By Phil Thornton 01/06/2020
Not on the telly only on HWS platforms, in out shake it all about!
Lockdown story writing
Pinky out espresso drinking
Weatherall’s 11 o’clock drop
Ye auld Twisters
Paul Heaton — great man, great life
Dressing like an Afghan Hound during lockdown
Cleaning all your Adidas shoes while isolating
Magnum ice cream plain or mint
Doddsy’s social media Rebel nights
Two offices on Holywell Street after lockdown
Voodoo Ray pumped up on iTunes
Saffiyah Khan coming to HWS
Toady from Neighbours
Gerrard arrogance personified
“It is what it is”
”everything happens for a reason” cosmic forces crap!
Cummings, Trump, Bojo
Nacho Novo — now he is a whopper!
Daily Record desperate for positive SEVCO news
Wee ponytail on beard types
Mental Health stigma
That is all for now, thanks for checking in.
*Please note Holywell Street offices will be open for the public to visit after lockdown, come along and see us! Bring the fuck-it bucket from KFC at the Forge. Speak to Paul Kealy for further details.
HWS hooked up with Bev Thompson (Aquascutum Girl) once again. We wanted to converse over the film “Beverley” which is now viewable to watch. Also, her social upbringing, being a Rude Girl during the two-tone scene and moving onto being a casual girl in Leicester City’s Baby Squad. The racial tension growing up in Leicester and the political mix from Rude Girl to Casual. This is the life of a mixed-race teen in the ‘80s.
She is one cool lady and perfect for our subculture section.
Red Casual, Angela and Paul connected with her through Skype.
How’s things? Thanks for talking to us again. We see the film Beverley can now be watched by everyone rather than just the film festivals. This has raised more interest again with a lot of new viewers.
For the new readers what is the film about and what was it trying to convey to the audience?
The film was based on my childhood growing up in Leicester in 1980. Highfields was an inner-city multi-cultural community. When I was 11 years-old we moved to the outskirts, suburban life was a big culture shock. I was used to the sound of Reggae, the smell of Ganja (Cannabis) and playing –outside. I had no idea that some-one’s skin –colour was an issue, until I moved to a white conservative area.
In the film, Bev makes friends with the local kids – due to their shared love of two-tone.
Two-Tone music was ‘protest music’ made in the U.K. it was the rage against the machine and stood-up against racism and inequality. Thatcherism neo-liberalism was killing socialist ideals and dissipating working-class communities. It was a dark time for every-one.
Two-Tone was a music and fashion genre, a re-mix of Jamaican Ska and the sharp Black and White clothes worn by Rude Boys in 1960s Jamaican. This style was imported and influenced 1960’s MOD Culture, (1960’s my Dad came here a Jamaican rude-boy and met my British mum who was a Mod).
Paul: How did you get involved in it?
Cass Pennant, Alex and myself were travelling by train to make the football fashion documentary ‘Casuals’ I told them about me being a Rude-Girl and moving from one culture to another. I am mixed-race, and I guess the face of ‘1980s multi-culture Britain. Cass loved two-tone and the concept, that’s how the idea for the film got started.
The film was made in 2014 at the peak of Austerity. The Tories were back in power and immigration back on the agenda, the far-right were becoming popular again, the rise of Islamophobia meant the Muslim community were being targeted. Hate-crime against refugees and EU citizens from Eastern Europe were also increasing.
The protest music was now Grime.
It was the right time to make a film.
Paul: How well was the film received over the last few years?
The short film couldn’t have done any better. We had stars like Vicky McClure, Neville Staples and the late Rankin Roger involved plus support from the two-tone community. Sennia Nenua, who played my younger sister, went on to have a lead role in the Hollywood blockbuster ‘The girl with all the Gifts’
We won every award possible including making it to the last five films to be nominated for the short-film Oscar, the eventual winner had edited our film!
This is an Exclusive I have never talked about this publicly … Unfortunately the feature-film deal came along – I pulled out. The script had reverted back to the old stereotypes were good and all the BAME characters bad. I won’t do a feature-length version unless it is authentic.
There has been a floodgate of films dealing with Black British Identity and Black cinema is killing it. Queen and Slim was amazing, an independent, low budget, protest film.
Angela: I transitioned from Celtic supporter to Casual by becoming friends with boys and girls of the same age around 1984. How did your transition come about?
I was 15 years-old I hung out with a group of lads on a Saturday afternoon, we started joining in with the football- hooligan skirmishes. As the token-female, I made sure I was one step ahead with my clothes. My mum had a good eye too – before Casuals I wore Benetton and other designer labels. My Dad wore Gabicci – we were a sharp-dressing family. So, I easily morphed into Aquascutum Girl.
Angela: Some of the guys didn’t like us girls, others respected us. We would act as lookout and “pretend” girlfriend to whomever in our mob were under the watchful eye of the police. What was your experience?
I always preffered hanging out with the lads – I could boss them around – lol. Boys went on adventures, which I loved! Football on a Saturday was a build up of anticipation, a fierce battle, and then the euphoric after-glow. It taught me self-respect, that I should be proud of whom I am and that a strong team of good mates is priceless, I am still close friends with most the lads from those days.
Angela: I am now 49 and still feel that my years with CSC and beyond are still grounding, keeps me strong as a mother and daughter. The sense of camaraderie speaks for itself. I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Those lessons I’ve passed on to my children – if you’re going to pick a tribe pick a loyal one.
In the Casual’s documentary you mention it become easier to became a casual due to Leicester’s multi-racial crew whereas Skinhead seem to get highjacked by the far-right would you agree?
The Casuals movement or being a Trendy, as I called it, meant wearing trendy clothes-expensive name brands, specifically ‘casual’ sportswear like tracksuits and trainers. Until then ‘sportswear’ was only worn if you were playing a sport! The favourite brands were Fila, Kappa, Tachini, Lacoste and Adidas.
The Skinheads still wore shirts, drainpipe jeans and Doc Martens – a style stolen from the original Rude Boys in Jamaica. But now their divisive views seemed out-dated. Leicester was the multi-cultural capital of the U.K. Our football firm’s head-boy was a Black Guy.
The racist skinhead had to modernise or slipped back into the shadows. We had Whites, Blacks and Asian Hooligans, the full-works, all-standing side by side, against the common enemies – rival fans and the police. The police were vicious. The worse violence was dished out by the boys-in-blue, her majesty hooligan squad.
Laya Lewis plays the part well would you agree?
Laya Lewis played me in the film – brilliant casting. Laya had been in Skins a TV drama based in Bristol, so had lots of experience. She also resembled, the young me, so she was perfect. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to play me.
The Stone Foundation are an interesting band with a mix of ska, R&B and soul they do the theme tune Beverley for the film – an outstanding track. How does that feel to have a song dedicated to you?
The film’s theme song by Stone Foundation was inspired after meeting the guys at one of their Gigs. Cass was a fan and converted me. The song is timeless, and I never get tired of listening to it. I feel honoured to have a song based on me but ultimately, it’s about all of us, in an image conscious world – we’re all judged on our appearance, but some more than others?
Here we go, can you give us your five favourite terrace labels 1985 onwards?
Aquascutum – Classic British Clothing – every-one needs to buy one thing from this label it will last a lifetime.
Benetton – Their advertising campaign was years ahead of its time and I love that poster, showing a global community. Their Brand has always been in style.
Fila and Lacoste who doesn’t love their logo – and flannel trackies – I just think ‘sexy beast’.
If I was buying a Trendy Label today Burberry and Pringle have got some mouth –watering garments. They’ve up-dated their brand but stayed loyal to the original patterns. Although I don’t know what Burberry was trying with its ‘noose’ jumper, which was disturbing!
Your favourite albums?
Musically – I want to big up Skinny man album ‘Council Estate of the Mind’ – a lyrical opera. He opened the door to the Grime genre but has never got the credit he deserved, from the mainstream music industry.
I probably know all the words, to all the songs on Bob Marley’s Catch a Fire album
I love ‘Jungle’ music and a Rave is a good place to let your hair down and dance like no-one’s watching
Music – all depends on my mood – but let’s say anything I can stamp my feet too haha! Music that literally moves me!
I believe Celtic is your team up here, what did you think to our support for Palestine display?
Yes. I also remember reading how Celtic had been fined by UEFA but managed to crowd-fund 20 times that amount. I love it when principles and action overcome threats and intimidation, but to do it for such a political hot potato as Palestine true courage and integrity.
The people of Palestine live in worse conditions then the blacks in South Africa under Apartheid, yet the world turns a blind eye – why? Celtic are keeping the voice of the Palestine alive and that is the best use of football I’ve ever seen! Never give up, Never!
”you have to be some-one” — Bob Marley is this still your inspirational quote?
Yeah, I am an all or nothing kinda girl – that will never change.
Thanks for talking to us Bev.
*Beverley the short movie can now be seen on youtube: BEVERLEY Award Winning Short Ska Film
“Is it me? For a moment,” Quadrophenia (The Who)
Therin lies the paradox of our age. The Lockdown?
What I have come to discover is that although isolation is badly stressful and has mental health implications to many people. I have also discovered “normal” isn’t very healthy.
To go back to normal as we put it is to return to the stress of modern day living and the anxieties that brings. “Normal” is not normal — it has become more apparent that the stress of modern day life — we are not equipped for.
Okay, a lot of us by the Grace-of-god have the luxury of working from our homes; why should a large number of us lose out. What has also become apparent is that a modern day capitalist society is not equipped for lockdown and isolation.
Call this a freak of nature — this is obviously the fault of nobody. But, a key worker can survive where as someone who perhaps works in a shop, a factory or has a small business can lose everything including their home?
Capitalism and the working class majority do not co-exist in present society. We are not all in this together.
The underprivileged and the sick suffer in a “normal” modern day society then suffer again during and after a pandemic lockdown.
Survival of the fittest I hear you say! No chance!
The virus pandemic has exposed underlying conditions of capitalism. I expect a prolonged period of economic depression.
With the market system now in meltdown the laws of capitalism are now kicked aside — production is paralysed and supply has fallen. So those who previously preached “efficiency” for a free market are now demanding big measures from the state to save capitalism.
We now have a world crisis of capitalism. Let us hope we see the light.
If returning to normal is to be a slave to a broken capitalism then normal is not normal.
Some styles going through the years at Celtic. We know there was not a music scene attached to the casual movement but we’ve listed bands we listened to at the time.
Ski-Hats: Celtic, Celtic/Man Utd, Celtic/Everton. Kappa, Kickers, Sergio Tacchini, Fila, Ellesse, Adidas Cagoul, Nike Cagoule, Adidas Lendl, Diadora, Pringle, Lyle & Scott, Wedge Haircut, Nike, Patrick Cagoule.
Music: Electro, The Smiths, China Crisis, The Pouges, Pet Shop Boys, Echo & The Bunnymen.
Lois Cords, Paisley Shirts, Paisley Jumpers, Chunky Knit Jumpers, Lacoste, Farah’s, Fishing Jackets, Benetton, Short Hair, Jeans or Cords (Slits), Mochassins, Desert Boot, Nike Omega, Brollies, Burberry, Berghaus, Barbour, Next Palm Tree Jumper, Adidas Shoes, Trim Trabb, Leather Patchwork Top.
Music: Housemartins, The Cure, Tears For Fears, The Waterboys, Loyd Cole, New Order, The Wolfetones.
Next Outdoor Wear, Adidas Gazelle, Aquascutum, Dungarees, Ocean Pacific, Timberland Chunky Moccasins, Burberry Leather Jacket, Berghaus, Adidas ZX600, Armani Jumper, Cartoon Jean Designer Jacket.
Music: Hipsway, The The, The Men They Couldn’t Hang, Depeche Mode, The Silencers.
Classic Nouveau, Armani Denim Jeans/Shirt, Valentino, Next, Chino’s, DM Shoes, Blazer, Polo Neck, Tweed Jacket, Checked Blazer.
Music: A Guy Called Gerald, Public Enemy, Eric B, Jungle Brothers, New Order – Blue Monday.
Verte Vallee Jumpers, Paul Smith, Leather Bomber Jacket, Coach Jacket, Longer Hair. Middle Pattern, Polka Dot Shirt, Waist Coat, McKenzie Sweater, Timberland Boots, Puma State.
Music: Inner City, Doug Lazy, S Express, Joyce Sims, Raze, Ten City, Lil Louis.
Long Hair, Bobbed Hair, Hooded Top, Kickers, Dance/Rave Scene Crossover, Ralph Lauren, Stone Island, CP Company, Head Bag, Duffer.
Music: Flowered Up, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets, Beautiful South, The Charlatans, Dance Music.
After weeks of posturing, threats, thinly (and some not so thinly) disguised insinuations from The Rangers and their lapdogs, the real motive for all the tantrums, bluster, attempts at intimidation and propaganda has been brutally exposed. (As if we never already knew why).
Plainly and simply, this was a The Rangers FC led revolt in a final, desperate attempt to try and do off the park what they failed miserably to do on it. Stop Celtic being crowned Champions of Scotland for the 9th consecutive season.
From the minute the league was suspended all we have heard from The Rangers and their cohorts is that titles can only be won on the park. Where exactly do they suggest that Celtic built up a 13 point and 25 goal advantage before the cessation of the season if it wasn’t done on the park?
It’s undeniably true that the league wasn’t mathematically over. However, it’s laughable and highly unrealistic to suggest that a squad chock full of winners, who had won 8 league titles in a row, 4 league cups on the trot and were on course to win a 4th consecutive Scottish Cup, a team who had dropped a grand total of 10 points in 30 games and hadn’t lost a domestic cup tie in 4 seasons were suddenly going to drop more points in their final 8 domestic games than they had in the previous 30, whilst a team made up largely of serial losers – with a captain without a single senior footballing medal to his name, a side who hadn’t won consecutive league games in their previous 9 SPFL matches were going to do something they haven’t achieved in the 4 seasons since they were finally promoted to the Scottish Premiership and win 9 games back to back. All this with a team who have wilted and capitulated in every single big game they’ve had where pressure was on them to deliver. It just wasn’t going to happen and Steven Gerrard must be eternally grateful that a global pandemic has been able to deflect from the fact that he has once again failed to deliver when so much was demanded from their support.
The silence from the Celtic board during this debacle has only served to emphasise that the chasm between the clubs off the park is at least as great as that between the clubs on it. For some time now Celtics boardroom has been made up of men who operate on a global platform. Genuine and firmly ‘on the radar’ billionaires like Dermot Desmond and Denis O’Brien have reputations, contacts and influence well beyond the UK’s shores. We’ve previously taken senior members of the UK cabinet, executives of blue chip companies, world leading economists and former Deputy Governors of the Bank of England and supplemented them with guys with a significant track record in performing at the highest levels in their various industries within the UK, Ireland and beyond. To a man the Celtic board has long been one that has been filled by men of significant substance. Professional men and the type of men who can and do lead and influence. In contrast, the Ibrox boardroom comprises of a gaggle of blinkered, occasionally bigoted West of Scotland businessmen.
Douglas Park is currently the biggest hitter in the Ibrox boardroom and has a more than respectable track record in business. He is a wealthy man on the back of his endeavours over nearly 50 years, but his wealth, influence and business history doesn’t even register compared to his Celtic counterparts. Indeed, one doubts if Denis O’Brien or Dermot Desmond would even have heard of him prior to his turning up in the Ibrox boardroom.
The Rangers fans will argue that they had Dave King, but despite being based in and having most of his business interests in South Africa, he could in no way be described as a global tycoon. He is a pariah in the business world now and like Park is a man with little influence and with limited contacts beyond SA and the UK. Indeed, where he does have contacts beyond those borders, they tend to be guys like fellow Ibrox board member, Hong Kong based, Barry Scott who have – to put it kindly – controversial business histories.
Not to put too fine a point on it, the board members at Celtic operate on a completely different plan to the ones at Ibrox. It’s therefore unsurprising that the Celtic board are shrewder, smarter and consistently outthink, outwit and outperform their Rangers counterparts in every area.
It’s a few weeks since HWS asked if I’d do this article to look at the voting and fallout from the SPFL vote on concluding the season and I’m sure most reading this will be familiar with the background to that story without going over it in detail here.
Few anyone would argue that there were some flaws in the SPFL voting process. There quite clearly were but what has followed from The Rangers and Inverness has been a vicious, undiluted and potentially libellous attack on the SPFL, its members and senior individuals on its board. When the dust settles, one would expect that serious SPFL charges – and possibly civil proceedings – will follow against both of those clubs and, in particular, Douglas Park, Stewart Robertson and Scot Gardiner.
In the case of Robertson, his place on the SPFL board must surely be untenable now. Arguably, his position at Ibrox should be too. What purpose does he serve if he is unable to represent The Rangers interest on the SPFL board or exert any kind of influence? The SPFL have claimed Robertson never spoke up or raised his alleged grievances or concerns at any point either during board meetings or in private. What the hell was he doing? Where was his voice? If you are operating at that level, you need people there who can speak up and assertively fight their corner and say things people don’t like to hear. We’re not talking about a modern apprentice or office junior sitting in on meetings to gain a wee bit of experience here. We’re talking about a highly experienced guy on the board of and representative of 2 major organisations.
The constant flow of contradictions, misinformation and vitriol from Ibrox and Inverness have been nothing short of a disgrace. Serious public allegations were made against the SPFL and its representatives. Despite the recent backtracking, the words ‘bullying’, ‘corruption’ and ‘coercion’ all originated from them. It is completely unacceptable in any line of business to make such damning comments and allegations and refuse to provide evidence to substantiate them. To go further and demand suspensions of senior board members without providing anything to support that request is incredulous. As well as their public utterances, Douglas Park is alleged to have made even more serious and damaging accusations in a private telephone conversation to Neil Doncaster. The nature of these comments were so serious that Mr Doncaster felt compelled to get the SPFL lawyer to draft and issue a cease and desist notice to Park.
As for the vote itself, The Rangers are unhappy that their own resolution to replace the SPFL motion on the table at that time was refused. The reason being – as the SPFL have gone on record as saying – is that Park’s motion was not legally competent but if they wished, they could have access to the legal representatives of the SPFL to produce one that was competent and could be which could put to the member clubs to vote on. This offer was refused. To date (at least 5 weeks later), no updated resolution has been put forward.
Another complaint was that the SPFL board tried to influence members. I struggle to see why this is being portrayed as unusual or underhand. This was a board resolution being put to its members, of course they would lobby for its acceptance. Any board putting forward a resolution will be hopeful that it passes.
The inference that there was any bullying or intimidation of clubs has also yet to be substantiated. If anything, and in light of this morning’s comments from other SPFL clubs, there has been more evidence of The Rangers and Inverness attempting to bully and influence other clubs than there has of anything else.
Rangers motive from the outset has been transparent, it’s never been about the good of the game or even self-interest for their club. Whilst Hearts, Partick Thistle, Falkirk and Stranraer can have legitimate grievances about their fate and are rightly voting for and fighting for what’s best for their club, The Rangers board and fans are absolutely consumed by the thought of Celtic winning their 9th consecutive title. Their board are voting and rabble rousing based on hatred, bigotry and in defiance of all logic. They will gladly pursue a scorched earth policy if it means stopping Celtic. The end game has always been thus.
In Scott Gardiner at ICT, they have found a willing stooge. A long-time friend and colleague of Rangers 9-in-a-row stoater, John Brown, Gardiner’s allegiances and motives don’t exactly require a Deloitte auditor to work out.
A former employee of the original Rangers, rumours have abounded for some time that he now craves a job back at the new Ibrox club having rejected a chance to return to Edmiston Drive a few years back. Given his track record of failure at Dundee and Hearts (where he laughably oversaw the failure to order seats for their new stand, resulting in a delay in its scheduled opening), most Celtic fans will surely hope that he gets the chance to join that board of insignificant brothers mentioned above.
The Rangers, many of their fans and Gardiner will all deny it of course, but the thought of Celtic being crowned champions is tormenting their every waking moment right now. The Rangers fans social media pages, fan forums and websites have spoken of little else for weeks. As ever, Celtic and their continued success is forever prevalent in their minds. For them, there is no escape. Irrespective of how they try and dress it up or make excuses, their behaviour betrays their true emotion.
After 6 weeks of bitter infighting, 1 failed coup, 10s of thousands of words, several hundred newspaper articles, 1690 statements and 2 SPFL member resolutions and not a single peep from Parkhead, nothing can alter the fact that for the 9th season running, Celtic are once again the best damn team in Scotland.
It was 1988 and my first “proper” job after failing to establish myself as an audio typist in Glasgow’s Bothwell Street. The hustle and bustle of the Office Stationary World based in an industrial Estate in Rutherglen beckoned.
My new Boss was Auld Bill McLeish an aging business man who reluctantly enlisted the help of his accountant son Colin to help run things. Bill was an old gentleman and was the life and soul of the place albeit he was a “bluenose” and he had a seat at Ibrox in the main stand. My best memory has to be the poster in his tobacco stained office that read “Success is doing everything right the first time!”
He also loved all those quotes like that cosmic drivel, such as: “everything happens for a reason” aye like fuck it does!! or “what is for you won’t go by you” The auld philosopher could hardly back it up.
He trained me up on my first client phone call by me phoning him on his extension and saying “McLeish Business Supplies can I help you?”. I was 17 years of age and in awe of this small gentleman in a smart suit.
Bill had a son, Colin who was not as endearing; David Brent before his time hence the affectionate theme tune.
The tune from the onsite warehouse was “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac blaring as Colin “Can you hear me Colin” walked into the office with a fag hanging out of his mouth. Pauline and I would be singing our wee song. Got those orders written up yet ladies he would growl as Clarkey and Archie were about to leave.
After a few times singing “can you hear me Colin” he seemed to take it as affection then moving onto complimentary, he would punch the air when we sang it, looking at us as if we were his disciples.
Colin would walk his dog at lunchtime and would sadly keep it in his car until 12 o’clock, his car was a mini-clubman, those dated looking monstrosities with the wooden backs. His dog was one of those small sausage dogs (a Dachshund) so you can imagine us trying to take him serious never mind take orders from him.
Colin was an Ewok impersonator by default; his father ruled the roost though.
One morning Bill insisted Colin drove me and Pauline to get a sandwich at lunchtime. We would certainly rather of walked for an hour especially as soon as we saw Ewok sitting waiting on us in the mini-clubman. Fuck knows what was going through this ones head!
As myself and Pauline got into the back of the car, oh, and the sausage dog. Ewok then put a tape on, status quo – “a what your proposing” he also had a little RFC pennant thing hanging down from the internal mirror.
The cringeometer was already hitting the Richter scale when he noticed a couple of young ladies by the side of the road. Having zero respect for us or them, he rolls down the window: “get yer pants aff ya horny bitches!”
They look on in stunned amazement, Ewok rolls the window back up as he turns to us in the back: “a cannae stand doags!” what a smooth stud he really is, the sausage dog seems aggrieved and barks but is then assured: “no you for fack sake”
The thrills of playing the game to keep yer job.
Clarkey played rugby on a Saturday and Auld Bill was always keen to find out how he got on – one day he was shouting across the warehouse for the Saturday’s updates, Clarkey couldn’t quite hear him, so Bill ran over and fell into the waste bin, fag ash everywhere as Elvis “Good luck charm” blared out of the radio.
After years of writing up orders and slogging out office furniture quotations over a typewriter (Olympus Word Processor) it was over.
Here’s the best bit after working there for six years until I was 22 my leaving gift was a lousy Parker Pen!
Auld Bill was last seen in his retirement, frequenting a few establishments in town. He seemed to becoming bored with life with no focus or fulfilment, with this, he would often be seen drinking with the “young yins” as he called them.
One afternoon we came across him in a sing-along with some young Oasis fans, Bill with his blazer and gold buttons sporting a tie with the tag: “persevere” on it, which was some kind of Masonic title.
The young bods were singing along to Wonderwall which they had on repeat as much as the rest of the Oasis tracks on the juke box. Auld Bill was giving it laldy he had them standing up, everyone swaying arms embraced. When the chorus kicked in — Bill would step-back, arms stretched out: “and after aaalll … you are a wadddaaaaawhhhoh!” this was the perfect alcohol induced afternoon for everyone whether Bill had the words right or not. When all said and done we all liked Bill.
When Ian decided on the name ‘Knight Rider’ for his CB handle in the early 80s, little did he know that it would follow him around for the rest of the decade. As decisions went, it was up there with the day Katie Hopkins’ mum got pregnant then decided to keep it – a fucking bad one.
For the next few years, at every opportunity, we’d address him as ‘Knights!’, purely in the name of comedy. And he didn’t like it; he didn’t like it at all.
Of course we did this out of affection, but a different kind of affection; a piss-take sort of affection. That’s not to say he didn’t deserve it of course; he was a Bully Beef character so we felt as though the ribbing was truly justified even if he obviously didn’t.
It was almost a thrill when he’d counter our taunts by fixing us with a growling gaze and asking us, ‘Ee got a problem?’
Knights liked his semi – heavy metal attire of snow-washed denim jacket and jeans, big white mamma boots and shoulder length hair. Picture a member of a Norwegian soft metal band from the 80s and you’re about there.
Straight out of the ‘furry dice brigade’, his favourite track was, ‘Who Made Who’ by AC/DC and it was this head-banger he’d have pumping out the open window of his Ford Cortina.
Once, in response to us reminding him of his nickname, he informed us that we were, ‘Aw mincemeat,’ which was actually quite an apt threat seeing as he worked in the local butcher’s.
He then charged at us like a raging bull, seemingly to attack, only to stop five-yards short, pointing, and shouting, ‘Ahhh ya cunts!’
Eventually, he got his revenge by looking in all the pub windows until he caught us underage drinking, then reported us to the cops.
Every day after school we would make our way down to his shop specially to shout ‘Knights!’ at him – it was the highlight of our day, at least until we got home and ‘Grange Hill’ came on.
Out of the goodness of our hearts, we would always let him know we were approaching by counting ourselves in: ‘A-one, a-two, a one-two-three-four – KNIGHTS!’
Startled and slightly bemused (or maybe impressed, it was hard to tell) all of the shop’s clientele would turn ’round and look for a moment, before carrying on as normal. Not Knights, though, who looked like he was about to burst like an overcooked sausage.
Waiting until his manager wasn’t looking, he menacingly pointed at us with a cleaver before telling us, ‘You, and you, and you – are fucking mincemeat.”
On a midweek night you’d see him doing a few hundred circuits of the town in the motor; elbow out the window, mirror shades on, chewing Hubba Bubba, and giving us a wee growl as he drove past.
If he had a lassie with him you could imagine him giving it a Brooklyn accent too, as if being a butcher’s assistant with a Cortina wasn’t impressive enough.
Knights had a pal we named ‘Beefburger’ who was also a bully beef type, resembling the wee short guy ‘Wellington Wimpy’ from the early Popeye cartoons.
If Beefburger was in the butchers we would shout his name out too, so as not to make him feel left out. His response was to run out to the door and inform us, ‘The police have just went by and they’re after you, you, you and you!!’, his face looking like he was blowing up bus tyres.
On one occasion we probably took it too far. We approached the butcher’s shop to do the usual drill, ‘A-one, a-two, a one-two-three-four …,’ then Blacklock runs into the shop with his gel back hair and on chant gives it, “KNIGHTS!!!”
The result of this was that Knights was suspended for bringing unnecessary attention to the shop.
Knights and Beefburger would eventually start drinking in pubs but it was usually when RFC were playing and it was on the telly. They would sit with their blue McEwan’s Lager tops on, drinking said lager with a pile of crisp bags — some empty, some full.
One evening we piled into the pub after a match and the gruesome twosome were there. The look on Knights’ face was a picture; as if the Jackson 5 had just walked into a Ku Klux Klan convention, and his welcome was what you’d expect: ‘Ya fenian bassas!!’
All of the emotions regarding the recent suspension spewed out of him like gravy squirting out of one of his steak pies and he flew for Blacklock, only to be held back by Beefburger. ‘Ah was due a promotion ’til that little cunt stuck his heed in the door and shouted “Knights”,’ he tells us while being held back and aiming kicks at his nemesis.
Then it was my turn: ‘Maybe you never shouted Knights, but you shouted: ‘A-one – a two – a-one-two-three-four…!’
As soon as it started, though, it was finished, and he sat back down to his McEwans Lager before informing us that – once again – we were, ‘Aw mincemeat.’
Blacklock was in having dinner one evening at the Woodhouse Hotel with a lovely lady friend he was hoping to woo (pump), but unbeknown to him, Beefy had got himself a job in there as the head chef and Knights provided them with their meat. Which was exactly what Blacklock was hoping to provide to this lady back at his place if the date were a success. But it didn’t start well and it ended even worse.
Upon spotting each other through a wee hatch to the kitchen, Beefy greeted him with the middle bar and a red-hand salute.
A few minutes later, Blacklock and his guest were hoping to enjoy their romantic steak dinner, but no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t cut their meat. It was literally impossible.
Instead of complaining, they decided to go outside and round to the kitchen to confront Beefy. ‘What’s the story wi’ the steak?’, shouts Blacklock, to which Beefy replies: ‘Fuck all tae dae wi me!’
In a rage, he kicks the door in and could hardly believe his eyes. Beefy had been sawing bits off a tyre, which he’d served up to Blacklock and his lady as steaks!
This was obviously some sort of incredibly imaginative revenge, and it was not on!
Blacklock grabbed an apple and got Beefy in a headlock, ‘Aw aye! What aboot this aepple then, eh?’, and starts feeding it to him, ‘C’mon, eat yer aepple, eat yer aepple, yer no blawin up bus tyres now eh?’
Once the forced apple feeding was over and Beefy was once again a free man, he ran into the restaurant and shouts back to Blacklock: ‘Am phoning the polis.’
The next time we clapped eyes on the meat brothers was one Sunday evening in Bobbins, a pub with the usual 80s stuff in it: mirrors, disco balls, lasers, etc. The main bar was quite empty but when we headed to the disco room through the back we saw only two people up dancing – Knights and Beefburger. The song …
The Wanderer …
“Oh well, I’m the type of guy who will never settle down
Where pretty girls are, well you know that I’m around
I kiss ’em and I love ’em cause to me they’re all the same
I hug ’em and I squeeze ’em they don’t even know my name
They call me the wanderer
Yeah, the wanderer
I roam around, around, around”
As they sang out loud and danced their ‘driving an invisible car dance’, they were oblivious to us; they danced as if no one was watching.
Until the song finished and they heard, with horror etched on their faces, the familiar refrain:
‘A-one, a-two, a one-two-three-four…!
Fur an auld wumman she was probably the biggest Celtic supporter you would ever meet in your life. Her name was Marcella, but was known affectionately as Cella. I was proud to call her “Grannie”.
Parkhead Glasgow was my second home apart from Castlemilk, as my brother and I would stay every other weekend regardless of whether the hoops played at home.
For home games, it was her flat at 164 Helenvale Street where a crowd of us would visit before and after the match; such was her popularity.
At 4:45pm on a Saturday, just as the Pope’s a catholic, the chip pan would be on lard not yet melted, tatties peeled. Fresh homemade chip butties for all was common. This not only filled you up but gave the crowds a chance to disperse before all heading home safely.
The view from 11 floors up you could see down both the length of London Road and Springfield Road viewing the crowds as matchstick men with the floodlights of Paradise glistening to the right.
My Grannie was a shrewd Business Woman (having worked all her days as a Dinner Lady, Clippy to Bingo caller). Being a War Widow as my Grandad was killed in WW2 there was no option, she never remarried.
When she eventually retired, the landing cleaning business began. The boss and her wee apprentice cleaning the landings for 10 out of the 14 floors in the building.
Along with a Saturday Syndicate for the horses with her flat buddies I learn to write out a bookies slip.
We often liked a “wee refreshment” and would be often found in the Oak Bar (AKA The Clansman or Jimmy’s) most Thursday for a whiskey; and a half shandy.
Whilst having a sing song with the other locals and reminiscing about the past, Cella often kicking things off with “I don’t know why I love you but I do” by Bobby Vinton, such was her devotion to my Grandad Josie. At the end of the night “I was never drunk Angela just tired”. Aye right!
The Celtic Football Social Club was always a highlight of her social calendar. When Tommy Burns won the Scottish Cup in 1995 (the only cup he won as Celtic manager) was another one until the photo was developed and the trophy appeared to be half way up her nose. She was 81.
Marcella and I had a unique bond, beyond that of maternal granddaughter and grandmother. We shared secrets and memories, more than I did with my own Mum. She forgave me for chopping my long blonde hair to a Casual wedge when I was 14 when all she said was go for a trim. “Suits ye hen” she said after around 20 minutes stunned silence ……
Bobby Gillespie and Andrew Innes from Primal Scream were partying in Paris mid-90’s, drinking champagne with their model friends Kate Moss and Helena Christensen.
Nearing the end of the night with the ladies enjoying the company of the indie rock legends so much, “Heroin Chic” Kate suggested they go to another party the following evening. The response from the chaps was: “Sorry hen, we’re gonnae see the Celts”.
This was 9 May 1995 (the day before the European Cup Winners Cup match Paris Saint-Germain vs. Celtic). Bobby and Innes had their priorities right the supermodels were gutted.