By Macaroon Bar 2/5/20
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…!