Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Last Mad Surge of Youth by Mark Hodkinson (Pomona 2009)

Woody was one of the few who lived with his real dad. Barrett had christened him 'Luigi' after calling round one day and finding him wearing the coolest sunglasses he'd ever seen. The rest of his apparel was strictly dads' stuff of corduroy trousers, patterned cardigan and Hush Puppies. The glasses, though, were straight out of The Godfather.

Carey recalled that Luigi had driven them to their first proper concert - Hawkwind at a large concert hall. On the way there Luigi spoke gravely as though they were preparing for war: don't talk to anyone; keep a good grip on your tickets; go two at a time to the toilets; leave a few minutes before the end to avoid the rush; if anyone steals your seats, tell the usherettes. Woody told him they didn't have usherettes at gigs, unless that was the name of the support band.

"Well, you know what I mean, whoever's in charge."

Woody sad no one was in charge. His dad told him to stop being a clever arse.

Soon after they entered the hall, a skinny bloke ambled on to the stage carrying an acoustic guitar. He began singing caustic songs about pregnant teenagers and getting beaten up on council estates. The crowd was in uproar. People left their seats and moved down the aisles to get closer:

"Fuck off."

"Twat."

"Get off."

Barrett, Carey and Woody went to the toilet. While they were standing at the urinal they saw a dishevelled longhaired lad turned slightly to the side, fiddling with himself. Woody wasn't shy:

"What you doing?"

He turned around.

"I'm trying to piss in this bag."

He had a crisp bag, half full of piss. He was drunk and struggling to hold it, splashing the floor and his shoes.

"What are you going to do with that?"

"Wuzz it at that bastard on stage. He's lucky it's just piss."

He turned back to the job in hand before looking over again.

"How old are you lot?"

"You look about nine."

Carey and Barrett noted the name of the bloke with the acoustic guitar billed as a 'punk-poet' on the posters: Patrik Fitzgerald. They were going to buy his record, the one about having a safety pin stuck in my heart, for you, for you.

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