This is the first part of my four part adventure on the road to Libertarianism. The innocent will be protected and the guilty named and shamed. I don’t think it will be very humorous, because like most court jesters, there is always a dark side lurking beneath. Read on if you can be arsed.
I was shat out by my parents in the early sixties. My mother came from good working class stock, born and raised in Old Holborn (ah, now I see) during the war. Her father was a French drunk and gambler and she witnessed his death from TB aged 6. My father never knew his father. Died when he was 6 weeks old from Typhoid. He was an only child.
They aspired to live the post war dream. Dad was a copper, a dreadful waste of talent, but rectified later, Mum was a teacher of mong children. They bought a house way beyond their means and set about raising four kids as best they could. No car, just bikes. But they had made the break to middle class.
By the time I became politically aware, we were into the seventies. By a sheer fluke, the first gig I ever saw, aged 14, was the Stranglers in 1976 in Croydon. It changed me. I immediately identified with the angry youth movement that was being born in front of my very eyes and positively revelled in its complete contempt of anything established or authoritarian.
I’d been sent to an extremely strict school. It still holds the records for the most beatings of pupils in the State system and every day there was hell. Injustice, repression, pointless, pointless rules and the complete and utter brutal crushing of any individuality. Total compliance was enforced with a rod of iron. Each morning, I felt like a convict, doing my porridge and was utterly miserable. I stayed there for two years to complete my O levels but it destroyed all faith in me for any type of rules, authority and regulation. I felt I had been sent to Borstal for a crime I was unaware I had committed.
My taste in music was exposing me to all sorts of political influences. Mostly left wing. Remember the Rock against Racism gigs? I was there. So were the Socialist Workers Party en masse and it wasn’t long before I was a paid up communist. This allowed me to shock my authoritarian father, rock the boat and stick two fingers up to everything that was “normal”. It was “shocking”. Mealtimes became a battleground for idealogy. I could quote Soviet Weekly and was determined to only fly Aeroflot. I began to learn Russian.
Instead of going to university, I sought solace with the working classes. I was one of them. So I became a butcher. Manual labour. Struggling. Honest toil. I was a comrade. All around me, my fellow comrades were smoking roll ups, spitting at the Bosses, drowning their sorrows in beer and constantly trying to get one over on the system. Bitter little people. But honest.
Thatcher was elected and the normal world was elated. I went into overload. My parents (Liberals) were happy enough with the outcome, which made them a target for me. I made their lives hell. I painted my bedroom black, dyed my hair, pierced my ears and one day went out for some cigarettes and simply fucked off. To Africa. I hitched a lift across Europe, picked grapes, took drugs, was arrested for murder in France (mistaken identity) and lived the life of the wandering communist. Today, they are called crustys. Then, it was simply rebelling. I didn’t want any part of the UK and was keen to prove to myself that the world was a fantastic place, exploited by the filthy capitalists and people like my middle class parents.
Lesson One Learned: Africa is a corrupt shithole, full of thieves. Not all black people are chilled, love dub and smoke weed. Not in Africa anyway. Mostly, they are complete cunts - not what the SWP had told me at all.
Lesson Two Learned: Human Spirit counts for nothing. Your “comrades” will steal your stuff, nick your bird, eat your food and take everything you have. Whilst reading you Marx and telling you what a “breadhead” you are.
Lessson Three Learned: There are an awful lot of weirdos out there.
Lesson Four Learned: Russian is a shit language
Lesson Five Learned: Cutting up animals is very poorly paid and dangerous to a budding keyboard player who needs all his fingers.
Time to head back to the UK and a career in the music business.
The EIGHTIES were coming.