Saturday, 1 October 2011
Sunday, 25 September 2011
Many young children in Scotland during the 80's suffered the dreaded Home Haircut, not the type when you get a professional to come round in their sporty little motor (ford escort) and embrace you with unnecessary compliments (lies). Oh no...the definition of ' Home Haircut' I mean is the one when a mother develops delusions of grandeur when scissors are in their grasp. Since mothers clean, cloth and cook for you, it makes sense to 'them' that they can also cut your hair well....wrong. It seems an unbreakable tradition between Mother and Daughter! As the daughter becomes a first time mother they are given ( by their mother) industrial sized scissors, once with a clean steel finish now blackened with the soulless haircuts it has burdened many young heads within the family tree. And lets not forget that highly evolved technique of creating the perfect straight fringe..........a bowl. Luckily my father decided enough was enough and gave me the opportunity to go to the Barbers, I think this was mainly due to the haircuts my older sisters and brother were given or he was embarrassed by the fact that all his children had Lego head.
Anyway the big day came, my first paid hair-cut. It would be a defining moment when I could hold my head up high and be proud of my hair as it flutters gracefully into the mid-summer (winter to you) Scottish breeze, whilst whispering ' Timotei' (with the luxurious green hills as a backdrop). I remember waking up early and having breakfast with my Dad. The air was filled with manliness, I was ready to be a man. My father asked me what I would like to drink I replied 'what are you having' he said ' Coffee', I said ' I'll I have the same'. My father gave me an orange juice but I didn't complain because thats what men do! After breakfast my Dad told me to put my smart clothes on for the big day, as I sprinted out of the kitchen I announced ' I can't wait to go to the hairdressers'......before I reached my bedroom door my father called me back. As I raced back to the kitchen I asked him what was up, my father explained he had to tell me something it sounded important. I sat directly in front of him leaning with my hands on my thighs ' Proceed' I whispered. My father said ' we are not going to the hairdressers'...... I was in shock.....he explained we were going to the Barbers, the shock left but curiosity replaced it. Whats the difference I asked, my Dad put down his coffee placed one hand on my shoulder and educated me. My Father taught me that hairdressers are where women go to gossip 'perpetual crap' for hours and pay an insane amount of money to maintain some form of fashion status. A Barbers is where men and old women with purple hair go to quite simply get a haircut within a reasonable time frame and at a reasonable price. I asked more about the purple haired old women, my Dad abruptly explained it was just one of those anomalies in everyday life. I accepted this explantation.
Waiting for the bus with my father, I felt so mature, with my smart clothes on and chest held up high. The odd thing was my Dad was taking me to get a haircut because he was embarrassed by the butchery my Mother inflicted on my other siblings hair, however he dressed me in a purple Paisely patterned shirt, camel cords and brown leather sandals with red socks. As if a good haircut would hide the fact that I looked liked one of the fucking ' Brady bunch does Woodstock'. The bus arrived. The bus driver 'Hamish' was an odd looking old man with bottled top glasses and a gaunt expression. As if gravity had got hold of his chin and was puling down with all it's might. Many kids were scared of him but since he was always polite and gave a trying smile ( even though he had only three teeth) I liked him. Funnily enough twenty years later I seen 'Hamish' again and he looked exactly the same as when I was a child, It was as if some Genie had given him one wish and he choose to look 62yrs old forever. The bus journey was only 5mins but what I always remember is the two identical fields on either side of the road. One field had cows in it the other sheep. All day long the cows and sheep just stood at the wire fences looking at each other from across the road, mooing and baaing. I often pondered that maybe they both thought the were looking into some kind of mirror, so the cows thought they looked like sheep and vice-versa. This proposed a question in my young mind at the time which one would be more disappointed when they seen their real reflection. The bus stopped in the other village, my father and I got off ready for the Barbers.
My father took me down an alley way, we were blinded by the sunlight and as our eyes adjusted to this unusually bright weather, to the left of us was the barbers. The barbers looked like an old western bar, all wood with a rickety old sign above the door with green writing....announcing' Stevie Quicks Cuts, the fastest barber in town'. Catchy. As we entered the Barbers a potent ( not unpleasant) smell of musk and pipe smoke embraced me, Stevie ' The barber ' with a fag hanging out of his mouth briefly turned and mumbled ' alright Dave, Oh and this must be Master Ferguson'. I instantly liked him he knew his place. Stevie was well an unusual character, he was youngish but had the weathered appearance to him, also he gave the vibe of a 'James Dean' look a like that went wrong! He had a stained tight white T-shirt that revealed possibly the worst sparrow Tattoos know to man, a belt that strangled his waist to prevent his over-sized stone coloured jeans from falling down and blonde stubble that could cut glass. Yet most disturbing of all was his haircut.....it really didn't promote his profession or skills very well...since his sandy blonde gelled hair was in constant limbo between a middle parting and a side parting.
As me and my father sat down on the converted church benches I seen that there was another 10 men waiting (no purple haired women though) before us, Stevie said ' only be 5mins Dave' to my Dad. I've heard that one before I thought but to my dis-belief within 5 mins he had done all their haircuts!!! Mainly due to the fact that he only did two types of haircuts short and trim, short results in a number one shave all over and a trim is four swipes of his scissors ( cutting the fringe, the sides and the back). It was my turn, Stevie went and got a short wooden plank which had a eroded green leather nailed to it, not only classy but comfortable! Stevie placed it on top of the antique hairdresser chairs arms and I climbed up on it and looked at my self in the mirror, 'King' I thought......' What would it be for you today pal' he said....I preferred Master Ferguson thank-you but never upset a man with scissors in his hand. My dad said a 'trim please Stevie' within four masterful swoops of his scissors he grumbled ' done, that will be twa pooonds'. I climbed down looked in the mirror feeling a great sense of pride, I was just given my first haircut... I was a bit more grown-up.
When I got back I rushed to my Mum and other siblings to show off my hair, my Mum smiled at me in an odd manner....a manner that was somewhat smug. My Dad ruffling up my hair said' They you go son a proper mans haircut' my Mum once again gave a smug look but this time at my father. She said ' Yes what a professional hair cut'. My father looked perplexed as if Mother knew something he did not know. The following Monday I had my school photos taken and I was so pleased with myself when I got them back. Look at that haircut I thought......I look good. When I showed it to my Mum she said' You look lovely Darling......and what a professional haircut' she then gave my father a smug look and he pulled his paper infront of his face.
For many years I never knew why my Mum was so smug at my Father but 25yrs later I found out. I was going through my school photos and found that Picture with first my Professional haircut. Something looked a bit out of balance.....it then dawned on me! Stevie the idiot had forgot to level my sideburns.... so one was cut to the top of my ear the other well just waved below my other ear. It all made sense since i never went back to Stevie Quick Cut to get my hair done which I found odd. I possibly should have been angry at Mum for letting me parade around with an even haircut but in all honestly I thought fair play!
Sunday, 6 March 2011
As a young kid I distinctively remember adults proclaiming that ' school would be the best days of your life', I would agree but in-terms of Primary school. High school on the other hand is the appetiser for the real world, with a side dish of uncontrollable hormones and constant embarrassment. In fact High school is possibly the worst days of your life, the realisation of how anal and illogical the real world is...with social burdens weighing you down into a normal adult....how depressing!!! Funny enough by the time you leave school you are desperate to go to University for one simple reason, to act like a care free ' Primary School Kid'. Hence at University you start to develop an insane perception of the world, style your hair like a road-kill and wear hemp-made clothes to symbolise the word 'love'. Sounds very similar to a 6yr old boy who can get away with wearing a Spiderman costume to school, not washing for a week and believing he can fly too the moon in a Tesco cardboard box.............with no-one batting an eyelash.
Anyway one day at Primary School when I was 7yrs old, a teacher announced at assembly that there was going to be a fun day at the end of the week. All the kids cheered. I didn't because I was more concerned about the pool of piss heading my way from the boy to my left. Luckly the floor was laid down by a drunk and wasn't that even, in-fact it was as smooth as an acne ridden teenager. As I watched the piss hit a pot-hole in the floor ( just beside me), it was re-directed and trickled towards the girl in front of me. Amazed by the twist in events I watched the piss get absorbed by the girls skirt, just enough for her to turn-around and realise the horror!!! I then seized the moment....... I shouted and pointed with my index finger towards the victim and culprate: " Miss we've got TWO", I howled. Once the boy (head down in shame) and the girl ( face red with embarrassment) were disposed off I was re-allocated to a drier patch of the hall. I asked a friend what the ruckus was about!!! He explained we were having a fun day ( at the end of the week) and it was fancy dress. First thing that came to mind was my Spiderman costume, excellent I thought, climbing the school walls and beating up villains etc.... The teacher then said it was a themed day, we could go as ' tramps or gypsies', ' cops or robbers'. I sighed. Wow how original.
Later on that day at dinner with the family, I revealed the fun day to them whilst washing down my beef-stew with Irn-Bru. Usually no-one would reply or if they did it consisted of these two words 'thats nice', this time was different!!! Honestly I preferred it when my family didn't get involved! My father leapt up and made everyone help. ' Come on...we need to get Davey dressed like a tramp' my father ordered (whilst giggling). Well I'm glad it was decided that I was a tramp and I had a say in it!!! So my Dad dressed me up in a old tweed jacket of his, put a tartan cap on my head and gave me a glass whiskey bottle filled with cold tea. ' Bravo' my dad went, as the rest of my family circled me like fashion critics....'oh you must go like that' my sisters insisted. My brother said I looked like a ' fanny' and as he got hit over the head by my mum, she said ' please go as a tramp'........I went fine.
The end of the week came and I got ready for school dressed as a tramp. Walking to my school the old gardener across the road shouted: "like your tartan cap......look... it's like mine". I sighed but didn't have the heart to tell him I was dressed as a tramp! The actual school day was fun, great games, chocolate covered marshmallows and the usual running around aimlessly. Then came the shit part, we had to stand up, explain who we dressed up as and tell a story. I stood up explained I was a tramp, was a little bit tipsy ( swaying from side to side with the glass bottle in my hand) from the whisky and pulled a rubber monster out of my pocket. Explaining the monster was my only friend and that I found him in a bin. The teacher looked at me in a soppy way, like some-one watching a duckling walk on ice ( pathetic), everyone clapped and I sat down. Then the last boy stood up but he didn't look as if he was in fancy dress. The boy quickly pulled a Balaclava over his head and pointed a toy gun at everyone and shouted 'I'm a member of the I.R.A and this is a hold up' then sat down. Everyone clapped ( not understanding what he had said) and I turned to my friend whispering ' cool toy gun'. The clapping came to an abrupt end when everyone in the class seen the anger in the teachers face. I have never witnessed a silence like that, all that could be heard (that day) were the crickets outside. The teacher dragged the boy by the scruff of the neck and took him to the headmaster.
I found out later on that an older boy had told him it would be really funny to pull a stunt like that.....the teacher didn't find it funny and the boy got into so much trouble!!! His parents grounded him for 2 months!!! Anyway the theme at our next 'fun day' was Super-Heroes and I dressed as Spiderman. Karma I thought!!!!
Sunday, 27 February 2011
It was a lovely summer day in our estate, the sun massaged the grey roads with an ambient orange warmth. Whilst the slight breeze in the air tickled the leaves on the trees into a relaxed trance. Everything appeared to be in harmony. The neighbours were out maintaining their prized gardens and the repetitive flickering of the many sprinklers appeared to synchronise into a sustained melody. It was as if 'Peace' had decided to rest in our village for a couple of hours.
However, 'Peace' may have arrived quickly but it also left in a hurry due to its fear of bored children. I would have been 8yrs old and ran out the house like a charging buffallo onto the road. Deciding what wall to kick my tattered ball at, once the decision was made all harmony literally flew away. Bang, bang, bang, bang now echoed through the neighbours ears. Even with their distaste-ful looks I carried on because lets be honest what did they know, I was playing as Scotland and was about to beat Brazil 10-0....Idiots I thought. Then a couple of friends came across and we started the usual boys chat like... ' what you doing?', ' found a cool stick the other day', ' Whats fore-play....isn't that a bit like Ludo?' etc....From the corner of my eye I noticed a fat kid on a Racer bike a few metres away. I asked my friends who he was, they replied he's new here and he's a bully. Was he now I thought, he definitely looked like one. Chocolate all over his face, a good 3-4 stone weight advantage, a couple of years older than us and a face like a spanked arse. Most likely he got bullied by Kids his own age and thought he could pick on us young ones. Think again fat boy.
I placed my football at my feet, tucked my red t-shirt into my shorts and made sure my velcro on my spiderman trainers were firmly attached. I then shouted ' owh Fat kid you think your brave......how about you try and run me over?". It became like a western show-down, everyone went quite and the gardeners put down their shovels and headed inside. The Fat kid put his feet onto the peddles and with all his might cycled towards me. I turned to my friends and confidently said: " Don't worry he'll stop", with a smug smile. The kid on the Bike was getting uncomfortably close and then.............well I woke up a few secs later with a Racer tyre tread mark on my face!!! The fat kid due to his weight quite literally was able to run right over me, remarkable if you think about. Anyway as I got back up and fixed my velcro on my trainers, I seen shock in my friends face. The two reasons for this was that I had a tyre track tattoo on my face and that the fat kid was crying because I had twisted his wheel. I stumbled across to the fat kid like a 1950's drunk and gasped :" I hope you have learnt a lesson". He got up and ran home crying. My friends thought that I was a bit harsh, all I did was point to my face and explained 'fight your own battles next time'. Funny enough when my mum seen my face she gave me a matching red hand tattoo on my ass!!! Sometimes you just can't please everyone but hey Scotland beat Brazil 10-0...every cloud has a silver lining.
Saturday, 26 February 2011
Throughout my childhood we had many dogs, ranging from Shelties to Poodles. After a while my parents got a bit bored of Pedigree Dogs, mainly because they were expensive and bad health problems. The last Pedigree dog we had was a small black poodle called Nikki (or little hilter), it was truly evil. The poodle stank....would bite your hand if you tried to stroke her curls and when my father did Nikki's yearly hair cut he had to put a pair of my Mums tights over it's snapping face and wrestle her with the clippers. It was an odd sight watching a well-built man struggle against a black ball of anger with the clippers.
Although, my most prominent memory of Nikki was when she had a Stroke. I came down one day and she was just lying there, which wasn't unusual since she was immensely lazy. However after 8hrs Nikki hadn't moved and she was allowing me to pet her (something was up). My Dad got the vet in, he explained she was just old and should be put down. It was funny since the vet was perplexed that it took 3 injections to kill her! Even at death's door Nikki was still a fighter. I wasn't allowed to watch the fatal injections but I did see the vet take the dog out of the house in a black bag from my window, I was sad but at the same pleased she left this planet colour co-ordinated.
Anyway my parents asked if I wanted another dog, praying I would say ' No', I said ' Yes'! Though my Mum had one condition, that we get a dog from the Dog Rescue centre. I went ok. We drove to the Glasgow Dog rescue centre to look for a new member of our family, Glasgow is an odd city. The average age expectancy is 68yrs old and a large mystical dark cloud hangs over it all year long. Making it look like a set from the film Blade Runner, Glasgow is as a mouldy city hence why the people there get called ' Soap Doggers'. However the majority of people in Glasgow are generally renowned for being chirpy and optimistic. Which shows that even at the anus of the world Glaswegians can still show great spirit. I still wouldn't live in Glasgow.
We eventually got to the Rescue Centre and started the search. As a child it was really exciting like picking a new toy but looking back on it I could imagine it being a very bizarre place to work. Staring at all the poor dogs, with hopeful eyes, as they preform hypnotic displays of affection. Just hoping for you too love them and take them home. It must be similar to working in an Old Folks Home, the only difference i'm guessing is that it's easier to clean up dog shit than it is to wipe an old Man's arse.
My mothers patience was wearing thin, since we had been there for an hour and all I was doing was picking insanely large ferocious dogs, most likely previously owned by the drug mafia. My Mum snapped, grabbed my arm and was about too drag me back to the car for home. Until we heard a soft little bark at the end of the Kennel, it was possibly the most gorgeous looking puppy ever created by genetics. It was a mixture between an Alsatian and a Husky dog the Kennel Officer told us, he also explained it was going to get put down the next day. My Mum being a Mother bought his story, even at a young age I didn't believe the Kennel Officer. Lets look at it logically shall we, you have many barely standing decrepit mutts and a young full of life pup. Yeah that makes sense to get rid of the healthy pup because that will be really hard to get rid off.....However, even though I was a smart arse I didn't say anything, I wasn't that stupid I was getting a new bloody dog...happy days.
Anyway we named the new pup 'Kim' after the beautiful actress from the 80's Kim Basinger, for the first few months this pup was adorable. Until it reached adulthood and we started to realise that this Dog was more eccentric than Spike Milligan on acid. Firstly it hated men, especially men with white trainers ( something possibly down to its previous owner) but was a complete softy with children/women. Well I say all women, Kim didn't really like the Avon lady. Sometimes me and my Dad would worry that the dog was going to jump through the Living-room window as the Avon lady passed our gate ( sadly it did not). It had an insane appetite for lip-stick ( by this point I bet my mum wished she had left her in the kennel), paracetamol, toffee and my Subbuteo goal post nets. The funny thing is it used to turn it's nose up to Pedigree chum! Also when Kim was on heat her vagina swelled up to a painful looking size and resembled a giant prune. Kim eventually died since it loved to drink out of the toilet ( which we didn't know about at the time) and poisoned herself due to bleach in the toilet water.
Prior to her Rock and Roll death she did create a bit of a family legacy and many great stories. Especially the week my Dad took off work, he was looking out of the kitchen window into our back garden. Kim was outside, due to her attempts to escape ( usually no longer than 3-days until her fix for lipstick kicked in) we had to attach her lead to a long mountain rope ( which was tied to a steel post in the the garden). The dog was chasing it's tail whilst my dad watched bewildered beyond belief ( it had been doing it for 20minutes solid). Then kim stopped abruptly, as a ginger cat at the far end of garden walked to a precise point. My dad put down his coffee and watched eagerly, whispering 'go on Kim you can do it'. Kim leapt with blood in her eyes and ran as fast as her paws could take her all the way down the garden towards the cat. As Kim was about a quarter of a metre away from the cat ( as my dad arms were in the air with excitement) the rope ran out. Kim went flying in the air whilst the rope nearly pulled her neck off, surely giving some form of whiplash. Whilst the cat sat still in a smug manner, Kim dragged her body like Quasimodo back to the other-side of the garden in shame....... My father sighed and over the week noticed it was happening everyday!
Then one night my Father ( without my Mothers permission) snuck out and gave the rope attached to the steel pole an extra 2 metres of length. Looking out the kitchen window onto the back garden the next day, my dad anxiously waited and waited. Then the arrogant Ginger cat did its usual strut in our back garden, sitting just out of the dogs reach. Kim sprinted towards the cat, as it got about 2 inches away from the cat.......... the cat realised it was f**cked......... Kim grabbed the cat by the neck and threw it over the garden wall ( the meow could be heard for miles) and it never came back, possibly because it died. Kim pranced round the garden looking so proud, tongue hanging out and it's prune looking vagina high in the air.
Anyway my father had told me this story when I had got back from school that day and I have never seen a man so excited over telling a tale. He was making the noises the cat made as it was thrown 14 foot in the air and imitating himself sneaking out into the middle of the night. Then my Dad just walked away turned round and said you know what the moral of the story is..... no I went...... 'Don't Blame It On The Dog When The Cats Out Fishing'. To this day I haven't got a clue what he meant by that moral and at the same time kind of happy I don't.