Friday, 5 December 2008

We Shall Remember Them: Neighbour "B"

Number Two in a series of articles about the people who lived in the same Hellhole I did for my four year tour of duty there (a UK inner-city Chav haven, not Iraq). This particular guy lived next door. Lived in this Godforsaken place for at least 25 years. He knew everyone. Everyone knew him. Didn't take any nonsense, his son was an extremely large and angry looking skinhead. Nobody would mess with him, so he thought, because he'd seen the parents of the current crop of kids grow up and they knew to leave alone.

So he thought.

It all went wrong for him when some new kids moved in and tore up the playbook.

When we started having aggro of the "what the fucking-fuck" variety - back in the days when it was the odd stone at the window or the occasional "festive" comment shouted across the street - he didn't take it too seriously, like most people there.

"Kids will be kids", etc. As it went on, my personal favourite was where he'd try and insinuate it must have somehow been my fault.

Yes, of course it was. Sorry, my mistake.

This guy knew he'd gone about it the wrong way. He was grateful for the advice I tried to help him with. Neighbour "B" (let's call him Bob) just insisted I'd done something terribly wrong to wind these kids up (yes, I dodged the bottles they threw at me) and so had to just "put up with it" till they got bored.

Whenever it really started to kick off, despite his half-hearted words of support, he was nowhere to be seen when the missiles came flying over. Keep it at a distance, yes terrible isn't it and oh my, isn't that the time, must go. They're just kids, they're after a reaction, just ignore them.

Then one night one of them missed my house with an egg and got his car.

Oh, fuck me. You'd have thought they'd shot someone. He came flying out the house, face red and pumped up, then his wife (in classy silk nightgown and pom-pom slippers, a right battleaxe) flies past him like some kind of banshee and goes legging it down the road after the kid who threw it. Then he's off too, and I'm left standing there wondering exactly what happened to his Ghandi routine.

Apparently it's only SERIOUS FUCKING BUSINESS when it's not just happening to the guy next door.

Anyway, off they went. Minutes tick by, and I'm wondering if I should phone in a pair of missing persons reports. Suddenly, they reappear - walking back looking glum because they didn't catch the kid.

Next minute, a car zooms up the road. At this point, I'm expecting guys with shotguns to come leaping out - instead, an old guy clambers out of the car and warns them not to mess with "these kids", because they live in a house facing his and they smash his porch every time it gets fixed.

The insurance won't even pay out anymore.

He also says they wrecked his car, but I'm looking at it and can't see any damage.

At least, I can't until he gets in and turns the car around. You know those films where someone launches a rocket at a car and half of it just falls off?

It was like that. One half of the car from front to back just wasn't there anymore, like one of those cartoons where someone saws a car right down the middle and you can see inside. Christ knows what they were hitting it with but breeze blocks laced with C4 would be my best guess.

That was it for the supposed "everybody knows me" guy, at any rate. He started to get the eggs, the stones, one huge chunk taken out of his fancy brickwork, a large sagging cock painted on his wall, a couple of chips in his prized windows - the works.

Oh, and one night they pulled his wing mirror off, then threw it at my window.

Good to see they're creative with their mindlessness, if nothing else.

Long story short, Bob was a bit of a twat who buried his head in the sand under the sadly mistaken notion that if he kept his head down, nothing bad would happen. Bob couldn't understand how having bricks thrown at my windows every night could possibly be annoying, but then completely flipped his shit like someone had murdered his daughter when someone threw an egg at his car. Bob had moronic semi-chav grandkids come to play every weekend to "give the parents a break", and those kids would endlessly tap on my windows disturbing the cats, roll around in my front garden and shout over the back fence at my dog. Bob once blamed me for our shared drains being blocked ("I'm not saying you do this, but don't put your kids nappies down the toilet as it blocks them up"), then said I'd have to pay for it as "more of the pipes were on my side", then ate a healthy slice of shut-the-fuck-up pie when the guy flushed it out and found his grand-kids plastic coke bottles down there.

Bob still lives there. I don't. Enjoy your shithole, Bob.

Shopping Trip

Had some "fun" in one of those "super cheapo" stores the other week. I can't stand the place, but if you're prepared to wade through the clowns within, there are certain items you can pick up and avoid paying twice the price elsewhere.

Imagine my dismay when it all went a bit aggro, at the hands of what must have been a four year old girl.

There I was, my son in the pram, his only crime presumably looking healthy and smiling - can't have that! He's supposed to look malnourished and underfed!

You know when you see something out the corner of your eye, but you're not quite sure if it really happened? I was checking out the dog treats, vaguely aware of a small girl who - wait, did she just - hit him?

No, surely not. Got a good look at it - typical sullen faced brat, big round glasses, looking an unhealthy shade of off-white. Off it wandered back to craggy looking granny, and I went back to grabbing my shopping.

A few minutes later I was elsewhere in the store looking for the last things I had to get - looked down, and sure enough, there it was - no doubt this time, it sort of slapped his chest, then tried to unclip the safety button holding his straps together, then (when that didn't work) leaned over and stuck her tongue out at him, a real nasty face to go with it.

I swatted it away with the pram, telling it to bugger off. Then I waited....and waited....till the gran and her feral scum were at the till with loads of other shoppers for maximum impact. Then I went over and said "You want to watch her, she poked my son in the eye" to the horror of random people in the store. Cue lots of yelling and tellings-off and (most hilariously) an apology.

Little shit.

I wonder how many times she did this to other kids in their prams and nobody thought to pull someone up about it. What has this country come to when you're near paralysed with strange feelings of rage because of a four year old kid?

Good to see it's started as it means to go on though...

New Deal Disaster

I'm of an age where I'm now able to look back - as one of the lucky souls dragged into the New Deal program - to sit up and wonder exactly what the Hell it was all about. After I left Uni, I had that familiar problem of being overqualified and under experienced. There were jobs about, but none of the swines would take me. I knew there was this thing called New Deal fast approaching after six months on the dole, and oh my God, what an insight into the lives of the underclass it was.

I was told it would be something relevant to my job aims; imagine my dismay, then, when a few weeks into it I was (as a twenty-something, well educated kid from a poor area who'd done his best to drag himself up from out of the gutter) being made to play musical chairs with a bunch of brainless, tracksuited, drugged up lunatics.

Yes, your taxpayers money had me playing musical fucking chairs.

The rest of the time they had us doing "dance routines" (please, don't ask) so the chavved up sluts in tracksuits could pretend they were on X-Factor, or leaving the mindless wonders to fill up the PCs with about as much dodgy porn as it's possible to cram onto a computer without breaking it.

"You don't want to do this because you're too picky, you think this is beneath you!" one of the "tutors" said.

Damn right, fatty.

It was my first contact up-close and personal with thuggish louts for a sustained length of time - chavs would shag in the toilets upstairs, one guy would come in coked off his head with the 120 quid a week they paid us (to do nothing at all) and punch a hole in the ceiling (which was of course left for months), others would get into fights....I myself was threatened many times and had at least one stand off with a feral loon who thought I was "looking at him funny".

Bar a lucky few, every single person in that place had severe mental problems. It was a Vaudevillian freakshow come alive, where everyone smelled of pasties as a bonus.

It was really just a dumping ground for thugs and layabouts that the system had no way of handling, and sadly for people who fell through the cracks, they were forced to put up with it for a while and hope they didn't get their head stoved in. 120 quid a week for six months, which would simply be pissed up a wall each friday at the nearest boozer. If anyone did get a REAL job during those six months, it had absolutely fuck all to do with New Deal, I can tell you that much.

It always makes me laugh whenever I hear people say how much of a "success" New Deal was at getting people "out of unemployment and into jobs". They weren't jobs. They had us playing musical fucking chairs to get us off the Dole and fiddle the figures.

Bastards. Utter bastards.