Stop Thief!

I danced a lot on Saturday night…like A LOT, A LOT! It had been quite some time since I had “went out” in Korea, so I guess that I had just stored all of this boogie energy up, and was releasing it all over the sticky dancefloors of Seoul!

One army-looking guy commented that he “likes the way I move” several times, which sounds creepy in retrospect – but I think it was just an appreciation of all the boogie work I was putting in, and also perhaps he felt sorry for me because my friends were at the bar, and didn’t join me until they had reached an optimum alcohol induced state. But I didn’t really care, I was in the zone…

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I really wasn’t aware that I’m a Chris Brown fan (honest!) – but apparently my body is. 

Anyway, the fact that I was so focused on busting moves meant that my mind wasn’t on other things – which is a positive thing, I was just having a good time, and totally living in the joy of the moment. But thankfully I wasn’t so oblivious as to not note every single thing…

You see in the next bar I was doing much of the same, dancing, and just having fun – probably thinking that I look absolutely fantastic, but in reality probably looking more like an oxygen starved flapping fish. But hey, no matter. And I was also chattering away, as I imagine I do after a few lemonades…

…but that’s when I vaguely noticed a tall-ish Korean man standing by the table…in a long coat, and with a highly suspicious look plastered all over his face. I attempted to ignore him, but for some reason it struck me as necessary to keep one eye on him…I turned out to be right…

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You see my one spying eyeball caught sight of his outstretched arm…reaching right for my dance-partners purse on the nearby table…he pulled on it once – bringing it closer…I watched in disbelief…he pulled on it again, so close to his pocket now…I was still doubting what was happening, or at least what was about to! 

YOINK! And the purse was in his pocket! And he was heading for the door! GONE, HE’S GONE! I rubbed my eyes, and ran out after him – shaking off my friend who was trying to pull me back, probably thinking I was all danced out, still oblivious to the fact that her keys, cards, and cash were about to turn up missing!

I pushed over a few people in the mad adrenaline fueled burst, but I had no time to pay attention to that, he was getting away, HE WAS GETTING AWAY! 

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Well he was – but he didn’t get far! It was just outside on the street where I grabbed him – and snatched the purse back out of his hand. “Huh? Whaa?” He began, as I shook my head like a disapproving Grandmother! I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do other than that…it wasn’t exactly a combat scenario, and suddenly he was so nervous all of a sudden – a far cry from the slick chameleon he was attempting to be inside the bar!

I turned back, and returned to the table. 

“Where did you go?” started my friend, until I cut her off – and put the purse into her hands. I was puffing, and panting, which made me recognise that I’m certainly too unfit to be any kind of hero…it’s simply not for me. I’ll just stick to dancing, there’s a lot less danger in that!

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Escaping a Braying

A friend of mine recently created a lovely little video of my hometown, Sunderland. It’s the place we both grew up in, and the place we know as “home” no matter where we are in the world. The clip mainly follows through the countryside and coastal areas of the city- rather than the inner-city terraces that I grew up in – but I found it charming all the same, and it soon had me reminiscing of my past life there, and the many friends and memories I still deeply treasure to this day…

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Mind, that’s not to say that life there is always smooth sailing! And I think this story from the childhood archives should prove that! But you know what? You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth, and the good with the bad – and always, always make sure you laugh at the negatives later…

I’m going to stop my rambling and just get on with it, so without further adieu, here it is; ‘Escaping a Braying’:

          Every Wednesday without fail was “Mamoo and Grandar” day. So on days off we’d be there from morning to night, but if it was school term time then we’d have to wait for the bell to go…and it was only then that we could make our way to their home, and their sofa. You’d desperately want to be the first one there to get a proper seat, and dibs on the stuff we weren’t normally allowed; the stuff that rots your teeth and makes you fat – the stuff that other kids had in their lunchboxes every day – you see that’s the kind of stuff that was in Grandar’s biscuit tin. 

It was our little haven, just a few rooms that offered so much. You could have sugar in your tea as long as you kept it a secret, and if there wasn’t anything on the television Grandar would always have old cowboy films he was keen to show us…we could take or leave them usually, but he added a whole new dimension; giving running comedic commentary, and repeating the dramatic lines in even more dramatic voices…“DYAAAA FEEL LUCK-EE, WELL DOOYA – PUNK?!” He was, and still is – the funniest man alive, so sometimes I’d laugh so much at his little routines that I’d spill things on the floor – but it was never a big deal: “these things happen” they’d say. And Buster would probably eat it right up anyway.

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Eventually my Mother or Father would pick us up, and then we’d moan and ask to stay longer – so sometimes they’d sit to have a cup of tea and ask them how’s it going, but sometimes they wouldn’t. As we drove away we’d turn back and Mamoo would be waving us goodbye,  and she’d keep waving and waving until we couldn’t see her anymore. Mamoo is what we called my grandma, although we didn’t ever call her grandma unless we were talking to other people outside of the family…friends at school and others like that who would demand an explanation…it was just more bother than it was worth, so many why why whys and it always came across as weird for some reason. But to my siblings and I, she was undoubtedly Mamoo. Which is pronounced “Ma-maw” by the way…a baby’s mis-pronunciation that stuck forever.

 I remember one of the Mamoo and Grandar days more clearly than any other. I was walking over there, and was already late – probably detention for something that didn’t even really matter; laughing with friends, talking in class, not doing homework – something stupid,  that somehow  translates to a heinous crime at school. I was so late that all the other kids had cleared out from the streets and were nowhere to be seen; I was happy about this as I had to pass by another school to get to Mamoo and Grandar’s house and they didn’t take too kindly to St. Aidan’s lads, or Bent Aidan’s as they fondly referred to us as thanks to our all-male make up. Problem was there was no hiding my allegiance to this suspected homosexual club as the uniform marked me out…in black, white, and the gold stripes of my tie.

Anyway, I was late so hopefully nothing would happen this time arou-

“YA FUKEN BENDER!! OI…OI…OI, YA FUKEN BENDERR! OI!”

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Spoke too soon. There were three or four voices behind me, but I didn’t turn to look – all I knew was that they were advancing quickly, but some way away yet. “HEW! HEWWW! SCUSE ME?!” One of them suddenly remembered his manners, but I guessed that it wouldn’t change the possibility of him booting me in the face with his Rockport boots. “OI YA FUKEN BENDERR MAN!!” It was the same voice, but with a significant change in tactic. I hurried my pace, but didn’t want to run…if I ran it would be like attacks on those nature documentaries with the lions and the gazelles, running would encourage more running, and I was no runner. So I just moved a little faster, but tried to move my arms at a normal sort of speed so as not to arouse suspicion…perhaps it wouldn’t look so obvious and I’d be out of sight in no time! Or maybe if I got around a corner, then I could sprint, and just zigzag zigzag zigzag the streets in the hope of losing them? Well yeah, maybe. Maybe.

“ARNLY WANNA TALK TOOYA YA GAY FUKEN LIDL CUNT!”

I wasn’t so much in the mood for conversation, I just wanted to get to Mamoo and Grandar’s house – it was puddings in the corner day, and there’d probably be ice cream. I reached the end of the road and turned right…and started fleeing just the way I had planned – they didn’t seem to give chase, or if they did the adrenaline of sheer fear powered me beyond measure. I looped back around, and headed on a different route. When I’d caught my breath I took some time to reflect on how I could have probably taken them, and how I shouldn’t have ran – I mean, so what if they were older? I should have whipped out some karate moves, and used makeshift weapons out of things I could find around me…a brick as a hammer, a FOR SALE sign as a spear…I’d send them flying through windows – they’re lucky really, I let them off lightly. Next time they won’t be so lu-

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“WHYAYEE! LOOK HUU IT IS!! FUKEN GAY BASTAARD!” 

Shit. They were only a few feet in front of me. I span on the spot and belted away as quickly as humanely possible despite being knackered as it is. A glass bottle spun past my head and shattered on the jagged pavement – as a strong odour of cheap vodka temporarily filled the air. One of them grabbed at my shoulders with grasping heavy hands, but I shrugged free and darted across the road, not sure of where I was heading. But they were faster. I felt a heavy club to the head, not sure what – and then a boot up my behind. I pushed away in every direction, and one lost balance…falling to the floor in a pile, with a dumb expression stretched across his face. This surprised the pack temporarily, and spared me a few precious seconds…

I was still some way from Mamoo and Grandar’s. There was no way I could run all the way back without them catching up and slamming my head off a lamp post several times, or whatever took their fancy this particular day. So I made a split-second decision, to use this space for an impromptu theatrical performance…I really hoped they would enjoy the show and would refrain from heckling…

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I opened a stranger’s gate, and walked up a stranger’s pathway through a stranger’s garden, and then knocked at a stranger’s door. I heard the lads follow me, and caught a reflection in the front room’s window…they looked unsure as to what was going on. I rapped faster at the door and began Scene 1: “Maaaaammm! Maaaaam!” I knocked again, harder this time – “Daaaad! Daaaad!” Open the door man, I’ve forgot my key!” The lads were stood in the middle of the pathway with a shared puzzled look glazed over their faces. I moved to the window and tapped it while looking around the stranger’s house, it was pretty nice and well decorated – I wasn’t sure what I’d do when I met the actress playing my Mam, or the actor playing my Dad…but this was true improv, and I was out of options. “Maaaaaam, Daaaad! Can you open the door?” I shouted through the letterbox this time…catching a whiff of a scented candle as I peered in…

I felt a small rock hit my back. “FUKEN GAY BASTARD MAN, YA LUK-EE. Awer man…let’s go…” I guess he was the leader and had made a collective decision for the group.  Thank God. I carried on with my little one man play until I was sure they were out of sight…then I double checked the area before continuing on my way to Mamoo and Grandar’s house…

Puddings in the corner were waiting in the microwave, and they’d left me some gravy too. Later we had caramel Rocky bars, but I’d missed out on the ice cream. “Why were you so late?” they mused as the television flickered…

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“Detention” I muttered, as I stood up to fetch another cup of tea with two secret sugars.

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Feels Good to be a Gangsta

FINALLY! My super top-secret, massively illegal, and deep down, dastardly plan is almost complete! It’s been a long time in the making, but it was good to see my super mysterious confidant (Allan Still – real name, Margaret Smithson) come through for me.

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I trust you guys, which is why I am letting you in on this little hustle. You may have noted that my code name is “Attn”, it’s what I’m known as in the streets you see…it stands for, errr…“Astronaut Trout Trouble Neanderthal”  – because one time I punched a guy so hard, he thought he had went into space, and now he talks like a trout…just sitting in a chair bubbling away to himself.

Anyway, if you want to be involved then all you need to do is send your name, address, telephone, blood type, and left lung to the “Delivery Agent” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, he-he-he)  listed above. Cheers! See you in prison soon! 

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