a satsuma before tossing a segment into his gob, chewing it with his mouth open and going Huh huh huh. It was clearly more of a statement than a question. I looked down sheepishly, fondled the handle of my cup and just went, Tsk. As he tooled out into the hallway, singing, Paparazzi and started going through Shirleys handbag I noticed she was wearing a wedding ring on her nger. You didnt. I said. I did. she replied, twisting it around nervously. A couple of days ago at the registry ofce. Why, do you think it was a mistake? Lets just say Ive been down this road before babe - and the scenery, well it aint pretty. * December 2nd 1964 I had in mind something my dad had said when I did it, while we were at the budgies wake back in 1961, standing by the kitchen table in our black suits, lling our paper plates up with home-made mini proteroles. I had been looking at the neighbour girl, Phyllis Ward a couple of days before. The stiffened corpse of Rory had been lying in state in the front window, surrounded by candles and offerings left by friends and family. He was contained within a n ornate, miniature, made-to-measure wooden cofn that had been hand crafted in the shed by my Dad upon his realising he wouldnt last another week. Phyllis walked by carrying bags of shopping and peered inside at the bird, its poor tiny eyes closed in eternal slumber. She made the sign of the cross then looked up and caught sight of me. I had been drooling at her with my hand down my trousers. I turned around to nd my Dad standing there, hed spotted me looking at her and somewhat embarrassed I ran past him and up to my bedroom, slamming the door behind me before knocking one out as fast as I could, triple speed. At the table at Rorys wake, a couple of days later, he examined the snack he held between his ngers then dropped it into his mouth before suddenly blurting, Forget it son.

I was looking over at her once again. She was with her Mum, offering my Mum their condolences while she blubbered into a tissue. Let me give you a bit of advice that my father gave me. It goes something like this. - The pretty ones are a complete waste of time, all they do is go out all the time, drain your nances and irt with other blokes. What you ought to do is what I did - nd yourself a good little cook and stick the rst ring you can afford on its nger. Like mum? I asked, tossing back the last dregs of ale from my glass. Like mum. he said and patted me on the back before walking away and leaving me to think about the sage piece of wisdom hed just imparted. Now, just a few years later, my nose streaming with blood, sitting on a chair in an unfamiliar at which was caked, nay dripping, oor-to-ceiling with Christmas decorations I began to think about that little piece of advice I was given. Val Hattersley who lived on the oor below Jumbo and the rest of the lads had hit me square in the face with a snowball which, unbeknownst to her (she claimed), had a rock contained within its tightly packed sphere. It stung sharp as she applied the cotton wool soaked in alcohol and I winced and gave a little involuntary kick of the legs. What is it you do then darlin? she asked. Im the leader of a band. I said, The names Johnny Crab. Whaaaaa, ahhh, ahhh... Steady on love - What about you? Lucky for you Im a nurse at Hull Royal. she replied, snapping shut her little rst aid kit before returning it to the sideboard. Thats a very nasty gash youve got there. A nurse eh, I thought. All us girls are nurses. she continued, like shed read my mucky mind. We dont usually get the same shift off together, I suppose tonight was a bit of a uke. Me, Jumbo, Wendell, Kenny and Stuart had been down to The Astoria that night to do the audition and it had gone well. Very well. So well in fact that they told us that same night that we were going to be the ones to play support for The Beatles on the 15th of that month. The big one was now just two weeks away according to Jumbo it would be the gateway to stardom, all we had to do now was saunter casually through it. It was one of those days where everything just goes right, even the weather contributed to the magic we were experiencing as the elements conspired beautifully to form the thickest, whitest, fastest falling snow Id seen in years, probably since the incident with the pram way back in the fties. Remember that?

Course you do. Within an hour it was a ankle deep and we got back to the tower block to nd these ve birds outside, giggling their stupid girlish heads off while making a snowman. Five of them - ve of us. As simple as any equation gets. Five plus ve equals sex. Val, the one now tending to my wound, would in my mind end up being Stuarts piece as he was the newest and therefore least senior member of the band. There was another one, Nora who I had intended for myself, an absolute heaven-sent stunner and no mistake. Val was ok but she was certainly no Twiggy, not even a branchy - more of a... More of a loggy if youll pardon the metaphor. Im sure she wont but were long past being anything like pleasant to each other since we divorced back in 71. And dont feel too sorry for the stupid cow. We got married a couple of years after meeting that night, but thanks to her incessant nagging and very poor parenting skills I ended up booking myself into the local mental hospital for a stint, the details of which I shall go into very shortly dont worry about that. Anyway, she got me while my self esteem was low I suppose. She must have sensed it as there was no way this woman was anywhere near being in my league. I was a singer in a rock n roll band and she was just a nurse. I looked up when my nose had nished being bandaged and noticed the mistletoe just above us. It was hanging from the dividing beam between the kitchen and the living room. She always claimed I winked at her at this point but I have to say I strongly dispute that. It was probably just a wince of some sort - due to the pain. Anyway she moved closer and kissed me softly on the lips, then, a hand went slowly, slowly down my trousers. Bingo, I thought.

Steakout Just got in after having to be towed home. I was out in the car earlier, in the student area of town to be exact - Newland Avenue. Id nipped into the Tesco Express to stock up on snacks and now was waiting for Mert to re-emerge out of a at above a charity shop, a branch of Scope. I followed them after they left Shirleys place. She didnt know where Id gone after I left complaining of

indigestion, but I was determined to gure out what he was up to. God knows why Im doing this, especially after everything she did to me but I dont like this situation one bit and if it helps me get back in her knickers then well, thats a bonus isnt it. Three of them caught the number fteen just outside her house on Grisdale Road on Quadrant and it wasnt easy cos it kept stopping to pick up passengers but I managed to stay behind it - much to some of the other road users chagrin. So they got off just outside a branch of Nero and I pulled up just a short way beyond outside a Costa, which is in my opinion, caf Neros inferior cousin. Theyve got too many high chairs in there which means loads of screaming kids. Anyway Im going off the point. So there was Mert who Ive already described as basically looking like a fat slob, a very tall, lanky one with a crew cut and then there was a really small one, not quite a midget but not quite what you would call normal either. I would say he was probably in his mid to late forties and bore a cube shaped head. They were all dressed in three quarter length leather jackets with thick wooly turtle necks underneath. All of them had a couple of days worth of stubble and were wearing supermarket stone washed jeans and huge white trainers. I watched as after they shouted up at a window a man appeared and poked his head and the top half of his body out. He was dressed in a lthy chefs uniform and was brandishing a grease covered sh slice. There was a little exchange in a gutteral sounding language then, a short time later the chef appeared at a door just next to the charity shop entrance and let them in. He still held that same sh slice close to his body and as they led past he took a quick, furtive glance up and down the street before closing the door behind him. I popped open the sports cap of a Fruit Blaster and squooshed a shot of purple liquid into my dry gob, dry from all the tea back at Shirleys. Then I cracked open a big bag of Pork Scratchings, tossed a handful in and began the long wait. Id fallen asleep listening to a debate about wind farms on Radio Humberside and opened my eyes to nd that day had turned to night and I was freezing cold too, in spite of the fact I was wearing my huge, knee length, First Transpennine Express eece that Id snagged from a car boot sale for a quid fty. Not exactly fashionable I know. I clicked on the heating but nothing happened. I was sure as anything that Id missed them but just at that moment all three emerged, correction, two of them minus the smaller one and another, new fellow. They were all carrying a medium-sized cardboard box each.

I fumbled for my phone and hoped Id be able to access the camera function in time, having never used the bleeding thing. Jordan had shown me how to use it after he gave it to me and luckily I got it working in time to grab a couple of blurry shots of them under the dim street lights. Id add them to the scrapbook I intended to start of all of Merts activities. The new member of the group pressed his nger on a key fob and a car two spaces down let out two short bleep bleeps and its lights ashed on and off. They shoved whatever they had brought out of the at in the boot and then pulled out into the road before speeding away. I shrunk down in my seat as they passed then poked my head above the dashboard to note down the reg number. When they got a far enough distance away so I could follow them without being seen I twisted the ignition of my Mondeo. Nothing happened, it just wheezed for a second before going dead again. Id ran down the bloody battery listening to the bloody radio. * December 3rd, 1964 I circled around the living room carpet in the at, furiously parping on a cig while I thought of something we could write on the note. We went through a few drafts before settling on the wording which went something like this: Dear Birds From Last Night, Come up to at 87D whenever you want, weve got always got loads of cans and biscuits. P.S. Johnny fancies Val and wants to know if shell go out with him. Awww dont put that - scrub it out. I said, not really protesting in any serious way. Too late chum. Jumbo said, licking the envelope and sticking it shut with a wink. Besides, you do wanna go out with her its obvious. You might as well go for it. Looking like you do at the moment its a wonder shes interested at all. No offence mate. Oh, non taken mate. I said, with a quick dismissive wave.

We went downstairs and shoved the letter under their door and then went back upstairs again to practice. Id informed the lads about what had gone on between me and Val and Stewpot was all wide eyed as I recounted my sexy tale. He wasnt long out of his teens and the only fanny hed seen at that point had been on the front of his mums cook books. He was after Nora, my fears were conrmed when they told me what had happened after Id disappeared to get my nose xed, and of course get my hot nourishing oats. Theyd continued with the snowball ght which ended with the girls being split and defenceless. The boys marched forward and continued to pelt, each eventually grabbing a handful of ice and stufng it either in the face of, or down the top of the girl they had picked. Jumbo managed a snog before coming back upstairs and Wendell too. Kenny came up empty but he claims his one was a bit stuck up anyway - and lucky for him at that point he was already courting. Stuart was smitten with Nora but hadnt managed so much as a feel in spite of the fact hed had a golden opportunity having cornered her with a snowball. Everybody knows thats a guaranteed free feel with no comebacks! He still had much to learn. The coming days would remedy this however and those girls would become something of a permanent xture in all of our young lives, that is until it all went very wrong, at least for me, one afternoon in 1969.

Fork In The Road It was the night of the concert that sealed the deal with Val. My quick thinking when Jumbo got himself into a heated argument with a young, and may I say quite arrogant Paul McCartney if Im being honest, which I am. Just before the show we were all backstage getting into our suits. I discovered I already knew one of them, Ringo Starr who, before hed joined The Beatles had worked briey at Butlins in back in Wales. We crossed paths for just a week as my tenure as a monorail operator was coming to an end which you remember was thanks in chief to Alvin Stardust and his unquenchable thirst for power - whatever the human cost. Ringos name then was a rather dull sounding Richard Starkey, Im not surprised he changed it, and he never struck me as being particularly talented either, especially not someone who deserved the copious fame and adoration that he eventually garnered, but I liked the guy well enough. Alvin Stardust, now there

was a kid I thought would go places, despite the fact hed done me up like a kipper. As I adjusted my bootlace tie in a small make-up mirror Val had lent me, we chatted about mutual acquaintances and it turned out I knew a fair few of the same people he did. Dominic Mellon, Johnny Buchan, Chris Derryman, Rex Marsden and Keith Krebbs were just a few of the names bandied about. Good times. We both sprang to our feet when the ght broke out which was The Astoria managements fault in hindsight. When you put that much raw, burning, white-hot talent in one small room, that many virile, very t young lads in the prime of their lives, that many male egos together in such tightly packed quarters not much bigger than a shoebox before a major concert - then something is bound to go wrong. The story goes that McCartney had been out to get himself some fags. Of course hed been in disguise; a little known fact about The Beatles is that they all carried a small personal disguise kit with them which contained within it a fake beard, glasses, hat, banana (snack) and walking stick for just such occasions. McCartneys beard was a big puffy ginger one and what with the white trilby, cane and the hood of his dufe coat up there was no way you could tell it was him. That is not unless you were the most obsessive of obsessive fans. Instead of letting the girls backstage with us - which we were allowed to do we thought it better to let them queue up for the gig and pay just like everyone else. Treating them mean and keeping them keen had always been our band mantra and also, partly due to a superstition that had developed in our earlier days together we never saw our birds in the days leading up to an important gig anyway. This time would be no different, the no-sex rule was in force so we could save up all that nervous energy in order to give it our all, wow the crowd and maybe, just maybe by years end we could score ourselves a record deal. All wishful thinking as it turned out. McCartney had been to the local newsagents and as fate would have it our girls were in there too, stocking up on cigs and goodies before the doors opened. Despite the disguise a sharp-eyed (and sex-starved) Trish Craven, Jumbos girlfriend of the time - one of the ve nurses previously mentioned - spotted him and asked him for an autograph. There was nothing he could do but oblige, but being used to recognising an opportunity when he saw one and abusing his position as an up-and-coming pop idol he didnt stop there. He kissed her square on the lips before winking, pulling his fake red beard back on again and waving

goodbye before heading back across the road, through the stage door and into the dressing room. And thats when he told Jumbo what had happened. As he described the girl, ending by saying, I think hur name was Trish or Trisha or something like yknow. Jumbo quickly realised who it was hed given the peck to and ew into one of his trademark rages. He planted a st squarely on the nose without warning and by the time the rest of us got over there to try and break it up he had been caught in a headlock, receiving punch after punch after punch to the face. We managed to pull them off each other just as the stage manager, a little bloke with a clipboard came in and told us we were due on in two minutes time. They bumped chests one more time after we let them go and then we grabbed our instruments and led out of the room, leaving a very bad atmosphere behind us. A bad atmosphere which was not only due to the ght but also because Wendell had done one of his trademark foul smelling trumps. Hed been hit in the stomach in the kerfufe and that in turn had caused a loosening of the bowels which, he admitted, had been blocked through nerves. A blessing for him then really, one of the few good things to come out of what happened that day. Later, after wed done our thing and theyd done their thing, we were having a drink backstage when John Lennon came up to me and told me how much he liked our act and asked would we like to go on tour with them. That song you did about the gurl stealing your chips really made us laugh like.. But thats not I tried to say. Anyway, we wur thinking, we could use you as a bit of comic relief before some of our less important gigs that were not really bothered about. We dont always like being on the road and we think you lot might be able to cheer us up a bit like yknow. I was delighted, despite the fact that hed clearly got the wrong end of the stick thinking we were a comedy outt. Still, it was an opportunity and I wanted to jump up and grab it with both hands. Thurs just one condition. he said, putting his arm around my shoulder and leading me away from the others. Its a bit of a delicut matter actually. Go on. I said. Yur man Grebbins, Paul doesnt wanna be anywhere near him after what happened earlier, and George and Ringo, well they agree Im afraid. If you lads wanna come on tour with us yur gonna have to drop him from the lineup as of right now.

I sighed. I was vexed at Jumbo and cursed his quick temper. I was his best mate though, what could I do? After all these weeks of anticipation, tness training and practice it had come down to this. Did I choose my best friend or did I join The Beatles and eventually eclipse their meagre success with my own. In the end I told no one in the band of the offer made The Beatles John Lennon, instead I just chose to let them think it was a job well done and we all went home happy that wed done our best, come what may. I burned John Lennons phone number along with his autograph and a little doodle hed done but I did however mention what had happened to Val Hattersly, my new girlfriend who found my loyalty both incredibly refreshing and very sexy. We had full blown sex for the rst time that night. Full on, no-holds-barred sex which I was so grateful to receive that afterwards I got on one knee at the side of the bed, dressed only in a vest - below I was starkers - and burbled, Will you marry me? Yes. She replied, without any hesitation, realising that an opportunity this good only came along once in a lifetime, and ung her arms around my head, crushing me against her giant, apping breasts.

Yes, I Suppose I Will Marry You Do you, Johnathan Vivian Crab take thee, Valerie Gladys Hattersley to be your lawful wedded wife? The lads, who were sitting in a line, all suited and booted up in the church pew behind me sniggered at the mention of my middle name as theyd never heard it up until now. I span round and hissed, Shurrup. before turning back round to the priest and replying, I do. She then did her bit by agreeing to let me be her husband, To have and to hold, to love and to cherish Blah blah blah, you know the drill. Except I wasnt hearing those words exactly, the ones that are common to most marriage ceremonies. It was as if cartoon thought bubbles had appeared above my head, and in one the words, to have and to hold were replaced by, to have sex with and make dinners for and a picture appeared in my minds eye of me, lying satised, smoking a post coital John Player Special in the marital bed while in another tableaux she slaved over bubbling pots and pans in the kitchen. To love and to cherish became, To clean and to iron. She was on her hands and knees in this one, scrubbing the toilet while a procession of steaming irons

circled and framed the image. I allowed myself a wry smile at the thought and just as the daydream was starting to develop further and I was climbing into my silver hover pod to go to work, waving at Val who was standing at the front door with a bucket in one hand and a mop in the other, I was awoken from my vision of what future domestic bliss would look like by Jumbo poking me in the side. I looked down at what he held out in his hands, Vals wedding ring, paid for by my Dad sitting on a bed of pink satin inside a small, felt covered box. I picked it out with my thumb and forenger and glanced behind me at my Dad who held my Mums hand tightly as she blubbered into a hanky. He nodded and mouthed, Go on son. And I nodded back to him then took a deep breath. With this ring... I thee wed. I said, and pushed the gold band back along her nger. It slid on smoothly and came to rest at her knuckle. I looked up to nd her bottom lip quivering and teardrops welling in her eyes. You may kiss the bride. Father Patterson said. So I peeled her veil back over her head and thats exactly what I did, I planted my lips on hers. We quickly melted into a deep and powerful snog then, somewhere behind me I Like It by Gerry and The Pacemakers started thumping out, mine and Vals favourite song of the time, courtesy of Wendell and the fact that hed hooked up his new eight-track to the church organ speakers. The priest nearly jumped out of his skin as we hadnt told him we were going to do it and this caused the congregation to break into peels of laughter - rst at his fear then his subsequent outrage. He slammed his bible shut and stormed off, stage left, declining to join us in the courtyard for photos, then everybody led out of the church. Me and Val the last ones to exit and we dipped our heads as people whooped and cheered and tossed confetti and rice over us. My rented top hat nearly fell off as I stooped under the archway, linking arms with Val in the entrance, but I managed to tip it back straight using my silver topped cane. After Kenny had committed this part of the ceremony to cine lm we made our way over to the car that had been adorned with owers, streamers and tin cans which trailed from the bumper attached by pieces of string. By this point Id still not passed my driving test and so Val took to the drivers seat while I got in the passenger side. I peered in the wing mirror, back at the assembled throng who were waving us off, then, as we sped away I turned to Val and said, Flaming heck, I could murder a poo Vals, I thought that great bloody bore Father Patterson was gonna go on forever how far away is this reception place you booked anyway?

She smiled back at me sweetly, Its erm, its not far love - Im sure you can hang on. * Despite me turning down John Lennons generous offer of a tour wed still gotten the exposure wed long deserved, even after just one gig. I dont have the original clipping but heres an approximation of what The Hull Daily Mail wrote about me: Johnny Crab, handsome leader of The Rockpool Five performed with experienced verve and deft panache. Such elan, such nesse in a voice so young - are we witnessing the birth of a national treasure? We were suddenly, even after a good four years out of the game local celebrities. Hull had taken us into its heart and its women into their knickers, which might as well have been made from chain mail and padlocked before that fateful evening. Yes thats right, I was unfaithful to Val from the very outset, something which Im not completely proud of but hope you can at least try to understand. You see Id been chasing fame and recognition for my talents my entire life and in the year leading up to our nuptials I experienced it on a scale I found sometimes difcult to deal with. I was twenty ve and this was the most productive and prolic period in mine and Jumbos song writing partnership. We were penning hit after hit after hit. Well they would have been hits if wed ever found someone whod release them into the hit parade. My personal favourite was a little tune called Sexwaves, our answer to The Beach Boys' Good Vibrations, about a girl who was so sexy she emanated almost tangible waves of sexual energy. We went from the Astoria to The Tower Ballrooms, and from there we graduated to entertaining visiting dignitaries on behalf of the council at The Royal Station Hotel. We were at the top of our game musically and still riding high from being associated with The Beatles. I knew who they were by now alright - still wasnt all that impressed though. Whenever I heard someone mention Johnny Crab And The Rockpool Five (which I often did), whether it was on the bus or standing in line to buy electric tokens, it was always accompanied by someone asking, Werent they the ones who supported The Beatles?

Im telling you, it was a shrewd move by Jumbo getting us that gig, even if he did end up trying to batter Paul McCartney. Their fame would skyrocket and our names would forever be linked. In Hull. So yes, there were women, including Kathleen, the landlady of The Blue Lion who I kept in touch with despite the fact that she was getting older, fatter and far less attractive, seemingly by the day. I used some of the money I made from gigging to replace that ageing gramophone of hers with a state of the art record player and we made love to contemporary classics like You Were Made For Me, by Freddie And The Dreamers. It was during this period that I learned to time my pumps with the beat of the music. Kath would often remark how good I was getting at sex which encouraged me to push the boundaries ever further of what polite society deemed acceptable. I once ate a big bag of chips and a battered sausage off her naked back. This was decades before mixing food and sex became an accepted part of bedroom activities so I consider myself a bit of a pioneer in that respect. She would always wake me up after our sessions with a pint pulled from the bar downstairs and a cig that shed lit for me on the open re in her bedroom which had become something of a tradition. Then Id get back to the at just in time to greet Val as she walked through the door, often making out that Id been there all day. Did I feel guilty? Yes a bit. Do I have any regrets? The answer to that is quite simply - no, I do not. She worked shifts too so it wasnt hard to play away during the evenings either, Id go out and be back into bed with a daily Mail and a cig in my hand by the time she got back from work in the morning. Shed be so shattered from her punishing work schedule at the hospital that shed just collapse - sometimes fully clothed - and not wake up until the afternoon when it was time to do it all over again. Then, one day everything changed, my whole world basically came crashing down when she announced one absolutely mafting afternoon in the July of 1965 that shed gone and gotten herself pregnant. WHOSE IS IT?! I bellowed. She looked confused, shrugged and just said, Its yours Johnny, whose else would it be?

Mr Spock, the women on your planet are logical, the only planet in this galaxy that can make that claim - Captain Kirk: Star Trek, The Original Series: The Elaan of Troyius

Part III

I Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest We only had three kids in the following four years but it felt like at least a hundred, possibly more. I got to name the rst one thanks to a lucky ip of the coin whose name was, and of course still is Troy, although now he prefers to go by the name Trevor. I wasnt allowed to name any more after that, coin ip or no coin ip. The second was a daughter, who Val decided should be called Gladys, (Vals middle name and her Mums rst name), and the third, another son was christened Bernard - Bernie. I did have help, I wont deny it but even that wasnt enough to keep me from going over the edge. My mum came round every day while Val was off having the time of her life - working in that hospital surrounded by all those handsome and charming doctors - and she changed their nappies and fed them. She basically did all the unpleasant stuff that I hated. Id contribute when I wasnt out practising or gigging by singing them some of the songs Id written which Troy, my rst and favourite couldnt get enough of and would laugh and clap along from inside his cot, but the other two, well, short answer is they didnt. My very presence in the room seemed to be enough to set them off screaming. There really is no worse sound than that of a baby crying. Jumbo, Wendell and the others didnt have the same problem, if only they did then I would have someone to relate to about all that I was going through. I was effectively a single parent, a state which had enough stigma associated with it back in 69 but the fact that I was a bloke and doing it all on my own made it that much worse. One afternoon, exhausted through lack of sleep and the fact Id eaten too much dinner I made my excuses to my mum and dad who happily held the fort for me while I went to meet the lads down the pub. Jumbo was still with Trish, in fact hed gone and married her just a year after Id gotten my own self wed but hed been careful/sensible and hadnt gotten her up the duffer. Wendell was playing the eld, still having not yet met his soulmate,

and why not? He was in his mid twenties and the guitarist for one of the best bands in East Yorkshire. Stuart hadnt been faring so well, nor had Kenny for that matter. That babe Nora, the one who I always wished Id copped off with in 64 instead of bloody Val had left Stuart and gone off with someone else, a drummer in a rival band, breaking his heart in the process. He spent most of his time when he wasnt on stage drinking after that. My dad had been bang on with his theory that crackers, real genuine, top-drawer stonkers could never be trusted to be faithful. I would have felt smug about taking that little piece of advice but hed also said I should nd myself a good little cook and Val, well it turned out she could barely fry an egg! Too busy working to learn I suppose. Kenny had bumped into Pauline again when wed returned to Bridlington a year previous to play a gig at The Trout And Cartwheel. She claimed she had no idea we were going to be there that night and it was just a works night out. She knew though alright. She knew. That woman was more calculating than even the most advanced calculators, which if memory serves me correctly in 1969 was the Sharp QT8-D desktop edition. So you see what I'm saying, she was bad news. They got back together and not soon afterwards split up again. Maybe it was a case of too much water under the bridge like she said, however nice it had been to relive old times. But I was sure I knew the real reason. She was still in love with me and when she realised nothing could ever happen because I had loads of bloody kids and a wife, not to mention a string of stunning concubines to keep happy she gave up and stopped shelling out for the commute. That was another reason for the split apparently. Bridlingtons not too far from Hull but it is far enough to poke a stick into the spokes of a fragile romance. Funny, she actually married Percy Entwhistle/Rocket in the end. At least thats what I heard. How do you cope with it Johnny? Wendell asked as I raised the cold pint of brown and creamy ale to my parched lips. I mean, having three kids - it must be hell on Earth. I dont know chum. I said after gulping down a couple of large swigs then wiped the foam from my lips with the back of my hand. Its weird, you just sort of do it without thinking. Kids arent rocket science but they can take up a lot of your time. Well Id have gone bonkers long before now. Stu said, lighting up another cig. Id be locked up in that Sunny Meadows - in a straight jacket, probably in one of those rubber rooms.

Sunny Meadows? I said, immediately intrigued. Whats that when its at home? Mental asylum, Stuart said, before sinking the rest of his pint and shufing past us to the bar, just behind our table. After he ordered another round he continued, resting his elbows back on the bar. Its where they put you when you ip your lid, depending on how bad it is o course. Except they dont call it an asylum - get this, they call it a retreat for the mind. They sent that bloke who lives downstairs from us, whats his name now Wends? Charlie, Charlie Copeland. Yeah thats it, old Charlie Copeland - it was after he caught his wife bonking the milkman. Tell you what, theres a job I wouldnt mind doing. From what I understand theyre at it constantly. They even ask you at the interview if youre single - keeps the punters happy. I sat there frozen with my mouth hanging agape. My pint was just inches from my lips and it was as if a time itself, at least for me had stood still. I broke into wide grin, thanks to the idea that had hit me like a bolt of lightning just a second earlier. Wendell waved a hand in front of my eyes and I remember him saying to the others that it looked like there was no one home. But of course there was. I was very much at home, except I wasnt in my house down Mizzen Road. In my minds eye I was in my own private en suite room at Sunny Meadows, wearing nothing but a dressing gown and a pair of slippers. A piping hot roast dinner on a tray on my lap while a cig lay patiently on the windowsill, waiting to be smoked as afters.

Shocks It wasnt how I thought it would be. It didnt matter, as far as I was concerned I only planned on staying a month or so anyway. Just long enough to give me a well deserved break from all that crying and constant bloody nappy changing. I arrived just after nine in the morning with a small brown suitcase in one hand and my coat draped over my arm. I looked up at the imposing, red-brick facade of the old Victorian facility. Nope, not how I imagined the place at all. A piston hissed and the engine growled as the bus pulled away behind me this was the very last stop on its route, now it would be returning to Hull and according to the timetable there wouldnt be another one until 9:30 in the am.

There was no way I was going to wait that long so there was clearly no going back at this stage. Id had to catch the bus as Val had sussed what I was up to from day one more or less. Well she suspected, there was no way she could have really known. The doctors for their part had also advised her that A: I might be putting it on after their barrage of invasive tests failed to show there was anything wrong with me (though why they needed to put a nger up my arse I do not know). Or B: I was suffering from some new type of unknown mental illness (unlikely). I pressed the buzzer on the wall that encircled the place and after a few seconds a womans voice answered to whom I gave my name and reason for being there. Ive had a nervous breakdown love. So if you could just sort me out with a room and a bit of dinner thatd be A1. There was the familiar hnnnnnggggg sound, and the large metal gates clicked open and parted in the middle. I went through then and made my way over to the entrance. A curious sensation I had at that point. I felt eyes on me but I couldnt see anyone staring. All of the windows appeared empty. After being given a clipboard and a pen to ll out in the reception area I was then asked for my case and given a white sort of smock thing to wear and a pair of white slippers too. As they took my belongings away I made sure they knew my supply of cigs and cans were in there and not to go rummaging when they hung my clothes up in my room. My en suite room with view of the grounds as Id come to imagine it. One of the large men who I later learned was named Bert, just grinned and told me with a rising intonation that oozed false sincerity, Your stuff will be safe with us mate... Little did I know at that point it would be a full year and two months before I would see any my clobber again. I took my rings off as instructed and lifted my gold chain with the guitar on it from my around neck then plopped it all into a white envelope an orderly was holding open, a bored expression being worn on his equally dull face, then another door buzzed, clicked and I was hustled through into the building proper. Far from getting my own room with en-suite bathroom, telly and stunning view of the fantastically maintained grounds I was shown into a very bleak looking shared ward where I shoved the towels Id been given into a tiny cubby hole just above the bedside cabinet. I looked around and shook my head in disgust, realising only now what Id let myself in for, but at the same time I also had to bear in mind how bad it had also been at home. Dont get me wrong, I was no monster, I didnt plan to get away permanently, just long enough for the youngest,

Bernie to grow out of his screaming phase and I knew my Mum would be around to help out until then. I tested the springiness of the bed out by placing both hands on it and jiggling it slightly. It was one of those old Victorian metal framed things that rattled whenever you so much as breathed on it. It had a thin mattress with itchy grey blankets tucked impossibly tightly underneath. There was no one else in the room which either meant I had it to myself or the action was happening elsewhere. I went out into the corridor and was immediately greeted by the sight of a man who looked around seventy running away from a pair of truncheon brandishing nurses. His gown apped open which revealed a full frontal picture of decrepit nudity the likes of which Id never seen. It made me both snigger and shudder in equal measure. I stood and watched as they ew past me, causing my own gown to utter up slightly and I enjoyed how the fresh breeze encircled my sack as they rounded a corner before walking on a bit further. I heard the sound of a radio from which the ever friendly and soothing sound of Foot Tapper by The Shadows chuntered out. One of my favourite songs. Thats more like it, I thought and jived through a set of wedged-open double doors into what looked like the communal area. There they were, my fellow residents, some painting, some rocking back and forth while mumbling on about some bullshit or other. You know the score - it was your standard mental hospital tableaux. A variety of nutcases of all ages and sexes with a diverse set of illnesses and affectations. I saw one bloke, an older guy, sitting next to the radio, staring at a crack in the wall so I went over and out of the goodness of my heart initiated a chat. What are you in for? I asked as I plonked myself down on the chair next to him. Again it was an all metal frame, this time painted brown. It was cold to the touch with a curved Formica, wood-effect back rest and seat. The screaming, he said. His bulging, blood shot eyes still looked ahead, it just wont stop... It never stops. I turned down the corners of my mouth and nodded. Same thing as me then. I shoved my hand out underneath his chin to shake. Name's Johnny Crab, leader of Johnny Pat and the... Rockpool ve. he said, turning his head slowly towards me. His strange, hypnotic eyes stared deeply into my own and he grinned at me revealing a set of rotten teeth, I know who you are sunshine.

He looked down at the hand I was still holding out but which was now visibly trembling then lifted his own wrinkled mitt and took it. It was ice cold and gripped me tightly. I winced as I heard the sound of my bones cracking. Pleased to make your acquaintance Mr Crab. Weve been expecting you. My name is Kevin Prince. A shot of cold adrenaline shot up through my spine when he said theyd been expecting me. It crossed my mind that he might be a ghost or something but then I realised where I knew him from. Hey didnt you own that club Chancers? I think we played there a few times back in 66. Thats a few years ago now though isnt it - before it mysteriously burned down and whatnot. The man shook his head and turned back to recommence staring at the crack in the wall. Ive never owned any nightclub Mr Crab. he said, the smile now fading. You must have me confused with someone else. Fair dos then, I replied, then got up and clapped my hands together. Dont suppose you know where a bloke can get some decent grub around here do you? Im bleedin famished. I didnt get a response so I tutted as loud as I possibly could and walked across the room to where there was a small group playing a game of snakes and ladders and asked them if they knew where a fellow could grab himself a bite. Meal times not till six. One of them said, who I think might have been on the turn (if you know what I mean), then he (or was it she) shook the dice in its plastic container then let go, letting it tumble across the board. Now either join in or fuck off. I took the second option and fucked off in the direction of my bed where thankfully my cigs, the only thing Id been allowed back from my luggage were waiting on my pillow. There was no lighter though so I realised I would have to go back out in search of one. Before I did so I walked over to the large, bar covered window from where there was a clear view of the grounds, the unkempt grounds. I watched as a squirrel ran up a tree and came to a stop on a branch, exactly level with my eyes. He kept one eye on me as he rotated an acorn in his tiny hands and nibbled on it at speed. Even the squirrels were better fed around here. I wanted to throttle it. I decided then that I wanted to go back home as soon as possible - however bad it had been there. Little did I know how complicated that would turn out to be.

Assessment The squawk of a crow. The hoot of an owl. The trump of a man over on a distant ward. I sat in my bed with my knees tugged up to my chest and the covers pulled up and over my face. Just my furtive eyes were showing, scanning the room for signs of danger. I had to get out of this place and I decided I would do it rst thing when the bus was next due to come past. Yes, thats what I would do, after seeing what was for breakfast of course. It turned out the dinner I eventually received wasnt half bad so naturally I was intrigued. Ok, the beef had been very, very, very dry and the mash full of powder lled lumps but it was better than anything Val had ever knocked up, and thats when she could actually be bothered to get up off her backside and cook something. So thats what Id do - I would get my stuff back, all my clothes and jewellery etc then get myself back to Hull and my old life which after Id seen this place didnt seem so very bad. The owl hooted a second time, and the shadow from the branches of the tree outside swooped across the oor as a cars amber headlights sped past on the country road beyond the perimeter walls. I needed a piss. I really needed a piss. I didnt bother getting up to go to the toilet Id been so scared that rst night in Sunny Meadows and the next day I was woken up with an enormous bulging and painful bladder by the wail of a horn, like an air-raid siren that had people rushing about back and forth in a panic. It turned out someone had escaped from the high security wing. I darted out of bed and ran down the corridor to the bogs and delighted as the urine shooshed violently out of my body and into the pan. I remember I even chuckled I was so relieved. Something funny? a voice asked from behind me. It was the curious man/ woman hybrid/asco Id met the day before, he was standing in the corner of the room watching me while I did my business. Whats it to you chumski? I said as I turned and let my gown fall back over my equipment. You better watch yourself in here, this is my ward and Im in charge - dont you forget it. Pshhh, you can ave it mate. I said, then made for the door thinking Id be gone in a couple of hours anyway - no need to worry about who was on top and who wasnt. Funny that hed identied me as a potential threat though. He must

have recognised the fact there was something very special and different about me. Was I giving off some kind of pheromone? It was certainly a possibility. It turned out that I wouldnt be going anywhere that morning as when I got back to my bed there was a couple of the male nurses waiting for me. Crab. Youre late for your appointment with Doctor Brgermann. Lets go. Whos that when hes at home? I asked. The one named Bert spoke this time. You need to have your assessment before we start treating you matey, everyone has to do it - not just you. I shrugged, sighed, shook my head then said, Lead the way then gents, bowing slightly and waving them on past. I would miss the bus back to Hull that morning but I could stand another few hours in this place. It wasnt so bad and once Id proved I was as sane as the next chump Id be well on my way, probably with a certicate of apology under my arm for how badly Id been treated. We left the wing of the building we were in and went down a long, highceilinged corridor with windows that were almost as tall. The bricks were visible on the inside walls and were painted white, much like everything else was. The paint was cracking and peeling too, just like on every surface in every room. I looked out into the yard where some of the other residents were taking some supervised fresh air and noticed a swing ball set I wouldnt mind having a go on if the opportunity presented itself. As I eyeballed it the gent who was using it caught sight of me, lowered his wooden bat to his side then dragged it across his throat before throwing his head back and laughing like well, a maniac. I stopped staring then. The one called Mick saw it happen and told me, Theyre the high risk patients, criminal masterminds and kiddy ddlers and what have you. That ones name is Derek Mainprize. Dont you worry though Crab, theyre on a different wing to you. Its unlikely youll mix much, if ever. We rounded a corner and the atmosphere changed slightly. This new part of the building felt more inviting, if only slightly, and instead of being painted white it was a mixture of brown and cream. At the end a door was ajar and as we approached it I heard a mans voice. He was talking on the telephone. Bert knocked then pushed the door open and the man at the desk gave the signal that we could enter while he wrapped up his conversation. You can leave us now boys, he said to the two overgrown goons either side of me. Ive read this ones le - Im satised hes not dangerous.

Well if youre sure Mr Brgermann. Bert said with that rising intonation again, eyeballing me up and down. The other one slapped his baton into his palm and added, Well be just outside should you need us chief. Yes yes. The man said impatiently, but in a friendly enough manner, Very good. They left then leaving just me standing there feeling very much underdressed at this point, especially in this new environment of Brgermanns cosy, wood panelled ofce, wearing as I was just my white gown, knackers dangling free underneath it all, and slippers. The Doc was about sixty I would say, give or take, and was wearing a pin striped suit with a claret coloured bow tie and half moon spectacles. He wore them perched on the end of his long thin nose. I remember thinking at the time he was the most intelligent person Id ever met - purely just going by his looks. You dont end up looking like that if youve spent half your life chasing quim around. You get like that by just reading books solidly for years and years and not caring about clothes or music. Although he was bald on top he had two shocks of untamed grey hair billowing out from both sides of his enormous and bulbous dome. He gestured for me to sit down and I did so. If you vouldnt mind closing your legs Mr Crab. Yes, yes of course. Sorry about that chief. Not problem. Now, according to the papervork I receive from Hull Royal Inrm... Ah, here it is... It says you believe yourself to be, ahem, in your own vords, the saviour of vock and voll and probably music itself. I nodded, Thats right, and whats wrong with that? We have a term for this in the psychiatric profession Mr Crab, its called, delusions of grandeur. No you dont get it mate, I said, leaning forward, Im not saying I think Im Jesus or I dunno - Einstein or anything. Im just saying the worldll be miles better off once everyone out there is listening to my stuff. Qvite. But thats not the only ng that give me concern. Leaving your ah, modest ambitions for vurld domination aside for a moment, it also says here that the physician who examined you could nd nofng vong with you, that you ver perfectly healfy and seemed veasonably coherent but you still demanded to be sent here, to Sunny Meadow. Surely you must have realised that vis place is not holiday camp and zat the only people who end up here are people with serious psychological issues. Youre right about that. I said. I mean about it not being a holiday camp. Believe me I used to work in one. The grubs appalling and the birds youve got

working here arent exactly easy on the eye if you know what I mean. Course you do youve seen em. Hu-hoo - shocking. I suppose youll be wanting to send me back home then. On the contrary Im going to do nofng of the sort. I believe your coming here voz a kind of, cry for help so to speak and that your issues are, shall vee say complex and may take us some time to get to the bottom of. Although its slightly controversial these days Im recommending you for three weeks of intensive ECT ferapy commencing tomorrow morning. The drugs should begin to have effect in about the time that nish and then vell have a somevat clearer idea about vot it is vere dealing vith. He called in Mick and Bert and I was led away again, back to the miserable ward. But, but... I said, but couldnt manage to string a coherent sentence together, so in shock was I about what was happening to me. Three weeks. Three more weeks in this God forsaken hellhole. Why is it called Sunny Meadows? I bellowed as I was dragged, against my will this time, up that same white corridor. * I wanted to do nothing but sleep. Get under my covers and shut the world out completely. Whats ECT therapy when its at home anyway? I thought. I lifted up my blanket and climbed in but then something strange happened. My legs stopped half way down. I pushed the soles of my feet against the sheets but hit a solid barrier, I couldnt get in my bed any further than half way! I looked up and my new nemesis who had been watching me in the toilet block that morning was standing there in the doorway to my ward. He was grinning. He was wearing an extra layer of make-up now, applied during my absence, it appeared hed missed his lips completely as most of the lipstick was sticking to his teeth. I suddenly realised my bed had been sabotaged. Apple pied no less. He winked and clicked his tongue while pointing his thumb and forenger at me like a pistol, mouthed the word, Pow then disappeared up the corridor, looking incredibly satised with himself.


ECT it turned out stood for Electro Convulsive Therapy, but you probably already knew that. I came round about three in the afternoon feeling very fuzzy and dry mouthed - one half of the body had gone to sleep the other half ached like hell. I swung my legs around and placed my feet in my slippers which were just next to the bed then stood up. I did this far too quickly evidently and immediately fell backwards onto the bed. I lay rigid as my legs dangled off the side and stared up at the strip lighted ceiling which began to rotate and simultaneously felt a lurch in my poor, empty stomach. I started to remember now, Id been sick several times when theyd brought me back to the ward earlier in the morning. I tried again, this time taking things more slowly. I gripped one of the iron bars on the headboard and pulled myself up. I steadied myself on the bedside cabinet with one hand as I got to my feet then, with the other grabbed my cigs from a shelf just above the bed before shufing out into the corridor. Everything had an unreal, dreamlike quality to it as I meandered past a nurse on the phone at the nurses station. She seemed to stare at me accusingly, her hate-lled piggish eyes followed me and I was convinced she was telling whoever was on the other end of the line terrible things about me. Secrets, lies, how impressive my equipment was (or not). So I carried on, I ignored her gaze and focussed straight ahead. I turned left and entered the common room and was at once assaulted by a mixture of noise and just too much action happening all at the same time. I wearily plucked a John Player Special from my crumpled pack and lit one up. I looked at the clock which hung behind a square shaped and rusted protective grill on the wall. It was nine o clock at night. I went in and parked myself on the edge of a sofa, next to the TV. What are we watching? I asked, my voice sounding a little gruff, so I cleared my throat while tapping some ash into a tray on my left. Moon landing. All fake of course, theyre in a studio or something somewhere in America. When they eventually get their act together and land, its not moon dust theyll be stepping out onto. I turned and looked at the dgety, bespectacled man who was ercely rubbing away at his crotch area, stopping occasionally to slap non existent ies on his neck. No? No, its sand, just ordinary sand painted white... Shock you did they mate? Yeah. I said. They did.

* Over the course of the next week I got used to it enough to wake up in time for dinner, so at least I didnt starve. I began to have these strange dreams. The ghostly, laughing, disembodied head of Brgermann would oat in sideways across an image of me in my kitchen, creeping up behind Val in order to goose her with a clawed hand. Shed spin around and clobber me of course like she always did, but she loved it - she did, and we would quickly melt into each others arms. Something about the way she was kissing me though. Shed start to snog me very, very hard and would furiously suck and bite at my tongue and lips then lick all around my gums. I didnt like it, not one bit so I would hold her shoulders and prize her away from me - which was no mean feat as Val had the strength of a couple of starving bears. I discovered to my horror that her head had been replaced with Brgermanns. He still had her body however and was wearing her paisley apron complete with breasts and full make-up. Youll never leave zis place! he would say with a huge grin on his face before throwing his head back and cackling like an absolute maniac. Lets kiss again! he would then bellow. Tongues and everyng! He spoke in the same accent Id heard him use in the ofce. It sounded... Could it be Russian I wondered, or perhaps German. I just couldnt place it, mainly because I hadnt met a real foreign person at this stage in my life, save a few Welsh people back in Butlins. I would usually wake up at this point, always just as the dinners were being divvied out from the trolley. After two weeks I was allowed my rst visitors which was apparently policy. Patients needed to settle in before anyone would be allowed to see them. Id been looking forward to seeing my Val again and even maybe a couple of those bloody kids I had. The outside world seemed like a distant dream now and I longed for it to be made real again. Instead of my wife I got Jumbo, Wendell, Stuart and Kenny. They all led in through the door, held open by one of the white tunic wearing nurses and Jumbo sat down, being that there was only one chair and he was the oldest - no arguments, this was the way things had always been. The others formed a crescent behind him.

Flaming Nora, you look like shite Johnny. he said. It was true. I did. I had a fortnights worth of facial hair growth, huge red bags under my eyes and I had also lost a signicant amount of weight - all this was down to the shocks and the poor diet. I was a mere wisp of the man I once was, sitting there in my gown. I knew youd ipped mate but this. Wheres Val? I asked, ignoring him, then banged my st on the table repeating, WHERE. IS. MY. VAL-ER-IE? Jumbo and Wendell looked at each other with brows furrowed, then back at me. She doesnt wanna see you Johnny. Wendell said. She thinks you faked all this so you could get away from her. I cant say I didnt have my doubts but looking at you now, well its clear that you didnt. Im sorry mate, sorry for ever doubting you. Bit late now isnt it.' I said. Listen, have any of you got a pen and a bit of paper handy? I need you to write something down. Jumbo went into the inside pocket of his leather jacket and produced and old betting slip. Then Kenny fumbled around in his own jacket and produced a small blue biro - the kind you also got at the betting shop - and passed it to him. Write this name down. Jrgen Von Brgermann. I need you to nd out as much about him as possible then report back to me as soon as you can. Got it. Anything else? A box of two hundred snouts please. I havent got the money right now but you know Im good for it. Ok, any message for Val? Nah, shes had her chance. I said with a dismissive wave. Silly cow. Just make sure you nd out everything you can about that name. I prodded the table top to emphasise. My very sanity could depend on it. We shot the breeze for ve more minutes and the lads told me theyd been doing ok for gigs, despite my incarceration. Jumbo and Wendell had taken over vocals and although it didnt sound anywhere near as good, Hulls music loving crowd were still lapping it up. We said our goodbyes and I followed the rest of the inmates back onto the ward. As I went down the corridor I saw Brgermann standing there, he claimed he was doing his rounds but I dont know, it was as if hed been waiting for me. My nurses tell me zat you give some informations of some type to zoze friends of yours. I hope youre not giving away some of my secrets about how I make you all better.

Wouldnt dream of it chief. I said and made some excuse about a game of wist I was missing out on then made for the common room. I was surprised to nd an old school friend in there, Merv Peacock - Mervin, the Mervatroid. He used to live down my street in fact. Mate! Didnt know you were in here. Johnny! He exclaimed, and immediately put his crochet to one side and shot to his feet to shake my hand. Howve you been old chum? To cut a very long story short, I said, not that great. How long have you been in here? I cant believe I havent seen you up till now. Eight months. he replied. Eight aming months - they told me it was only a bit of a breakdown but here I am and its July, Christmas seems like just ve minutes ago. Ive just nished a stint in solitary for setting re to my shoes and underwear actually. Probably why we havent run in to each other. Can I ask you a question mate? By all means. Since youve been here, have you had any - dreams? Bad ones like? He turned to me then, and although I was almost sure he wouldnt know what I was going on about replied, You mean the one where your wifes head is substituted for Dr Brgermanns and youre kissing him extremely passionately? Yes, everybody has that one Im afraid. Its by far the most common. I went cold. I felt my sack shrivel up and a wave of goose pimples spread outwards from there and prick up all across my legs, bum, arms and torso. What the hell is going on here? I said, but Chris had tuned out again. Do I know you? he said, before returning to his crochet.

August 25th, 1969. Escape Attempt I Ah - ze stars - zey are beautiful arent they? And I assure you, you will be seeing many, many more ven I restart your electro shock ferapy tomorrow. I was standing in a puddle, in some kind of Victorian sewerage system, staring up at the night sky through a grill, roughly fty feet above my head. It was an exceptionally clear evening that much was sure. Id been waiting for a full moon to make my escape for two reasons, A: Its a well known fact that people in lunatic asylums are much more of a handful to their carers, hence lunar-tic see? I

dont know what the tic bit means though. And 2: I would need at least some light to make my escape by, because as you know, we were way out on the outskirts of Hull. Brgermann appeared above me, in this dank cylinder I now found myself calling home. I felt a twinge in my downstairs area at the sound of his voice. The nice kind. The dreams had been getting more frequent and far more graphic, and worse still I was beginning to enjoy them! Val had disappeared from them completely now, her head and body. Night after night my therapist and I would make love in my marital bed and day after day I would wake up and be utterly revolted with myself. Sickened to the core of my being. Jagged red scratches and ecks of black mud covered my bare white legs. That was courtesy of the rose bushes that grew against the high outer walls of Sunny Meadows. An extra security measure. The siren blared, the same one as Id heard that rst night and a searchlight zeroed in on me just as I was about to go over the top. Then, somewhere in the distance a pack of hounds were released. They located me and yanked at my gown until I couldnt hold on any longer for fear of it ripping and exposing my full naked shame and I fell. The ve vicious Alsatians had cornered me and growled, snarled and barked, their jaws dripping with saliva until two of the security guards came holding torches to call them off. I was wrestled to the ground, cronked on the head with a truncheon and woke up, some time later in this place, this deep and dark well. That isnt the whole story though, if only it were. * The shock therapy had stopped after a while. It had to. It would have killed me otherwise and they wanted me alive, that much was clear. For what purpose, I didnt yet know. They kept everyone in line by giving them sedatives which we would always have to take under supervision before every meal. Only I didnt. I got wise to what they were doing and became an expert at storing the pills under my tongue to be retrieved as soon as Id nished my meal and would ush them down the nearest bog. Later, I even convinced myself that they were putting something in the food itself too, just to make sure. Judging by the sorry state of my friend Merv Peacock, I was willing to bet they were giving everyone a double dose. So, the full moon came and my theory that it would be busier that night turned out to be accurate. Whether the inmates had heard this old wives tale

about the moon somewhere and were subconsciously acting up to it I dont know, but the fact was that it was happening, and I took full advantage. It was easy really, the rst part anyway. All I had to do was loiter close to the nurses room, (they were well used to me doing that) then, when a ght broke out in the common room - thanks to some well crafted rumors Id planted in the ears of a select few inmates - they all ran out. I simply stuck my leg out and wedged my slipper in the door before it closed and slid inside. I made sure to close the blinds and stayed as calm as possible while I ried through pockets, handbags and drawers. It paid off. I found a set of keys on a fob marked SM, hid them in my sleeve then quickly got out of there before they came back. I made it just in time. A group of them were laughing and joking about how hard they had clobbered a pair of patients, men I knew well - Dave Copeland and Alec Pierce and remarked how they wouldnt be getting out of bed for a while thanks to a shattered kneecap apiece. They all led back into the staff room and resumed with their cups of tea and cigs. When the coast was clear I walked over to the far side of the ward and when I got there met my new nemesis whose name Id learned during the past month was Richard, Dick Feathers. Going somewhere Crab? he asked as I turned into the corridor, the one at the end of which was the door leading to Brgermanns ofce and beyond that, delicious freedom. No but you are, I said. I couldnt think of anything good to say fast enough and what came out was, to punch-in-the-faceville if you dont get out my sodding way. Oh I dont think so. It said, and nodded at something over my shoulder. I suddenly felt heavy breath on my neck which smelled of... Was it onions? And turned around to nd his much larger pal and abominable sidekick, Herb Crusher Henderson looming over me. The next second I felt my feet leave the ground and the pain, being so acute took another second to register. Hed lifted me clean off the oor by my hair. My legs cycled hopelessly nding no solid ground beneath while Dick Feathers giggled and clapped, leaping from side to side in front of me as he reveled in the spectacle. I knew there wouldnt be another chance as good as this one to escape so I took a deep breath, drew my st back and socked Herb in the stomach as hard as I possibly could. The wind was knocked so completely out of him he let go of me and I fell to the oor. The smile disappeared from Dicks face now alright as he saw Herb was in no condition to get up and defend him. I got up off my knees. I charged at him and rammed him into the wall, a good loud crack sounded as his head made contact with the white bricks. He went out cold.

I bolted for the door, delighted at my luck that the rst key I tried in the lock was the correct one. I took a last look behind me, seeing that both Herb and Dick Feathers had disappeared, leaving a thin trail of blood behind them. I closed the door and locked it from the other side before running down another corridor, the brown one with Brgermanns ofce at the end. I knew it well now thanks to my weekly session with him which oddly I only ever remembered the rst ten minutes of. I had noted that his window was the only one in the building unprotected by bars and looked out onto the gardens of the facility - this was the fastest way to the main road where the plan was, as soon as Id jumped the fence, to ag down a passing car. The siren went off as I entered and I knew I didnt have long so I lifted up the wooden frame which got stuck a quarter of the way up, it seemed my luck had run out. There was no way I would get through the gap so I looked around the ofce for something I could use to prize it open. The replace. I ran over to grab one of the pokers that were lying in a metal bucket and as I passed the desk I knocked something to the oor, a gold pocket watch, one of those that are attached to a chain. Id never noticed it before but it seemed somehow familiar to me anyway. I picked it up and felt a strange sensation as I turned the cold object over in my hand. I was randy. Images of me kissing Brgermann with concentrated gusto ashed through my minds eye but this time we were here, in this very ofce. Then, I saw it, on the back of the watch was a tiny swastika. Underneath that were engraved the words: Heil Hitler I heard some commotion coming from outside, just a little way up the corridor and so pushed up an chair against the door of the ofce, wedging it under the handle. I put the pocket watch back and carried the poker to the window - I exhaled with relief as this time it opened. You know the rest, I got caught, simple as - and now I was paying for it by being held in this bleak pit in solitary connement. I expect zat you are missing your frulein more zen ever now arent you Mr Crab. In fact I am villing to vager you do not even remember your vifes face anymore, ah ha, ah hahahahahahaha.

Arent you ashamed of yourself Brgermann? I shouted, Youre playing up to every Nazi stereotype in the book. Silence. Thats right. I know about the pocket watch and I know you were once a bloody member of the aming Nazi party. What I still dont understand is how youre getting inside my dreams, or should that be my nightmares. Oh, my dear it is not complicate. You just need the correct, how shall I say... Persvasion. Persuasion - that was it! He was using the watch to hypnotise all the patients, get off with them, and not only that but invade their subconscious as well; substituting himself for their wives - our wives - in our dreams. Very clever indeed. Why are you doing this? I screamed, my voice echoing off the inside walls of the red brick cylinder. Adoraaaation of course! he answered, Isn't that vot vee all secretly desire? Vee are not so very different you and I. Maybe, I said, but youre missing the point chief. You see you dont get people to like you by being a massive arsehole. You do it by being brilliant at something, for instance like being able to write great pop songs or sing incredibly well. And ver has that gotten you hmmm? I sink I know whos vinning here. I heard a rumbling which was distant at rst but little by little began to grow and swell. The sound of crashing and swishing water complemented by a deep and ominous gurgle. An acrid smell of urine mixed with days old poo assaulted my senses suddenly. I tried to climb the wall but it was useless as there was nothing of substance to hold on to, just green and brown slime. The torrent gushed in. Within minutes I was chest deep in the thick broth, it coated me in a yellow and brown foamy something as it eventually subsided and disappeared down a drain beneath my feet. Shit.

Life On The High Security Wing

After my botched escape attempt and three days in solitary - where I was regularly bombarded by wave after wave of sewage coming from Lord knows where - I was moved to the high security section of Sunny Meadows. Id been due a visit from the lads but now of course that was out of the question. I had been deemed a high risk patient due to the fact Id knocked the wind out of old Herb Henderson who incidentally had been the one to inform the nurses of my attempt to escape. Brgermanns seniority and no doubt bogus (but nonetheless impressive qualications - Id seen them framed, plastered all over his ofce wall had been enough for the judge to sign the order to keep me locked up on a more or less permanent basis. What had I done. What had I done. One good thing to come out of all this was that Id nally got my original wish and received my own private room. Unfortunately this one had no window for a view and nor did it contain a wireless, never mind a telly. It was sparse to say the least, Id say it was more of a cell than a room, (well, it did have bars) but it was mine. I wasnt allowed fags anymore which further cranked up the mental pressure and the dreams had been getting steadily worse, something I had not even thought possible, even after just a month of them. Like many psychiatric patients tend do I had fallen deeply in love with my therapist. The only difference here was that mine was a aming bloke and not only that but he was also an ex-member of the bleeding Nazi party! The standard tableaux had increased in complexity and imagination, graduating from the standard kitchen and the bedroom scenarios to the tops of mountains where I would take on the role of a brutish lumberjack husband and he of a sexy German milk maiden. The seeds of these nightmares were sewn in our weekly sessions in his ofce. Now I had grown wise to the fact I was being brought in there in order to be hypnotised I would have to be held down by Bert and Mick, my head kept stationary by Mick and my eyes prized open with Berts big sausage ngers. The timepiece swung from side to side in front of my eyes, and within seconds I would go all oppy and slump back into the chair, the boys would have no need to restrain me then, I was deep under Brgermanns evil spell. Ive never been able to remember much of what happened after that but have recently undergone several hypnotherapy sessions, this time with a reputable professional, to try and discover what went on in those months I resided in Sunny Meadows, partly in order to help me write this thing. The irony Im sure is not lost

on you. Hypnosis to remember hypnosis, it might be strange but it also happens to be true. Bert and Mick were always ordered to leave the room at the point Id given in to the power of the timepiece which Im thankful for given what would always happen next. To this day Im not sure exactly how much they knew about what was really going on in that hospital. Perhaps they were just drones following orders, never questioning the authority of a man who for all intents and purposes looked as authentic as they come, at least back in 69 slash 70. He certainly acted how your standard caricature of a psychiatrist should. He had the mad hair, the accent, the qualications as previously mentioned. I would always return to the ward with a case of sore, cracked lips and amnesia. Little did I know it back then but Id spent the last twenty minutes to half an hour kissing another man, sometimes quite ferociously. I battled with my emotions daily as I fought against my inexplicable feelings for Brgermann, knowing I should hate him for what he was doing to me. I tried to recall what my old life had been like, but the past had become no more than an opaque, half-remembered dream compared to my present, a nightmare in sharp, all too real focus. I was electrically shocked once a week, a dosage which was enough to keep me docile enough to handle but not severe enough to do me any serious damage. I started to notice the cracked, dry mouths of the other patients too, that was on the rare occasions I came into contact with them, usually out in the yard on exercise day. Some fared better than others and their lips had been able to withstand the hypnotherapy sessions, simply sporting a sore looking red patch around the chin and upper lip when they were returned to their cell, but there was one thing we all had in common, that being the dreams. Sometimes, late at night, when there was only a skeleton staff in the building Brgermann would speak to us over the hospital address system and hed remind everyone to brush their teeth and wish them goodnight, after which I would usually hear the sound of men in other cells - relieving themselves, an odd mixture of dulcet weeping and pleasurable groans. I resisted when I could, I fought it - honestly I did but sometimes it was too much and I simply had to give in, such was the power of the watch.

Escape Attempt II, 23rd of February, 1970

One night, after dinner - the plat du jour, alphabetti spaghetti + cup of strong tea - I heard the sound of footsteps clipping down the corridor, two pairs of. This was unusual because the trays had already been collected back in and we were not due another inspection until eight thirty, and it was now only ten past seven. I put my copy of The Eagle down and went to have a look through the bars, noticing out of the corner of my eye a pair of men heading straight for my cell. This ones name is Crab. It was the dreaded Bert speaking to another, new member of staff as if I wasnt even there. What just Crab like the crustacean? the stranger said. To you, yeah. Hes delusional and has these violent tendencies, especially towards the other patients. Id watch out for him if I were you. The new fellow nodded. He was odd looking man with thick rimmed, jam jar glasses, long red hair and a long and somewhat bushy black beard. There was something about his eyes however. Something - special I remember thinking. They moved on to the next cell and it became clear from how they were talking that the new nurse, Micky Sexplease the name on the ID card clipped to his shirt said, was going to be joining him for the night shift. As they went further up the corridor I could no longer hear them and was just about to go back to my comic when I noticed a small piece of folded paper on the oor. I crouched then stretched and extended my arm as far as I could until the tip of my middle nger came into contact with it. I just managed to ick it back towards me. I noted I was being watched, by the beady eyes of Derek Mainprize, a convicted deviant of some description, from the cell opposite. I brought my nger to my lips and went, Shhhhhhhhh. And to make sure he would hold his silence I delved under my mattress and pulled out a cig. With a quick ick of the wrist I tossed it into over to him. He snatched it from the oor then held it in both hands, nodding at me before disappearing backwards into the blackness of his cell. I took the paper to the back of my own cell and unfolded it, Cubicle 4; Cistern it simply said. The note wanted me to go to the toilet. Or did it? Could it be that it was just dropped there by accident. It could simply be a note to remind one of the nurses to tell the caretaker that the toilet was bust and needed xing. Or could it be this strange fellow wanted to meet me in there for some kind of illicit rendezvous? Maybe that was the reason for the mischievous twinkle in his eye.

Despite not needing the bog I felt like a walk and there would be no harm in checking it out, even if it turned out to be fruitless. If it turned out that the young man wanted something I wasnt prepared to give him Id let him down gently - no harm done. I grabbed my plastic cup and started banging it between the bars as I always did when I felt an emergency situation coming on, and the response came promptly. They knew from experience what my occasional after-dinner urges meant and didnt want to be clearing anything up any more than I wanted a big pile of my own feacal matter in the corner of my cell. Bert and the new bloke arrived seconds later, Bert jangling his giant set of keys. I dunno whats going on. I said, I barely touched my dinn - not that I didnt appreciate the gormet treat that it was. Think I might have a touch of the trots you know. Bert shook his head and grabbed me by the elbow, leading me out of the cell. Youre a right fucking nuisance you are. he said. The Cistern, I thought as I walked inside and located cubicle four by counting from the left, I then locked it behind me, lifted up the porcelain lid covering the ballcock and supply of ush water, and well, there was no water in there as the ballcock and other bits and pieces had been completely removed. What I did nd however was a large squishy package wrapped in brown paper that took up almost the entire space. I pulled it out. It had to be meant for me but how was I going to get it past Bert? It was far too big. Right on cue I heard the phone ringing in the ward ofce which was just next door. I heard Bert telling this Micky Sexplease character that he would get it and smiled to myself. I slid sideways out of the bogs, holding the package in front of me and the stranger nodded at me while putting a hand on my shoulder before leading me back to the cell. I nodded back and heard Bert shouting through that it had been just kids playing a joke. Apparently the youths on the end of the phone had been singing and playing some sort of song or other. They werent half bad though. He remarked. Just as he reappeared at the head of the corridor again, asking if everything was ok, the cell door was locked behind me and I took the package inside. The new guy shouted back, Fine, no problem at all. Then went back to his station without so much as a glance back at me. I eagerly tore the paper off and inside found various, most interesting items. I unrolled a pair of trousers, jeans actually - which confused me slightly as Id never

seen a pair quite like them before. Luckily there was a note of explanation pinned to one of the legs.

Johnny, these are whats known as ares they will seem strange at rst but put them on anyway. All will become clear.

I did as instructed and yanked them on. It felt good to be wearing trousers again, even these strange ares which were actually incredibly tight around the crotch. The next thing I discovered nestled in there was a tin of Jubilee Stout (Super strength). I cracked it open and took a long and glorious swig. Nectar. Next, a shirt. Again I found it was far too tight and I could only button it up to just past my belly button which left my hairy chest, including my cold and erect nipples, very much exposed. The collars mirrored the bottoms of the trousers by jutting out far beyond where they ought to and I wondered whether someone was having some sort of sick joke with me. I took another swig which loosened me up just that bit more before pulling out the last two items. The rst was a large, gold plated medallion and the second a pair of cream brogues with chunky Cuban heels. I slung it all on, polished off the rest of my can and then waited, beer buzzed and ready. What for - I did not yet know. Looking goooood. This Doctor Sexplease said as he entered my cell, some two hours later. Who are you mate? I asked. And wheres the other one? He removed his glasses then and pulled down his beard under his chin, giving a waggle of his - also fake - eyebrows. Jumbo! I cried. Sorry we took so long mate. Ill explain everything I promise but we need to get moving - Berts on his cig break and hell be back any minute. Right you are. Just a quick question - whats with the name - Sexplease? Well I was gonna go with an anagram of Jumbo Grebbins but I couldnt come up with anything I really liked then the name Micky Sexplease just sort of popped into my bonce. Simple as that really. I see, and just one more question; (sigh) - whats with all these weird, crap clothes when theyre at home? They dont even t. Youve been in here over a year Johnny, its the seventies now. Fashion, unbelievable as it seems to you, has changed a lot. I suppose we havent noticed it

so much being part of the outside world but you, the only people you've been in contact with are the men in white coats. I nodded, Of course! And Brgermann, the only one who doesnt wear a white coat - well what that arsehole knows about fashion you could write on the back of a stamp. Correct. Now, there should be a handlebar moustache in the back pocket of those jeans. You should put it on - thats it, clip it onto that bit of skin in between your nostrils - and hopefully no one will recognise you - itll also help you blend in to the new decade. And here, a spare white coat I found in the stores, we can pretend youre a visiting doctor or something. Good thinking. Shall we? Lets. We rushed out of the cell block then out across the courtyard, then, as we saw a couple of orderlies passing, pushing caged-trollies lled with dirty bedding we hid behind a wall and caught our breath. That doctor of yours, turns out hes. A Nazi? I said with a raised eyebrow, not giving Jumbo the chance to nish his sentence. How did you..? Call it a hunch my friend how did you nd out? Well, at rst the lads were reluctant to pursue the name youd given us, given that we all thought youd gone, yknow, a bit doo-lally and all, but then, when we were told we couldnt see you anymore cos youd become violent and attacked another patient, well thats when my suspicions were raised. Johnny wouldnt do that, I said, no way. I turned down the corners of my mouth, tipped my head and said, Well before continuing, So what did you do? Remember our friend Rex Thundercliffe from back in Brid? Of course! Thundercliffe. You got him to help you? Goddit in one. Didnt even charge me for his services, reckoned he owed you for giving him his rst job - his big break. Makes sense - And? Well it took him a while but get this. Turns out Jrgen Von Brgermann is just one of several aliases used by a Mr Fritz Bachmann - wanted on three continents for war crimes. It took some digging on Rexs part but eventually he discovered Fritz Bachmann had been none other than Heinrich Himmlers personal hypnotist! Bloody hell.

Thats not the worst of it Johnny, not by a long chalk... When it became clear to the Germans that the war was coming to an end and Berlin would fall to the allies, Bachmann was dispatched by Himmler to the French countryside and given instructions to carry out a mass hypnosis session on a bunch of RAF prisoners before their imminent release. None of the them would remember what happened that fateful day but there was one man who did. His name was Flight Lieutenant Wilf Marsden. Hed gone deaf thanks to his engine exploding behind him as he parachuted out of his bullet riddled bomber. As a result of all this he was not only immune to the, in Himmlers own words, Extraordinarily persuasive voice of Bachmann but was also obscured from seeing what he described as his special hypno-watch by a supporting beam. And what did he say happened? Jumbo looked at the oor like he couldnt quite bring himself to say what it was he had to, but then xed his eyes back on mine, gulped and continued. Bachmann ordered them all to get off with each other, in one mass kissing session designed to humiliate them after theyd returned to their wives. They had photographers walk around documenting the event, I mean imagine it ash bulbs popping off in a dark, abandoned church as they groped and snogged each other in shaggy and torn uniforms, bringing shame to our country and cheapening the victory which was now within our sights. The plan was to send the photos back to the English press as soon as the war was over. Hitlers nal two ngers to the allied forces if you will. Luckily they were intercepted and destroyed by our very own MI5 before they hit our shores, never to see the light of day again. Bachmann was singled out for blame for not getting the photographs through enemy lines, a harsh and unforgettable punishment by all accounts - and vowed he would somehow, one day take his revenge on all British men. Blimey, how did Rex nd out about all this? Well, he had to do a lot of digging in the archives of Brid library but eventually he found an interview from 1948 with Marsden in Time magazine. It was only a short piece and nobody took any real notice at the time. Those commentators who did read it called Marsden a fantasist and a pervert but I dunno, to me it just seemed too strange a story not to be true. Johnny, he didnt try anything like that with you did he? It was my turn to look down at the oor now and I kicked at the gravel sheepishly with the tip of my new brogue, ngers wedged in the tight pockets of my new ares.

My God. You cant tell anyone about this. I said, grabbing his ower patterned shirt and held a nger up to his face. His own medallion felt cold to the touch as I brushed my hand against it. Not Wendell, not my parents, not anyone o.k? You have my word. Jumbo said. Youve been through enough old chum. Now, the lads are waiting for us in the van outside, all we have to do is nip over that wall and were home free. No can do chumski. What are you talking about you daft beggar. Theyll be looking for us by now weve godda go. At that moment the alarm started blaring and searchlights began sweeping around the grounds. I shouted to him over the din, We need to nd evidence thatll put Bachmann behind bars where he belongs and that means going back in there. I suppose Ive come this far. Im in but youll need to lead the way. We ducked under a spotlight that swept along the wall then expertly evaded another two in the yard before coming upon a pair of doors - the deliveries entrance. In here. I smoothed down my fake tash as we walked past a couple of security guards being pulled along by a pack of frothy mouthed Alsatians and Jumbo partially covered his face with one hand. I think I saw them go that way. I said, gesturing behind us. Good looking lads they were too. Jumbo added, Shame really. One of them tipped his hat and they left through the doors wed just entered. Right, I said, Its through here. We entered the kitchens through one door and exited through another into the common room which sat dark and empty. Just the TV lit up an abandoned corner with its fuzzy screen. The last one there had forgotten to switch it off before going to bed - an offence which carried a harsh punishment Id discovered quite early on during my stay - no pudding for two weeks. We went through there and into my old ward which also now seemed eerily quiet. I considered that some of the staff might have been pulled off there to join the search for me and Jumbo, but just as the thought occurred to me a nurse

came round the corner carrying a tray holding tens of small plastic pots lled with pills. Can I help you? She asked. I looked at Jumbo who just shrugged, Nope, just looking for the way out love. Dont suppose you know where it is do you? But of course Doctor, its just down there, by the stairs and to the right you cant miss it. I grinned and said thanks, resisting an overwhelming temptation to goose her ample backside, brought about I assumed by the tin of ale Id necked back in the cell. We made our way over and then went through another set of doors and now we were in that familiar corridor again. I began to feel incredibly nauseous as my legs buckled underneath me. You ok chum? Jumbo said, as I steadied myself on a radiator. Im ne, its just Nothing. Its the one at the end of the corridor. We need to hurry. He helped me to my feet and we entered his ofce, Bachmanns ofce and Jumbo went over to the lamp in the corner, pulled the cord and it lit up the room. What are we looking for? The middle drawer I think thats where he keeps it. Its stuck. Hang on, my ick knife should do the trick Bingo. We were both standing behind the large mahogany desk now and I held the offending object up by its chain. This is what gives him his power, without it hes nothing a nobody, Mr Average. I stuffed it in my pocket. Quick, theres probably a lever or something that turns that bookcase around, it should lead us to some sort of a secret room. Lets nd it. Give over Johnny, lets just go through this window and then get the hell out of here. Of course. Of course. Youre right - I got a bit over excited then - lead the way chum. We clambered through, this time it opened easily - must have been xed I noted. We darted across the grass in front of the building and this time, instead of turning left we made a right. The reason was that we saw the van, another new van (a Ford Transit no less) had pulled up just outside the front gates. Its headlights illuminated the light rain that had started to fritter down. I almost didnt

recognise him with his huge afro, mustard coloured, skin-tight turtle neck and shades but Wendell was working hard with a pair of bolt cutters on the padlock and chain. He would have it off in seconds and then we would surely be free. I heard a familiar voice behind me. Dont look Johnny, I told myself as we ran but I just couldnt resist a little peek, one last little peek. I turned my head. Jumbo sprinted on ahead not realising what was happening, and that I was slowing down - stopping, gripped by desire, seized by fear, in deep thrall to my most basic of instincts. It was Bachmann, dressed in lederhosen and red stockings and suspenders with a frilly, white, low cut top and blonde wig. A klaxon blared (inside my head) and my eyes popped out on stalks at the sight of him. I slowed, stopped, turned around and then began, zombie-like towards him. Johnny, what the hell are you doing? Jumbo was now on the other side of the gate, the one which Wendell had just broken the lock on. He wanted to come back for me, I knew it because I knew him, I could see it in his eyes. But hed also noticed a group of security guards which were closing in behind the doctor, which made a rescue attempt far too risky. All of them were outside the van now, Kenny in a three quarter length leather jacket, handlebar tash, long hair and huge aviators and Stuart, who happened to be dressed in a similar way to me - shirt open at the belt, medallion - it was a good look - I had now decided. They jumped up and down and shouted for me to come back to them. The gates were now wide open, but I couldnt. I was locked in to the voice of Bachmann now. He was in control, not me. Come to me my love. he said, his arms outstretched. Viff me is ver you belong. The security guards looked on, disgusted at the sight of Bachmann dressed the way he was and stopped just yards away, utterly dumbfound by the strange spectacle taking place before them. The lads voices began to fade and as I stared at my doctor of fourteen months, the grimness of the hospital grounds were replaced by lush rolling elds covered with a blanket of fragrant edelweiss. There was a large wicker picnic basket. I peered inside and, I cant remember exactly what it contained but for its modern equivalent just think luxury platters of smoked cold cuts (Marks and Spencers), luxury hand-cooked crisps (also M&S) plus a miniature bottle of

Jacobs Creek wine each, all served with the nest proper crockery, proper wine glasses and proper knives and forks. Somewhere an accordion played and then - a divine light burst forth behind Bachmann. He looked, to me anyway celestial. Give me the pocket votch. he said. Frow it to me and I vill make all your dreams and sex fantasies come true. I pulled the object out of my jeans where I had it stashed and held it in my hand before looking up at Bachmann again. He was radiant, he was sexy, he was he was... ...About to be clobbered over the head by Merv Peacock who was creeping up behind him carrying a spade. Cronnnngggggggg. The hallucination of a blissful day out in the Austrian Alps ended just like that. I was now back in the yard again and evil war criminal Fritz Bachmann was lying on the oor, half unconscious, and for all I knew half dead. Go on now Johnny. he said while brandishing the metal handle, one foot on the groaning Bachmanns chest. He was smiling at me, Go - and spread the word about what this place is like. How crap it is and that. The voices of my friends now faded back in and I nodded at my friend Mervin Peacock as he was grappled and wrestled to the ground by a group of nurses, then, I span around to face my band. The dogs were released from their leads but with my new found purpose and determination I was too fast for them. Come on Johnny, come on you can make it! Youre the best! Youre amazing! Incredible. My band yelled. Kenny started the engine. He pulled away just as I made a dive for it. Jumbo caught me and pulled me inside just as one of the dogs arched through the air and tore the backside off my new ares. I twisted around, kicked it really hard in the face and then, I was free.


Present Day, 6:45pm

I woke up to the sound of an ice-cream van somewhere in the distance, its forlorn howl being carried on the wind. I was not in my bed but lying on the carpet in the living room. As I opened my eyes the skin on the side of my face seemed stiff. I pressed my hand to it and found it felt dry and akey. I picked a tiny bit off and discovered it was dark red in colour. Blood? I used the coffee table to help me up and as I did so went through a quick run through of the events that had led to my current state of apparent bodily ruin. I remembered the doorbell ringing, I remembered that - but who was it? I went to the bathroom to have a look at myself and thought about it some more. There was a cut running from my eye down to the side of my mouth. It wasnt too deep, I knew it wouldnt need stitches so I gave it a bit of a clean then put a huge square plaster over it from the rst aid box in the bathroom cabinet. Mert. It had been Mert and the other two men whod come out of that at that day on Newland Avenue, standing on my doorstep, demanding to know what I knew. I knew nothing of course and told them as much but they forced their way in and made me watch as they swaggered around with baseball bats, smashing up my tv, my beloved Freeview, my record player, all my trophies and awards, my various objets dart. My heart was racing as I sat there in my armchair, not because I feared for my possessions, not because I feared for myself but because I feared for Shirley. I needed to get to her, to warn her about the apparent unholy mess shed gotten herself into - got me into. I had tried to get to my feet but was stopped by Mert himself. He poked his bat into my chest and forced me back onto the carpet. That was the last thing I remembered. That and an explosion of pain coursing through my entire body. I pulled up outside Shirleys and felt another sharp twinge as I got out of the car, a broken rib perhaps - but I didnt care, there were more pressing matters at hand.

I found the front door ajar which set alarm bells ringing straight away. I grabbed a rock from the front garden and with due caution, stepped inside. I made my way down the hallway and into the living room from where I heard several voices. Johnny! Shirley said, This is DCI Mallinson and Detective Inspector... Fleetwood. ...Detective Fleetwood, theyre here about Mert - hes gone missing. We found one of his associates at the local tip, parts of him anyway, in various cardboard boxes. We need to locate this Mert as hes calling himself as soon as possible and bring him in for questioning. It was then that I remembered my notebook. The one that I record my bets in. I patted down my pockets and found it in the back of my jeans. I had written the reg number of the car down they had gotten into. I tossed it over. Would that be of any help ofcers? Why, yes - good work, how did you..? Long story chief. Listen, Shirley. I thought Id lost you - I thought the worst had happened. Im ok Johnny. Im... Im ne. I wanted to tell you I... You, what? I love... You love..? I love... What youve done with the place. New wallpaper? Oh... Thanks. Its old, but thanks. Not a problem. I also love those biscuits you fed me last time I was here. Wouldnt mind getting the recipe actually. I looked at the two ofcers who were now shifting uncomfortably in their seats. So - what do you say baby? Are you coming? I held my hand out and without any hesitation she put down her Blue Riband chocolate biscuit and took it. Actually Mr Crab, before you go we need you to accompany us down to the station, theres just a few more questions we need to ask. Itll have to wait. I said, Now, if youll excuse us ofcers, theres some business that myself and Shirley need to attend to in the bedroom. Rinse those cups and make sure the doors shut on the way out will you - sometimes it sticks. This is - outrageous. the one called Fleetwood said, rising to his feet. You cant...

Oh I cant cant I? I picked Shirley up. Again the pain struck but I bravely paid no heed. She threw her arms around my neck and kissed me on the side of my face, right on the big plaster. I put her down again as we entered the hallway because she was really, really heavy, then I looked down at her. Shall we? I asked. I would be deeply honoured. she replied.

Well, thats it folks, hope you enjoyed the ride. For those of you who are interested, this is a preliminary tracklist Ive been working on from my new greatest hits album. Im hoping to bring it out next Autumn but as council funding is fairly scarce at the moment it might be a while longer before you can get hold of it. You might recognise a few of the titles from my memoirs (if youve been paying attention):

Side A: I saw you kissing him on the back of the bus (1976) Your dog ate my cigs (2003) Sexwaves (1966) Love is just a honkytonk emotion (1959) Shes hot like the wind (1989) Side B: Greggs Girl (Hot Loaf Love) (2011) You stole one of my chips I stole one of your kisses(1957) Yo Yo Knickers (1985) F.U.T.U.R.E.S.E.X(radio edit) (2012) I never said I love you (2012)

About The Author: Andrew Brady

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