Not 39 Forever: No.16 - Caught by the Fuzz

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So where was I? Yes that shop near the bottom of Gidlow Lane. I can't even remember what it was called but I came a cropper there one Friday night. They had a reputation for selling single cigs to underage kids or even over-aged but fiscally challenged kids. 10p a cig, well it was only 87p for 10 Lambert & Butler back then.
I didn't go in for cigs, I went in for ale. Four cans of Skol to be precise. I can remember what I was wearing. I kind of had this maroon snide Lacoste hoodie but for some reason I was wearing it under a stonewash denim white shirt. Oh come on, I was fifteen! I didn't have a clue! Still don't for that matter.

I walked in bold as brass and picked my four cans out of the fridge. I was going to Wigan Park for a drink.

That's what we did: drink ale, smoke weed, play football on the lawns, hide out in the cowshed and get chases off the Parkie. On a good day you'd get 50 to 60 of us, a Springfield/Beech Hill/Scholes/Whelley hybrid mob spanning three school years. We OWNED that park basically. But we weren't a really bad bunch.

Cans on the counter.

"Are you eighteen luv?"

[attempted deep voice] "yeah...course I am"

"Have you got any ID?"

"yeah, there you go"

I pull out a photocopied, doctored Maths certificate with the 3 in 1973 tippexed out and turned into a 2

She has a look up and down but she's a nice lady and smiles. She doesn't believe me but she's giving me the "he's made an effort" vote.

£2.60 changes hands and "be careful will you, I don't want you getting me in trouble"

"But I'm 18, there will be no problem" I tell her confidently.

I arrive in the park just before dusk. Check the cowsheds: nobody. The top park swings: No-one there. The bandstand: deserted. The cafe area: not a soul.

Where the FUCK is everybody?

All of a sudden I feel vulnerable. All alone with a carrier bag full of cans. Then I hear a vehicle: but it's not the parky, it's the coppers. (*I've only just realised 25 years on - THAT'S why there was no bugger there!)

I see the van circling the cafe and dive into the bushes at the top end of the park. It's too late though; they've spotted me. I weave through the rhododendron bushes around the smarter top end of the park, where many a newlywed couple have their wedding photos taken. I head for the Bridgeman Terrace gates, bag of cans still in my hand. I'll drink them later when I find everyone else and the cops have pissed off, I reckon.

I hear voices, one is on foot and after me "yeah I can see him the little shit".
I'm through the alley off Wrightington Street and clamber in someone's back yard but they're right behind me.

I know the game is up. They kick open the gate of some office and they find me there cowering behind the bins, cans still in my hand. Can't waste the cans.

"Why did you run off"


"What you got in the bag?"


"Where d'you get them from"


Down the station lad

Needless to say I sung like a canary, me mam had to come and pick me up and I got away with a caution.
It's no wonder corner shops get shut down when there's grassing little bastards like me knocking about eh?



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