Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Lost Games #5 Best Man Falls

A game from the younger High Wall days, "Best Man Falls" was a homage to the war films and westerns of John Wayne and such shows as Combat with Vic Morrow.

The group would have to re-enact a death scene based on a violent mode of demise decided by one player. An example would be "shot by a bren gun whilst running", "Flaming arrow in the ear" or "hand grenade at the top of a hill"
The list was endless and only limited by the imagination of the players. Imagination was not in short supply with 70's bairns.
The "best man" who was judged to have died in the most spectacular fashion then got to do the choosing and sound effects in the next round.

The game was best played on a slope such as found up Arthur Seat. this allowed maximum rolling to be achieved. The ulitmate venue was building sites where foundation trenches had been dug and, if you were really lucky, there was a big mound of builder's sand.

Sound effects were supplied by the players, drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr was a machine gun ect.

Examples can be found here

Better ones can be viewed here

Monday, 22 September 2008

Lost Games #4 Insect Rollerball

A game of skill and chance and a "High Wall" favourite.

What was required was a Crossfire game and a handful of insects. There were variations of the game such as inter-species tournaments of woodlice v's beetles, earwigs v's wingless flies or the more common and straighforward "last man standing".

Crossfire was a game where metal balls were fired from red plastic guns mounted at each end of an enclosed arena.

The gathered insects would be relased in the middle of the board and the carnage would begin.
Woodlice (or slaters to give them their official High Wall title) were the best competitors due to their soft bodies and lack of speed.

The last surviving slater would be ceremoniously released to chants of "Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan" like in the 70's classic movie "Rollerball".

Hey it was the 70's. PETA hadn't been invented yet.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

A Taste Of Summer

Aye, the nights are fair drawing in! The leaves are turning red and yellow and there is a definite nip in the air first thing in the morning. So it's time to revisit the halcyon days of youth, when the school summer holidays seemed to last forever and all you needed to make hot day complete was an ice lolly. But not just any ice lolly!

There were so many good lollies to choose from. A Lord Toffingham, with its weird gooey soft toffee centre; a Fab with reddish-pink ice covering ice-cream, dotted with hundreds and thousands at the top; a Zoom, like a craft out of Stingray or Thunderbirds; a Lolly Gobble Choc-Bomb, with a strange waxy chocolate bar stuck in the centre that tasted a bit like dog chocolate (and yes I have tasted Bob Martin's finest dog drops!). But my favourite was a Count Dracula. A black ice lolly with a white ice cream centre which was covered in "blood-red jelly". Yeah, that certainly brought a chill to a hot summer's day!

What childhood ice lollies can you remember!

More pics of other ice lollies at: www.thoseweleftbehind.co.uk/2008/05/lord-toffingham-lollies-proof.html

And: http://cobwebbedroom.blogspot.com/2007/08/count-draculas-secret-ice-lolly-ads.html

Have fun!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Greetings Grapple Fans

Wrestling was a big thing back in the day. Not that modern AmericanWWF fake pish with it's big arenas and Gangsta Rap Razamatazz, but fat men who looked like your dad, in tight leotards giving each other "dubbins to the heid".

We spent many a happy hour glued to World of Sport and pouring over wrestling magazines. Then it was out to the back green to try out Boston crabs, backbreakers, step over toe holds and, of course, ear pulling.

No-one got any real doings, that is until we went home with stretched or ripped t-shirts and irremovable grass stains on the knees of our jeans. That is when you had to duck and weave for real.

Anyway sit back, spark up your cork pipe and enjoy a few classis moments courtesy of YouTube.

Giant Haystacks v's Honey Boy Zimba

Catweazle v's Mick Mcmanus

Dave Taylor & Ironfist v's Rollerball Rocco & Kendo Nagasaki

The unmasking of Kendo Nagasaki

Missing equipment.

This was the original scudder library. Last seen in the basement gangie this world of teenage porn mostly collected from the bin across the road from the Royal Infirmary. I suppose most of the books belonged to the gynaecological department and as they became too well thumbed they were disposed of. Funny thing was they were nearly all brand new and still in the plastic bags they were sold in! I can still remember the feeling when you had spotted a scudder in the bin followed by the snatch and the run to the meadows to investigate the prize. After which the new book was placed in the library for general use. So if anyone finds the case give me a shout and I will bring the workies lamp!

Monday, 15 September 2008

Simple Vices #3 The Nude Book

The victorians had erotica, the war years had saucy postcards, the 80's had the adult video and the 21st century has internet porn.
The 70's however had the Nude Book.
For young lads trying to unravel the mysteries of the female world, Knave, Club International, H&E, Parade and Fiesta held the answers.
Often found abandoned in bins or procured from portocabins on building sites, the nude book was a possession to be treasured.
At school they were a form of currency. Like an adolescent Krugerrand, a well thumbed, dog eared "Men Only" would hold it's value and could be bartered for any number of goods.
A good gangie always had a library section with nude books, horror comics and wrestling mags.
Studying these under the glow of a workie's lamp, one could impart made up pearls of knowledge and down-right lies to younger members of the company.
In the days before the craze for "Brazilian" style minimalism, the most intimate parts of a woman would stare back at you from the page like Brian Blessed hiding in Terry Waites allotment.
A daunting and terrifying prospect for any young lad.

Standard equipment #2

This was the ultimate insect killer. Purloined from the lock-up of a painter and decorator this paraffin fuelled blow lamp was the best flame thrower you could find. Made of brass and weighing in at around 2 kilos this thing was nearly indestructible. Used mainly in action around the high wall, many insects and plastic models fell prey to its hot kiss. Quite surprising is that no one was injured during operations. This blow lamp replaced the small plastic squeezy bottles which were previously used for such purposes.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Simple Vices #2 Sperkin'

This must be one of the most obscure childhood pastimes ever.
Invented by Arkos, Sperkin' was a practice of detonating roll caps with your thumb nail and inhaling the resulting smoke. The idea being that you could get enough smoke in your mouth to blow a smoke ring.
There were the inevitable burns to the tips of your thumb and the nail would have a whitish/ yellowish deposit of saltpeter and singed nail.
To get the smoke you had to fire the cap directly into your mouth.
As you can see the box clearly says "do not fire closer than one foot to the ear".
I used to be pretty good at Sperkin', wouldnae mind another shot at it.

Standard equipment

These were the matches of choice when we were kids. No lighters in those days. A constant supply of matches was necessary for lighting the workies lamp or candles, for starting fires, for lighting fags and last but not least for making a tank. A tank was usually called for when we got bored or when taking the matches home was too dangerous. To make a tank you opened the match box slightly at the end where the heads of the matches were.One match was tken out, struck and stuck flame first into the other match heads. The resulting conflagration was supposed to resemble a burning tank. Good stuff. A strong smell of sulphur and a lot of smoke , just what the doctor ordered! Short lived but still bloody good fun.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

High Wall Couture #2 Wayfinder Moonshots

Click image to enlarge

Hey Kids make tracks up the lobby in Wayfinders. Stand in a dogshite in these bad boys and you certainly will.

But who could resist shoes with a compass in the heel. The very dab for expeditions to far flung places like "the donkeys" or Hunters Bog. Yep leaving the well charted area around the High Wall could be tretcherous, best be prepared.

The main drawback of these timeless classics were the moon crater soles. There was less emphasis in cleaning up after your dog in the 1970's, in fact most seemed to wander free like wildebeest of the Serengeti or buffallo of the Great Plains.

Dog eggs were in abundance, including those now obsolete white ones. Standing in them was inevitable. You could use up a whole box of Vulcan Household matches scraping out the craters in the front street after being banished by your irate Ma to "get them cleaned".

Occassionally you would get lucky and stand on a hard plastic "Dirty Fido", but most of the time it was the real McCoy.

Still a risk worth taking just to have shoes with a compass.

Simple vices

It wasn't always easy to get fags or baccy in our day. Cinnamon sticks were not a bad smoke but even they were not so easy to come by. So we followed Tom Sawyers lead and made a corn cob pipe. Well sort of! We had no corn cobs so we used a cork. Wine bottle or Sparkling wine the bigger the better. If it was too small it was difficult to hollow out without the sides breaking through. As a stem we used a bic pen. Out with the insides and inserted into the side of the hollowed out cork. So now bobs yer uncle. Anything that gave of a good smoke could be tamped into the pipe bowl. Dry leaves were a pretty good puff and each tree had a different taste. Tea taken out of teabags was not too bad either. But best of all was baccy collected from fag butts, kept in an old baccy tin which was hidden in a hole in a wall. What a great feeling firing up the pipe, tongue burning, eyes nippin and a feeling like you are just about to boke! Those were the days.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Bizarre 70's Edinburgh footage

Niddroids were obviously on mind bending drugs even back then.
Still good bit of footage for a reminder of the fashions of the day.

High Wall Couture #1 The Snake Belt

One of the most versatile clothing accessories ever made. When they were new they had a bit of ping in them, but that soon went due to hooking the "S" on to railings to see if it could double as a "Japs & Commandos" grappling hook.

Also used as a "Planet of the Apes" "Dr Who" style tether for captured humans.

Came in a variety of school colours from the Clan Hoose or Parker's Store.

Lost games #3

Another lost game, this time a short lived one. In the Queens park there used to be sheep. That's right, the woolly buggers were all over the place. All they did all day was eat, eat, eat. Which meant that they also shat, shat ,shat. So one man in the group was armed with a stick and the others armed themselves with purlies. Throw the purly at the guy with the stick he had to bat it away and the thrower had to avoid being hit by pieces of flying purly. Sounds easy doesn't it? The real problem was grabbing a purly that wasn't too fresh at least not on the outside. Grab a fresh one and you really had a hand full and it was a long way to the next washing facility. Shortly after this game was invented the sheep disapeared from the park. No more sheep, no more purlies and no more game without a name.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Lost Weapons #3 The Sekiden Gun

The Sekiden Automatic (SAP.50) Running Fire X.
This was the AK47 of the 1970's primary school bairn.
Many a territorial dispute was settled with these bad boys.
Dora Buckle was the Lockheed Martin of the Southside selling arms and ammunition to anyone with the coppers to spare.
But what we really wanted was this.

The world inside a golf ball.

I don't quite know what a golf ball looks like inside any more, but when we were kids they looked like this. After you had peeled off the outer cover (the white dimply stuff) you were into the rubber winding. This was like an endless rubber band about as long as from here to the moon! It pretty much had a mind of its own. Some times it tried to unravel itself really quickly and other times you had to peel the stuff off bit by bit. The windings had their uses. You could stretch them between the gate posts of the Dick vet and wait for cars to drive through them or stretch them across stair wells so that people would run into them. As they were not very strong they caused no damage. After you had peeled off all the rubber windings you reached the core. This was not made of hard rubber but was a rubber ball filled with fluid rubber. The stuff was like pus! It was thick and it stank, get this stuff on yer jeans and you are in for a thrashing! Why it had to be a fluid I don't know. Many a day was spent seeing who could peel the ball the slowest, and who had the stinkiest core!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Essensial Pocket-money purchases #1

The "Dirty Fido".
Still a favourite of children throughout the world. These days they have a more lifelike texture and flexibility. Ah but the hours of fun we had with the rigid plastic "old school" version.
A must for the discerning 70's youth. Came in a plastic bag with a header card featuring a cowering cartoon dog about to get a severe doin' with a rolled up newspaper if I recall.

Gangie names

If you were to have found this mirror in your new gangie, what name would you have given the gangie or the gang?

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Lost Weapons #2 The Haston Cannnon

" It was a fine idea at the time, now it's a brilliant mistake"
Elvis Costello, 1986

Picture an ash carpark, a dark November 70's Edinburgh night, local youths huddled round for the great unveiling of a new weapon of unyeilding power.

It's inventor, a gangly youth with thick hair, removes from his pocket a small model of a naval cannon with pencil sharpening capabilities. Packed tightly inside the cannon are the contents of a packet of Standard 3-2-1-zeros ( the banger of choice) and a small fake pearl which was once part of a mother's earring.

Excitement hangs in the cold air like the smoke from so many tenament chimneys. "This will be barry" is the general concensus.

After a long series of checks the shottie keepers give the all clear. The fuse is lit and the weapon aimed.

What happened next is still inexplicable. There was the anticipated flash and bang, but the pearl's trajectory was not as it should have been. When the smoke abated the blackened face of the inventor was streaked with tears and 2 lines of green snot. On the left side of his nose was a bulge about the size of a plastic pearl. It was lodged up his nostril and not for coming out without adult assistance.

This my friends is the true story of the "Haston Cannnon"

The High Wall

Just found this poster its a film that I had never heard of before. It fits the blog though, the gadgie looks like he is having trouble getting over the High Wall. Or maybe he needs a colonic!

Lost games #2

Time for another lost game, Brickie. To take part in this game each player required a brick or as we would have called them, a full Niddrie. Each player took a turn at throwing his brick at the opponents brick which was placed on the ground. The objective being to break the opponents brick before he destroyed yours. A bit like stone age conkers. Usually played out of the sight of grown ups or the odd slap around the head would have been on the cards. There was a similar game using slates called Slatey which was only played once. The rule about keeping out of the way of grown ups was not observed, which resulted in one hell of an arse footing by a bearded dude in workies boots. After which Slatey was slated.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Meggind yeggour Legganguage

Feggoung theggis eggon Weggikipeggedia.

Fegguckin' beggarry.

Nomen est omen

Just a quick thought here. Can anyone remember how we used to give people a name that was probably no where near their real name than fly in the air. For example: there was an old chap who lived in a ground floor flat which had a large back green which we called the jungle. This old boy was quite old and what was left of his hair was white. What did we used to call him? Mr White of course. The guy in the garden next door had curly hair, guess what his name was! Can you think of any other fitting names?