No. 31 Scotsman in Essex

Bored as fuck I arrived as usual in the Crown. It was Monday night 7.01pm, three guys were first in, waiting for their pints to be poured. I’d never seen them before, two of them were tall, over 6 ft, the other as short as me. These guys could have been rocks stars, Hanoi Rocks or Sigue Sigue Sputnik – spiked hair, tight leather trousers, tattoos. I stood next to the blonde one and smiled. I was so excited to see new talent in the pub. I would need to get in there before anyone else did.
“Do you know where we can score?” the bleached blonde one asked.  He had a scar down one side of his face.
“What do you want?”
“What can you get?”
“Weed, speed”
They introduced themselves as Dougie, Duncan (the short one) and Fraser (the blonde scar faced one). They came from Arbroath, a Scottish town with a football team, north of Dundee. They worked in the building trade and played in a band called ‘Arbroath and all other places’ named after the 2 letter boxes at Arbroath’s post office.
“What you doing in this shit hole?”  I asked, cool as school, puffing on a fag and ordering a snakebite.  Why would they want to come to Essex when there were ‘all other places’ in the world to go? Answer – cheap accommodation.  They were staying in Hockley in a flat above a shop (not that far from the Belchamps scout jamboree camp, see No. 9-15).

The flat belonged to Dougie’s uncle, they could stay for 2 months while he was away on the rigs.
“How did you get the scar?” I asked Fraser.  My love for scars began after a crush I had on David Ellis who played Poldark in the 1974 TV series.  One bored day at primary school I tried to mimic his scar and used a compass point to scratch down my face.  The wound scabbed over quickly, I picked off the scab leaving a fine red line that scarred for a month or so.
“Och, Iggy Pop gig, someone got on stage, picked up a symbol and skimmed it into the audience cutting a wee slice out of my face”
I loved his scar, I loved his Scots accent, I loved his hair, I loved his muscles and tattoos. I was falling in love again and told myself I would do better at love the second time around.
“Who’s Isla?  You mum?” I pointed at a tattoo on his forearm.
“Aye,” he said.  The others laughed.                                                                                                   “Fuck off” I said and laughed with them.                                                                                          “Och, an old lassie, ”  he said.  “Old!”  He looked into my eyes.
There was no work in Arbroath and they hated it like I hated Essex.  Fraser had just received £2,000 compensation for the symbol scar and the three of them had come down South to seek fame, fortune, work, drugs  – and now Essex girls.

“I’ll get the gear for Friday”  I said.

(To be continued after No. 32 – The Friday Gear Man)



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