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Me knackers caught in me Clackers
Member Name: thedevilinme
Advantages: Innocent days
Disadvantages: Inoocent days
As you would expect I was naughty but nice as a kid, a secret compass hidden in our Clarks shoes and no one batting an eye-lid if you carried a penknife and had your hood up. It was innocent times growing up in the seventies and although there were rough boys and gangs and no computer games we still had fun and it really was a far safer time. I would not like to be a lad or teenager today as the innocence in most places has gone, and what's childhood without innocence. At least my generation of kids didn't stab people for straying out of their own post code or running drugs for the wrong 'hoodie'. Today posh kids don't go out much and its homework and the Playstation all the way before the clocks go foreword whilst the underclass sproggs continue to rage those conflicts on those Playstation games for real. Middle-England slap a law suit on the council if little Toby cuts his knee on the climbing frame whilst the Under Class sue if their benefits drop below £300 per week. Our childhood memories really were better than yours.
When I was little I got caught shoplifting. It wasn't my idea but my mate insisted we should steel some Action Man stuff from a shopping centre about a mile away. After you get away with it once your back again and again as the stuff is free and it's like a Christmas every day. But you will always get caught and on the fourth attempt we were collared around the back of the store where we were foolishly inspecting our booty. Talk about peeing on someone's doorstep. I shouldn't have gone for the Action Man Scout Car, the size of my school bag, somewhat ambitious. This was not Oceans 11.
Our parents were phoned and the police took us to the cop shop for a serious ticking down in front of mum and dad. It was terrible and I cried like Simon Cowell when they took his favourite mirror away, not only because of the fear of the cops but I had embarrassed my mum, the police car parked directly outside our house. The irony was that the other lad who had taken me on our little Saturday morning adventures was the son of a policeman, his rebellion far worse on his family. Needless to say I haven't stolen anything since, apart from a few kisses from girls I shouldn't have.
Long hot summers....
As kids we only remember the good summers, sitting on the porch playing Top Trumps or going down the local park to play football...jumpers down. Rain never existed and we had the time of our lives for those long seven weeks, brilliantly captured in the film Son of Rambow. A game of footy would quickly become 13 aside as the big boys joined in and first to 24. It was always 18 all and next goal wins it as our muddy knee caps gave up. No one had bought pop so thirst called a halt.
I recall one of the most pleasurable things we did as kids was to hack a maze of tunnels with our favourite sticks through stinging nettles and bramble bushes in the more derelict areas of the parks, the towering walls of shrubs allowing us to build natural fortress, a rare quiet intimacy in the urban roar, and woe betide anyone who enters. I had my first kiss in the centre of our maze in Eastfield Park. The local tomboy offered her left cheek to me when I was 11. I was happy with that. Rougher girls offered a boob you know.
In the old days dads went out to work and mums worked part-time or from home. My mum had a big machine that would rivet small buckles and belts and we would have little production line where we could earn extra pocket money by doing part of the process. I did alright out of it and would often have a whole fiver to send come Saturday, a lot of cash back in the 1970s. I would push a leather dongle under the hand pull machine and then place the rivet in the metal cup and it would clamp it all in place. Thirty years previous kids were expected to do that all day in the workhouse and pushed out of school by their 14th birthday if they showed no academic potential. The Tories are in so that could return. It certainly taught me the value of hard work and a fiscal reward for that. Sadly I wasted the money on marbles, Lucky Bags and Panini football stickers.
Air guns and lazers!
Once you discover the power of the magnifying glass to kill ants with a concentrated beam of sunlight you are power hungry for the rest of your life. The spud gun no longer wielded the same firepower potential a kid could get hold off. You then progress to the industrial catapult and then the more sinister 1.66 air gun, mail order only, not the most accurate of weapons but it looked like a gun and so pretty cool. For some reason I used to open fire on my neighbours perplex roof to let the rain in and once took a pot-shot at a vicar visiting in their garden. The nature of the 1.66 calibre is that if you try not to aim at something you generally hit that something. I think the pellet is still lodged in his ear now. Today in London the black boys have real guns and a funny look can earn you a much higher calibre in the buttocks or worse. Everything seems to have got more severe today. Wouldn't it be better if the black boys used spud guns in Brixton.
Wasn't much of ladies man until my twenties and can't recall having a proper girlfriend until I was 17, and even then it was a rather awkward affair, drawn to the local tomboy who lived up the road. She taught me how to drink Jack Daniels and unhook bra's with one hand - one hand all I needed. The youngest girl I remember liking was a pretty Asian girl I followed home from lower school. I think she let me carry her satchel once, which at eight-years-old counts as a kiss. Nothing like your first proper kiss as your braces locked together (that's teeth braces not the ones form the posh tailors).
In the old days you could sneak in the County Ground for Cobblers (Northampton town) games at half-time for night matches and get a good 45 minutes free footy. Now the fans are locked in for 45 minutes after kick-off at Sixfields, Northampton's modern but bland ground, mainly because we can't afford the policing any more. It was great fun and as the Spion & Cop end was open you could hear every word the players swore on the pitch in the old fourth division when crowds were often below 2,000. The biggest game I recall was when we lost one nil to the European Champions Aston Villa in the 3rd round of the cup to a Daley goal, the ground packed to capacity at 17,000, £2.75p to get in.
Most of you over 35 collected these at one point, be it the football ones or obscure stuff like the Star Wars collection, the latter a rather limited series, three Chewbacca's and two Hans Solos in every packet. Previous to that in the early 70s we picked up on the American trend of those waxy baseball bubblegum packs, the British kids oblivious to who the hell the baseball players were but enjoying the gum inside. I have Ricky Sanchez of the Metros if anyone wants swapsies! Panini collecting was far more serious then, as addictive as crack cocaine, the playground dealers offering 'wraps' of obscure St Mirren players for three Gary Linekers. But Panini got cocky and introduced the metallic team badges, soon requiring four segments to complete the badge and the team picture. Even a 12-year-old could see we were being ripped off now.
Conkers and cherries
In this stunning autumn I saw a rare sight last week, dad slinging the stick up in a tree to get conkers for his lad. In these health & safety days you expected a warden to jump out and give him a ticket or something, or at least supply him with an elongated version of those little picker clamps you see the street sweepers use to 'pluck' the conkers down. In our day you would hurl anything you could find up there until the tree looked like a plucked turkey on Christmas Eve. In the rougher estate parks there would be railway sleepers and pushchairs lodged in the branches. Conkers is now a very middle-class experience and played with kids in goggles in private nursery play areas.
Alas Halloween has overtaken Guy Fawkes as the big night out in the autumn for kids, 911 kind of putting in context the fact November 5th is effectively celebrating a failed terror attack and so no longer appropriate, Trick or Treat, rather ironically, a safer thing for kids to be doing. Even the posh people let their kids go out alone and annoy pensioners to bag some choccy. As long as they don't leave the gated community or eat any sweets or nuts that or on their long allergy list it seems to back in turned.
We never did 'penny for the guy' or 'trick or treat' as kids, running off before the house owners answered the door, the cheery door nock. We used that and the guys chasing treats as a decoy to climb into back gardens and steal apple's and occasionally set alight to their ornate bonfires and lovely Guys on November the 4th. Cruel I know but that's what you did as kids when we didn't have computer games or VHS. Now wars in Iraq over oil are ok but bonfires are not as they are creating global warming.
Summary: Inoocent days...
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