This is England 2015 screenplay leaked

I recently came into posession of a leaked copy of the new This is England 2015 film screenplay. For copyright reasons I can only post the first page, but as you’ll probably agree it looks like it’s going to be very reminiscent of that period in skinhead history.


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Return of The Snatcher


Scar Gill risked a quick glance over his shoulder as he ran across the wasteland, desperate to reach the safety of Gold Thor’s perimeter and the warriors who protected it. He wished he hadn’t; the scabbed ones were gaining on him. So close he could almost taste their stench in the back of his throat. Pus flew from the weeping sores on their emaciated arms and legs as they gave chase, a whole flock of them stretched out as far as he could see.

Scar Gill had never seen so many of them this far north before. In the stories, handed down from generation to generation, the scabbed ones of Notty Ham were in league with The Snatcher and had plotted with her to bring down the Under Dwellers of Yarkshire during her war with the mighty warrior Scar Gill was named after. Legend told how even on her deathbed, The Snatcher vowed revenge on the people of Yarkshire from beyond the grave, and that her evil spirit lived on in the minds of others.

Had The Snatcher taken on a new form and driven the scabbed ones north to destroy Gold Thor? Was the mighty town of Barn Slay, birthplace of the Scar Gill of legend, next on her list of targets for extermination? Scar Gill had to get home so he could raise the warning, rouse the village’s warriors before it was too late. He ran on, the scabbed ones screeching in their pursuit.

Arms pumping, breath wheezing, the stitch in his side burning agony, Scar Gill looked to the horizon, where the first traces of Gold Thor’s fields were visible against the setting sun. An oasis in the barren landscape, spared from the great Gee Had, some say, by the spirit of the legendary Scar Gill himself, Yarkshire’s protector and The Great Num’s ambassador on earth.

Scar Gill cursed himself for roaming so far from the safety of Gold Thor’s boundaries. But it was every citizen of Yarkshire’s duty to kill the scabbed ones of Notty Ham on sight, in revenge for their traitorous ways during the great war between The Snatcher and the Scar Gill of legend. So when he saw one sneak into Gold Thor and make off with one of the newborn lambs under its arm, Scar Gill gave chase with his trusty axe. He knew it was too late to save the animal as he followed the clumps of bloody fleece ripped from its body while it was devoured, but he had to do what was right. He had to rid the world of the thing that had taken it and avenge his ancestors.

He just never expected to come face to face with a whole flock of them nesting among the rubble of the wasteland. He skidded to a halt and turned and fled, but it was too late. The scabbed army had already seen him. They screeched and moaned, blackened teeth gnashing and scabbed arms flailing pus as they gave chase.

Now Scar Gill ran, spurred on by the sight of home, the pain in his side dissipating with renewed hope. Almost there …

A gnarled hand clawed against his back. Its owner’s fetid breath rasped in his ear. Scar Gill cried out and spun with the axe. Its blade thudded into rancid flesh and something warm and wet splashed onto Scar Gill’s face and chest. The stench was unbelievable, the taste of it in his mouth even worse. He gagged and spat, and almost stumbled as he ran on.

A shout came from the village ahead. One of the watchers, it had to be. Thank The Great Num someone was still on duty. Help would be on its way soon, Scar Gill just had to survive until then. More shouts. Then the glint of axes in the fading sunlight. The outline of figures with spears running toward him.

“Over here!” Scar Gill yelled, waving the axe above his head.

The warriors shouted the ancient chant of The Great Num as they ran into battle against The Snatcher’s scabbed army, just like their ancestors had done in the times of yore.

“Coal not dole! Coal not dole! Coal not dole!”

“Coal not dole!” Scar Gill repeated, overcome with emotion. He didn’t know what those words meant, nobody did, but he knew they would strike fear into the hearts of the scabbed ones of Notty Ham and give power to the Yarkshire warriors when the two armies clashed.

A dozen warriors ran past him. Axes swung through scabbed flesh as they continued the chant. Spears were plunged into blackened, traitorous hearts and ripped free. Arms, legs and heads were hacked off and sent spinning through the air. The ground turned red with diseased blood. Scabbed bodies twitched where they lay.

“Coal not dole!”

Scar Gill joined in the fray, his axe eager to taste blood once more before it was all over. He raised it above his head and ran at a scabbed one, embedded it in the thing’s face. It squealed and flailed its arms as it fell to its knees. Scar Gill placed his foot on the thing’s chest and wrenched the axe free. He looked around for a fresh victim.

The scabbed army were retreating. They screeched and squealed as they ran back across the wasteland in the direction they had come from. Yarkshire warriors chased them and cut them down with their axes and spears as they fled. Scar Gill watched, his arms and face slick with the enemy’s gore. It was over too soon, he had hoped to claim a few more lives before the battle ended. One or two scabbed ones managed to get away, but most lay dead or dying among the rubble. The scabbed army were defeated once more.

Scar Gill swelled up with pride as he looked down at his bloody axe. He had proven himself worthy of the name bestowed upon him, and there would be a new tale for the village elder to tell the children in the morning. Perhaps one day, when Scar Gill became a man, he would lead a charge into Notty Ham and destroy the scabbed ones forever. Then he too would go down in legend, just like his namesake.

But for now, it was time to party. And to celebrate once more the death of the evil witch known as The Snatcher.


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Rockerhead – Peter Marshall


If you search for Hells Angels fiction on Amazon’s Kindle, once you discard the ones about angels and demons you’ll get page after page of romance titles featuring a hairy biker and his massive chopper next to some skinny bird who’s probably never had a hot throbbing motorcycle between her legs in her entire life. Presumably there’s a market for such books, but they don’t really appeal to me.

But tucked away on page three of the list you’ll find one called Rockerhead with a cover reminiscent of the old NEL books of the 1970s by Peter Cave and the like. The description mentions those books too, as does the writer’s introduction (which you will need to page-back to see, since it opens by default at chapter one).

The writer uses the name Peter Marshall, and goes to great lengths to point out it’s not his real name. Maybe he’s ashamed of the book, or doesn’t want to tarnish his current or future reputation by taking ownership of it, but he shouldn’t be. In a lot of ways it’s better than the original 1970s Hells Angels books he says he wrote it as a homage to. Most of those were pretty far-fetched, and barely more than a series of Asian or skinhead bashing set-pieces with minimal plot to tie them all together.

This one’s more of a revenge thriller with outlaw bikers in it. It has all the trappings you’d want from a Hells Angels book – bike chases, fisticuffs in the pub, petty crime, evading capture by the fuzz, even a bit of racist banter (though obviously toned down for today’s more sensitive readers).

Rockerhead is the nickname of the lead character, but everyone seems to call him Andy instead. He’s the leader of the pack, riding a BSA Thunderbolt with his Shangri Las style old lady Chrissy on the bitch-pad. Along with the rest of their gang they get up to assorted mischief during their annual run to seaside town Sidmouth, and soon get on the wrong side of Eastenders style cockney villain Jimmy Fitch.

The writer seems to know his stuff. There’s no motorcycle tyres screeching round bends, and no long, drawn out conversations between bike rider and passenger during a high speed chase like you find in a lot of books. So he’s either a biker himself or he’s at least done his homework. My only real quibble is with the naming of two of the supporting characters, Tosher and Tonner. The names are too similar, and you end up getting them mixed up with each other.

I’d recommend it if you grew up reading the old NEL books, like I did. And if you liked any of my books you should like this one too. It says it’s part of a series of “Retro Fiction” but it seems to be the only one available so far. Hopefully there will be others to come, but I’d guess that will depend on how well this one sells. It’s ebook only at the moment, and currently exclusive to the Amazon Kindle (though you could convert it to epub easily enough with Calibre if you needed to read it on something else).

It’d probably do better as a paperback, so if “Peter Marshall” reads this, get yourself over to Createspace and make one.


Get it here for 2 quid




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Preview: Biker Sluts versus Flying Saucers


An outlaw biker story set during the aftermath of an alien invasion in 1970s England.

In 1973, 99% of Earth’s population are wiped out in an alien invasion.

Satan’s Bastards are among the 1% who survive. Holing up in a nature reserve at the arse end of nowhere, the men spend the next five years partying while their women scavenge for food and booze from the ruins of nearby towns and cities.

But when a supply run goes tits up, it sets in motion a chain of events that will change their lives forever.

It’s now 1978, and it’s time for the mamas and old ladies of Satan’s Bastards to fight back against the alien scum who wrecked their lives.

This is their story.


Paperback UK

ebook UK

Paperback USA

ebook USA



Mia always got nervous before a supply run. She’d be daft not to, given the risks involved, but she knew it had to be done. If it was left up to the men they’d eat nothing but swans and rabbits, and sit around smoking dope all day. That was no way for Satan’s Bastards to live. They should be out on the road, roaming the country like they used to. Not rotting away in some nature reserve at the arse end of nowhere. So while Mia felt the usual jitters of apprehension, she felt something else too. A tingle of excitement at the prospect of getting back in the saddle and riding away from there. Even if it was only for a few hours.

She picked up the sawn-off shotgun lying beside her sleeping bag and inserted a cartridge in each of the twin barrels. You can’t be too careful out there, Fat Brenda always drilled into her. That was true, but shotguns were only useful for scaring off packs of wild dogs or as a quick way of getting through locked doors. Against the Angels they were no use at all. Nothing was.

Mia stuffed the loaded shotgun into a backpack and looked around the jumble of possessions littering her tent to see if there was anything else she might need for the shopping trip. A six inch serrated knife with an ivory handle and a box of spare shotgun cartridges went into the breast pockets of her leather jacket. She picked up a torch, checked it still worked, and tossed it into the bag with the shotgun. After another quick look around, she slung the bag over one shoulder and stepped out of the tent into the gathering dusk.

Wicked Tina, Suzy and Margot were waiting for her. Mia looked beyond them to the lake at the far end of the campsite, expecting to see Fat Brenda among the group of men and women watching Bonehead try to light the fire for the night. They jeered as he threw match after match at the petrol-soaked damp branches piled up like a skeletal tepee by the side of the lake. He struck another match and threw it. It blew out before it landed on target.

“You need to get a bit closer,” Tanner said, “hold it next to the wood when you strike it, then it won’t go out before it takes hold.”

“Yeah right,” Bonehead said, “and lose me beard and eyebrows again. Nah, you’re all right, I’ll do it me own way.”

Bonehead struck a match and held it to the remaining matches in the box until they flared up, then tossed the flaming box at the base of the woodpile. The petrol ignited with a loud whump, and crackling flames shot up the vertical branches. Everyone cheered. Bonehead turned to Tanner and grinned smugly.

“Yeah, well done, Bonehead,” Tanner said. He shook his head, but he was smiling at the same time. “Good idea, waste a whole box of matches when one would have been enough.”

Bonehead shrugged. “Got the job done, didn’t it? Besides, it’s shopping day, innit? Just add more matches to the list of shit we need.”

Tanner leaned into the flames and lit a huge joint before sitting cross-legged near the fire to smoke it. Bonehead pressed play on his cassette player and a Hawkwind song he had recorded from John Peel’s radio show blared out.

“Where’s FB?” Mia asked, noticing Fat Brenda wasn’t part of the group by the fire.

Suzy pointed at the row of tents lining one side of the clearing. “I saw her going into her tent a while ago.”

Mia nodded. “Right. I’ll go tell her it’s time to go.”

“Rather you than me, honey,” Wicked Tina said, grinning.

“Why’s that?” Mia asked.

“You’ll see,” Suzy said.

Mia walked over to the tent Fat Brenda shared with Dirk. Like the other tents, the outside of the green canvas was daubed with white spray-painted slogans – Satan’s Bastards, Scum, ACAB, Born to Ride – as well as upside-down crosses. She opened up the flap and looked inside. Fat Brenda was on her hands and knees on the worn grass floor, leather trousers around her ankles, while Dirk thrust into her from behind. Rolls of fat rippled with every thrust, like a jelly being smacked with a jack-hammer.

“Christ, FB, you’ve had all day to do that. Hurry it up, yeah? We’re all waiting for you, it’s time to go.”

Dirk turned his head and grinned at Mia while he continued pounding into Fat Brenda. “Give us another few minutes or so, yeah? Then she’s all yours.” He slapped Fat Brenda on the arse. She cried out and called him a bastard.

Mia sighed and let the tent flap drop. Wicked Tina, Suzy and Margot burst out laughing. Mia shook her head as she walked back to join them.

“FB might be a while yet, let’s go and wait by the fire.”

They joined the other bikers by the side of the lake. A few more joints were doing the rounds, and Wicked Tina took a toke on one before she asked what everyone wanted them to look out for. Most wanted booze and smokes, predictably enough. Tanner wanted some new books, said he’d read all the ones they’d got him last time. Basher wanted chicken soup. Skinny Brenda caused a groan from the men and a torrent of insults when she asked for sanitary pads. Even some of the other women joined in with the taunts.

Bonehead held up his joint and offered it to Mia. She raised both hands and shook her head. “Nah, I want to keep a clear head for the ride. Save me some for later though, yeah?”

“I’ve got a big stash in me tent, we’ll share it when you get back,” Bonehead said, nodding vigorously. “Can you get me some more batteries while you’re out?”

Mia smiled. “Yeah, no worries man.” Bonehead was always the easiest to please. As long as he had juice for his cassette player and an endless supply of dope to smoke he was as happy as a pig making its first arrest.

“And don’t forget the pizza,” Basher said with a grin. Everyone laughed.

“Yeah, right,” Suzy said, shaking her head. “And I suppose you want ice cream for afters, do you?”

“Hell, yeah! And some donuts to dip into it!”

“I want bananas and custard,” Johnny called out.

“Don’t,” Wicked Tina said, shaking her head. “Those are one of the few things I still miss. Why the hell didn’t anyone ever think to invent tinned bananas?”

“Wouldn’t do you any good if they did,” Basher said, grinning. “They’d be too mushy to shove up your fanny.”

“Piss off, Basher. That was just part of my stage act, and you know it. Besides, the way I remember it, you were the one who ate it after I threw it into the audience.”

The cannabis-induced giggles came fast and loud. Mia doubted any of them would still be conscious by the time they got back later in the night.

“A rocket launcher would be awesome,” someone said.

“Yeah, and a movie projector with something to watch on it.”

“That dinosaur one with Raquel Welch in a fur bikini. Gets me hard every time.”

“I’ll have Raquel Welch, you can shag the dinosaurs.”

“You guys get what you get,” Fat Brenda said, walking toward the fire with Dirk. Her face was flushed, her cheeks rosy. “If you want anything special you can go out there and get it for yourself, you hear?”

“Hell no,” Dirk said. “That’s what you bitches is for. We got much more important shit to do right here.” He pulled out a bag of dried magic mushrooms and waved it in the air. Fat Brenda thumped him in the chest and he darted away from her, grinning.

Mia smiled. Nobody else would have dared do that to Dirk, and Dirk certainly wouldn’t have taken it from anyone but Fat Brenda. Being his old lady obviously came with some privileges, but Mia couldn’t help wondering if part of it was down to the sheer intimidating size of the woman. With her tree-trunk arms covered in tattoos, huge calloused fists and considerable bodyweight, she could’ve done some serious damage if she’d wanted to.

Dirk sat by the fire and opened the bag of mushrooms. He reached in for a handful and stuffed them into his mouth, then passed the bag on to Tanner in exchange for a toke on his joint. He took a long drag and held his breath, then closed his eyes and exhaled slowly with a sigh. He looked up at Fat Brenda.

“Take care, yeah?” he said, softly. “I’ll see you when you get back. And make sure you wear your helmet, just in case.”

Fat Brenda nodded, then turned away and strode off past the tents and through the bushes on the opposite side of the clearing. Margot bent down and kissed Deano passionately, then followed Fat Brenda. Mia raised a hand to Bonehead. Bonehead, and three other men sitting near him, waved back.

“You ready?” Suzy asked.

Mia nodded. Of course she was ready, she’d been ready all day. While everyone else slept off their hangovers from the previous night’s party, Mia had woken with the dawn chorus. She’d watered Tanner’s cannabis crop and gathered wood for the night’s fire in a daze, her mind filled with thoughts of the ride to come.

She followed Suzy and Wicked Tina through the bushes and onto a gravel path where the motorcycles were parked. Twenty-eight of them in total, one for each surviving member of Satan’s Bastards, all with leather saddle-bags draped over the rear seat.

Margot and Fat Brenda were sat on their bikes, revving the engines as she approached. Mia walked up to her Norton Commando and mounted it. She lifted a leather helmet and goggles from the front brake lever and put them on, then twisted the key in the ignition. The engine roared into life first time when she stamped down on the kick-start, adding to the noise of the other bikes around her.

Fat Brenda pulled forward first on her Triumph Bonneville, closely followed by Margot on her Kawasaki Avenger. Mia watched Suzy and Wicked Tina follow them down the dirt track, their rear wheels throwing up dust as they went. Mia pulled in the clutch and kicked her bike into gear. She switched on the headlight and rolled forward slowly, both feet scraping along the dirt as she went. She had once dropped her bike on the bend where the dirt track met the main road cutting through the nature reserve after her rear wheel slipped in some mud. That led to months of taunting about needing stabiliser wheels from the other bikers, and she was determined never to let that happen again.

The others had already sped off into the distance by the time Mia reached the end of the dirt track. She slipped the clutch and dabbed her way onto the tarmac road, then opened up the throttle and accelerated up to thirty. It was a straight road, lined both sides with the silhouettes of tall trees blocking out the stars, and Mia had ridden it so many times she felt she could do it blindfold. She twisted the throttle another inch and whooped in joy at the acceleration tugging at her wrists.

This was what Mia missed the most from the old days. The wind in her face, her long black hair whipping out behind her. The roar of the engine, its heady scent of oil and petrol in her nostrils. The thrill of the ride. It reminded her of those carefree days long ago, when Satan’s Bastards were the kings of the road. Riding wherever their bikes took them, doing whatever they wanted, not a care in the world. Travelling from town to town, terrorising the locals, then moving on before law enforcement caught up with them. Another day, another town. Another night, another wild party. But all that was gone now, and was never coming back. The Angels had seen to that.

The exit gate came up fast and Mia eased off on the throttle, letting the bike slow itself naturally as she drifted over to the right hand side of the road in preparation. She took the T-junction at twenty, and used the whole width of the main road to accelerate out of the sharp corner. This was another road Mia knew like the back of her hand. She knew every twist and turn, every burnt-out wreck and abandoned vehicle on it. So while the other women rode more cautiously in the cloying darkness, Mia kicked up through the gears and accelerated to sixty.

It didn’t take long to catch up with the other bikes. Suzy and Wicked Tina rode two abreast, either side of the dotted white line, trundling along together at a steady fifty, Margot close behind them. Fat Brenda took up the rear, and Mia eased off on the throttle as she rode alongside her. They cut through woodland, then crossed a river into open farmland. Overgrown fields, long since grown wild, flashed past on both sides, dimly illuminated by the light of the full moon. Wicked Tina and Suzy slowed on the approach to a wrecked Ford Cortina straddling the road, and manoeuvred into single file to navigate around it.

Mia looked up at the sky once she’d passed the car, checking in all directions now her view wasn’t obscured by hedgerows. She knew the Angels rarely ventured out at night, but it wasn’t unheard of so it always paid to be vigilant. Finding the sky clear, she twisted the throttle and edged ahead of Fat Brenda, then overtook Margot and looked for an opening between Suzy and Wicked Tina. They must have seen her coming because they parted, drifting over to the far left and right sides of the road to make room for her. She waved her thanks as she passed between them, then opened up the throttle wide. This was what Mia had been waiting for. An open road, and nothing to hold her back, nothing to slow her down. She accelerated up to seventy, a wide grin on her face as the rushing wind took her breath away.

The throaty roar of an accelerating motorcycle came from behind. Mia glanced in her wing mirror and saw Fat Brenda coming up fast. She eased off on the throttle to let the other woman pull alongside in case it was something important. Fat Brenda looked at Mia and shouted something, but the words were lost to the roaring wind.

What?” Mia shouted back, frowning.

Fat Brenda pulled ahead, waving as she sped away into the distance. Mia grinned and twisted the throttle another inch, determined not to let Fat Brenda take the lead. If she wanted a race, then she was going to get one, and Mia wasn’t going to make it easy for her. Norton versus Triumph, Mia versus Fat Brenda, with the winner getting gloating rights for the rest of the night.

Faster and faster they went down the empty, twisting road. Mia’s speedometer nudged eighty. Another twist of the throttle sent it to ninety. Fat Brenda went for the ton and opened up the gap between them. A sharp left-hander came up fast. Mia dabbed her rear brake and drifted over to the centre of the road to get an early view around it. Fat Brenda moved over to the left to take a racing line around the bend, and disappeared from view.

Tyres screeched.

Fat Brenda screamed.

Mia instinctively grabbed the front brake and stamped down hard on the rear. She came to a halt at the apex of the bend, just in time to see Fat Brenda fling herself off her bike and roll into the hedgerow with her head tucked under her arms. Fat Brenda’s motorcycle continued on two wheels, then toppled and spun end over end in a shower of sparks before it thudded into the underside of a tipped-over lorry with a loud metallic clang.

“FB!” Mia shouted.

Fat Brenda sat up and waved. She struggled to her feet and limped toward her wrecked bike, shaking her head and mumbling obscenities to herself. After a few paces she stopped and turned, then ran back toward Mia. Before she got far a deafening explosion knocked her off her feet and sent her sprawling in the centre of the road. A huge fireball blossomed out. Mia ducked down over her petrol tank and covered her face with her hands as the searing shockwave hit her. When she looked up again black clouds of billowing smoke filled her vision.

“FB!” she yelled, kicking down the Norton’s side-stand. She jumped off the bike just as the others pulled up alongside her. Suzy stared open-mouthed at the burning wreckage from astride her Honda 400. Margot jumped off her Kawasaki and ran with Mia, calling out Fat Brenda’s name.

“I’m over here,” Fat Brenda shouted.

They found her sitting in the road, hands on hips, staring forlornly into the flames. She looked up at Mia and frowned.

“My poor bike.”

Mia laughed, relief coursing through her to see Fat Brenda still in one piece. She held out a hand to help her up onto her feet. “You mad cow, you could’ve killed yourself then, and you’re more worried about your stupid bike?”

Fat Brenda shrugged. “I loved that bike.”

Mia smiled. “Yeah well, bikes are replaceable, you’re not. We’ll get you a new one as soon as we can. Same model, same colour, you won’t know the difference.”

“Or maybe one that’s a bit faster?”

Mia laughed and shook her head. “You think that’s wise, given what you’ve just done?”

“Nice firework display,” Wicked Tina said, grinning from the seat of her motorcycle when Mia, Fat Brenda and Margot walked out of the smoke together. “I reckoned you was done for, thought I might be in with a chance to take your place in old Dirk’s tent.”

“Hell no, you skinny bitch,” Fat Brenda said, grinning back. “Dirk likes a bit of meat on his woman, he don’t go for titless scrag-ends like you. Besides, it takes more than a little spill like that to put me down for the count.” She patted the scuffed leather covering her enormous stomach. “Extra padding comes in useful sometimes.”

“Yeah well,” Mia said, climbing on her bike. “Looks like we’ll need to find another route.” She wheeled the bike around. “And I suppose you want a lift?”

Then she saw Wicked Tina staring up at the sky. Two pulsating blue lights hovered just above the north horizon, growing larger by the second.

“Angels!” Mia yelled.


Paperback UK

ebook UK

Paperback USA

ebook USA






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Biker Sluts versus Flying Saucers cover

Due out some time in April, currently in beta. I always wanted to write something in homage to the two things I loved when I was a kid — 1970s British Hells Angels books and 1950s flying saucer movies.  This is the result.

An outlaw biker story set during the aftermath of an alien invasion in 1970s England.

1970: Aliens arrive on Earth. Seen as a force for good by world leaders and most of Earth’s population, they cure diseases, end all world hunger, and stabilise our environment.

1973: The great purge. 95% of the world’s population are wiped out overnight, leaving behind scattered pockets of survivors to eke out an existence scavenging for food in the ruins of towns and cities.

1978: The mamas and old ladies of Satan’s Bastards Motorcycle Club fight back.

This is their story.


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Stabby Abby in … A Very Stabby Christmas

Christmas Eve in the Black Bull is fucking mental, yeah? It’s like every fucker in town has decided to go out for the night and chosen the scummiest backstreet pub they can find to get pissed up in. The place is absolutely fucking heaving, standing room only. Just as well me and Dave got here early and bagged ourselves some seats in the corner, otherwise we’d be squashed up among them. We’ve got our feet up on some chairs opposite our table so we can save them for when Shaz and Dave’s mates get here. We get a few funny looks from people standing nearby, but nobody says anything. They might be pissed up, but they’re not fucking daft, yeah?

Dave’s got his arms stretched out either side of him, resting on the back of the padded bench, tapping his fingers to the blaring Christmas music playing. It’s not a band I’ve ever heard before, but they seem okay. They’re a bit like the shouty skinhead bands Dave likes, except it’s a bird singing and she’s going on about snowmen and bollocks like that instead of kicking someone’s head in at a football match. I’ve heard some of the songs before, I think they were originally done by dead people from the olden days, yeah? A few people nearby are shouting along in that tuneless way drunks do, waving their pints around and spilling half the contents down their reindeer jumpers. Me, I’m not at that stage yet, I’ve only had three pints of Guinness the whole fucking night, so I just wiggle my feet on the chair in time to the music.

“Who’s this then?” I yell at Dave between songs.

“Vice Squad,” he yells back. “They’re an old punk band, my dad used to like them. It was him who got me into Oi when I were a kid.”

“Yeah? So did they just do Christmas songs then?”

“Nah, they did all sorts. I’ll download you a few mp3s, if you like them I’ll get you everything else they did.”

Dave’s like that, he can get anything you want for free off his computer. Films, music, games for your phone, whatever you want. Fuck knows how he does it, I’ve never really been that interested in computers. We had them at school, but I could never get the hang of them. I bet Dave was some sort of fucking whizz-kid with them.

“Fucking Shaz is taking her time getting here,” I yell, looking at the clock on my phone.

Dave shrugs and leans forward to pick up his lager. I put my phone away and shuffle myself upright on the bench, drop my feet to the floor. Some chancer standing nearby eyes up the vacant stool, so I glare at him to make sure he doesn’t get any ideas about pinching it. He looks away, suitably traumatised, and I nod to myself in satisfaction.

“I’m going for a piss,” I yell in Dave’s ear. “Make sure no cunt pinches my seat.”

Dave nods and raises a thumb, smiles at me in that lopsided way of his, then feels my arse as I climb over his legs. There’s a brick wall of drunken people between me and the bogs, and it takes fucking ages to shove my way through them, so I’m nearly pissing myself by the time I get there. Luckily there’s a spare cubicle so I dive into it and drop my knickers, then plonk my arse on the seat just in time. I kick the door closed with my foot and take out my phone, then turn on the camera and check my face. The bruises from my last fight are healing up quite well, so I should be good as new in a few more weeks. I switch off the camera and phone Shaz, ask her where the fuck she is. I can hear drunken singing in the background, so it’s obvious she’s not on her way here like she says she is. I tell her to fucking hurry up then, and put the phone away.

Back in the bar, this bloke in a Santa hat with a sprig of mistletoe sticking out of it stretches out his arms at me. “Bleuraaaaargh!” he says, or something like that, and lurches toward me for a Christmas kiss. I smile and duck under his arms, then skirt round him while he staggers forward into the space I just left. He spins round, looking confused. “Iss fuckern Crissmess, hen,” he says, pointing at the mistletoe. “Iss the fuckern law.” I give him two fingers and another smile, then fight my way back to Dave.

“About fucking time,” Dave says. “I thought you’d fucked off or something.”

“Nah,” I say, and bend down to give him a quick snog. He tastes of cheese and onion crisps, and it makes me feel a bit hungry. I break away and sit down, then drain the rest of my Guinness. “You getting the drinks in then, or what?”

“Fucking hell Abby, I got the last round in.”

“Yeah well, that makes you more experienced then doesn’t it? Besides, it’s what a fucking gentleman would do, isn’t it?”

He grins at me and raises his eyebrows. “What, you think I’m a gentleman then?”

“Meh!” I say with a shrug, and he shuffles away into the crowd.

I suppose he is really, despite his rough as fuck outward appearance. Not in the traditional sense, like some fucking toff in a suit and tie or whatever, but he’s definitely a gentle man. With me, anyway. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a fighter just like me, not some sort of fucking flower-loving softy. But he has his gentle side too, yeah? And he’s not bothered if other blokes see it either. Most blokes I’ve been with act all macho when their mates are around, and treat me like some sort of fucking tart. Dave’s not like that, he’s different. I can’t really explain it properly, it’s just the way he is I guess.

I look up when I hear someone yelling my name. It’s Shaz, standing by the door with Steve and Josh either side of her, holding her up with her arms draped over their shoulders. They’re her boyfriends, yeah? Typical fucking Shaz, she has to go one better than me and have two of them. They’re also Dave’s mates, and they’re both skinheads, just like him. Fuck knows what they get up to together, whether they take turns to fuck her or just take an end each or whatever, but they seem happy enough with the arrangement.

Shaz looks well and truly pissed up the way she staggers toward me, all three of them lurching to one side and bumping into people, spilling their drinks. Someone spins round yelling at them, then goes all shy and quiet when the two skinheads glare at him. They seem to have that effect on people, I don’t know why. It’s the same with Dave, I think it might be the clothes they wear or something. It’s like people are afraid of them, yeah? But that’s just fucking daft, they’re just normal blokes. If you don’t mess with them, they won’t mess with you. Still, it seems to work to their advantage too, because people just clear a space for them when they see them coming. Like fucking what’s-his-name from The Bible, the geezer who split the sea in half so his mates could walk through it.

Steve and Josh lower Shaz onto the bench next to me, then sit down on the two stools we saved for them. Shaz slumps against me. “Merry fucking humbug Abby,” she says, breathing Pernod fumes in my face. “And a happy new whatsit, yeah?” She puts a hand over one eye and peers across the table at Josh. “Get the fucking drinks in, then. What you waiting for, a fucking message from the queen or something?”

Josh stands up and stretches out his braces. I notice he’s got a twig of mistletoe sticking out of his crotch. Classy. I bet the bloke at the toilets wishes he’d thought of that.

Steve clasps his hands behind his head and grins at me. “All right, Abby?” he says. “How’s the cage fighting going?”

“Yeah, not too bad,” I say. “It pays the fucking bills anyway.”

Which is true. Since I lost my job the fights have been my only means of income, yeah? Well except for the little bit extra I make with Shaz now and again, when the opportunity arises. But I haven’t told Dave about that yet. Not because I don’t think he would approve, he’d probably think it was funny as fuck. I just haven’t got round to telling him yet.

“Steve, you cunt,” Dave says when he gets back with a tray of drinks. He puts them down on the table one at a time, then slurps up the spillages from the tray. He’s got three pints of Guinness for me, and four pints of lager for himself. He swears at Steve when he grabs one, but doesn’t object when he takes a swig.

“What’s all these for?” I ask, picking up one of the pints of Guinness.

“Thought it’d save time going to the bar later.”

Good thinking. You see he’s not just gentle, my Dave, he’s fucking clever too. How lucky am I to have a bloke like that?

* * *

At chucking out time the streets are packed with people full of Christmas spirits, Christmas lager, Christmas whatever-gets-you-hammered. A gang of howling banshees stagger toward us in skimpy low-cut tops and mini-skirts, their high heels clattering on the vomit-soaked pavement. One points at Josh’s mistletoe and laughs, then gets down on her knees and slobbers over his crotch while he just stands there grinning down at her. I clench my fists and look at Shaz, sure she’ll want to steam in and batter the tart for messing with one of her boyfriends, and ready to help out if the others decide to join in. But Shaz is busy leaning over and puking into the gutter, and doesn’t notice the assault on Josh’s chastity. Steve is stood behind her, holding her hair out of the way so it doesn’t get splattered with spew. Which is kind of a sweet thing to do, yeah? The sort of thing Dave would do for me if I had long hair like Shaz.

The banshees shuffle on, laughing and screeching at each other. A police car drives by slowly, and they all pull up their tops and wobble their tits at it. I can see the coppers inside smirking through the windscreen as they approach us. Dave glares at them as the car passes, then hacks up and spits into the road after it. Shaz straightens up, a line of bile dribbling down her chin. She wipes it away with the back of her hand and smiles at me.

“I fucking needed that,” she says, while Steve gropes her tits from behind. She spins in his arms and grabs his arse, clamps her mouth onto his.

“Oi, what about me?” Josh asks.

Steve and Shaz break apart slightly to make room for him, and he buries his face in Shaz’s tits, squashed between them as Steve and Shaz go back to sucking each other’s mouths. I shake my head and sigh. Dave looks at me and shrugs, then moves toward me for a smooch of his own. I back up into a shop doorway, pulling Dave by his braces, so we won’t get jostled by passing drunks. It stinks of piss and vomit, as I expected, but at least it’s a bit more private. I’ve certainly been fingered in places a lot less romantic than this.

It’s not long before we get interrupted by people shouting insults out in the street – fucking cunt, you wanker, come on then you bastards, things like that. At first we ignore it, it’s not as if it’s something unusual. People slagging each other off is just one of the Christmas traditions, yeah? Like decorating trees with tinsel and giving people you don’t like crappy presents. But then the insults get a bit more personal and we realise who they are aimed at.

“You fucking baldy-headed cunts, call yourselves the fucking master race?”

Dave pulls his hand out of my knickers and spins round, steps out of the shop doorway with his fists clenched. “Fucking hell, another of the Nazi cunts,” someone yells. “Let’s fucking do the bastards.” I rearrange my clothing and join Dave out on the pavement.

There’s a bunch of middle-aged blokes waddling toward us in Santa hats, all beer guts and bravado. There’s seven of them, and they’re all driving fat fists into fat palms and grinning at each other like obese giant dwarfs who’ve just gang-banged Snow White. I catch Shaz’s eye and smile. She smiles back and cracks her knuckles, first one hand, then the other. Dave, Steve and Josh line up before us like guardians protecting their princesses from an onslaught of barbarians. The Santas stop in the middle of the road and start up with their taunts again.

“Come on then, let’s fucking have it,” one says, beckoning with his fingers.

“We’re going to fuck you up, real bad,” another says, “just like we did with Hitler.”

“Yeah,” a third says, nodding his head so vigorously the white bobble on the end of his Santa hat smacks him in the face.

Dave, Steve and Josh just stand there looking at them, fists clenched, waiting for them to make a move. Shaz sighs. “For fuck’s sake,” she says, “what is this, a fucking internet flame war or something? Just get on with it, you fat bastards, or fuck off out of it.”

“You fucking slag,” one of the Santas yells, and rushes forward.

Steve and Josh both run forward to meet him. Josh gets there first and his fist disappears into Santa’s blubbery stomach. Santa crumbles to his knees with an oof and Steve boots him in the face and sends him sprawling onto his back. The other Santas all roar and make a beeline for Josh, he being the shortest of the three skinheads they want to fuck up, and therefore the easiest-looking target. Dave wades in and kicks one up the arse, then spins round and smacks another in the mouth just as he’s raising a fist to him.

Two Santas have got Josh held between them while a third sneers into his face, yelling something about Germany losing two world wars and one world cup. Fuck knows what that’s got to do with anything, but Dave and Steve are both too busy with their own fights to see what’s happening with Josh. Time to get out the big guns, yeah?

I look for Shaz, but she’s already on her way. She snatches the Santa hats off the two fat blokes holding Josh, then grabs their hair and bangs their heads together. Josh kicks the other Santa in the bollocks mid-rant before he even realises what’s happening. He bends over, clutching himself, and gets a knee in the face. I rush in to help Shaz with the two fat bastards when they turn toward her with their fists raised. Their fists hang there in the air as they stare at her, as if they don’t know what to do with them.

Big fucking mistake, yeah?

I take one out with a quick jab of my fingers into his neck, followed by a punch to the chin that clacks his teeth together and sends blood spurting as he staggers backwards. Shaz knees hers in the bollocks, then drags him face down onto the tarmac by his hair. She kneels down on his back, then frisks his pockets and pulls out a wallet. He groans, so she punches him in the ear a few times until he shuts up, then stuffs his empty wallet into his mouth. She grins at me and waves a wad of cash, then gives me half and pockets the rest.

I look at Dave as I put the money away, inexplicably worried he might have seen what we just did. I’m not ashamed of it, it’s just what we do now and again to make a bit of extra cash, yeah? But like I said, I haven’t got round to telling him yet and I don’t want him to find out this way. I needn’t have worried though, Dave’s too busy sticking the boot into one of the Santas rolling around in the road to notice what we’re up to. I look around to see what the other Santas are doing, but they all seem to have legged it, so I wander over to Dave.

“You okay?” Dave asks when he sees me. He stops kicking the Santa and walks over to me, a concerned look on his face.

I shrug. “Yeah, why?”

“Sorry you had to see that.”

“Don’t be fucking daft. You were defending me and Shaz’s honour, that’s all. It’s made me horny as fuck.”

Dave grins. “Yeah?”

“Yeah. Now come on, before the fucking coppers get here. I don’t want to spend Christmas in a fucking cell.”

* * *

I lean over the edge of the multi-story car park wall and look down at the town centre below. There’s fights all over the place as festivities continue without us, police and ambulance sirens wailing as they rush to each fresh incident. Coppers bash heads open while paramedics stitch them back together again and send them on to their next battle. So this is Christmas, yeah? That most fucking magical time of the year. Peace and good will to all men, except for whoever gets in your fucking way.

I snuggle up to Dave’s chest, because it’s fucking freezing up here. He puts his arm around me and draws me close, I listen to his heart beating and wonder when he’s going to make his move. I hope he doesn’t expect me to strip off up here, I don’t think I’d be able to stop my teeth from chattering if he does. Shaz is already moaning away somewhere to my left, on her hands and knees with her arse in the air. You’d think Dave would have taken the hint by now, but he seems happy enough just watching the fights down below.

A church bell somewhere starts ringing, calling people in for midnight mass. I wonder if they have many fights in churches these days. If anyone even still goes to church. I haven’t been since I was about five years old, and even then I thought it was boring as fuck.

“Happy birthday Jesus, you fucking hippy bastard!” Dave shouts. His voice echoes off nearby tower blocks.

The fighting in the town centre seems to stop all at once, as if someone’s thrown a switch or something. Then there’s sporadic drunken outbursts of that fucking Slade song coming from all directions. So here it is, merry fucking Christmas, yeah? Dave shrugs his arm off my shoulder and walks away a few steps. I get this rage of jealousy when I think he might be ogling Shaz’s arse, or getting ideas about joining in with Steve and Josh. I don’t know why, it just comes over me sometimes. I know it doesn’t make any sense, but that’s the way it is, yeah? But he’s not even looking in their direction, he’s facing the other way, fiddling with his jeans. Probably going to have a piss or something, and he’s too shy to do it with me watching.

“You ready for your present yet?” he says, and spins round with his arms stretched out like Jesus on his stick. He’s got his cock out, pointing it at me. But that’s not what makes me smile. He’s got a bit of ribbon tied round the middle of it, in a neat bow. Fuck knows where that’s come from or where he learnt how to tie bows like that.

“Yeah,” I say, and walk over to meet him. I kneel down and unwrap my present, give it a bit of a squeeze. “But this had better not be the only thing you’ve got me for Christmas or you’re in some serious fucking shit.”

Happy fucking Christmas, yeah?


Abby and friends also feature in my book Bare Knuckle Bitch.

Originally published at in 2013.


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Punk / Skinhead novels box set ebook

All four of my punk & skinhead books in one handy ebook volume. Also available individually in ebook or paperback.


Four full length novels, plus bonus content. 120,000 words of fast-paced pulp action in one handy volume. Come and have a read if you think you’re hard enough.


1982, and Thatcher is busy warmongering in the Falklands. Meanwhile, in a small Yorkshire town, unemployed punks Colin, Brian and Stiggy are busy having a good time getting drunk, sniffing glue, and going to see punk bands play live. But a simple misunderstanding with one of the local skinheads soon escalates into an all-out war. And with tensions between the two factions running high, it’s not the best of times for top Oi band the Cockney Upstarts to play at nearby Shefferham. The Cockney Upstarts are much loved by both punks and skinheads alike, but is that enough to make them forget their differences for just one night?


A ska festival draws thousands of skinheads from across the country to the sleepy seaside town of Cleethorpes. Local residents and day-trippers look on in horror as the town is taken over by shaven-headed masses wearing boots and braces. But much to their surprise, the weekend unfolds peacefully. That is, until a group of drunken bikers think it would be a good laugh to smash up a few scooters, thinking they must belong to mods. Revenge is swift and vicious, but the bikers have friends too. Friends who are more than eager to settle the score.


Best friends Abby and Shaz like nothing more than sticking the boot into some mug after a night out on the piss. That look of sheer terror on the bloke’s face when he first realises what’s coming his way. The way he begs for mercy right up until the moment he loses consciousness. It’s the best buzz ever. The money in their wallets is just a bonus, a means to an end. Men are just walking pricks with money there for the taking. Treat them as anything else and they’ll walk all over you.


Every year, on the anniversary of the death of hated 1980s prime minister Margaret Thatcher, the elderly residents of State Retirement Home SY-379 hold a festival of celebration. Balloons and bunting go up, raucous punk music is played, memories are relived by those who still have all their faculties, and a good time is had by all. With the thirtieth anniversary of Thatcher’s death coming up in just a few weeks, Colin Baxter decides to make this year’s Thatcher Day something to be remembered. He contacts octogenarian punk band Sick Bastard and books them to play live at the retirement home, promising to pay them in free beer. There’s just one problem: how to get the band, their equipment, and the beer, past the Gestapo retirement home manager who lives upstairs?


The Snatcher (Remix)
Warrior in Woolworths
A Very Stabby Christmas


Only available on Amazon.

Punk and Skinhead Novels Box Set

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Endorsement from a legend :)

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Needles & Pins – A Punk Novel by Tom Laimer-Read











If you are looking for another po-faced history of 1970s UK punk, this isn’t for you. It’s a humorous fictionalised version of that time, the central premise being that the main character, a nobody from Milton Keynes, is present at just about every major event in early punk history you could think of.

From John Lydon’s audition miming along to Alice Cooper, through the Grundy interview, all the way up to the events at the Winterland Ballroom, he is present at them all, as well as playing  an integral part in the history of The Damned, The Clash and Buzzcocks. I half expected him to be hiding under the bed when Nancy Spungen was killed, then end up sharing a cell with Sid, but that wasn’t to be.

It clocks in at about 160,000 words, and seems to be ebook only at the moment, but the chapters are short and punchy, so it would be ideal for reading on a mobile phone in short bursts. This was what I planned to do when I first picked it up, so I could read it alongside other things at the same time, but the writing sucked me in and I ended up reading it by itself from beginning to end.

There’s a lot of humour in this book – in fact it reads like a Ripping Yarns version of England’s Dreaming, and I couldn’t help reading it in an Eric Olthwaite voice despite most of it taking place in London. There’s lots of truly awful groan-out-loud puns, which the writer makes no apologies about, but the best jokes are the “hidden” ones for people who know their history.

I particularly liked when Chris Sievey told the main character he knew he would be famous one day, but didn’t want to get a big head when it happened. Another highlight was Mark Perry looking thoughtful while watching The Ramones play Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue. There are lots of these, and lots more almost certainly flew over my head. Half the fun will be finding them for yourself, so I won’t reveal any more.

It won’t be to everyone’s taste, no book ever is, but I really enjoyed it. One point though, the opening chapter doesn’t really do the book justice. So if you are the type of person who doesn’t trust reviews from random people on the internet (a good attitude to have), and prefer to read a sample so you can make up your own mind, skip ahead to the second chapter instead. That will give you a much better idea of what you are letting yourself in for.

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Punk Faction Online Serial Part 29 (final part)

7 Life Moves On

Mike Thornton and Twiglet both frowned when Trog walked up to their table in The White Swan. He put down a tray containing two pints of bitter and a pint of lager, then sat down between Colin and Brian.

“Cheers Trog,” Colin said. He lifted one of the glasses and took a long drink.

“Yeah, cheers,” Brian said, nodding his head.

It was Brian’s first night out since being discharged from hospital the previous week. He’d jumped at the chance to get out of the house when Colin called round for him earlier in the evening, especially when Colin said he had arranged to meet Becky and Kaz. Brian confided in Colin as they left that he was sick of his mother fussing over him all the time, like he was some sort of invalid. She made Colin swear he wouldn’t let Brian drink any alcohol, and that he would keep him well away from any skinheads. She didn’t believe Colin’s story that it had been a skinhead who saved Brian’s life, preferring to believe the newspaper version saying it had been the police who saved him.

“It should be me buying you one though, I reckon,” Brian said, looking at Trog.

Trog held up his hand and waved off the offer. “Nah, don’t worry about it. I got some good news today anyway.”

“Oh yeah?” Colin said, leaning forward. “What’s that then?”

“Ian finally woke up this afternoon, it looks like he’s going to be okay.”

“Lazy bastard,” Mike said with a grin. Trog glared across the table at him. “What?” Mike asked with a shrug.

“He was in a fucking coma, you cunt.”

“Ah, okay, sorry mate. So what were up with him, like? Car crash or something?”

“Some cunt twatted him on the way home a few weeks ago.”

Mike looked at Colin. Colin looked away.

“So, um,” Mike said, “has he said who it was that smacked him then?”

Trog shook his head slowly, maintaining eye contact with Mike. “No, not yet. He says he can’t remember anything, but the doctor says that’s just temporary and it’ll all come back to him over the next few weeks.”

“I’m just off to the bog,” Mike announced, and rose to his feet.

Trog watched him go, then turned to Colin. “So where’s that scruffy mate of yours, Stinky or whatever his name is?”

“Stiggy? Fuck knows. I haven’t seen him since the Cockney Upstarts gig. I went round to his flat the other week but he wasn’t there. The Rasta next door said he hadn’t seen him either.”

“He’s probably off his fucking head on glue somewhere,” Brian said. “You know what he’s like.”

Colin shrugged. “Yeah, probably. I just wish he’d get in touch though. I nearly shit meself when I heard about that bloke they found in Shefferham with his head stoved in. I were sure that was Stiggy until they showed a photo of him on the news. I thought them fucking skinheads must have caught up with him or something.” He looked at Trog. “No offence, like,” he added.

“None taken,” Trog said. “They weren’t skinheads anyway, they were fucking boneheads.”

“What’s the difference?” Twiglet asked.

Trog looked at the half-caste in silence for a few seconds before replying. “Boneheads are fucking Nazis.”

Twiglet snorted. “What, and skinheads aren’t?”

“Nah, are they fuck.”

Born to Run started playing on the pub’s jukebox as Mike returned from the toilet and went to the bar. Twiglet groaned and shook his head. “Oh, fuck off!”

“No, straight up,” Trog said. “Your proper skinheads don’t give a fuck about all that Hitler bollocks. We love our country too much for that. Anyway, I’m off.” He turned to Brian and patted him on the back. “Good to see you out and about again, anyway. If you want to come down to The Black Bull later I’ll introduce you to the rest of the lads.”

Brian nodded. “Yeah, I might do one day. Not tonight though, I’m meeting me bird in here in a bit, then we’re off down to The Juggler’s Rest to see a band.”

“Yeah?” Trog said, grinning. “Well give her one for me. And enjoy your fucking hippy music.”

Twiglet and Mike were singing as Trog left. They raised their beer glasses and clashed them together.

“Scum like us, maybe we don’t give a fu-uck!”

* * *

“Lager, Trog?”

“Yeah, cheers Mandy.” Trog looked over at a group of skinheads and raised his hand to them.

“Good news about Ian,” Mandy said as she pulled his lager.

“Yeah,” Trog said, smiling. “He’s gonna be fucking ugly for a while though, until they fix his face up. But the way them nurses are fussing over him he’s loving every fucking minute of it.”

Trog pulled out his wallet to pay for the drink. Mandy shook her head. “No, don’t worry about it. This one’s on me. So how did you get on in court the other day?”

“Fifty quid fine and thirty-six hours attendance centre.”

“Attendance centre? What’s that then?”

Trog shrugged. “Dunno, some new bollocks they’ve come up with. I have to go to this place in Shefferham every Saturday afternoon for the next ten weeks.”

“Oh,” Mandy said, looking down. “Do you have to go this weekend?”

“Yeah. They said if I miss any they’ll add an extra five hours on top of the ones I miss, as well as another fine.”

“That’s a shame. There’s a Ska festival on at Cleethorpes this weekend, I thought you might want to come with me? We could get a room in a bed and breakfast, my treat.” She leaned her elbows on the bar and smiled across at him, her chin cradled in her hands.

Trog closed his eyes and ran his hand over the stubble on the back of his head. “I should really go to this attendance centre thing,” he said, avoiding Mandy’s gaze.

“You could go there next weekend instead, I’m sure they won’t mind. Go on, it’ll be fucking brilliant. I haven’t been to anything like that for years. We wouldn’t need to spend the whole weekend at the festival, there’s other stuff we could do. And it’ll be a right laugh, there’ll be skins from all over the country there. It’ll be just like the old days.”

Trog frowned, then nodded his head. “Yeah, fuck it. They’ll have to do without me this week. I’ll tell them I’m sick or something.”

Mandy jumped up and down, clapping her hands together, and squealed in excitement. She reached across the bar and grabbed Trog by the neck with both hands, pulled him close, and hugged him.

* * *

Colin, Brian, Becky and Kaz were in The Juggler’s Rest watching the band set up their equipment when Stiggy walked through the door with a short-haired girl in a baggy Discharge T-shirt.

“Stiggy!” Colin shouted. “Where the fuck have you been? And what’s with the fucking beard?”

Stiggy grinned and raised a hand. He went to the bar for drinks, then swaggered over to their table.

“All right, Col?” Stiggy said. “You remember Sally, right?”

Colin looked at the short-haired girl standing by Stiggy’s side.

“All right,” she said, nodding.

It took Colin a while to recognise her at first, because she had cut off her pink fringe and the rest of her hair was starting to grow out. It was the bottle of Babycham in her hand that clinched it.

“Er, yeah. All right, Sally.”

“I brung your record,” Stiggy said. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a twelve inch album. “I thought it were shite at first, but it sort of grows on you after a while.”

Colin took the record and flipped it over to look at the front cover. With everything that had happened he had forgot all about lending it to Stiggy.

“Cheers, Stiggy. So how did you know we’d be in here?”

Stiggy shrugged. “Friday, innit? Where else would you be?”

“So where have you been then?”

“Here and there.”

Brian drained his glass and rose to his feet. “Anyone want anything from the bar?”

Kaz frowned. “Should you be drinking that much in your condition?”

Brian groaned. “Don’t you start as well. I’ve had me mam fussing round me ever since I got out of hospital. I’ve only had a few pints, it’s not like I’m going to get smashed out of my head and start a fight with a gang of skinheads.” He looked at Stiggy as he spoke. Stiggy’s face reddened.

“Yeah well,” Stiggy said. “That’s all sorted now. We—” Sally looked sharply at Stiggy and nudged him in the ribs. Stiggy looked away and took a sip from his cider. He sat down opposite Colin and cradled the glass in his hand. “Look, the thing is, we’re getting off in the morning. There’s some people after us, so we’re moving away.”

“What, for good?” Colin asked.


“Where are you going, like?” Brian asked.

Stiggy opened his mouth to speak, but Sally got in first. “Manchester.”

Colin frowned. “What the fuck’s in Manchester?”

Stiggy looked at Sally, then shrugged. “No idea, I’ve never been. But I reckon it’s a big city with loads of people, so it’ll be easy to lose ourselves there.”

“Blimey,” Brian said. “Fucking Manchester, eh? Well good luck with it, yeah?”

Stiggy nodded. “Cheers Brian. That means a lot.”

“You’ll keep in touch though?” Colin asked. “Send me your address when you get sorted so we can all come down and visit?”

“Yeah, of course I will,” Stiggy said, looking away.

“So,” Colin said, rising to his feet. He held his beer glass out in a toast. “Here’s to Stiggy. Cunt of the year, 1982.”

“Piss off,” Stiggy said with a wide grin.


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