No. 34 to 36 Ralph, Rodney and Roderick

I was on a quest to find Fraser (No. 31) in London. When Marni was available we took the train into London on a Friday evening and didn’t come home till Sunday night. We worked our way around London’s more alternative and punk clubs advertised in Time Out magazine, meeting new friends to stay with along the way.  We soon discovered the Crypt, a club under St Paul’s church in Deptford. To get into the club you had to walk under the church through a passage of tombs. We chatted up the bouncers and got in for free, smuggling in half a bottle of whisky in Marni’s jacket and a gram of speed tucked in my knickers. Outside the club, couples who had copped off, shagged on graves.

The Crypt had live bands, it became our regular haunt.  Marni started going out with the lead singer of ‘Please feed my fish while I’m away’, a local band who had a famous punk drummer, and I started going out with Ralph, one of their groupies. On Friday nights we’d have the last pogo/punk dance and I’d go back to Ralph’s Peckham council flat. He worked in a bakers Saturdays so had to get up early. He’d make me a cup of tea and I’d go to the loo as soon as he left the flat. Ralph was skinny and I felt fat in the bed with him. I was too scared for him to see my body so I would lay next to him for hours in the night, dying for the loo. With the flat to myself for the day I’d sleep off the hangover then get up and play Ralph’s records and make compilation tapes with Fraser in mind, picking out music I knew he would approve of. When Ralph came back, he would make us scrambled egg and beans on toast, we would do another line of speed and go out to the Albany or the Venue in New Cross. Sunday was spent in the Royal Albert pub for hair of the dog and free roast potatoes before getting the train back to Rayleigh before work on Monday. Sometimes Ralph would drive me home in his Ford Cortina mark 3. Mondays I would clock into the office then lay on the work sick-bed in the basement for as long as I could get away with.
“My sister is getting married. Will you come with me?” The thought of getting to know another family and attending another family wedding so soon after Fraser’s seemed a bit much. I had just finished taping the Buzzcocks, Orgasm Addict. Ralph put on his other Buzzcocks record.
“Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with
I can’t see much of a future
Unless we find out what’s to blame, what a shame
And we won’t be together much longer”
“I’m kind of still in love with someone.” I said.
That was the nail in the Crypt coffin. Ralph began seeing a Deptford girl alongside me.
It wasn’t long before he started getting grief from the new girl and had to make a choice so I got dumped. With Marni now the number one groupie for ‘Please feed my fish while I’m away’, I was back hanging about in Essex on my own.  I  started seeing brothers Rodney and Roderick who hung out at the Top Alex and the Grand Hotel in Southend (what parents would name their sons these names?). I dumped Rodney and Roderick soon after cause they were boring and just smoked dope.

I longed for Fraser.

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