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by Bernie Bostik
My first real serious brush with the law came when I was 18 years of age. The year was 1988 and like every other 18 year old I knew around that time, I was bang into drugs; pot - mostly normal rocky procured from a letter box on a house on Ponsonby just off Granby in Toxteth, speed - what ever concoction Thommo (God rest his soul) had knocked together in his make shift pharmacy come flat on Greenwood Crescent Orford, and pills from a mate who drank in the Bow & Arrow in Huyton. It was a mixture of all of the above plus a few bottles of Newcy Brown that were the catalyst for my first serious arrest. I had been in trouble before but only for minor incidents and had only received a slap on the wrist. This was the first time I properly had my collar felt.
It was Thursday night in the Woodies, we were all sat in our favourite corner as spliffs were sneakily getting passed round out of sight from the manager Tony and his bird Sheila. Who were fuming and on the look out to bar anyone at the next opportunity. They hadn't been there that long. They were both scousers and at first they were everyone's friend and were laughing and joking about "having worked in some rough Liverpool pubs - this woollyback enclave should be a doddle". On one of the very first lock-ins someone spiked Tony's drink with a trip and he spun out up stairs leaving Sheila (who was getting banged in the girls bogs by the boozers stud muffin) to look after the gaff. The lads backed the car up to the door and gratuitously emptied the bar then left. A few weeks later somebody done a sneak during the day and emptied the safe up stairs. I spotted Tony a few years back working in a pub in Lark lane when I was out on a celebratory drink with fellow Swinesters Richo, John and top jockey Degsy after the Worthington cup win against the Mancs. I asked him how's Sheila? to which he replied "I haven't seen that slut for years"
Thommo arrived on his weekly speed round. Not a lot of people liked Thommo in the pub but us young bucks in the corner were entertained by him. He was a mad Man U fan who had a tattoo of a Red Devil sticking it's fork into a Liverbird on his forearm. Another reason for putting up with him was his 'freeman's Thursdays' as we liked to call it , he would give us a couple of freebies hoping that we would all buy our supplies for the weekend off him the next night. We normally got our speed of someone else in the pub who's gear was always better. Thommo was just more of a stand by. He eventually got barred when him and the resident speed dealer had a set too with daggers drawn.
Someone mentioned that it was Rock night in CJ's in Warrington so that was that, Texas Red got phoned ( self employed taxi driver who would drive the lads everywhere in his vintage Volvo) . CJ's was a small dark dingy haunt behind and sort of under MacDonalds just off the main shopping drag (were the IRA bomb went off). It held a weekly rock night that served your usual Led Zep, Sabbath type tucker with the odd Rolling Stones Sympathy for the Devil or Peace Frog by the Doors thrown in for the E'd up ones to stretch our legs to. Other than rock night there wasn't much happening in Warrington. Unless donning a whistle and getting over to Mr Smith's for a Hit man and Her strut was your thing. Or you had the Carlton club that held a Soul night which would attract crazy cats from as far a wide as Manchester and Wolverhampton. But this was a no go because the previous Christmas Eve we bumped into a gang of black Manc lads that had been in the Carlton, as we were getting kicked out of CJ's. Three mobs, us, the mancs and bouncers got entangle in a bitter battle. and if it hadn't been for some nifty foot work by moi when the plod arrived this story would have been about that night. Poor Hooky and a few others spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day in Warrington Police station.
So there I was stood at the bar watching Sam Richard's make an absolute tit of himself on a quickly clearing dancefloor as he done some mad gay dance to Aqualung by Jethro Tull. Which brought much guffaws off the ever increasing numbers of the Woodies lads in attendance. I was flash with the cash at the bar as I had received my income support that day. So vodka and coke chasers were had in-between bottles of brown. Hooky arrived with his mates from Norris Green, he had a couple of tablets which we rammed down our necks straight away. His scouse mates were sound lads and kept buying me shorts and never let me put my hand in my pocket all night. With all the ale and the coming up on the tablet I needed fresh air and I done what I've done a few times in the past when I have been proportioned by a similar circumstance, I found a nice quiet secluded spot lay down and got my head together. The secluded spot being at the top of some fire escape steps on the building next to Maccy's. After getting over the feeling of wanting to stand up and enjoy the tablet but the ale putting a stop to that as my legs start acting like a new born foals and my noggin spun out of control as I barfed. I came to my senses after about half an hour and stood up, it was then that I noticed all the lovely computers and office hardware on show through the fire exit door. I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour but heaven knows I will be miserable later on.
I thought it would be a stupendous idea to kick the door in. Then get the lads from the club to help in the heist ( Lex Luther eat yer heart out.). I managed to muster a small band of three up for it lads and a couple of drunken stragglers. We got to the top of the staircase and I was just slowly picking my way between the shards of glass that were left hanging like stalactites from the window frame on the door, when I heard a screech of brakes then a flash of blue light bounce off the surrounding buildings in the small dead-end street. With the pitter-patter of the lads feet on the metal stairwell, I knew now was a good a time as any to do one. It was no point really as the two plod cars had us hemmed in on the fire escape steps. Another car arrived and we all got transported the short journey to the plod shop. We were all booked in then put in the cells and interviewed one at a time. With all the usual accusations flying forth from the filth's mouth, like "the others have told us its you who booted the door in" and the laughable "this is very serious and you could get put away for a long time". I just sat there and said fuck all, like I know the rest of the lads did. It was getting close to breakfast time and the natives were getting restless. I could hear Butler doing his best to wind up the nightshift by repeatedly banging on his door and shouting in his best McVicar accent "Where's me fackin trainers?". Abbo who was one of the drunken stragglers and a fucking loon to boot, who had been in and out of the jug for various offences all of them having one underlining factor, violence. He had sobered up and was like a bear with a soar head as I heard him bellow out from the next cell "Whoever booted the fucking door in own up so I can get out of here" When Abbo exerts pier pressure like that there is only one thing to do. So after pressing the buzzer for a good 20 minutes someone arrived and I gave them a statement.
I told them 'I had been drunk and left the club to get some fresh air. I then found myself at the top of the fire escape and while in a drunken stupor had kicked the window in before collapsing. My friends were only looking for me and when they heard my moans they climbed up the steps to investigate. They were in the stages of carrying me back down the fire escape when you lot arrived'. All the lads got let out as I got charged. Being my first offence I got bailed for a later court appearance. I attended court with my Old Man, and the lenient magistrate after hearing my feeble story of 'getting drunk on a two for one offer in the local club , then kicking a door in, in a drunken stupor'. Gave me a stern warning about the horrors of the dreaded alcohol and £120 pound fine for the cost of a new window - RESULT!. The next time I got nicked I wouldn't be so lucky.
It embarrassingly made the local rag "youth goes mad on drinks binge" and some Herbert pinned it to the dartboard in the local for a few days so the lads could give it the usual goad.
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