Monday, 15 August 2011

A Little Bit of History Repeating (Part II)

Springtime in Hampshire.

A tiny glimpse of sunshine, and a chance to dry out my karate shoes.
Mum said I couldn't have tukka boots because they were too expensive.
Everyone I knew had tukka boots.
My decision to rebel lay solely at my mother's door.

With the teenage yearning to fuck anything that moved, in a small town where the village-green offered little opportunity, and after the coldest winter 'on record', I was left with the ability to do nothing more than watch the recently created TVS, whilst dreaming of MTV and the girls out of the Human League.
To me it was still the same old shit.
Pipkins, irregular Schools Progammes and Fred Dineage.
All that had changed was the livery, and the 'greed-is-good' mindset of its owners.
Unemployment had hit a post war all-time high, and the Saatchi-Tory claim that 'Labour Isn't Working' appeared to be coming back to haunt them.

A philosopher once said: "Man does not normally wish to fight.
If you want a man to fight, make him feel he is under attack"

And somewhere in the South Atlantic, a scrap metal dealer was bringing out the man in Margaret Thatcher.

Yateley. St.Peter's Churchyard. March. 1982.

I understood Paul's rejection of me as a friend.
With me only home from boarding school during the holidays, our relationship was strained.
He had other friends around him, and I was becoming increasingly more 'strange'.
It was Paul's dad that told him to be wary of me.
With my badly applied make-up, my flasher's coat and girls' school cardigan, I didn't really fit in.
And if I was honest, this was exactly what I wanted.

Bizarrely, the older kids from the village-green didn't have a problem.
They knew I was weird, but they liked nothing more than interrogating me on subjects such as 'life in a dormitory of 20 boys', over an illegal Pernod & black in the Dog & Partridge pub.

Paul didn't come to the pub.
A year younger than me, Paul was yet to get the awkward bum-fluff and forced chin-stubble that I had developed.
With cheap foundation stolen from my sister, and a red greasepaint stick, stolen from backstage-drama, acting as a substitute for blusher, I hoped I would resemble Philip Oakey.
Later in the year Don't You Want Me would become my lament for Paul.

And mum & dad seemed particularly agitated today.

Home from work early, dad depressed the silver cylindrical button at the top of the TV.
The picture rolled and switched from Fred Dineage to Richard Baker;
and as if fulfilling my parents' week-long prophecies out of spite for my holidays, we were informed by the voice of Mary, Mungo & Midge, that we were at war.

Why would Argentina invade a Scottish island?
Who is Lord Carrington?
What the fuck does this have to do with me anyway?
How old is Richard Baker now?
Are you wearing eyeliner?
What are you? A poof?!?

Questions bounced off the artexed ceiling.
A family united in turmoil, embroiled in a battle several thousand miles away.
Mum said 3 Para were already on stand-by.
Dad said 2 Para were better equipped.
I told them that Andy from school's dad was already in Scotland.

"It'll mean more overtime" said mum.
"It'll mean less overtime" said dad.
I didn't care, but I didn't say anything.
"Go and wash your face" said mum.

The churchyard was one person short of the usual habitue'.
Zoe explained that Paul no longer wanted to be mates.
Adam & Jason giggled and said something about pillows.
I lit a crumpled JPS that I found in my overcoat lining, and spat amongst spit, hitting the flagstones littered with butts and Juicy Fruit gum.
I felt nervous, embarassed and flushed.
One by one they walked away.
Zoe stayed, and I asked her what she thought about the Falklands.
"Dunno" she said, grabbing my cardigan and ramming her tongue down my throat.

I walked home alone, hoping the breeze would rid me of the smell of cheap cigarettes and teenage fumbling.
One of the older kids shouted 'homo' and then farted loudly.
His friends, too young to be jobless, but angry, and too pissed to care, grunted in appreciation.

The lights were quickly switched off on my arrival.
I turned on the telly and listened to Fred Dineage bid "a goodnight from all at TVS".
I scrubbed at the greasepaint with Imperial Leather, irritating spots I never knew I had.
I went to bed and dreamt about Zoe.

By the end of 1982, nearly a thousand lives were lost in the Falklands conflict, and many more suffered horrific injuries.
Margaret Thatcher was lauded by the tabloids as the greatest home premier since Churchill.
Ignoring the race-riots of a year earlier, she set about creating a police-state, and systematically destroyed the British mining industry.
Less than 25 miles from Yateley, 30,000 women set up a peace-camp at Greenham Common.
It was to last for nearly 20 years.

I swapped 'homo' for 'pinko', Human League for The Smiths, and make-up for a flat-top haircut.
Mum & dad were both made redundant.
And I never saw Paul or Zoe again.

I was a teenage new romantic
We wore make-up
I had spots
It was shit

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