Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Aint that a kick in the head.

One of the hazards o' being a 70's High Wall bairns was the the amount o' gangs runnin' aboot the toon. Now I know there was a wee "casual" scene back in the 90's but that was a bit mair sophisticated and confined tae the fitba and clubs.
In oor day a guid kickin' was literally just roond the corner. Purely territorial.

Aye ye strayed too far fae the High Wall and you were in someone elses territory. YNT, YIC, YGT, YSSR, YLT, BAR- OX, TCR, MBB, YPR, YMD, YPD...ect Man ye needed a map and a compass.

Mostly it was just a case o' being chased and ye had tae be quick on yer feet. Naebody really got any serious doin's and if ye ran fae a pack o' radges, everyone was happy if ye got away. The radges defended their bit and saw ye off. You, in turn, got away intact. A classic Win-Win situation. Now I was like a skinny white version o' Usian Bolt in those days, but even then I knew they boys slowed up when they were chasin' ye, cos the point had been made.

There were a few right bams though, boys in full-on Clockwork Orange gear, nutters in crombies wi walkin' sticks and sharpened steel combs. Ye tended tae gie them a wide bearth. They tended tae stick tae alleys and places rife fer ambush.

There were aw the books by Richard Allen which we loved,. Full o' violence wi' a bit o' shaggin' thrown in. They got traded aboot the school like Futures Derivatives. Added tae that ye had Mr Kubrick glammin' up the auld ultra-violence wi Clockwork Orange. Nane o' this really helped the situation.

Aye it wis an interesting time tae be a young laddie. It taught us how tae read situations and how tae cover 400 yards in aboot a minute withoot breathin or lookin' back.

Friday, 23 July 2010

A shaggy dog story.

Ah dinnie ken if this wiz a game fae the day or a High wall tortue ritual! In Curlies gaerdin thir wiz once a big fuckin bloodhound dug. Ah cannie say whae owned um bit eh wiz aye up fir shaggin!
Eh used tae hot fit it roond the gaerdin lookin fur somethin tae rub ehs cock against.
So this is whit went doon, ye hud tae wait until the dug wiz at the back oh the gaerdin then ye climbed in an walked aboot until eh caught sight oh ye.
Now the race wiz oan!
Eh wiz fuckin quick when eh deeked somethin tae shag. If ye didnae make it up the wall quick enough eh pulled ye doon intae the grass an shagged ye till ye hud white stripes oan yir jaekit. 9 oot oh 10 times ye could git away fae um bit some oh the High Wall dudes waited until eh wiz at yer back an then they pushed ye back aff the wall intae certain death! It wiz fuckin traumatic ah tell ye, ah still cannie deek a bloodhound withoot lookin fur stains oan ma duds.
Ah cannie mind whit happened tae the dug, mibbie eh shagged the wrong gadgie, one day it wiz safe tae cross the gaerdin withoot gettin yir jeans dirty. A shaggy dog story indeed!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Three Colours Red, Part Two: Red buses

Yeah, I know that the Edinburgh red buses are not strictly red in colour more like maroon, but if ye live in Edinburgh, everybody calls them red buses. This distinguishes them from the green buses, which tend to travel to more outlying rural areas.

Oot o aw the red buses, the one that I have the fondest memories o is the number 42 bus. This was a braw bus. Bobrob & me could catch this bus just at the corner o oor street & it took us aw where. We normally walked doon tae Alien Orders bit to muck aboot wi him, but sometimes we just hopped on the 42 & for a few pence got a wee run doon the road.

Then me & bobrob used tae get the 42 oan a Saturday doon to ma Gran's at Craigentinny. Once there we mucked aboot wi ma cousins, going doon tae Porty, Seafield, the Golfy, Porty Dump, The George Picturehoose & plenty o other places.

A good thing aboot the 42 was that it's route was a circle. This meant that if it was a cold or rainy day, if ye kept yer eyes open when ye were waiting oan the 42, if one wasnae coming from one direction you could sometimes git it goin the other way. So if you left Porty near the Toon Hall you could git it going roond Duddingston, doon past the Kings Buildings & then up Causewayside, rather than up Marionville Road, along London Road, roond St Andrews Square & then up the Mound & hame.

Also, on yon auld red buses, wi the driver & the conductor, you could sometimes skive yer fare & spend the cash oan sweeties or comics. Braw!

Aye, I have fond memories of the auld red buses. They were our way of getting a wee bit of freedom to cross the city & explore other remote (or so it seemed to us back in the day) areas. And the 42 bus was only one of many. The 41 was a great bus too, but yon's another tale for another day!

Bobrob & me tried to get a 42 bus aboot a year or so ago to revisit auld haunts. We stood for ages at the 42 bus stop, till we discovered that it still existed, but it didnae go anywhere near the auld route it used tae take. So we ended up having to take another bus tae Porty instead. Just no the same!



Monday, 12 July 2010

Kerb yer Enthusiasm

Kerbie was a summer favourite at the High Wall and Summerhall Square was a natural ampitheatre for such a fine game, wi it's wide cul-de-sac road and well spaced pavements.
There wis next tae nae through traffic as well, so a game could be played withoot too much interruption.

The origins of kerbie are unknown but a quick deek at google shows that it springs up all over the U.K in the '70s. Like aw guid games aw ye needed wis a fitba and a street. Fling the baw at the kerb and try tae catch the rebound, Simple. Of course you could add yer ain wee nuances, oor favourite being that ye had tae throw like you were takin' a shy at fiba.

Some boy fae Fife has even made a 21st century version of Kerbie that ye can buy and play in the safety of yer ain garden, ( probably so as yer bairns dinnae git run ower or snatched by paedos). Now tae me that is just takin' things way too far. No just that, but he's wantin' aboot 70 sheets for it. I kid ye not.

Bounceback 21 Aye, I would bounce the boy back if he tried tae sell me that right enough.

£70. He's "at the hurry up" that lad. No just that, but ye can easy enough make yer ain if ye live next door tae Gary Glitter and are frettin' aboot the bairns. Just get reclaimed kerbstanes fir aboot £6 a foot or a couple o' railway sleepers fir between £10 tae £20 a pop oan eBay. A baw costs aboot £2. Job done

Then I found this story fae Kilsyth as well. Ah dinnae ken.

That's the problem wi oor world nooadays, too many rules and no enough content folk.

I bet there are bairns in the favelas o' Sao Paulo and the backstreets o' Mumbai who still play their ain version o' kerbie, and ah bet they play it wi the true spirit o' the game as well.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Any guitar and any bass drum.....

As the High Wall boys got older we got the music bug.

Bowie, Sensational Alex Harvey Band and Cockney Rebel were early influences but it was punk that really set the tone for the rest o' oor lives I guess.

OK Bobrob had his Suzi Quatro phase and who can blame the laddie, but it was the Clash, Buzzocks, Jam, Damned and Pistols that provided the High Wall soundtrack as we entered the murky world o' drinkin' and shaggin'.

But the real fun started wi' the local bands. Man we had oorsels some braw nights watchin' Edinburgh's finest young talent. The Freeze, the Scars, the Valves, the Monos, the Skids, the Prats, the Visitors and many many more. The music scene flourished and many a wee venue sprung up within a short stroll o' the High Wall. Suddenly aw they years o' growin' up in the heart o' Studentville payed off in spades wi' the availability o' free gigs, cheap drink and a guid chance o' yer Nat King.

Arkos and I used tae trail the record shops fir the latest singles. The Record Exchange on Clerk Street had a 10p box full o' singles that didnae chart. I got some right rare early punk stuff oot o' there that I still have tae this day. I used tae also have a rake o' early punk record advertising posters and gig posters that sadly I dinnae still have. A fact that often makes me weep when I look at Ebay. (Dinnae get me started oan ma Marvel Comic collection fae back in the day)

Aye it wiz great tae be a laddie just turned 16 in 1977. The High Wall wiz a happenin' place and every week brought a new sound. Ah went tae sleep every night listenin' tae John Peel on ma clock radio and woke up every morning filled wi' hope and attitute, and wi a new harmony in ma heid.

Being a Hippy back in the summer o' love must be the only thing that comes close.

Here's a wee taste.