Arriving soon-its here!!!
Well, Yes Teenage input time but at what point do I mention this time? I started hanging around with Teenagers when I was about 5-6 years old, My first vague memory of that time was prob being told to go into a shop and steal packets of cigarettes while the other guys kept the shop keeper occupied, For each packet I stole I was rewarded with a cigarette-what was I going to do with it?… so some smoking started though I never ‘took it back’
Yes running with those guys and missing a turning and falling onto the old railway tracks, amazingly I landed on a mattress, they came back and I can remember them saying ‘he’s not moving is he ok?’, I opened my eyes and up and off we went-the mattress yes I fell some way over the wall…
On one occasion we broke into a mill, a cash till I think was raided? We got in the lift to get out and the lift got stuck between floors- ha that was scary as we heard noises arriving, one of the lads got a pick axe and smashed the door and we got out, was the money spent on alcohol? Another factory I remember we went into but somehow the police seemed to be on the way, as they came in the front I think we went through windows at the back, I’m abit unsure but feel that someone got caught though never said anything.
This might be taking me to the age of about 11 (ok still not a teenager but others were), 11 and the money spent on alcohol-my first binge drink maybe? Washing a glass milk bottle out and filling it with a mix of spirits from my parents house, I am sure the bottles had lines on them showing where the level of liquor was-C’mon it would have been very weak by the time I had done lol…
Oh yes that mattress was later used to shelter a den we had made but unfortunately when the fire got going so did the mattress and the rest of the tip by those old railway lines hence a lot of fire engines turned up and so did we asking who they thought might have done it???
Here we go and maybe now I’m 13? And the same month I had been watching a funny coloured red dot shirt on this cyclist (Lucien van Imp) in the 1977 Tour de France, He was on the way up the L’alp du huez (I think that’s the spelling, I should check on google earth?!), That’s it I was hooked, and spent so much time in the Ellis Briggs cycling shop-my mind was occupied and I pretty much stopped hanging about with those friends?
I was in the 7th Shipley Scout group and in September of 1977 we did the 3 peaks walk but I struggled and wanted to be fitter, I never stopped talking to them about the cycling that I wanted to do but I didn’t have a bike (lies I tell as I could use my sisters moulton mini if I asked nicely!). I spent the autumn just wanting a drop handlebar road bike, I made a cycling shirt in school but some folks though it strange that a boy wanted to go into the clothing/knitting? Classes-I wanted cycling clothing which I did!!!
Towards the end of the year I took my dad down to the cycling shop, I knew he dint have any available money so I looked for the cheapest but ‘ok’ bike that I would enjoy riding. It was an Ellis Briggs own brand. Christmas day arrived, I got up pretty soon but only when I was told I could. Hey the bike was there but it wasn’t the same bike, it had springs in the saddle with a raised handlebar stem, Oh My God they had got me an early women’s bike, 3 things now went through my mind:
1. Why have you got this knowing its not the same as what I so wanted.
2. The shop should have known as they knew my parents or is that why they sold them a super heavy ‘gas-pipe’ framed cycle and
3. How now can I join a cycling club with that… hmmm.
Hey I looked to them with great joy no problem-only a few months earlier they had given my older brothers Elswick Hopper to my cousin, but that was a pretty nifty bike that I would have loved. Right I started, I took the saddle apart and removed the springs, it looked a site but it looked ok, I pretty much ripped off the great big heavy mudguards’ Not a lot I could do about the handlebar stem but… but I needed money to improve that bike, I guess breaking into shops was an option and on one occasion I was actually taking some equipment at night and a guy was looking in the window ha. Much more on the cycling in the appropriate chapter as this also led to my music.
Teenage years and my first very heavy party (14 I think?), we used same lads house to have a party as his dad was away, we took as many of those old flashing road work lights as possible and adjusted them so they could be switched on and off externally, maybe we got about a dozen (12!) or so of those lights and hung them around the house. The party was completely bonkers, tons of booze and folks, my school heartthrob was there-hmmm but was she really? One of the guys had been stripped of his clothes and he just carried on naked… lots went on and maybe I tell more another day? Knock knock on the door, hey it’s the police and on the way in they grabbed some cans!!!
They got us all in the same room and was asking where we got the lighting from, erm the road works I reckon ha. They took all names but some of the lads were on the verge of wanting to fight the police-nightmare, hang on what’s that noise upstairs’ Walking in the room is the lad who had no clothes, what he had done was dress himself in the fishing gear from the guys dads wardrobe, but also had a very tight small girls top on which was the guys sisters-getting confused yet, so am I ha-and what a site with waist high fishing Wellingtons, tight jeans, and a girls blouse!!! The police finally left after having some cans and taking names, I stupidly walked home, while walking home you tend to think what is it all about…
I was now at Nab Wood Grammar school, and doing terrible apart from Art, I was very very good with this subject, I started missing many lessons and not going to school-apart from art, the teacher used to push me, she loved my work and so really tried talking me into going further, maybe the music ended up being my savoir through the cycling??? I’ve not really got much to say about school as I was even quieter, only picked on once on the school bus and im afraid I split my knuckles when I hit him, this seem to give other kids the chance to start on him? No I was never a trouble starter and hated fighting but this is something that seemed to follow my teenage years.
I officially left school at 15 and way to early as I wasn’t anywhere near ready for the world of working ‘Youth Opportunities Program’ or ‘YOPs’ as they called it, I couldn’t get any kind of apprentice position and ended on the teenage wasteland of forgotten people. Don’t forget I was now cycling with a club (East Bradford Cycling Club) and still stealing to really fund and find my way through better bikes, although I had started work in a cycle and toy shop, stealing continued…
My first official pint of beer was at Windhill Cricket Club and events in there sometimes looked like some bars in the wild west!!!-I wasn’t interested in girls at that time but I’m afraid for some reason a few married women had other thoughts and I regret what I carried out, may be that’s a case of what goes around comes around, and my turn was due… One night I was out in the Mississippi bar and sat nice and quiet, this fella came and sat next to me saying ‘see him over there, well I’m gonna beat him?’ I did reply its best not as he was the hardest man (at the time) in our town and he was in fact my future brother in-law (he also once came on holiday with us but mainly with my brother), so this guy said ‘I’ll have you instead then’, fantastic I thought and the next thing I’m receiving some right punches, a friend of mine pulled me off and next thing my future brother in-laws brother give this geezer a bit of a pounding and threw him out of the club, this seemed to happen a few times-why me ha.
Strange thing is in this chapter iv not really got much to mention about these years… I wasn’t interested in girls… and I later joined the RAF, the break ins and stealing stopped.
Yes the RAF, I also passed for the Navy, they asked what I was going to do while on board, I mentioned I would play my guitar, hmmm and they said well that’s a non starter but do you enjoy swimming-I told them I cant swim ’you best go to the RAF son!’
The RAF will need to be another chapter as it was a great few years and even better when they found out I had never flown!!!