I hate August Bank Holiday because it signifies the end of summer. More, it’s the last Bank Holiday before Christmas.
Months and months of winter darkness, only punctuated by Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night – both of which have become either commercialised or neutralised…
I’m being lazy cos it’s Friday evening and said holiday is kicking in and I’m going to refer to stuff I’ve written in a wider context…
Absolute negativity, be aware – it relates to the time I wrote off my car:
At the weekend, the August Bank Holiday, Gee rolled up in a big VX4/90 he’d bought from the Nerve royalties that had reached him at last. He’d been out to score some dope but had come back empty-handed, and was in a foul mood.
‘What’s up?’ I asked.
‘He sold the last quarter to someone else because he thought I wasn’t coming. I was about an hour late, that’s all.’
‘So what are we gonna do?’
‘Dunno. Go for a ride.’
The band piled into the big roomy vehicle and Gee revved its big twin-carb engine.
‘Is there anywhere else we can get some?’
‘On a Bank Holiday, doubtful.’
‘Well let’s just drive around then.’
‘We’ll head for Beccy. All right? Go round the back way, up through Penn.’
The gorgeous colours of the summer trees had reached their peak and a heavy listlessness hung around in the air.
‘I hate Bank Holidays. They’re so boring. No one’s about.’
Sitting outside one of the town’s pubs, The Earl of Beaconsfield, was a group of people we knew but hadn’t seen for a while – on purpose.
‘Look,’ I said. ‘That’s Petey with them.’
‘I thought he was in jail.’
‘They must have let him out.’
‘How’re you doing, Petey!’
Gee brought the car to a stop at the roadside and our old friend waved and came across.
‘They let you out then?’
‘They had to – eventually.’
‘How long did you do?’
‘What was it like, the Scrubs?’
‘You know what they say. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. It could’ve been worse.’
‘So what are you up to now?’
‘We’ve got a bottle of vodka to sell. But there’s no one about.’
‘Have you tried the landlord?’
‘Yeah. He’s not interested. What about you?’
‘Dunno. What is it?’
‘I’ll go and get it.’
We watched him go back to the group waiting outside the pub.
‘Shall we ask them along?’ suggested Tazz.
‘They’re a bunch of losers,’ I said. ‘Always on the scrounge.’
‘They’ve never got any readies,’ said Vin. ‘Never share their drugs.’
‘And let’s face it, said Gee. ‘Petey’s trouble.’
Petey shoved the Smirnoff bottle through the passenger window onto my lap.
‘How much do you want for it?’
‘Get stuffed. Where’d you get it?’
‘Pinched it from the offy.’
‘Christ, and you just out of nick.’
‘Go on. A fiver. I need four-fifty for some blow, and fifty pence fare.’
‘Blow! Why didn’t you say!’
‘Then there’s a party on at Cookham.’
‘Now you’re talking,’ said Gee. ‘Come on. Hop in. We’ll have the bottle, if we can score, too.’
‘Okay. What about the others?’
‘We’re not taking them.’
‘Oh go on.’
‘If the Bill see us.’
‘But I promised them. It’s not me who knows about the party.’
‘You promised them. All right. If they want to hang around, we’ll go and score this dope, and then give them a ride to the party.’
While our old friend went over and explained to the waiting group I took the bottle and opened it, passing it straight to Gee, who took a big slug before sending it to the back.
‘All right,’ said Petey. ‘Let’s go score!’
Except when we got to the address there was nobody there.
‘Maybe there’ll be some at the party,’ Petey said brightly.
With the latest news Gee was completely pissed off, but the crowd in the car had cheered up with the vodka and he obviously felt that he had no choice but to go along with things.
‘To the party!’ we shouted.
We picked up the others who were still hanging around the closed pub and with eight of us in the car headed on for Cookham, of Stanley Spencer and Wind In The Willows fame. Gee parked the car by the river up a track as far as he could go and we all piled out. We walked along the bank and waited while one of the other group went through the back garden of a large house.
‘Want any moggies?’ Petey asked as we hung around waiting.
‘I’ll have some,’ said Gee. He was keen to get himself into a better mood, somehow or other, for the party.
‘Okay. Four for a quid.’
‘Give me four, then. Matt, you want a couple?’
‘Go on, then.
We had just knocked back the pure white pills with a final slug from the vodka bottle when our friend reappeared.
‘Dunno. S’just not. There’s no one there.’
‘What’ll we do?’
‘Nothing we can do. Let’s just go back,’ said Gee.
We fooled around on the riverbank for a while until Gee complained again that he wanted to get back. He was in a bad temper. The whole mood was sour, the oppression of summer’s end weighing down. Everyone was laughing and mucking about stupidly, but it was manic and empty and devoid of fun. So Gee took the new lot back to where we had found them outside the pub, dumped them with hardly a word, and then headed back to High Wycombe.
‘Careful!’ shouted Vin.
We were travelling along the main road and had reached the town’s eastern outskirts when the car veered off the road completely, careered through a low brick wall, and eventually landed on the forecourt of a petrol station, with steam rising from the dented bonnet.
‘Let’s get out of here!’ Tazz shouted.
Vin opened his side door and reacted immediately. Gee and me sat immobile on the front seats, our eyelids nearly shut.
Next morning I woke from a dream where I was sitting in a car surrounded by flying bricks. I shared this dream with Gee until my friend, recognising it as one he’d also had, rummaged through his pockets and found a piece of paper that was a Summons sheet telling him he had to report back to the police station in a fortnight to get the results of a blood test.
‘I don’t even remember it happening,’ he said. ‘The accident, or being in the police station.’
That afternoon Tazz came round the squat to find out how things were.
‘You could’ve pulled us out, too,’ I complained. ‘You must’ve seen we were too stoned to move.’
‘I tried,’ said Tazz. ‘But you wouldn’t budge. You were like a pair of zombies. I only legged it when the police arrived.’
‘Christ. I can hardly remember anything about it,’ said Gee. ‘Just a load of flying bricks. I don’t know where the car is or anything.’
‘You’d better check with the Old Bill.’
‘I’m gonna take a walk back up there and see what happened.’
‘You completely demolished a wall.’
‘Oh, for Christ’s sake. The car?’
‘Smashed the front right in.’
‘That’s that then. It’ll be a write-off.’
‘I’m gonna lose my licence though.’
‘Maybe they’ll let you off, or lose the test or something.’
‘Yeah, and pigs might fly. What an awful wasted day. I can’t believe it.’
There was the sound of the front door opening and slamming shut before Vin walked in.
‘You all right?’ he asked.
‘I just bumped into somebody in town. Petey was in another car crash last night.’
‘That Petey, he’s just bad news.’
‘And you know what?’
‘Those “moggies”. They weren’t.’
‘They were mandies.’
‘Oh no. Now I get it. I thought that was strange, cos I can function on Mogaden. But Mandrax, they knock me right out.’
‘How did Petey confuse mandies for moggies?’
‘Christ knows. We did.’
‘I just saw two white tablets and swallowed them.’
‘So that’s that then. What a waste of another day.’
UUUGH, too right!
DEATH AND THE DEAD