Archive for the ‘Popular Culture’ Tag

Skinheads: A Short, Sharp Shock…

Foggy Street at NightIt’s well past midnight and the pavement is dusted with a fine sparkle.  The gig was cramped and sweaty; the beer lukewarm; the band cool – the parting of the ways no more than a casual embrace.  Outside a cold that wraps around you like an intimate yet lives beyond the physical.  Intrusive: disturbing… every footstep is amplified.  Even my own solitary notes contain an absurd menace that is measured by the jerk of electrical pulses to ragged nerves.  The emptiness of the early hours arrives on a silent winter chill and my breath shadows me in the frosty air.

In the near distance urban church bells chime the quarter-hour with a towering clarity that shows no consideration for the eternal slumber of their graveyard tenants.  Shouts of indiscretion from those who think they’ll live forever echo like the guitars in my ears yet make no more sense with the repetition.  Happiness is a four-letter word they seem to say.  Swearing comes naturally to this unseen enemy and is easy guerrilla tactics when the streets are deserted.

Traffic drones intermittently on a main artery.  Occasional headlights strafe the horizon: softened northern lights muzzled by the night.  The flickering urgency suggests the search for a quicker way out of town – while I’m left to face the flak.

In the dead velvet blanket of a layered mist a dog barks; a car backfires in a side street and a dustbin clatters.  Lamp-posts stand like watery eyes.  Someone turns on a bedroom light in a flat above a kebab shop but just as quickly extinguishes it.  A warm bed and the urge to not get involved exert a stronger pull than anything taking place outside the window.  That someone knows this town well.

“Tension: muscle tight and stomach churning.  Number one cut scraping my face to induce number twos.”


Anonymous… as inconspicuous as I can be, I head for the last train home.  In a shop doorway a cigarette glows orange in a severed hand; a raking cough is evidence of bodily connection: smoke less of a giveaway as it melts into the consumptive lungs of the night air.

I can still see a teenage apparition with shoulders hunched and chin buried in a turned-up collar.  It’s me: I’m in a hurry.  Then – as before in this nightmare; one that I can still almost taste and hear – I see them and my stomach turns a back flip.  A sick feeling rises with the fog.  A bitter taste from beer and bile and the storm about to hit.

Three burly figures in outsize coats that flap like sails propelled on a coarse wind barrel around the corner… It’s now too late to cross the street to the station and the desperate negotiation between losing self-respect or losing teeth continues loudly in my head.  I curse my highly refined sense of pride – as always both during and after the event.  I walk on enveloped by that curious mix of fear, arrhythmia and resignation that are peculiar to the small hours.

Have they seen me?  Of course they have!  They’ve slowed down deliberately to eke out the pain and possibilities of the moment… it’s all part of the tribal games: the power; the reputation that precedes them and the pose.  They strut in slow-motion and gather up their attitude from its relaxed mode – although it’s a relatively short process – then smile and sneer… it could be indigestion but even if it were heartburn at that time of the night it would still come across as sneering.  Before they get to me they make sure that I know this for a fact.

They’re ‘hard’ in the vernacular of the time although the finer points of linguistics are of little concern when you’re the target; the easy prey.  It’s three against one which is fair odds, Marquess of Queensbury rules where they come from.  Avoiding eye contact I could still see atknuckle hate a glance that they had the full requisite style package: high-laced DMs barely disguised by tight bleached jeans that were in retreat as if the result of an argument to crotches teased by low hung loose chains.  Two had braces; one a crimson-coloured handkerchief that protruded neatly-folded from the top pocket of the open swirl of his full-length coat like some sartorial afterthought: the sensitive fashion conscious one obviously.  Ben Sherman shirts – check – completed the look.  If you’ve simply got to beat someone to a pulp then at least live up to the part while you’re doing it.

Memory and nightmare are awkward companions.  They walk the same narrow road but one gives nostalgia a good kicking.  It isn’t just policemen who look younger and smaller as time passes… These weren’t the two-bit Chav rat boys who terrorise estates now in feral packs of roaming malcontent spreading their four-letter incontinence and lack of education on anyone who passes while abusing the concept of safety in numbers.

These were proper Skins: men in their late-twenties; early-thirties with love and hate across their knuckles and razor-sharp stubble across their skulls.  And grammatically/socially incorrect concepts of bovver agitating their minds.  These three were muscular in an untrained era when work was more physical than a keyboard click: this was down to genetics; nature and nurture and sheer bloody-mindedness where the accompanying hint of a paunch was a badge of honour to the love of a drink.  Their incongruous ‘love handles’ added to the air of unreality.  Reinforcing the feeling of a situation out of control.  The chiselled physiques of today were not the superficial be-all and end-all.

The inevitable stand-off followed.  The what have we here push and shove scruff of the throat-grabbing invasion of personal space… Stale beer and verbal barbs with a glisten of sweat and even staler threats.  Pounding heart settling in my throat.  Unable to speak… even squeak.  Cat and mouse.  Tension: muscle tight and stomach churning.  Number one cut scraping my face to induce number twos.

I can feel the hot pin drop flecks of mainstream lager spittle mixed to a poisonous cocktail with the roughage of indigestible shadowy right wing meetings.  Provincial politics; comments from the marginal outposts of democracy: vacant lots of immigration caps – of them and us – and piles of pamphlets marked dubious.  And the hear a pin drop moments arising out of their total studied disregard.  It was an era when aliens stalked our streets and close encounters were regular and commonplace.

It’s here that I always wake up… truth to tell this is usually as far as it got: threats; pushing and shoving; intimidation: mutual laughter – for them – then if you were lucky you just weren’t worth the trouble.  Pushed out of the way; out of breath at the platform.  Scramble aboard the safe haven of the slam-door: the B-road of transport away from this satellite town.  The rock’n’roll of the tracks the sweetest music to my ears.  Heart rate normal: muted like the mist.  A slow beat until the next inevitable chorus…14 hole dms black

Helen Flanaga(i)n

helen-flanagan 2“Nelson Mandela?!  R-e-a-l-l-y?  Aah – that’s like just so awful!  Oh that poor man what with only having one eye and everything…  No wonder he’s in hospital!”

Ooh What A Balaclava!

"Blimey Esme... rickets, nits, rock'n'roll still to be invented; the welfare state barely in its infancy and the legacy of the Luftwaffe everywhere and now you tell me Mum's knitted a bloomin' wooly hat for school that covers all me 'ead?!"

“Blimey Esme… rickets, nits, rock’n’roll still to be invented; the welfare state barely in its infancy and the legacy of the Luftwaffe everywhere and now you tell me Mum’s knitted a bloomin’ woolly hat for school that covers all me ‘ead?!”

Nigel could never have guessed that losing his balaclava that day would preclude a promising career opportunity as a left-wing revolutionary

Nigel could never have guessed that losing his balaclava that day would preclude a promising career opportunity as a left-wing revolutionary

"Never mind dahling I won't let that beastly Mr Hitler blow up your balaclava."

“Never mind my dahling I won’t let that beastly Mr Hitler blow up your balaclava.”

The balaclava is one of the most schizoid items of clothing ever conceived.  If it were human it would be under a course of intensive therapy.  Originally named after the Crimean town of Balaklava it was cold weather comfort aid for British troops in the Crimean War – a fashion statement which undoubtedly looked good twinned with a (Lord) Cardigan.  Born out of homely practicality the balaclava’s bipolarity in its diverse cultural history is such that it is now perversely most closely associated with extremes – whereby its image summons up all manner of subhuman-human rights violations, death squads and terrorism.

It was all so innocent once…  The head case for Mummy’s boys in short trousers with bare knees shadowed blue by winter chills: adults in waiting in miniature belted-raincoats lining the flint-walled playgrounds of youth the length and breadth of the nation.  All jam sandwiches in brown – pre-Tupperware – paper bags and short back and sides.  Which was just as well because the hand-knitted coverall was scratchy to the scalp and the plastered hair beneath struck static electric sparks and crackle when removed on a frosty morning as the regulation third of a pint of school milk ration was consumed.

Little did they know that those annoying caps like Daddy wears would be replaced with something far worse.

Little did they know that those annoying caps just like Daddy wears would be replaced with something far worse.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has one of those faces that you just know suffered the indignity of sporting a balaclava in his tender years – they were the perfect calling card of the school swot/geek.  The character of Roy Cropper in Coronation Street probably had one as a child too.

They were a staple of unlikely lads throughout the 50s and 60s.  The kitchen sink movies of the British Realist school were full of angry young men who probably owed much of this volcano of bile to parental insistence on wearing a balaclava.  It was a predominant winter feature until kids became too cool for school and rebelled fully at what Mum ordained.

What is it with bikers?!  They can't sell anything without a girl in a bikini!  Balaclava Babes Issue Four...

What was it with bikers she thought?! They couldn’t sell anything without a girl in a bikini!  Luckily Lauren had always wanted to be in Balaclava Babes

A timeless classic... What the well-dressed paramilitary is wearing -and it doesn't cost a bomb.

A timeless classic… What the well-dressed paramilitary is wearing – and it doesn’t cost a bomb.

A balaclava was a resident prop on gritty 60s documentaries of kids playing on leftover WW2 bomb sites.  Synonymous with play emulating adult wartime daring – “I’m a cockleshell hero and you’re dead!” – it morphed from a devious item of heroic ‘noble’ though covert intent – dressed down for a cause; through an SAS pedigree to perfect reflection of the dark arts of warfare.

There was always an element of up to no good – night time poachers and peeping toms – however, it was in the early-70s that the balaclava as fundamentally ‘useful’ clothing item getting in with a bad crowd evolved.  From popularly perceived, and inferred, as the choice of geeks and weirdoes previously it suddenly became a self-justifying cultural prophecy: the province of murderer Donald Neilson – dubbed the Black Panther – whose exploits did much to put the balaclava on tabloid front pages.

Sexual, political, anonymity, social revolutionary, pop - Pussy Riot putin all the connotations.

Sex, politics, anonymity, social revolution, pop – Pussy Riot putin all the connotations.

The cue simultaneously taken up by the likes of Black September and any other two bit terrorist organisation on ‘operations.’  Maybe the Mummy’s boys and weirdo psycho infants just grew up?   No consideration would be complete without the IRA – whose berets and balaclavas combo formed a chilling backdrop of paramilitary display to over two decades of marching and news bulletins.

Lines have become sufficiently blurred that the balaclava has become staple of ecological and recent austerity demonstrators: when the need to protest or hide your appearance comes along they are the perfect standby.  Bikers, outdoor workers and extreme sports fans have continued on their merry way in using variants on the theme but a lot of the practical necessities have been superceded by the ubiquitous hoody.

Leatherface was just never the same after they laughed at his balaclava at high school...

Leatherface was just never the same after they laughed at his balaclava at high school…

Cross fertilisation with the sexual has seen the balaclava contribute elements in a give and take relationship to the gimp mask.  A unisex item that conveys a no sex androgyny – it has been utilised on the catwalk to focus attention solely on the clothes and as blank canvas for alien faces in numerous sci-fi presentations.  There is apparently nothing that makes a balaclava wearer blush – not that you’d notice in any case: it appears it will open a cultural conversation with anyone.  And from this it has been a short step to horror film serial killer motif par excellence.  The hills have eyes but then so do balaclavas – horrible, disturbing anonymous slitty rapist ones: the stuff of nightmares.  The boundaries of the imagination have been breached from Texas Chain Saw Massacre – where murderer Leatherface has a sort of homespun leather version – to the hockey goal mask style of the Friday the 13th film franchise and on to the various comedy mask/balaclava mutations of numerous other genre examples.

The Bieber balaclava - the minds of pubescent girls the world over are suitably boggled.

The Bieber balaclava – the minds of pubescent girls the world over are suitably boggled.

Pop music has inevitably dipped its head into the flow – think Slipknot, Pussy Riot and even Justin Bieber.  Whichever way you wear it – it’s all a long way from the past and a grey winter’s morning getting ready for primary school…

Helen Flanaga(i)n

Ex-Coronation Street actress Helen Flanagan admits she has plans to do Shakespeare in the future…helen-flanagan-spec-wearer-630-jpg_093849

 “Yeh… it’s like something I’ve always had totally in mind – but obviously there are loads of fitter, younger guys I want to do first before I have to get around to some sort of like wrinkly old sugar daddy type…”

Festival Gig Security

"What's that?!  Two hundred pounds a ticket and this is the view ya get?  My heart bleeds for ya..."

“What’s that?! Two hundred pounds a ticket and this is the view ya get? My heart bleeds for ya…”

“Hey son, come on … over ‘ere!  Come on – that’s it, get your spot nice’n’early eh?  Good lad.  High fives?  Come on son… give us yer hand: I don’t bite – at least when I’ve been fed and I’ve already had a couple of the audience this mornin’!  Hya! Hya!  There that didn’t hurt did it?  Gangsta!  How about tryin’ this… eh… oh shit, never could get me hand like those rapper guys.  Never did like doin’ for their audiences much either.  Naah, I’m not racist or nothin’ – most of ‘em are white middle-class kids driven to the gigs by a yummy mummy, and the music’s shit anyway – innit?  Cool.

No, don’t put that there!  Oh; and if you insist on that bottle of Jackie D we’ll have to confiscate it won’t we? Dangerous object an’ all.  You could drink someone to death with that.  Hya! Hya!  Sorry lad, it’s not me who makes the rules.  And don’t hang that over the barrier unless you want it nicked.  The crowd?!  No…security that’s who!  Bunch of bloody reprobates every one of ‘em – me included!  I’m the worst – me – so Big Dave says. Yeh; I know… ironic ain’t it!  Ironic?  Doesn’t he play on the right wing for Croatia?  That’s one of me mate Big Dave’s jokes.  Wait a minute… you a student son?  You are?  Okay: well he does play on the right wing but only for a scratch team!  D’ya get it?  I don’t.  It’s one of Dave’s interlectual jokes…

"Perks of the job mate... Perks of the job."

“Perks of the job mate… Perks of the job.”

“I did for that Alanis Morissette once you know.  Naah, not in that way – Hya! Hya!  Protected her from the riff raff, I mean – like you.   Never liked her much though – always wearin’ jeans or one of them long skirts like a bloody librarian: music’s ‘bout as interestin’ too!   I much preferred that Girls Aloud… for one there was five of ‘em, and for two; you could see right up their skirts from down ‘ere.  And for three the second made me forget the third!  Hya! Hya!  I used to tell Big Dave – he’ll be along in a minute – that I had such a good view I knew which one of ‘em was on!  Naah, not that I’m sexist or nothin’.  Ah, the legs on that Nadine – eh?  You don’t like ‘em son?  What’s that?  Manufactured shite?  Maybe… but I bet you would have done wouldn’t ya?

Polly Jean Harvey… that was another one with good legs; did her at GlastonburyBritpop era it was – dressed up like a tart she was.  There I was havin’ a bloody good look durin’ that Fifty foot Queen Bee song and she comes over and threatens to splatter me balls wiv her guitar.  Feisty?  No, it was definitely fifty foot.  Anyway she must be a bloody lesbian!  Naah, not that I’m homerphobic or anythin’ – just that it’s not right; is it?  Cool.  Hey, son better change the subject… look at that walkin’ this way… Oh; it’s your girlfriend…

“Er, yeh… should be a good gig.  I prefer the outdoor stuff, yeh, I think it’s the more liberal attitude yer know; that sort of vibe.  Big Dave said I’m too liberal for me own good – I told him I must be the most relaxed member in the whole of the BNP!  What you laughin’ for!  Did I say it was a fuckin’ joke?!  There’d be no Ironic in my bloody team let me tell you that!  Hello darlin’ he’s alright, he’s safe – he’s wiv me ain’t he?  Aah, young love eh?  I could tell you some stories… many?  Loads of ‘em… been around me… I should fuckin’ coco!  Oh, festivals!?  That’s what you was on about.  What a prick eh?  What you say?!  Don’t yer even think of fuckin’ agreein’ wiv me on that!  I’m not a psycho or anythin’ just a bit sensitive me ol’ mum says.  It’s alright love – come on, come back, I’ll let him go; I was only jokin’ – Hya! Hya!

“…Ri RiMe! MeMadge?  Got the badge!  Gaga?  Drive my car!  Adele?!  Go to fuckin’ hell!”


“There yer go, it’s only a little tear… tell yer friends you did it surfin’ to Biffy!  It’s alright love; I’ve put him down now… er, as I was sayin’, loads of ‘em: I’ve had me back to them all: Coldplay, U2, Oasis – that Liam Gallagher hit me in the back of the ‘ead once: threw his bloody tambourine when he was busy tellin’ Noel where to go!  Don’t look back in anger – eh son?  There, that’s it … you can still see the dent.  No?  Oh, must be the bright sun, eh son?  Hot son?  You wait ‘till the other sixty thousand arrive!  Don’t worry love, we’ve got plenty of water to pass out – phew, she’s a worrier ain’t she? Always spit in it first though!  Naah, don’t tell her that son she’ll do her nut.  Keep the peace like I do eh?  Only a joke anyway… I would say I predict a riot but if she passes out the first aid tent’s a bleedin’ mile away in that direction.  One bit of advice though son, Big Dave always, I mean always pisses in the buckets of water he chucks over yer.  Right? Cool.

"Kate Moss?!  They all say that porky."

“Kate Fuckin’ Moss?! They all say that porky.”

“Hey darlin’… where is she?!  Gone to get somethin’ to eat you say?  Sensible as well as gorgeous – eh son?  Yer, need somethin’ inside yer.  Unless yer a real man of course!  No really, she’s a nice lookin’ gal, you’ve done well.  Festival virgin is she?  Or just a virgin eh?  Hya! Hya!  Go on get her in the tent later, no one’s gonna hear yer we’ve got megawatts of power – drown out a nuclear explosion it would – even yours!  See that stack over there, I had to stand right there for the Motorhead set yesterday – ‘what a delight it was to see the prototype exponents of British speed metal receiving a belated welcome into the bosom of a new young audience, as a legion of festival goers greedily surfed on the contagious cacophony created by a leering Lemmy and his cohorts in aural crime’ – that’s what The Times critic said.  At least I can still read… can’t hear a fuckin’ thing though!  Big Dave’s the same.  Deaf.  I said he’s deaf!!   Sorry son: that makes two of us – mine are still ringin’ from yesterday, right?  Says he’s glad of that when that world music shit is on.  He’s smaller than me: double ironic eh?  I found it blowin’ round the toilets – not Big Dave!  The paper stupid!  I always liked The Times – plenty of arse wipe for your money.  Must be all them long words they use.  Not much use now though.  I should have written to the letters page and complained.  Give us back the broadshit – signed: caught short of GlastonburyHya! Hya!

“Madchester?  Baggy?  I should say so – me trousers looked like they’d divorced me balls!”


“As I say; I’ve done ‘em all.  What’s that son…Ri RiMe! MeMadge?  Got the badge!  Gaga?  Drive my car!  Adele?!  Go to fuckin’ hell!  Robbie?  Yeh.  He put his foot on me shoulder.  Left or right?  How should I fuckin’ know!  Twat!  ‘And through it all she offers me pro…’ then he got off.  Next night I was in the same place and he did the same thing only this time he gets up to ‘protec…’  I flogged the t-shirt to some little honey that I pulled out of the front row for thirty-notes.  Perks of the job son!  Isn’t much I haven’t seen.  And done.  Best girls?  Easy; the ones who go to see Robbie.  Worst?  That’s easy too; too easy if you know what I mean – heavy metal bitches.  It’s all them devil signs – it’s the only horn I get from them: makes me feel like a chicken at Colonel Satan’s takeaway.  Naah, it isn’t just people like Robbie what gets the groupies, we do too you know!  We make ‘em feel safe – then we shag ‘em!  Count to three – fingers that is – then if it doesn’t work force entry: that’s the security code!  Hya! Hya!  What you fuckin’ laughin’ at!?  Mysogernist?  Who’s she when she’s at home?  Some woman rapper or summat?  Naah, don’t worry; I’m not a violent man.  I’m like one of them martial arts gurus me; I channel the force – I wouldn’t hit no one with this lethal weapon as it would compromise my pacifistic morality.  That’s what Big Dave says and he’s got a lethal weapon too. Yeh, we get our share of the girls… mind you that one wouldn’t let me put the t-shirt on her – bloody bitch: should have charged her fifty-notes!  Laugh again son and I’ll knock yer fuckin’ head off!  Okay?

All ready for some of Dave's special water?

“Everybody hot are we?!  All ready for some of Dave’s special water?!”

“See, I haven’t actually hit you have I?  And those red marks fade real quick – go on have a drink of this – get your breath back.  Plenty of Big Dave’s special ingredient in that.  Hya! Hya!  Yeh… you get blahsay to the job in the end.  Yeh; the stars become your friends so to speak.  They see you grapple some crowd surfin’ git off the stage so they ask for you again.  I had a Christmas card from that Chris Martin once – asked for a donation to make poverty history.  I’ll make him fuckin’ history, bloody tight wad!  I’ve got a collection of sweaty towels at home: Mick Jagger’s is me top one – he signed it for me.  Elton John’s towel’s got a silk monogram on it: E.J. it says.  Strange that.  Got one off one of them riot grrrl groups back in the nineties.  They were some harsh girls them.  Kick you in the balls as look at yer.  Or was it that Tori Amos?  Hmmm; could have been Courtney Love now I think of it.  Whatever, it’s got blood on it – not yer menstrual though otherwise it might have been worth summat.  How do I know?  Big Dave’s brother works in the lab of an STD clinic.  That’s how!  Very civilised that Chris Martin: tight but civilised.  He wouldn’t have blood on his towel.  Probably come up smellin’ of roses in any bloody case!  Moral spokesman for a generation and Gwyneth Paltrow for a shag!  Mind you their music’s dismal shite – ain’t it?

“Talkin’ about smell… you ought to be this side of the barrier facin’ you lot when the wind’s in the right direction!  Phew!  Big Dave says he can smell the excitement.  And the rest!  ‘I love the smell of excitement in the mornin’’ he says.  He’s always quotin’ that Apocalypse Now.  He plays it over and over when we’re on the road – that and ‘is Lethal Weapon too.  Says his only ambition is to do security for Napalm Death – then he gets to say – ‘I love the smell of Napalm Death in the mornin’’ The HorrorsThe Horrors?  Naah, never ‘eard of ‘em.

"You don't like 'em?  Heavy Metal too proletarian for ya...  Nevermind sonny you'll feel like Napalm Death without a shirt all day..."

“You don’t like ’em? Heavy Metal too proletarian for ya… Nevermind sonny you’ll soon feel like Napalm Death without a shirt on all day…”

“Me?  Strangely enough I chill out by goin’ to see bands.  Proper busman’s holiday eh?  Favourite?  What of all time cross me heart swear on the Bible me mother’s life look at the tits on that kind of way?  Oh that’s easy absolutely no doubt… Stone Roses or t’Happy Mondays: did you notice me slippin’ into a Manc accent there son?  Can’t help it.  Yeh, I was there then: ‘avin it large; poppin’ pills.  Madchester?  Baggy?  I should say so – me trousers looked like they’d divorced me balls!  Spike Island.  YeeurghaaaaaBez?!!!  What would I have been wearin’ one of them for!  Shaun Ryder – just like that, eh? Twat!  Students eh?  All that money and what do they know?

“Did a stint on the door of the Hacienda for that Tony Wilson once.  Naah, not long… stayin’ at the same venue all the time was like working in a factory.  I didn’t hang around.  So it goes.  No, never liked that earlier Manc stuff.  Joy DivisionIan Curtis?  Enough to make yer top yerself listenin’ to that dark shit!  Only time I concentrate that hard and jerk like an epileptic is when I’m comin’ either that or I’ve got a Tazer up me arse!  Big Dave’s got one – illegal it is.  He collects weapons – he got it off an internet site: it’s just like the ones the Met have got.  He wants to bring it along one day he says: mix work and pleasure he says.  Naah, I don’t mind New OrderBlue Monday?  Great porn flick that!  We watch that for a warm up, right.  Yeh; I like a good time… which is why Quo’s me real favourite.  What?  So I lied!  Oh, and I’m not religious.  And me mother’s dead in any case!

“I much preferred that Girls Aloud… for one there was five of ‘em, and for two; you could see right up their skirts from down ‘ere.”


“Went to see the Quo about a month ago, yeh; another one of their farewell tours.  Not so Sweet Caroline it was.  Yer see son, I forgot meself… I goes down the front hops over the barrier and starts doin’ me job of all things!  What happens?  I gets ejected… yeh, me… that’s what happens!  Ironic eh?  Broke his jaw though… case comes up in the autumn.  Cool.

“Jeez, look at that lot just arrived over there!  Twenty of ‘em; twenty’s about the oldest I’d say too!  Wall to wall crop tops and bikinis and the hormones to fill ‘em!  Yeh, as I was sayin’ son, I love the outdoor ones!  Wait for the crowd surf… I’ll be draggin’ ‘em out very slowly if you know what I mean!  Time I was movin’ on out… movin’ on up – over there!

“Nice talkin’ to yer son.  I’ve met worse.  Have a good one?  Yeh: and you; and a havin’ it large one or in my case a stiff one.  As we say in the security game: break a leg… and an arm… and a nose too if you can!  Hya! Hya!  High Fives?  NaaahOh, your arms still hurt… okay.  Coooool.”


Bob Dylan Goes Electric…

"Grim oop North?  They ain't kiddin' man ... I need a cigarette!"

“Grim oop North? They ain’t kiddin’ man … I need a cigarette!”




The song entitled: “Cloth caps and cloth ears; or I’ve got them ol’ David Irving revisionist blues again Mama.”

"Where's ma North Country girl?"

“Where’s ma North Country girl?”

 The place: Manchester Free Trade Hall May 17, 1966. (Otherwise misrepresented as the Royal Albert Hall on numerous bootlegs.)

 The people: Bob Dylan and The Band on the cusp of a cultural leap… and (ahem) an irate audience member…


Barry Wolstencroft: “Oi! Oi!  Yeh; you in tha front row… AYE; YOU LASS!…”

Bob Dylan: “Judas?!”  

Barry Wolstencroft: “What’s ‘e on abaht?!  Someone take a bite out of ‘is Eccles cake or summat?  Stop yer mitherin’ will yer Bob?  All this blowin’ int’ bloody wind – more like whisperer for a generation if you ask me.  Tell him t’ turn it oop a bit lass!  Only we can’t hear it at back ‘ere!  And as fer you and yer best seats in the ‘ouse Gary Collier: I’M NEVER LISTENIN’ TO YOU AGAIN, EVER!”

Bob Dylan: “I don’t believe you… You’re a liar!”

Barry Wolstencroft: “By ‘eck… there’s nowt as queer as folk.  We’ve got National Grid in fine fettle and we’ve ‘ad bloody Beatles on the lecky meter fer four years – even though they do come from t’oother place – you think we’d actually be able to hear him play wouldn’t yer?  Tis bloody 1966 fer chrissakes!  Cuttin’ edge it says in tha NME.  ‘ERE BOB; I PAID TOP DOLLAR FER THESE SEATS AND…”

Bob Dylan: (to Band) “Play fucking loud!”

♫ “Once upon a time you dressed so fine…

You threw the bums a dime in your prime… didn’t you?” ♪

Barry Wolstencroft: “Aye… Tha’s better.  I’m reet made up.  Tha’s proper grand – ain’t it lads?  Any road tha’s you off the hook Collier…  NOW DYLAN YER MARDY BASTARD; ABAHT THESE WEIRD BLOODY NEW LYRICS!”

"Hey Mr Taxi Man get me out of here - I'm not waitin' for my boot heels to be wanderin'."

“Hey Mr Taxi Man get me out of here – I’m not waitin’ for my boot heels to be wanderin’.”

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