On this day…

Posted: July 31, 2015 in Family, meVolution, Religion, Stuff
Tags: ,

On this day in 1973 I awoke to find I was fifteen years old. I was a man. I wore flares, penny-round collars, and my hair, when wet and with my head arched as far back as it would go, would touch my protruding hip-bones.

My ‘mates’ had decided that the evening would be spent celebrating in a pub. Underage and attempting to avoid recognition we caught the 61 bus and travelled about five stops before reaching a place called West Derby Village. Originally a real village until an ever expanding city of Liverpool engulfed it with a tidal wave of post-war slum-clearance housing estates, West Derby had retained its high street quota of watering holes which seemed to be perennially packed to the gills.

David Bowie blasted from the jukebox of the first pub we visited. Commandeering a table in a smoke-filled corner we argued as to who would be the first to try and get served. Being the ‘birthday-boy’ and looking by far the youngest of our motley crew it was decided that I would be exempt from this element of our daring-do. “What you having, then?” said the nominated bravest. “Er, just a pint.” I replied. “Yeah, duh! Dumb cunt! A pint of fuckin’ what, yer spastic?” I reddened with the realisation that I hadn’t a clue what to ask for. I’d considered mouthing a ‘pint of beer’, but after seeing the vast array of pumps as we passed the bar I knew this would be received with another hail of teenage testosterone-filled abuse.

As it happened, my ‘Mam‘ had a penchant for the Bingo, and would, on the occasion of a win, return home with a couple of bottles of beer. Specifically ‘Guinness Stout‘. It was her favourite along with another stout called Mackeson. I’d tasted both, of course, but hadn’t liked either, gagging at the bitterness before being laughed at in the way that adults do when they let children take a sip of their drink. The word ‘Guinness‘ floated to my tongue. Saved for the first, and not the last time that night, by my Mam.

Six pints of draught Guinness later we were back on the bus. Singing and talking to girls just like what real men do. Graham Roberts pissed on the floor of the upper deck of the bus.

Returning to our estate we had lost all fear of recognition and decided to try our luck at St Philomena’s Catholic Club. There was a band on. I danced with innumerable friends of my Mam, “You’re Phyla Lafferty’s son ain’t yer?”. I swapped spit with two of them on the dance-floor and drank three more pints of Guinness.

I can’t remember leaving the club but recall the drunkards long walk home. Arriving at the house my key took about fifteen minutes to make contact with the lock. I recollect the brief joy as it eventually slid into position only for the door to disappear leaving me holding said key where the lock had once been. A hand materialised out of the darkness and grabbed me by the hair, dragging me into the house, another simultaneously slapping the illicit cigarette from my mouth.

It would be hard, and unnecessary, to describe the torrent of invective and abuse that railed from the lips and fists of my Mother. Suffice it to say that I ended up horizontal on a black vinyl couch with my head spinning. “Mam… I’m gonna’ be sick

No sooner said than done. I erupted somewhat whale-like toward the ceiling. Instantly the uncontrollable anger dissipated to be replaced with maternal concern. Within seconds she disappeared only to reappear with a red plastic bowl that normally resided in the kitchen sink, and a sponge.

Oh, Son… oh, my lovely Son…” She cleared most of the vomit from myself and the vinyl couch but struggled to remove it from my hair. So she took a pair of scissors and cut it all off. All of it.

I love my Mam.

Anvil Springstien.

Addendum:

I’d been taken out last night for a lovely birthday meal by my brother. We then went to an old watering hole of ours called The Cumberland Arms. By the time we’d returned home and I’d drunkenly finished writing this it was past midnight, so not quite ‘on this day‘. Ah, well. Fuck it. Fuck ’em all!

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