Monday, July 30, 2012
your mind quiet
I've always known that
one man can bring the
whole thing crashing down.
If I see it
I've got to
deal with it.
When you see it
you have to
deal with me.
When the economy crashes and the electricity goes out, how are you going to 'pass the buck'? There won't be a 'buck' to pass. Therefore, you will be in my position.
I make everyone
I have nothing else.
most loaded words;
God & money.
There's a big difference between intelligence & smart. Smart people do very well at school. They pick up what they're taught very fast. Intelligence gets the answers from within. Intelligence cannot be taught.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
It's the safest place to be in;
the state of Not-Knowing.
You're a nothing &
a nobody , just like me.
In the beginning one imagines they are doing the Mantra.
Realization is of the fact that the Mantra is doing you.
My madness will cure your madness. there's a lot of madness to cure isn't there. As the Universal Healer, I recommend a good dose of Reality.
go to sleep
never wake up
in the same world.
My world never changes.
Have you ever
I have & I
lived to tell.
Everyone's madness manifests differently. Mine manifested as tattooing a formula on my forehead for the Destruction of Ignorance.
Should you ever hear a person say, in conversation with another, "Oh, for God's sake",
know that you are in service.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
of the world.
It depends on
you see it in
as to how
The kind of power that
I'm talking about takes
incredible courage to manifest.
There is not a man alive
who it does not reside in.
The Question is;
Do you have
what it takes?
to give up
What are you
Are you interested in
What are you not willing to give up?
One has to maintain
wherever they live.
I don't change;
While people are still
talking about it -
nothing will change!
Not long after we’d moved into Jubilee Terrace, I was on one of the many errands I ran for mi mum. As I walked through Rippendon, I was reading through the shopping list mi mum had given me. When I saw a notice on the newspaper mans’ shop door. It said;
BOY FOR NEWSPAPER DELIVERIES.
I stood reading the notice for a few minutes as I contemplated the possibility. ‘Why not’, I thought. ‘It can’t hurt to ask and if he sez ‘NO’, I’ve lost nowt’.
The bell above the glass door tinkled as I pushed it open and went inside.
“Can I help ya?” sez an old grey-haired lady.
“I’ve come about the job advertised on your door.”
“Just a minute, you need to speak to my husband.”
Her husband was at the back of the shop writing in a large book. As she spoke to him, he looked up at me, over the top of his half-frame glasses. Pushing his chair back from the desk, he came over to the counter and said;
“Mi wife sez you’ve come about the newspaper round.”
Yes, can you tell me something about it first?”
The Newsagent was a small man with a large, balding head. His eyebrows were very bushy and a long yellow pencil stuck out from behind his ear. He wore a collarless shirt. Over the shirt he wore a maroon jacket with several more pens and pencils sticking out of the top pocket. His hands were quite dirty from the ink off the newspapers and on his thumb he wore a rubber thimble with tiny points protruding out of it.
“How old are you lad?”
“10 and-a-quarter”, I sez.
“Oh that’s good, cause you’ve got to be over 10 to hold a paper-round. Have you ever delivered papers before lad?
“No, this will be mi first time.”
“Well, that doesn’t matter. We can always train you up for a week or two. Are you honest?”, He says, as his bushy eyebrows came together when he peered down at me over his specs.
“Course, I am! I haven’t stole nout in mi whole life.”
“Very good. That’s what I like to hear because Saturday mornings you’ll have to collect the money for the weeks papers and if you’re short, it’ll come out of your wages…do you understand?”
“Yes.”, I sez.
“Alright lad, just let me talk it over with my missus. What’s your name anyway?”
“Mine's Mr. Sutcliff. I won’t be long.”
Mr. Sutcliff turned and went over to his wife and had a chat to her. As they were talking, I noticed her look over at me a couple of times. Each time she looked, she gave me a faint smile. After they finished talking, Mr. Sutcliff came back over to the counter and said,
“The job’s yours, if ya want it lad.”
“Alright.”, I sez. I’ll let you know first thing in the morning cause I’ll have to ask mi mum first.”
“Make sure ya come back early in the morning and let me know or I’ll have to find someone else. I hope you’re good at getting up in the morning cause I’ll expect you here Monday till Saturday at six o’clock sharp. The job pays 9/- a week. See you tomorrow morning. Oh, and one more thing, don’t ever let me catch you pinching sweets off the counter when you think I’m not looking cause I’ve got eyes in the back of mi head!”
I gave him a smile and said, “So ‘as mi mum and so have I.”
The bell tinkled as I opened the door and as soon as it closed and there was no one looking I jumped in the air and stuck mi 2 clenched fists skywards!
After I’d done mi mums’ errands, I ran home with the shopping as fast as I could. As soon as I got in the back door, I yelled out for mi mum.
“Hey mum, mum!”
“I’m upstairs, in the bedroom!”, came the loud reply.
I bounded up the stairs, two at-a-time and into her bedroom where she was cleaning.
“Hey mum, guess what?”
“Hey Richard, guess what?”. She sez.
“What?”, I sez.
“Guess what you’re gonna’ get if you don’t learn to walk up those bloody wooden stairs more quietly. Old Mrs.Dicksen, next door has had a headache, nonstop, since you kids came to live here.”
“Hey mum, I’ve just got mi'sen mi first paid job!”
"What the hell are you talking about now lad?”
"Old Mr. Suttcliff gave me a job delivering newspapers for him."
"Oh that's nice. He just happened to know who you were and came up to you on the street and said, would you like to deliver newspapers for me?"
"More or less."
"You must think I came down in the last bloody shower Richard! Now, what really happened?"
After I told her about going in his shop for the interview, I said, "Can I do it mum, please?"
"Oh, I see you've learned some manners all of a sudden lad…and who may I ask is going to get you out of bed in the mornings for this new job of yours and what, pray may I ask,
time do you have to be there?"
"Not till six O'clock Monday till Saturday."
"Six O-bloody-clock! You have a hard job getting out of bed in the mornings at 7:30 and if I was fool enough to bring you a bucket upstairs for a pee you'd still be there at lunchtime! How much is he going to pay you for the job?"
"9/6d a week - cash!"
"And what do you suppose you're going to spend 9/6d a week on besides sweets and fags, or shouldn't I ask?"
"I haven't thought about it yet. I was just too excited about getting the job."
"When do you have to let him know by?"
"Tomorrow morning, early, 'cause if not, he'll give the job to someone else."
"And what about school or did you forget about that?"
"I didn't forget. He's gonna' give me all the details tomorrow but the job must finish in time for school because he has other boys who deliver for him too."
"Go back and see him tomorrow and tell him, before ya mum says yes, she wants to know more details, alright?"
After the details were worked out and mi mum agreed to me doing the paper round, as long as I saved all the money I made to by misen some new clothes.
Monday morning came and I was at Mr. Sutcliffs shop at 5:55. All the mornings' newspapers had been stacked in order of delivery, and then put into a large brown canvas paper carrier with a shoulder strap and a big flap that covered the papers so as to keep them dry on wet mornings.
At around 6:05 a little bit older boy than myself arrived who was going to teach me the paper round. He spoke to Mr. Sutcliff for a few seconds, and then Mr. Sutcliff scolded him for being late again. Turning to me, the boy said, "OK, let's go!" As we walked out the shop, I was thinking about what he said…he said "OK"…OK was not allowed in our house. If I ever said, "OK", mi mum would chuck a fit. "Who the hell do you think you're talking to in that American slang? OK is not a word. It's not even English and you're certainly not a bloody yank, so don't let me hear you using that garbage language again or you'll get a bloody thick ear! Do you understand me?"
"I'll carry the bag today kid and you carry it tomorrow, OK?"
"Alright, it sounds fair enough to me"
"If you watch me you'll be able to finish the round in about an hour and 20 minutes. If not, it'll take you 2 hours, OK?"
As we took off walking he said, "First, you got to learn how to throw the paper so it doesn't unroll but don't get caught 'cause if old 'Sooty' finds out, you'll get the boot like me, OK? Now, this house has a big dog so be careful 'cause if he gets hold of you he'll rip ya balls off. OK? This house, has two old ladies who are almost deaf so don't bother to chuck the paper here. I go through the gate and leave it on the step, then steal a milk bottle on the way out, OK?"
On and on we went until we finally came to the end of the paper round. By this time we were well passed a place called Cunning Corner.
"What now?", I said.
"Sooty gives me some bus fare so I can ride back to Ripponden on the bus but if you want to run back we can spend the fare on some fags and split 'em, half & half. OK?"
"Now you're talkin' my language!"
Off we ran at top speed, back to Rippendon to another shop that he knew of where we bought some Woodbines with the bus fare.
"Why aren't you doing the round anymore?"
"Well, old Sooty caught me stealing some of the collection money, plus I got a better round with the other shop. More money and more perks! OK?"
"OK, see you in the morning."
It didn't take very long for me to learn the paper round and although it was a very difficult job I enjoyed the fact that I was now earning some money. Oldham Road was a long, flat, windy road that went around a big hairpin corner at Slithero Bridge. Seeing as mi dad went to work much earlier these days, sometimes I'd run into him on mi way back from the paper round. On occasions Mr. Sooty would sometimes make a mistake and put too many papers in my bag, so at those times, I felt quite good about giving mi dad a free mornings' newspaper.
When the weather was fine, the paper round was fine and when the weather was bad the paper round was also bad! On occasion, it would be pelting with rain and I'd be soaking wet even before I got to the first delivery. Some of the houses I delivered to were built on a steep hillside, which ran down to the pavements' edge. This meant it was not possible to throw the newspaper over the fence and into the doorways. These types of houses always had a large number of steps to walk up which were very difficult to negotiate when the weather was icy and cold.
Past mi dads' work and around the hairpin corner there was a boys' private Grammar School. It was a massive, old Victorian building that stood on its own well-kept grounds. Each morning I passed the Grammar school, I'd dawdle a few minutes so I could look through the fence bars, into the grounds area. The whole front of the building was surrounded by beautifully kept green lawns and flowerbeds. Small shrubs encircled the perimeters of the lawns. Most mornings I would see the grounds men in their overalls mowing or trimming the edges of lawn or tending to the weeds in the outer gardens. The
School building itself was a large, two-story place with dormer windows running at intervals along the long steep top. The outer stone walls were made of quarry-cut square stone and, in places, Ivy had been allowed to grow up as far as the dormer windows. Sometimes the old school reminded me of a military-type building as everything was in such perfect order and spotlessly clean.
On my way back from the paper round, I would walk along the same side of the road as the school. Some kids, obviously, didn't live there as I used to see them arriving in their flash, luxury cars. At those times I would walk quite slowly past the large, double, wrought iron gates so I could get a glimpse of what it was like to be a rich families boy. The sleek maroon Jaguars and silver Bentleys would glide up to the large gates in the private driveway. Sometimes a chauffer, dressed in his dark blue uniform and cap would get out of the car and then walk around the side to open the door for the rich schoolboy to step out, at his leisure.
The private school uniforms were burgundy and grey with long trousers. As I stood around and watched, I was wishing for the day to come when I would be allowed to wear long trousers.
On rare occasions, I would sometimes see a few Grammar School boys riding the upper deck of the Halifax bus. As they sat and talked with each other some of them would pull out a cigarette from a shiny silver cigarette case and say to their friend, "Would you care for a cigarette, old chap."
"Don't mind if I do, old boy. You'll have to try one of mine next time. I'm smoking Benson & Hedges these days. They're quite an acceptable brand you know."
When the Bus Conductor came around he would never dare to tell the rich boys, "Put those fags out or I'll make you pay full fare."
Pulling their leather wallets out from their inside Blazer pockets, they would flash a school pass along with a few large, colored bills. I could see that this very natural action from the private school boys would keep the old bus conductor in his place as they probably had more spending money in their leather wallets than the bus conductor made in a fortnights work plus over-time.
When the bus conductor had collected all the fares plus my half-ticket contribution, I would pull out one of mi 'Willie-woodbines' from its cardboard five-pack and light up. It was one of my favorite habits, to sit there looking out the top windows and tune into the their posh speaking language, so as to hear how the other-half lived. After some time, this little habit would get me down so I'd dismiss it with a 'Lucky buggers, they don't even know they're alive and it would probably kill 'em if they had to get up every morning to do my paper round for a few extra Bob. This thought would always make me feel a little bit more at ease as I sat amongst the opulence.
Some mornings, I'd jump out of bed and look out the window to find it had snowed very heavily overnight and was still snowing large, fat, white flakes. It almost looked as though someone one was on our rooftop dropping pieces of cotton wool down past my small window. On the snowy mornings I would not feel like venturing out at a quarter to six, so as to be in Ripponden at 5 to six.
Old Mr. Sooty would always have the newspaper bag full and ready to go, no matter what the weather was like. When the snow was deep he'd say to me, "Just do ya best lad and deliver as many papers as ya can and what ya don't get to deliver, bring back and I'll give 'em to postman to deliver later on."
There were times when I could have brought half the papers back but I knew that Oldham Road was a part of old Jack the Postmans' route and if I didn't deliver them old Jack would have to lump my extra papers around.
On Saturday mornings I'd set off at 7 O'clock, instead of 6. That was so I wouldn't be too early at peoples houses and it would give 'em time to be up so they could pay their weekly bill. Saturdays always took twice as long because I'd have to knock at each door and say, "I come to collect the paper bill money." This was a way some boys would make money. They'd get up earlier than the usual paperboy and knock on peoples door carrying and old newspaper bag and a small red book and pencil. When the door opened they'd say, "The usual by is off sick today so I'm collecting for him. Just write down the weekly fee and sign your name on the right-hand side opposite it." This little scam used to work for a week or two until one day someone, unknowingly, knocked on a local Policemans' door.
Sometimes, when the weather was bad, some of the customers would give me a small tip. I would never dream of stealing from them as the other boys did but I did find out that by saying I had no change yet, some customers would say, "Oh well, it's only 3 pence. You'd might as well take it for a tip as you've given us good service so far." At other houses, I would try the same stunt but they'd say, "Just wait a few minutes and I'll go back inside and look for some change." Or "I don't have any change so come back next week and I'll pay you double." This little action caused two effects; it made me late finishing and it made old Mr. Sooty mad 'cause the customer didn't pay.
Another little trick some boys would play was to tell the customer, "You didn't pay last week so it's double this week." If the customer insisted he did, the boy expressed his apologies and say, "It's my fault, I must have forgotten to write it in the books." If the customer said, "Oh, I must have forgot to leave it out for you. Just a minute and I'll get some more money for you." Then the paperboy was 2/- extra in pocket!
Some paperboys would even steal the milk mans' money that had been left under the empty milk bottles for him. These types of boys only lasted a few weeks before they got into big trouble and also got the sack.
In those days around the small villages of Yorkshire, if anyone got the sack or the neighbors found out a family was in debt to a Hire-Purchase Firm, it was considered the shame of the neighborhood and when the culprit walked around the village it was obvious everyone knew about it and strongly disapproved. Yorkshire people can be quite nosy at times so one has to be quite clever at hiding their actions or the better way is dead honesty.
I'd been delivering my papers for quite a few months now so between my paper round money and the odd tips, which I usually spent on sweets or fags before I got home, I now had a good few pounds saved up.
Each cold morning I'd go out delivering papers, I'd be dreaming of the tin of money mi mm had hidden from me in her bedroom somewhere. 'Maybe I'd buy misen a Raleigh racing bike or better still, maybe I'd buy a racing greyhound so I can make more money.'
Then again, if I keep saving I can open my own cobblers shop like old Mr. Smith. Maybe I'll buy a high-powered air rifle or some breeding ferrets so as to make more money off 'a young-uns', and the sale of the rabbits I'll catch! Or better still, I'll buy misen an expensive leather motorbike jacket and put silver studs all over it and then buy some ice -blue jeans and a pair of burgundy and blue suede 'brothel-creepers' with some luminous pink or iridescent green socks, a leather belt with a large brass buckle and a long silver heavy-duty chain hanging off it and I'd be the 'Vicars-Knickers' or 'Jack the lad' or the 'Cock-of-the-North' struttin' around the village for everyone to see!
Now, the dreams of mine never came to pass because mi mum had plans of her own for my money and mi dad was the designer of her plans! One day, I said to mi mum, "I must have ten pounds in mi savings tin now mum, so it's time I spent it on something."
"Oh yes. And what do you have in mind for your life savings?"
Without the least bit of hesitancy I ran through my list of requirements and after I finished she said, "You can forget about that list of dreams. If you spend that money you can buy yourself a good 3-piece suit so you have something decent to go out in!"
I felt like I'd just been hit on the head with the Judges wooden hammer as mi mind stopped and I saw an image of the greyhound chasing the racing bike and the Ferret sat on the shiny saddle as the bike tore past a Teddy boy stood at a bus stop!
"No", I said. "I won't do it!"
"Then you won't go on the paper round anymore if you think I'm getting you up every morning in all types of weather so you can spend all that money on a lot of old rubbish, then you've got another thing coming my boy!"
"You don't have to get me up anymore.", I said. "I'll get misen up from now on so I can spend mi money on what I like!"
"Oh no, you'll do nothing of the sort. I'll get you up and you'll spend the money on what I tell you 'cause I'm your mother and what I say goes. You'll have no say until you're big enough to bring enough money into this house so as to pay for your rent and food and that’s that! I don't want to hear another bloody word about it or else!"
With that, I stormed off up to my room and gave the stair-carpet a good old stomping on the way. Mi mother stomped up after me and gave me one of her famous, thundering good hidings.
As I lay on mi bed in tears, I contemplated the situation. It went as such, 'It's my money. I should be able to do with it as I see fit! I'm the one who has to carry that bloody big, heavy newspaper bag! She may get me up but I'll pay her to do that in future so she can't chuck it back up in mi face! Well, a new suit may not be too bad you know, especially if you get a ¾ jacket with long vents up the back and purple velvet Italian lapels and the trousers could be drain-pipes without a 'turn-up' and the Brothel-creepers would just top it off, although the luminous pink socks may just push her over the edge so better not insist on those yet.' Mi other option is to give her all the money and tell her, "You can have it all except for a Pound and I'm quitting the paper round!
This contemplation process took about a good hour after which I went back down stairs and read her mi 'bill of rights' as a working child. After I'd finished she said, "You're getting a new suit, like it or lump it and you'll get the style your dad picks out for you."
Then she gave me another good belting and said, "Now get up those stairs and if you stomp your feet this time, you'll stay in all week!"
Mi bottom lip sagged out as mi face dropped and back up the stairs I went, stomping much harder this time. As soon as I reached my room and threw myself as hard as I could on the old double bed, she came upstairs again and gave mi bare legs another sound thrashing and said,
"You defy me, you cheeky little bleeder! Now you won't go out after school all week long so don't bother to ask!"
"Don't worry, I won't!" I said between sobs as she came back in to give me some more of the same treatment.
Soon as Saturday came, they both dragged me by the collar, unwillingly, out of the house and down to the bus stop where we waited for the Halifax bus to come.
"Get that bloody puss off ya face before I bloody well knock it off and if you show me up on his bus, we'll get off at the next stop and you'll get another thundering good hiding! Are you listening to me Richard?"
Soon as we reached Halifax we found a good tailors shop that advertised MADE TO MEASURE SUITS. Mi dad, mi mum and me walked into the tailors shop. Up comes an old fogy salesman, "Can I help you good people?"
"You can. We would like a new suit for our lad here."
"I have some nice inexpensive ones over the back here hanging on the peg if you'd care to come this way."
"He wants a tailor-made one!" sez mi dad.
"Oh! Excuse me Sir! In that case, please follow me and I'll show you some patterns and material."
Unwillingly, I follow Iris and George over to the tailored section of the shop.
"What color do you have in mind Missus?
"Swindells! You'd better ask Richard, It's for him."
"Burgundy or bright red velvet!" I sez.
The salesmans' one eyebrow raised up at least an inch on one side and an inch and a half on 'tuther side.
Mi mum looked down at me with her disapproving scowl and said, "You're not having a bright red velvet suit, lad, so you can get that notion right out of your tiny brain!"
The salesman looked straight at mi mum as he waited for further orders. "I think you'll find something you're looking for in this book of materials." he said as he handed the book to mi mum.
"Oh the suits not for me. You'd better give it to him. He's the one who'll be wearing it."
"No I won't!" I sez, under mi breath. This brought another glare from mi mum. I unwillingly took the swatch book from the salesman who said to me, "You have a look through here and I'll be back in a minute or so. Just let me know when you see something you like, sir."
As I opened the swatch book in a disinterested manner, mi mum tried to be nice about it all by saying, "Oh! That's a nice color lad. You'd look good in that color."
It was a dowdy-looking brown, so I very quickly flipped over to the next swatch. I stopped at a light, shiny purple fabric. "Keep going!" sez mi mum as she helped me turn the swatch pages.
"It's not heavy, you know. I'm not an invalid!" I said.
This comment caused an undercover violent action from her. As soon as she saw the coast was clear she grabbed a handful of mi coat and gave it a couple of real good shakes!
"Ow!" I said out loud so as the salesman could hear. As soon as he looked over she replaced the scowl with a plastic smile and continued to help me turn the swatches.
Eventually, after much bullying, a medium blue-black small check wool material was decided upon.
The salesman came trotting back over to us with his tape measure around his neck. He was a man of about fifty-odd with neatly-combed graying hair and a well-trimmed 'Terry Thomas moustache', a blue shirt and dark blue trousers with navy socks and black, shiny lace-up classic shoes.
'Not an offensive thing about him', I thought. 'A life-long member of the old fogy club, probably a president of something.'
"So, we've made a decision on the material, have we?"
I gave him an icy look and mi mum him her phony smile. When she showed him the swatch he gave us a phony comment, "Oh what a lovely choice. You'll look quite a young gentleman in this color." He said. "Now, if you'd step this way, we'll take a few measurements."
All this time, me dad had been looking around the shop at some 'off the peg' suit styles he liked.
"Just hang your arms at your sides in a relaxed manner." Said the salesman as he pulled his tape measure from around his neck. "Better remove your top coat so as we can get an accurate measurement."
After I took mi big coat off, I tried to make one of mi shoulders go up and the other one slightly down but the Salesman must have been wise to this little gimmick, as he leveled off mi shoulders before he took the measurement.
He quickly jotted all the measurements down and last of all, he said, "Just look straight ahead and the final measurement will be the inside leg."
"I can do that misen!" I said to the salesman as I reached for his tape.
"Stand still Richard and don't be cheeky!" sez mi mum.
By the time he'd finished, mi dad was now finished looking around. His timing was perfect.
"Now, what style lapels would like?" The salesman said.
"Real narrow Italian lapels." I said.
George said, "Big, wide lapels!" and the salesman wrote down, 'wide classic lapels'.
Then he said, "Single or Double-breasted?"
"Single!" I said.
"Double!" said George.
"Double-breasted." Said the salesman, as he wrote on his note-pad.
"Straight-leg and no turn-ups or straight-leg with turn-ups?"
"Straight-leg with no turn-ups!" I said.
"Straight-leg with turn-ups!!" said George.
"Straight-leg with turn-ups." Wrote the salesman as he talked to himself.
"Now, last but not least, how wide do you want the bottoms?" he said, looking at George.
"24 inches", said George
"Make it 12 inches!" I said to the salesman.
The salesman looked at me then back at George.
"24 inches!" said George.
The salesman was just about to write 24 inches, when I said quite firmly, "NO! I don't want 24 inch bottom trousers!!"
The salesman stopped writing in mid-stream.
"24 inches!" said George. "Only a bloody idiot would walk around in a suit with 12 inch bottoms and no turn-ups!"
The salesman looked back to me.
"12 inch bottoms or you can cancel the order!"
Now, Iris pipes up and put her two-penneth in. "Maybe 24 inch bottoms are a bit wide for his legs."
The salesman looked at her and said, "Maybe 20 inch bottoms and turn-ups would look good."
Just as the salesman smiled and was about to write '20 inches', I said, "NO! 12 inch bottoms or nowt!!"
This determination on my behalf caused her to screw her face up this time.
"22 inch bottoms!" said George.
"18" said Iris.
"12" I said. "Or nowt!!!"
As we argued over the trousers, the salesmans' head was spinning around in circles from one of us to the other.
"18 inch bottoms and that's final!" said Iris.
"Bloody stupid!" sez George. "My pants are 26 inch bottoms and there's nowt wrong with them. Only bloody Teddy Boys wear 18" bottoms and that went out of style in King Edwards' days".
"Teddy Boys wear 10 inch bottoms". I said. "I know 'cause I asked one how wide his pants were!"
"18 inch bottoms". Iris said to the Salesman. "Write that down!"
"Bloody daft wench." Sez George.
"I wont' ever wear 'em." I sez to mi mum.
"How much deposit would you like to leave on the order?" sez the salesman as he looked at me.
"NOWT!" I said, as I scowled at him.
The anger behind the word, 'nowt' caused him to move backward a pace or two.
"How much will the suit cost?" sez Iris.
"8 Pounds 10 shillings give or take a few shillings." Said the salesman.
"He'll leave 4 Pounds deposit." said Iris as she handed him my hard-earned money.
"Thank you Mrs. Swindells."
"Don't thank me, he's buying the suit."
"Thank you sir." Said the salesman.
"Don't thank me. I ain't wearin' it!"
Another plastic smile from Iris and we walk out the shop.
"It'll be ready to fit next Saturday." Called the Salesman.
I never even acknowledged him, I just walked straight out. As soon as we got outside Iris gave me a quick check and then gave me a smack in the butt of mi ear and said, "And that's only for starters! You wait till I get you home lad. I'll make you real sorry you ever showed me up in front of strangers in a shop!"
The following week, we went to Halifax to get fitted for the new suit. The week after that we picked up the suit. The following Monday I went into Mr. Sutcliff's shop and told him I was quitting the paper round. He asked me to train up a new boy, which I did and Saturday morning, I drew mi last paycheck.
When mi mum woke me up on Monday morning for the paper round, she said, "Come on lad, you'll be late for the round if you don't hurry!"
"If I stay in bed until 7 this morning I wont be late."
"What the hell are you going on about? Are you awake yet or talking in your sleep?"
"I'm not asleep." I said, as I lay there facing mi bedroom wall. "I'm wide awake."
"What's all this bloody nonsense you're talking about then? It's 5:40. You'll be late if you don't hurry!"
"I won't ever be late 'cause on Saturday morning I quite the job."
"What did you say?"
"I said, on Saturday morning I quit the job. Another boy is doing mi round today!"
"You little bugger!" she sez.
"And further more, you can beat me as much as you like, I will never ever wear that stupid suit, as long as I live!"
With that, Iris walked out of mi bedroom and never spoke to me for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks of not speaking to me, one morning she started speaking. For the next 2 weeks I gave her the 'yes-no' treatment. From the day we picked up the new suit, my relationship with mi mum and dad changed. It steadily got worse.
Jubilee Terrace was not a very happy time in my life. I could not say it was the worst time as that was still to come.
Friday, July 27, 2012
in my life
It's a crying shame
that misery & disasters
He may have a
but don't assume
he is intelligent.
In times of war
our children become
cannon fodder rather
than our saving grace.
What you see as valuable determines your life. If you see the trinkets of the world as valuable then don't waste your time listening to me. I am not here to convince you otherwise.
I can still laugh.
After 63 years of living,
I have a great sense of humor.
from taking over
If you are not happy
with the world
as you see it
then you have to
put a stop to it.
The longer you leave it,
the harder it becomes.
The easiest way
to put a stop
is to withdraw
your belief in it.
I care deeply
I am allowed
to make jokes
Once you have
to talk about,
then, & only then,
take a look at it.
to the world
and you are free of it,
but don't expect it
to give you anything.
The Grace of the Guru
out to you.
The heart cannot beat
Animals display more
affection & love
towards each other
than people do.
than an animal?
How can there ever be
Peace of Earth
when life itself
Don't give me an answer.
Success to an elephant is wallowing in muddy waters. Success to a hippopotamus is wallowing in mud. Success to a pig is wallowing in filth. Success to me is wallowing in the Void.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
There are 2 R's that create war-
Resources and religion.
otherwise something will
come along and destroy it.
You either support now or
you get taken down
with the rest of them,
investigate the Self
with a noisy mind.
Everyone experiences pure peace
after the last heartbeat.
You will know it by its absence.
Everybody is born crying.
Very few die laughing.
to be born
Acting on negative energies
produces weak characters.
I am The Guru.
I only know
how to reflect.
If the world is such a wonderful place then why aren't babies born with a smile on their faces? Think about a place you'd like to go and it will put a smile on your face.
has to be taken.
It can not be given.
Do you have
what it takes?
who looks into it.
One can only be free
from what one understands.
The switch that turns the TV off
is the same switch that turns the interest on.
If you take the lesser
you cannot have the greater.
Death is not of the Being,
it is the death of Time.
understanding of it.
One who is in debt
has no quality of life.
If we can
that's not it.
All expectation ever created
The experience of disappointment
should tell you,
in no uncertain terms,
that you expected something,
even if you were not aware of it.
Anyone can say it,
not everyone can feel it.
In order to truly live,
you have to stand
behind your actions.
People who waste Time
cannot create Time.
People who don't waste Time
are the Masters of Time.
Guilt comes out of the past.
It never comes out of the future.
Stubbornness is a weakness.
One uses it to hide behind
so they don't have to
deal with anger.
MY MADNESS WILL CURE YOUR MADNESS.
It was obvious mi dad was not pleased about this move at all.
“You’re never bloody satisfied, wench. Skoal Kar wasn’t good enough for you, now Inngs Farm has gone the same way. I wonder how long it will take you to get sick of this next place.”
“I won’t get sick of the next place!”, sez mi mum. “I slaved mi guts out over the holidays wallpapering this bloody house and just look at it how! The wallpaper hasn’t been on the walls for more than a month and most of it is hanging off the walls. This bloody old farmhouse is just too damp!”
“Maybe you never put enough paste on the paper, anyway there was now’t wrong with the paper that was already there.”
“It was a bloody mess George, and anyway how would you know how much paste I put on the wallpaper? All you did was to sit on your arse in that old chair and read your bloody newspaper!”
“You should have pasted mi old newspapers on the wall! You might have started a new trend, plus it would have been a damn sight cheaper, wench!”
As me and mi sisters sat there listening, I said to Dinah, “Oh well Dinah, It looks as though we’re all moving again lass.”
“I have some bad news for you Richard.”, sez mi mum. “Dinah won’t be able to go with us to Jubilee Terrace.”
“What do you mean, Dinah can’t go? If Dinah’s not going neither am I!”
“Now look Richard, I’m not going to start arguing with you over Dinah. Jubilee Terrace is a much smaller house than this one, so there wont be any room for her as she’s too big.”
“She can sleep in my bedroom!”, I sez. “You can’t tell me she’s too big to sleep under the bed.”
“She’s not going and that’s final! I’m just about sick of you lot, and you, you’re as bad as your father is. You’re getting more like him every day!”
“Well, he’s mi dad isn’t he? Who else would I be like?”, I sez.
Now she was really mad. She hit the roof!
“Bang!” She gave me a thick ear and I ran upstairs crying.
The mood in the house now was so thick it could be cut with a knife.
“Do we have to move, dad?” Sheila sez.
“Your mother isn’t happy so what the hell is a man supposed to do? I don’t think there’s any bloody thing that will make her happy until she sees mi in mi box!”
As the weeks went by we all slowly got used to the idea. Mi mum calmed down and said to me, “Do you like to see Dinah running around the fields and enjoying herself, Richard?”
“Yes.”, I sez.
“Well, that’s why we can’t take her. It wouldn’t be fair to her. There’s a family who live next to Mrs.Parkers shop who said they would love to have her. They have 2 small children, so she’d be good company for them.”
“What if they beat her?”, I sez.
“They won’t do that lad. They’re really good people.”
“When does she have to go?”
“I’ve arranged for them to pick her up one night this week.”
Well, that was it! There was now’t else I could do but spend as much time with Dinah as I could.
I took Dinah up the back fields with me and we spent our last days together laying in the grass and talking to each other.
“It’s not my fault you can’t come Dinah. Mi mum sez the house is real small and there’s nowhere for you to run around.”
She looked at me with her big browny yellow eyes and said, ‘It’s all right, I understand, don’t worry about me. I will be all right where I’m going.’
Many times in those last few days, as I remembered all the fun times we’d had altogether, tears of loss would run down my face. Each time that happened, Dinah would sit up and lick the tears away, even if she’d just been smelling some cow clap. I remembered all the times I’d been given a good whack on mi bare legs or a thick ear. If it made me cry, I’d go over to the long setee and lay face down with mi head in a pillow. At those times Dinah would be very sad so she’d jump up on the setee and lay full-length down next to me, then she’d put her paw over my neck. As soon as she did this I’d turn over and put my arm over her shoulder and we’d go to sleep together for a couple of hours.
The last few days seemed to fly by and in no time at all Friday night arrived. The neighbours were supposed to pick Dinah up on Wednesday night but they couldn’t make it.
The sound of an old Landrover pulled up outside our front door but tonight no one ran out to see who it was and welcome them. We all knew who it was.
Dinah very dutifully went to the door and gave her customary loud bark.
Mi mum said, “It’s alright Dinah, I know who it is.”
This made Dinahs’ thick cream tail wag. As mi mum opened the door and welcomed the neighbours, myself and mi two sisters sat on the couch with long, sad faces.
The neighbour and his family were very pleasant people. The man and his wife were middle-aged and they had 2 small girls about 5 and 6 years old. Dinah greeted them as they talked to her and petted her head. I’d already put Dinahs’ collar on before they came in, in case she didn’t want to go with them. Me and mi sisters gave Dinah a last good cuddle and I told her to be a good girl. She licked my face and looked quite excited. She seemed to know what was happening and was dealing with it much better than I was. The neighbours didn’t stay very long as they could also feel the unspoken feelings between me and Dinah.
“Come on Dinah, lets go for a ride in the Landrover.”, the neighbours said.
To spare my feelings anymore pain, Dinah wagged her tail and walked towards the doorway. As the neighbours walked towards the doorway I said, “You make sure you look after our Dinah, Mister, and don’t smack her!”
The neighbour looked back then and gave me a very sweet smile.
“Don’t worry Richard, we will. She’ll have a good home with us. I know how much she means to you. Thank you.”, The man turned and walked out and mi mum followed them.
Sitting on the setee with tears in my eyes, I said to myself, ‘Bye Dinah, no one will ever truly know how much you mean to me!’
After Dinah had gone it felt like something inside me had died, so living at Inngs Farm no longer seemed important.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
It is a natural impulse
of the human heart
All hearts beat the same way.
They mimic the Universal Heart.
The heart does its best work
when you are out of the way.
You can fool
but you can
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
To the wise man
necessary & unnecessary
are known before the fact.
To the ignorant
it's known after the fact.
Truth is Truth,
you like it
or not, it's
not the point.
I have no soul other than the collective. You claim to have a soul yet you don't know where it lives. You don't know how big it is or what color it is.
as one; one soul.
Whatever you are not aware of
is choosing for you all the time.
there is within me.
It needs a catalyst
to bring it out.
Monday, July 23, 2012
The profit doesn't
but the debt does.
Am I missing something?
When there is a problem
& you can't solve it;
you become part of it.
imperfection to the
eyes of ignorance.
If it doesn't come out of love
how can there be any goodness in it.
Music is an integral
part of the culture.
Sweet music &
There is no difference
between water and God.
You can't live without
either of them.
God is consciousness.
The Sun is proof of that.
Nothing can happen until
the connection is made.
Society is like a car.
It won't go for long
when the timing is out.
You only know you have
an addiction when what
you're addicted to
is taken away.
Free Speech comes
from living a life
of discipline, otherwise
it's simply drivel.
Violate your constitution
and lose your freedom.
Once the constitution is violated,
martial law is the next step.
With martial law
comes military thinking.
It is the responsibility of the people to ensure that the politicians do not become corrupt. If you don't take care of your responsibility, don't expect the Government to perform theirs.
A mans' life exists
in one moment,
held together by
time & place.
You will not survive with a
Survival depends on
When one gets' rid of 'next' -
there is no 'next moment'
which means you're living
in the moment.
How big a problem does America have with drugs? That will tell you how many armed gangs there are in this Society who have killed & will kill again.
Whatever comes up
is a possibility.
They are prisoners
of greed & corruption.
When you are
then you are
on this Planet today
is your Soul mate.
Why waste your time looking
for one when you can
have the lot.
When you want something
you do not deserve &
you get it without
working for it;
you open the door
to all sorts
How can you
have your cake
and eat it?
Once you eat it,
Unstable minds create
Stable minds create
Killing is not an
Sunday, July 22, 2012
The worldly man knows what he wants & gets it.
I don't know what I want, therefore,
there's nothing to get, otherwise,
it would be nagging me to manifest.
a senses of lack.
fill the hole
with an abundance
Any idiot can
live in the world
in your world
with no desires.
The desire to live
is the messenger
Longing to be happy
is the outline
Next time a desire
starts nagging at you
"Would I be prepared
to die for it?"
Only the man
with a silent mind
Would you jump in the water
to save a drowning man
if you could not swim?
I made my best effort
to help people & failed
It was only then
that I received the knowledge;
'Leave them alone &
they will come home....'.
If your best effort
isn't good enough,
is at hand?
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Thanks & gratitude
are best expressed
in meaningful &
you are pushed
the people that want to
help the most
are the people who need
help the most.
Helping others is not for others, it's for you.
The only way a man can say that is if he has
dealt with the addiction to the high of helping.
If you don't have a life
you have no need of directions.
You get no prizes for the Truth.
Living in ignorance
is where you get the prizes.
Life cannot exist without breathing.
People have such great lives that
they never even think about it.
I have no life, therefore,
I think about it all the time ~ 24/7
Whatever you have you will lose.
Whatever you lose you will get.
The first shall be last
& the last shall be first.
Saints become sinners
& sinners become saints.
You tell me, with a straight face,
'Nah! This can't happen to me'.
I was about 13 now, so I decided it was time for mi first tattoo. You may wonder where such a strange thought would come from, especially from a 13-year-old. Well, I'd grown up looking at tattoos all mi life see, 'cause mi dad had three on his arms. He'd had them put on when he was a young man, just after he came out of the army. I guess he was so pleased to be alive after going through WWI, that a tattoo was a way of celebrating life. On one arm he had a young woman wrapped only in a Union Jack flag. Her right leg was slightly raised as she balanced on a world globe. On the other arm, he had another nude woman, standing straight-legged, holding two flag poles in front of her so one couldn't see her breasts. Underneath that, on the wrist area, he had a heart with two hands in the "hands across the water"pose.
I'd asked mi dad many a time, "Did those tattoos hurt, Dad?"
"Not much,"he sez.
"How did they put them on, Dad?"
"With sharp bamboo needles,"he sez.
"How long have they been on, Dad?"
"Fifty bloody years!"he sez. "I put 'em on when I was young and bloody stupid."
The following week I met a 16-year-old boy who used to go to Ryburn school. When I saw that he had a new tattoo on his arm I asked him where he got it from. "Rex Stokers in Bradford,"he sez.
"Why's it all covered in scabs?"I sez to him.
"All tattoos do that,"he sez. "But you haven't got to knock the scabs off, 'cause the colour will come out if you do."All I needed to know was where the tattoo parlour was. So, I made sure I had the directions right before we parted company.
By this time, I'd been allowed to get a pair of denim jeans, after much arguing and many fall outs with mi mum. Had it been up to her, I'd have been in short trousers until I was 21. This way she probably thought it would give her control and power over me.
That week I took a day off school. I waited until Iris had gone off to work, then I came home from where I'd been hiding out. I got into my jeans and put on a pair of hobnailed boots, a white T-shirt and mi old donkey jacket. Slicking mi hair back in the Teddy boy fashion, I now looked a couple of years older, or so I thought! That's it, I thought, as I stood in front of the mirror, putting the final touches to mi hair. I made mi way down to Sawerby Bridge train station and bought a cheap half return to Bradford.
It took me quite a while to find the place because: number one, the boy I'd met didn't give me very good instructions, and, number two, Bradford was the biggest city I'd ever seen, up 'til that point. I stopped a working man outside Bradford station and he sez, "The street you're looking for is way up the other end of town."
"How long will it take to walk there?"I sez.
"It'll take about an hour if ya walking, but you'd be better off taking a bus ?cause it's a bit difficult to find from here."I'd saved up mi shillings and mi dad had given me 5 bob which to me was a small fortune. So, it wasn't a case of not having the bus fare, it was more a case of value for money.
After thinking about it for a while, I decided to get the bus halfway and I'd walk the rest of the way. Eventually, after about 1 1/2 hours, I found myself sanding outside the tattoo parlour. The sign read:
REX STOKER TATTOO PARLOUR
In the window there were three large boards with tattoo art all over them. The only problem was that the shop window was so dirty from all the coal dust and smog that I could not see them in any detail. I spat on his window and rubbed it with the sleeve of mi old donkey jacket, but all that did was smear the greazy grime all over the place and make it worse.
I was having a few doubts now, 'cause I'd been pricked by needles before when a couple of mi friends and me tried to put on a home-made job with the school nibs and the Indian ink out of the desk ink pot.
Five or six times I tried to go in the door but, each time I tried, Fear stopped me before I could push the door open. "What are you going to do if it hurts?"said Fear. "And what happens if you get halfway through it and can't stand the pain any longer? And if you can stand it and get it on, what's your mum going to say?"The voice of Fear was in full swing now, trying desperately to control me.
Then the voice of Freedom sez, "Screw him, of course you can stand the pain. You're a tough nut just like ya dad, and who gives a shit what Iris sez. Once it's on, it's on. How's anybody going to get it off? And how long do you think you could live with yourself if you chicken out now? Just think what it would be like going home on the train with no tattoo. Screw Fear and screw your mother too!!! It's not her arm. So what say does she have in the matter, anyway? Screw 'em all! If you want to get a tattoo, then get one and that's all I have to say about the matter!!!"
That was all I needed to hear. So, I marched up to his dirty, half-glass door and pushed it open. The door opened into a long passageway and the walls were covered with large drawings of tattoos. I didn't take much notice of them so I wouldn't get distracted, which I knew would give rise to hesitation and, in turn, the voice of Fear would try to grab me again. So, I just kept going until I reached the far doorway where I could hear the radio and the low buzzing sound coming from inside.
There was only one door which was in the left-hand corner of the passage. It was wide open, so I puffed out mi chest and walked straight in. "What can I do for you?"sez Rex Stoker looking up from the tattoo he was wiping with a dirty old rag.
"I come for a tattoo!"I sez to him.
"How old are you young 'un?"he sez.
"Just sixteen,"I sez. "Why? How old do I have to be before I can get a tattoo?"
"Sixteen,"he sez. "Are you sure you're sixteen? You don't look sixteen to me!"
"I'm sixteen,"I sez. "I'm working as a driver's mate. I've been left school for twelve months now."
"All right, lad, if you say you're sixteen, then you're sixteen. I'm asking because I don't want your mother coming down to my shop and getting me into trouble, all right?"
"All right,"I sez.
"Have a look around and see what you want on. I'll be done here in about half an hour."
Rex Stoker was a man of about sixty years of age. He was mostly bald and had a fat face with large jowls and a couple of double chins. He wore thick bifocals and a cigarette was always hanging out of the corner of his mouth, with a long bent ash just about to fall on his ink-covered trousers.
The young Teddy boy who was sat in the old barber's chair was having an eagle tattooed on his right arm. As soon as Rex's cigarette was too small to hold between his lips, he spat it out on the floor and with one hand he lit up another. The rag that Rex was wiping away the blue ink and blood with, looked to me like a piece of old pajama leg. There was no such thing as Kleenex tissues or paper towels in those days. Even the toilet paper was rough and hard. So, the old rags served the purpose quite well. The fashionable Teddy boy who sat in the chair kept wincing his face in pain every so often, usually when the needle went into the skin.
"Does it hurt?"I sez.
"No, can't feel a thing,"he sez, his fingers trembling on the arm of the chair.
"It's a good job it doesn't hurt,"I thought, or you'd be hanging off the light bulb by now!
"Have you found something you like?"sez Rex Stoker, as I look up at all the small ink drawings that are hanging on the walls.
"How much is this swallow?"I sez, pointing to a beautiful red and blue swallow.
"I'll do that one for half-a-crown,"sez Rex.
"All right, that sounds good enough for me,"I sez.
When Rex had finishes the Teddy boy's arm, he sez, "All right, lad, sit ya self down and take off yer jacket. Roll ya sleeve up as far as it will go. Don't want to get ink all over ya white T-shirt,"he sez. "Now, whereabouts do you want it?"he sez.
"On mi left arm,"I sez. "You can put it about there somewhere."
Next, Rex got out an old cut-throat razor, then dipped an old worn shaving brush into a pot of cold water. "I'm going to shave off whatever bit of hair ya got growing there!"he sez, as he sloshes the soapy shaving brush around mi arm in small circles. Next, he gave the old cut-throat razor a few slaps up and down the old leather strap. "I've got more hair on mi arse than ya got on ya whole arm!"sez Rex, as he scrapes off a few blond hairs.
Next, he smeared some white Vaseline on mi arm. Then he picked up the tattoo gun and turned on the radio. The louder he turned up the radio, the faster the needle in the gun seemed to go. When the volume was just as he wanted it, he dipped the tattoo machine in the dirty water and swished it around a few times. Then he shook the machine up and down at his side to get the murky water out of it.
"Don't you need a tracing?"I sez.
"I've done more swallows than ya've had fucks!"he sez as he dips the needle into the ink pot. "Now, this might hurt a bit, so hold still if you want a good tattoo!"he sez.
Oh, shit, I thought. Why did mi dad have to have tattoos on his arms? If he didn't have any, I probably wouldn't want one. But it's too late to turn back now!
"Here we go!"sez Rex, as he pushes the needles in mi arm and proceeds to draw a curved blue line. "How's that feel, lad? Ya all right?"
"Aye,"I sez. "It's not half as bad as I thought it would be!"
"Oh, it will be over before ya know it, lad. This is only a small tattoo."
"How do you know where you're drawing? All I can see is a big patch of dark blue ink everywhere,"I sez.
"I've been tattooing for nearly forty years,"he sez. "I could do it in mi sleep."As the tattoo needle bit into mi skin, I could feel a slight burning sensation, but I kept mi arm motionless because I really wanted a good tattoo. "Yer doing much better than that bloody Teddy boy who was just here,"sez Rex. "I thought he was going to climb up the back of mi old barber's chair for a while there."
After a while, he sez, "That's it, lad. That's the outline done. Have a rest for a minute while I light another fag and wash out mi machine. Then we'll put a bit of colour into it."
"Can you spare a fag for me, Rex?"I sez.
"Aye, all right lad, but I don't usually hand out mi fags. If ya'd have asked for mi missus, that would have been no problem, but mi fags are more important. Here ya are then, but don't ask for another one!"
"Thanks, Rex, you're a real pal,"I sez, as I lit the Senior Service.
"All right, hold still again, and we'll put a bit of red on its chest and a bit more red at the end of its wing feathers,"he sez. "And that should just about do it."Rex smeared on a bit more Vaseline and started to add a touch of red to the now swollen tattoo. A few minutes later he sez, "That's it! That's good enough for me."
After he cleaned up mi arm with his dirty old ink rag and then cleaned it all off with soapy water and a dry towel, mi first tattoo looked great! The lines all looked perfect to me, and the touch of red on the swallow's chest made her come alive.
"That'll be half a crown,"sez Rex. "Chuck it in the tin so I can pay mi rent again when it's due."
"Thanks, Rex,"I sez. "It's a real beauty. I like it a lot!"
"Try not to get it dirty and put a bit of cream on it every day for a week and don't pick the scabs off when they come or some of the colour may come out. Have ya got that?"
"Aye,"I sez, as I put mi old donkey jacket back on.
Just as I was about to walk out of his shop, he sez to me, "Hey!"
"I know yer not sixteen, so if your mum hits the bloody roof, don't tell her who did it for ya. I'm an old man now and tattooing is my only source of bread and butter. If they closed me down, I'd be knackered. I put the tattoo on for ya because I like ya and I know how much it meant to you. So, not a bloody word to anyone, eh?"
"Not a bloody word to anyone, Rex,"I sez, walking out of his shop.
Soon as I was back out on the street again, and I'd checked to make sure no one was watching, I jumped up in the air as high as I could, clicked mi hobnailed boots together twice and then landed on both feet again.
Seeing as I had quite a bit of time to spare, I bought five Woodbines and walked all the way back to Bradford Station and still had forty five minutes to wait for mi train home. As I sat on the wooden green bench in the station, I smoked a Willie Woodbine and slipped mi arm out of mi donkey jacket so I could take another look at mi new tattoo. It was such a great tattoo that I decided to call her ?Susie.' I was still staring at her when the guard yelled out, "The Bradford-Halifax train will be leaving in two minutes! All aboard!"
Jumping off the bench, I found the smoking carriage and climbed aboard. I found miself a good window seat and made miself as comfortable as possible. I took mi old donkey jacket off and put it across mi legs so I could stare at mi new swallow tattoo all the way home.
I'd timed the whole trip so I would get back to Sawerby Bridge about 4 p.m. This was the time Ryburn School got out, so it would not look out of place, a schoolboy walking around the street instead of being at school.
As I walked up the street to Boston Hill, I ran into a boy I knew from mi class. "Where you been today, Dick?"he sez to me. "Have you been sick?"
"Don't be daft,"I sez. "I went to Bradford."
"What did ya go to Bradford for?"he sez.
"To get a tattoo, of course! Why else would I go all the way to Bradford?"
"Yeh, sure, Dick,"he sez in disbelief.
"Oh, you don't believe me then?"I sez.
"Course I don't. That's an outright lie. You're not old enough for a tattoo, for a start, and your mother would never let you get one!"
"Oh, you think so, eh? Well, what does this look like to you?"I sez, as I slip mi arm out of mi jacket.
"Oh, shit, bloody hell, that's a real tattoo, Dick!"
"Of course it bloody well is. I don't tell lies. Why should I? I've got no reason to."
"What's your mum gonna say when she sees that?"
"I'm not going to show her,"I sez. "Not until it's all healed up, anyway."
"Did it hurt, Dick?"
"No, didn't hurt a bit. It was a piece of cake,"I sez to him.
"Shit, wait until I tell the boys about this. They'll never believe me!"
With that, he ran off to tell all his mates, and I thought to miself, "That'll teach him. Call me a bloody liar, would he? He won't call me that again in a hurry."
Before mi mum got home, I did mi jobs and put a long-sleeved shirt on and buttoned the cuffs down so there was no chance of her seeing mi arms.
After tea, she sez to me, "You can wash up the dishes tonight. I've got another little job for Sheila to do instead of the dishes."
"But that's her job!"I sez. "I've done all my jobs, so why should I do more work?"
"Do as you're bloody well told!"she sez. "And don't argue with me or you'll get what for!"She walked out of the room with Sheila, so I filled the sink with water and put some liquid soap in it, then proceeded to wash the dishes.
When she came back in the kitchen she sez, "Get that bloody long-sleeved shirt off! How the hell can you wash the dishes with that on?"
"I can do it easy!"I sez, keeping mi eyes down towards the sink.
"Get that bloody thing off, I said, before I rip it off!"
Oh, shit! Now what do I do? She's sure to see mi arm now! Maybe, if I keep mi arm towards the wall, she won't see it. Very carefully I removed mi shirt, then slung it over the back of the chair that was behind me. "Don't just throw your bloody shirt like that! Now go and fold it up proper,"she sez. There was naught to do now but to turn around. Maybe she won't notice it, I thought.
"What the bloody hell is that on your arm?"she sez.
"It's a swallow. I drew it on mi arm at school today."
"Then why's your bloody arm so swollen and red?"she sez. "Give me that bloody arm here. Let me have a damn good look at it!"As she grabbed mi arm, I jerked it away.
"It's a tattoo!"I said.
"That's not a bloody tattoo. Tattoos are not swollen like that. Show me your bloody arm before I belt you one!"She grabbed my left arm again and took a closer look. "Where's mi bloody scrubbing brush?"she sez. "I'll soon see whether it's a bloody tattoo or not!"With that, she grabbed the scrubbing brush, dipped it in the soapy washing-up water and proceeded to scrub the fresh tattoo.
"Owwww!"I sez. "Stop it! You're hurting me."
"I'll bloody well hurt you in a minute if I find out that bloody thing won't come off. I'll make ya say bloody ?Ow,' you rotten little bugger!"She scrubbed at it again and now it started to bleed.
So, I yelled at her, "Stop it! You're hurting my arm and now you've made it bleed again!"
"That's a bloody tattoo!"she sez.
"That's what I've been telling you for the last five minutes!"I sez. "You can't scrub it off, 'cause it won't come off. It was put on with a machine and ink!"I sez. With that bit of knowledge I gave her, she flew into a fuming rage. She grabbed the bamboo cane and started to lay into me, everywhere and anywhere she could.
After she tires herself out, she sez, "Who the hell did that to you?"
"I'll never, ever tell you!"I sez. "So you're wasting your time asking me!"
"Right, lad! I'm going to see your teacher tomorrow and then I'm going to see the police to see what can be done about whoever put that thing on your arm!"
"You can't do a thing to him!"I sez. " 'Cause I told him I was sixteen and I have no intention of telling you or anyone else what his name is, so you can do what you like!"With that, I ran out of the house and stayed out 'til ten o'clock that night.
When I got home, the door was locked, so I had to knock on it to get their attention. Jim Bailey opened the door and let me in. "What time do you call this?"he sez, as I walk past him.
"Call it what you like!"I sez in an angry voice. He slammed the door and came after me, so I bounded up the stairs onto the first landing. Then I bounded up my flight of stairs to mi room. As soon as I got inside, I leaned the back of an old chair under the door knob so he could not get in.
"Open this door, lad!"he sez when he's finally ascended both flights of stairs, huffing and puffing.
"Go away!"I sez. "I'm just about sick to death of you and her. Why don't you go and call the police and when they get here I'll tell them everything about you two. By the time I'm finished, you two will get done for cruelty!"
Then mi mum's voice sez, "Open this door, Richard!"
By this time, I was in tears and really upset, so I sez, "Go away, you're worse than he is. At least he's got an excuse 'cause I'm not his son, but you, you've got no excuse whatsoever. I'm sick to death of both of you two. You're both a right pair, and if you don't go away and leave me alone, then I'll open the skylight window and jump off the roof. You'll have to find another mug to take your bad temper out on then. Now get lost! Both of you, 'cause I mean it."
Not a word came from outside mi door for ages. Then mi mum's voice sez, "Come on, open the door, Richard. I'm not angry with you anymore."
"Go away!"I sez, and with that I laid down on mi bed and cried miself into the darkness. As I lost miself in the darkness, nothing seemed to matter anymore. I forgot all about Iris and Jim. I forgot all about mi new tattoo and the police and the headmaster. In mi inner world nothing and no one existed. It was full of miself. It's always been like that for me. Even as a child I always knew the difference between dreams and reality.
The next day at school I was the talk of the playground. "Swindells has got a tattoo on his arm!"someone sez.
One boy sez, "Can I see your tattoo, Dick?"
Another sez, "You think you're a smart one, don't you, Swindells?"
Another said, "My brother has got a tattoo and it's better than yours!"
Another said, "They're all jealous, Dick. Take no bloody notice of them, 'cause they don't have the balls to do it!"
Even some of the teachers sez to me, "Someone told me you have a tattoo, Swindells. Can I see it?"After I show them, they sez, "You've ruined your life now. Why would you do such a stupid thing like that?"
My answer was, "Mi life was already ruined, so what difference would a tattoo make to me, anyway? It's only stupid in your eyes. In my eyes it's all right!"
That first week at school with the tattoo on mi arm pushed a lot of buttons. Some of the girls who used to speak now made a wide berth. Only the tough ones who refused to bend to the teachers' whims, said, "That's a great tattoo. I'm going to get one soon!"
At the end of the week, four boys came up to me and sez, "Hey, Dick, will you take us to Bradford on Saturday so we can all get a tattoo? We'll pay your train fare and give you a few fags."
This request from the boys really pumped mi heart, so I sez, "Sure I will. You don't even have to give me any fags if you don't want to. You can just pay the train fare. I'd love to go with you anyway."
That Saturday, we all went to Bradford on the train. The boys were all talking excitedly about what design tattoo they were going to have put on. When the train arrived, we all walked out of the station and waited for the red double-decker bus which would take us to the other side of town to where Rex's Tattoo Parlour was. When we arrived at Rex's shop, before we all piled inside, I reminded the boys that they were all sixteen-years-of-age now, so not to act childish while we waited for everyone to get a tattoo.
I led the boys back down the long old passageway and, after a sharp left at the end, into Rex's Tattoo Parlour. Rex was sat in his usual position, fag in mouth, machine in hand and busily doing the coloring-in of a small arm tattoo. As soon as we all entered his small room he looked up from his work. "What are ya doing back here so soon? Did yer mother boot ya out of the house?"he sez.
"No, Rex,"I sez. "She wasn't thrilled, but it's not her arm, so there wasn't much she could do about it."
"Where'd ya find this motley crew?"he sez to me.
"They're all mates of mine, Rex. They all want to get a tattoo after seeing the good one ya put on mi arm. So, I brought 'em all here."
"I suppose they're all sixteen as well, are they?"
"Every one of them, Rex,"I sez.
"That little fucker doesn't look like his balls have dropped yet, have they?"This little display of Rex's sense of humor made all the boys laugh a bit. It was just as well because a couple of them I could see were now starting to look a little bit worried as they watched Rex fill in the colour of his customer's tattoo.
Rex's arms were completely covered with the old style tattoos. They looked very much the same as mi dad's tattoos, faded and blurred with age. After Rex finishes colouring in the customer's tattoo, he cleans it up and then sez to me, "Which one of these fuckers is first?"
One of the boys called Johnny Brown, who was considered at school to be a bit of a "toughie,"sez, "I'll go first 'cause I know what I want on."
"All right, sit down,"sez Rex. "Ya got any hair on yer balls yet, lad?"This made the boys laugh out loud again. Then Rex sez to him, "I know none of ya fuckers is sixteen, but if ya tell me ya are when I ask ya, then it's none of mi business from then on. Do ya understand me, lad?"
"Aye,"sez Johnny Brown.
"So, how old are ya, lad?"
"What tattoo do ya want on?"sez Rex.
"Same as Dick got, but put it on mi right arm, in about the same area,"he sez.
Soon as Rex had shaved his arm and lit another fag, he sez to Johnny, "Hold still and don't move yer arm around if ya want a good tattoo."
"Don't worry about me, Rex,"sez Johnny. "Just make sure ya draw it on good."
Johnny could be a bit of a clever one sometimes, because he was used to pushing kids his own age around, but old Rex just ignored him and started to slide the machine across Brownie's arm.
"Bloody hell, that hurts a bit!"sez Brownie.
"Shut ya fucking winging, lad. I've only just started. That mate of yers who brought ya here never moved a fucking muscle from beginning to end. I haven't got going on ya and yer already fucking crying."This embarrassed Brownie a bit, 'cause Rex never knew of his fighting reputation and Rex didn't give a hoot either. He was a real good old gentleman was Rex. I grew quite fond of him in the relatively short time I knew him.
As Rex was drawing a line for the swallow tail, Brownie yelled out, "Ow! That bloody hurts,"and jerked his arm back a bit.
"Now look what ya've fucking gone and done,"sez Rex, as he wiped away the dark blue ink with his old dirty rag. The swallow's tail had a down bent line instead of a slight upward straight line. The other three boys jumped up to see what had happened to Brownie's tattoo. "Do ya want this fucking tattoo on or not?"sez Rex.
"Course I do,"sez Brownie.
"Then sit fucking still!"sez Rex. "Yer arm has been moving up and down more in the last two minutes than mi dick has moved up and down in the last two years!"This little joke made me and the other three boys laugh out loud again. But Brownie could not see the joke in it, because now he had a swallow with a bent tail feather. By the time Rex had finished Brownie's tattoo, he was not too cocky. He put his money in Rex's tin and sat down quietly on one of the wooden benches, asking one of the other boys if his tattoo still looked all right with a bent tail feather.
"Who's next?"sez Rex.
Tony Steal, who was probably the youngest and definitely the smallest, sez, "I'll go next. Put a swallow on mi arm. Right there will do, please."
"What fucking arm?"sez Rex. "Mi old lady's dog has got a dick fatter than yer arm! How the fucking hell do ya expect me to tattoo bone?"
"Come on, Rex, it's not mi fault I've got skinny arms ya know!"
"The fucking things I do for people,"sez Rex, as he spread some Vaseline on Stealie's arm.
"Aren't you gonna shave it first, Rex?"sez Tony.
"Shave fucking what?"sez Rex. "If I shave a layer of skin off yer arm, there'll be nothing fucking left to put the tattoo on."This made Tony laugh. He was a good kid with a great sense of humor. From the beginning to the end of the tattoo, Tony never hardly flinched. "That's good,"sez Rex.
One of the boys chickened out and decided not to put one on, so the remaining boy, whose name was Selwyn Cheetham, sez, "All right, I'll have one put on."
"What do you want on?"sez Rex.
"How much is that sword up there?"sez Selwyn.
"That's gonna cost ya fifteen bob, 'cause there's a lot more work in that than a small swallow."
"All right, put that on mi left arm,"sez Selwyn. Selwyn only had one sister and his mother and father were not poor, so he always had quite a bit of money in his pocket.
"Put ya fifteen bob in the tin, lad,"sez Rex. "And sit down. It'll take me a few minutes to draw out a transfer, 'cause there's a good bit of detail in that tattoo."
When the transfer was finished, Rex wet Selwyn's arm a bit and pressed the new transfer into place. After about thirty seconds, he peeled the transfer off and it left behind a blue print of the curved sword that Selwyn had picked out. Rex rubs a light film of Vaseline over the transfer and sez to Selwyn, "Are ya ready?"
Rex started to tattoo the ornate head of the sword on Selwyn's arm. Selwyn just sat there, not moving his arm a bit, so I thought, good for you, Selwyn, you're gonna get a great tattoo that way.
After about five minutes, Selwyn started to go white in the face. He was quite a rosy complexioned boy, so I knew something was about to happen. About a minute later, he sez to Rex, "Can you stop for a minute, 'cause I don't feel too well."
Rex looked up from the tattoo and when he saw Selwyn's white face, he sez, "Are ya all right, lad, or do ya always look like that?"
"No,"sez Selwyn, "I think I'm going to be sick!"
"Fucking hell!"sez Rex. "If yer going to be sick, then?"
"BURRRRRRRRP!"Before Rex could get the words out, Selwyn chucked his guts all over Rex's dirty floor!
"Fuck me dead!"sez Rex. "I'm a fucking tattooist not a fucking nursemaid! Take the fat little fucker outside for some fresh air!"he sez to me. Then he points to the other three boys and sez, "One of ya little fuckers had better clean up that fucking mess. There's a mop and bucket over there in that back fucking corner. Now fucking hurry up, 'cause I'm quickly running out of fucking patience!"
Outside, sitting on Rex's window ledge, I sez to Selwyn, "Are you all right, Selly?"
"OHHHHH!"he sez. "I'm not feeling real good. Mi stomach is a bit upset."
It was really difficult for me to stop laughing, so, between laughs, I sez to Selwyn, "Come on, Selly, you've got to pull yourself together or you'll have wasted your money and you'll only have the handle of the sword on your arm and no blade to go with it."
"Maybe Rex can make the blade look like it's disappeared under the skin?"he sez.
"No, it's too late now,"I sez. "Look at it, there's not really a great deal left to do. Come on. Let's go back inside."
When we got back inside, Rex was sat in his chair smoking a new Senior Service. The puke had been mopped up and there was a strong smell of Detol on the floor. It was obvious where Selwyn had spewed-up because there was a large clean spot on the floor. The rest of it was dirty. When Selwyn sits back down in the chair, Rex sez to him, "Can we carry on now, or would ya like a fucking bucket at the side of the chair?"This little joke made me almost pee miself with laughter!
Selwyn sez, "I should be all right but I'll let you know if I'm not."
"That's really fucking kind of ya,"sez Rex. "If everybody else that came into mi shop was as kind as ya are, mi whole fucking floor would be clean. I'd never have to fucking mop it again! Bring that mop bucket over here! I don't fucking trust this fat little fucker."
Once the bucket was in place next to the chair, Rex started the machine and carried on with Selwyn's tattoo. There were a couple of close calls throughout the process but somehow Selwyn got himself through it all right. Before we left Rex's Tattoo Parlour, I thanked him very much and apologized for Selwyn on his behalf. All Rex could say was, "I appreciate ya bringing me some business in but don't bring anymore fuckers like that. Those fuckers shouldn't have been let off their mothers' apron strings. Not for at least another five years!"
Going home on the train from Bradford, we all had a great laugh at the rerun of the afternoon's fun. The four boys teased each other mercilessly for the whole of the train journey.
No one else ever put shit on me at school over mi tattoos from that day forward because the four boys told the other kids just how painful it was for them. But by the time I left Ryburn School, at least twenty boys had a lifelong memory of Rex Stoker's Tattoo Parlour in Bradford City.