I didn’t get to do much when I was a young’un. I was brought up in a fairly dodgy area, surrounded by neighbours with pervy eyeballing movements and the odd Polish person. People would sometimes hang about after dark and try to steal cars (often failing quite miserably), and there was an old couple a few doors down that persisted in calling me Bartley. My parents never dared to be so rude as to correct them.
I was never allowed to go outside on my own until I was about 10. My poor mother lived in fear of me heading down to the park, sniffing some pritt stick and pretending to get all “high” and stuff. Either that or manically fingering some slightly older but downright skanky, chip-pan faced sod-for-brains girl behind the bushes. With her Puma popper trackie bottoms and shouting racist but still awkwardly irrelevant words at passing cars and getting “well pissed” on a J20.
I never done none of that fun stuff. At 12 I was an ugly, disgustingly fat kid who for some strange reason shaved my bonce off completely, thought Korn were the shizznit and had a rack of teeth strikingly similar to a handful of broken hula hoops (that was until I got the black coloured braces due to me being such a devoted “grunger”, oh what a social statement to make in those days).
I was never naughty at junior school, and if I got told off I’d probably cry for an hour and try forcing a little wee out into my pants. I’d never go playing on the railway tracks or anything. Hell, I practically pooed myself one time when I went to the newsagents to buy some matches at the age of 11.
What I’m basically saying then, is that I was a right massive shameful pussy… and I pretty much still am, albeit taller, skinner and with slightly better teeth. But at least I’m honest about it.
Yet when I occasionally stagger my way out of these four walls covered in my own dried faeces, I often stumble upon a few people from my secondary school years (which was notably an all boys school and certainly prolonged my entry in to the sexually active world by about, hmm… two years? …and I’m still feeling the effects).
So when I gradually move forward to make conversation with some of these people – once some form of intoxication has taken place of course, I only really talk to about nine people when I’m sober – I’m fully expecting a little frilly, high-pitched girl’s voice to pop right on out of their face traps, just like how I remember from the olden times. I start hoping that they’ll jabber on about some HIGHLARIOUS Warhammer nonsense, or how awesome Papa Roach are, or boasting about how many wanks they managed in one day, just to give me some kind of excuse to subtly take the Mitchell without them coming to any kind of realisation… and resulting in nobody getting upset or hurt.*
But what do I get instead? I’m stopped in my tracks with a deep, gravelly voice, words chopped apart and forced out into the open with an angry, turbulent thud. A true Sittingbourne accent, one that sounds like these people have been brought up on some windowlicker farm where everyone has a wildly mutated Adam’s apple and just drink handfuls of bleach. A place where people don’t look at dictionaries, they just bash the keyboard in their brain until a sequence of letters comes out that just about make enough sense to roll off their tongues. It's the voice that appears when everyone suddenly becomes "hard", when people learn to drive and figure out how to smoke a cigarette properly. Yeah, you know EXACTLY what I mean.
Suddenly my initial giddy excitement turns into some minor form of slight intimidation. Next thing I know, I’m trying to defer my attention away whilst remaining politely responsive, as I’m told a story about how they recently beat the living crud sticks out of some really old aged pensioner, just because he had a large lower lip that was capable of engulfing half a face and he quite liked to show it off.
But the problem is I kind of do it too, at least when I’m drinking. All of a sudden I lose the ability to pronounce my ‘t’ or ‘h’, and this weird, half-arsed attempt at being cockney flops out, like I’m some kind of lout who drinks a shedload of lager, pulls some orange girl and drills her by the bins. I mean, it’s not as if I’ve ever done that. But that’s how you might imagine me to be if you couldn’t really see me properly, but for some strange reason you could hear my drunken voice.
Sadly though, I don’t really have the stories about scary fights or car crashes that I usually have to cringe to. Although there was this one time I donked my pathetic excuse for a fist into some ginger kid’s face on New Year’s Eve a couple of years ago. But immediately after this I found myself getting slapped back by several of his friends. This lead to my cheek swelling up so much it looked like I was sucking on a light bulb for three days and really, really enjoying it. My poor mother cried when she found out as well, wishing she’d never even let me go outside on my own in the first place. Poor lady.
But! I do have a good story which involves me finding a dildo and thinking it was my Christmas present when I was about four. But I guess that’ll have to wait.
You are the Egg Men. I am the Walrus. Goo Goo G’Joob.
*Yeah, a lot of any such people could probably hurt me quite a lot, which is why I’m not writing about anyone in particular… as such… or am I? **