Friday, 22 July 2011

A Fist in Your Mouth, An Elbow in Your Eye

Unusually for my blog, every word of this is true.

Violence is in my veins.

Father? Sent over to mainland Britain to set up cells for the IRA. He “disappeared”. His violence didn’t, though. He left it to me. A legacy of fist and boot. Thanks, Dad.

Started at nursery school. Aged four, I smashed a gun-shaped brick into the face of another child. Five stitches. The nice lady who ran the school asked my parents to take me away and not come back.

An early lesson learnt at home was to make someone else start the fight. This worked well at my first proper school. Always fighting – but somehow never to blame. Until I smashed James’s face in with my fist. He’d been boasting about his front adult tooth. So I smashed my fist into it and voila – he had to have a false tooth and my parents had to find a new school. (Why are so many of my friends called James or John?).

I lasted five terms. Terrorized the children with “Gonny’s Gang”. Even the older kids wanted to join. When I smashed a replica gun into the face of Jonny (that name again), leaving him hospitalized and with a nice fancy scar on his face, I was given my marching orders.

Two terms at the next school, where I elbowed a child three years older than I was in the face. It was a cracker. You’ve never seen a black eye like it. I was sent to boarding school to sort me out.

Which was fine by me; no supervision. First week, first victim, another James (another one!). He’d gone around saying he was the toughest person in the year because he was a year older (der – thicko, intcha!). Right fist. Black eye. We said he’d fallen out of bed.

And so it continued for six years. Until I asked to borrow the golf club of the arrogant git whose father was, we were repeatedly told, the DI responsible for putting away the Guildford Four. As I teed up into his jaw, (smashing it in twenty-three places!), I explained, amid his screams, that his father worked for my adoptive father, who was a High Court Judge, and that my actual father would have blown his father into smithereens. Got that yet, you cunt?

The final school? Just short of two years. Well, it was the sixth form and I discovered that girls didn’t really like violence. Thus it was that I invented my widely documented squeamishness. I simply faint at the sight of blood. Quite the opposite, but you have to come across all sensitive with the ladies these days, don’t you?

Got into one final fight with a psycho in Deptford. I was at Goldsmiths’ College. All arty and that. He had a knife. Sliced off two of my fingers. Twenty-three (twenty-three! That number again; must have been karmic retribution) stitches to put them back in place. I still have pins and needles in the tips of my fingers even now.

So, I gave up fighting. Can’t punch with a spastic hand. Lucky they were on my right-hand and not my left, guitar-playing hand.

Two of my sons followed in my footsteps. Son Two absolutely floored the bully in the year above him. Right-hook, busted tooth. Knocked him clean out. Go my son. And some other kid was stupid enough to call Son One an “Irish Cunt” and got a black eye for his pains.

But schools these day? They don’t kick you out, do they?

It’s been too long since I’ve broken someone’s nose or given a thumping black eye.

The violence is still in my veins. 

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