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» Family Feuds

In one of my earliest memories I’m yelling at my father to ‘stop it’ while hitting him with a yellow plastic spade from my seaside bucket and spade set. He had my mother by the throat on the bed and was screaming at her. She’d have been around 23; I was 3, maybe 4. It was probably around 3 in the morning, my mother was hysterical by the time we got home. About 15 hours earlier my father had taken me out to see the Loyalist flute bands strutting their hatred up and down on the ‘glorious’ 12 of July. They still have that sectarian bile in Glasgow to this day. It had been a long blazing hot summer’s day in the early 70’s. We had ended up at some Orange Lodge where my father had been drinking for about 13 hours straight. He'd fallen in with a band from Ulster, a bunch of drunk bigots he’d never met before that day, I though it was great – they let me bash away at their drums while they got battered. I can vividly remember men shouting and singing, stinging smoke in my eyes, overflowing ashtrays and the smell of drink.

There were no mobiles back then and we didn’t have a phone at home. My mother had been out of her mind with worry all day. When we finally rolled in, there were long mascara streaks down her cheeks and her eyes looked red and sore. I was half asleep riding on my utterly trashed father’s shoulders. Apparently he had taken me out for ‘a walk’ that afternoon, so she tore into him immediately, screaming and crying. I remember feeling confused.

We lived in a ‘room and kitchen’ in a tenement block in Glasgow, no central heating, no bathroom, no running hot water. My Mum came from a nice lower middle class family and had a job at the bank. She had been ‘caught out’ at 19 – pregnant the first time she was cajoled into sex with her first ‘proper’ boyfriend. He was older, 26 and assured her he knew what he was doing. Clearly he didn’t have a fucking clue. So like many from that era they got married. Her parents were devastated. They wanted her to ‘go away’ for a while and then for me to be adopted. She thought she was in love and maybe marriage would curb his drinking – things would be OK. My grandfather died in a hit and run accident before I was born. I was a Godsend to my grandmother at this time. I’ve been her favourite ever since.

Growing up I remember the nightly high wire act of my mothers nerves. The longer his dinner curled up in the oven, the clearer indication of the state he would be in when he got home - the more agitated my Mum got; a miserable nerve jangling circle. We could be chatting and laughing then we would hear his key turn in the lock and my stomach would flip over. If it got so late I had to go to bed, I would lie listening to the screaming and smashing and bawling, often into the early hours. The vile, disgusting names he called my mother never leave me. Lying in bed, my mother sobbing on the couch he would roar; ‘hingoot’ (a Glasgow term for some slut you would ‘hing oot’ the back of) ‘whore of fuck’ ‘slack arsed bitch’ ‘nagging cunt’ and bizarrely ‘get in this fucking bed before I start killing’ how could one resist? When morning came he would get up and go to work quiet as a mouse. Mum would often get us ready for school, still with red swollen eyes, but she'd still sing along to pop tunes on the radio. When my wife and I started seeing each other, she heard some of his foul tirade one evening - he was unaware she was in the house, she was shocked to the core. I was humiliated.

But mostly I saw the carnage first hand. My father is an inadequate, inconsequential insecure little man – about 5’4’’ wiry and bitter about it all, but drink turns him into a huge bug eyed roaring tyrant. He would come home drunk every night. Most nights were spent either under the fear of a huge bust up or in the midst of one. I was terrified of him. Weekends were worse. Smashed TV’s, coffee tables ornaments – whatever came to hand. Doors punched through, glass smashed, plates of shrivelled up food thrown at walls. I’ve seen my mother pinned to the wall with a flaming bunch of newspapers held up to her face. I've seen her threatened at point blank range with an air rifle and the place shot up, holes in doors and walls. In the midst of some of the worst raging battles, that often went on for hours at a stretch, I’ve seen my mother batter his skull open with a shoe and stab him in the ribs with a kitchen knife.

But mostly it was my mum that was terrorised and abused. My sister and I were often dragged blinking and crying out of our beds because we were ‘leaving’, we decamped to my gran's a few times but we would always, despite pleading otherwise, end up going back after a few days. My mum maintained he was a ‘good worker’ and 'never laid a finger on her'. Grabbing, pushing gripping and throttling didn't seem to count.

My father could not bring himself to show any affection to me as a child. Even on rare sober occasions he was still aggressive and volatile. I was told aged 7 or so I was ‘all the man I was ever going to be’. ‘Men don’t kiss’ he would snarl at be at bedtimes usually crushing my hand in a vice like grip; that was ‘goodnight’ on a good night.

I have no memories of him ever playing with me or hugging me. Christmas morning was invariably the aftermath of the night before; a nursed hangover then an engineered argument so he could fuck off before 11am to find some shithole boozer then stagger home and ruin Christmas dinner. The few family holidays we had involved on day one seeking out a shithole boozer full of drunken losers, then mum switching between finding ways to amuse us or pleading with him to come out, while my sister and I sat outside having cokes and crisps ferried out to us. We had a lot of coke and crisps. When I was around 13 he started taking me to the same shithole boozers to drink with sad alky losers then he would drive us home. My mum seemed glad to see him ‘taking an interest’, she never once complained about him giving me drink or driving home hammered.

I was artistic as a child. This made me a ‘fucking poof’. When I was about 12 I liked Adam and the Ants – this made me a ‘fucking poof’. Pretty much everything I did made me a 'fucking poof'. We were constantly reminded how he hard had to work to clothe and feed us regardless of the fact my Mum also worked full time, looked after us and kept house. My Mum is a good woman and did her best, she gave my sister and I lot of love and affection. Any happy childhood memories centre round my mum, sister and grandmother. But I can’t say I don’t feel some resentment that she didn’t pull us out of the situation, she never had the courage to leave, she often said she wanted to, and then would just bury her head in the sand. She deluded herself the neighbours were somehow unaware of our nightly three ring circus. By now we lived in a 4 story block of shit thin council flats with neighbours above below and beside. I could hear him roaring and swearing when I was out playing on summer evenings, everyone knew what was going on. Growing up we weren't even allowed to say the word 'alcoholic', like it was some blasphemy. It was quite late in life before I realised that I had nothing to be ashamed of, it wasn’t my fault. As kids we weren’t allowed friends round in case my father came home ‘in a state’ despite the fact it was common knowledge - he was always 'in a state'. Might be why I’m very poor at making and maintaining friendships - might have nothing to do with it. No idea.

Things got worse as I went into my teenage years. I had a worse ride than my sister, she was pretty much left alone, she’s also a good deal tougher than me. He saw me as a threat. But then he seemed to resent pretty much everything he encountered. Mum buried herself in work in various Glasgow high street shops. Her escape to a normal life. Her worst fear was he would turn up drunk at whatever shop she was working in and ‘the girls’ would see what she lived with. She pretended her home life was normal, whatever the fuck that is. My escape was school, I was untouchable there. I was bright, creative and mischievous. I ran rings round the teachers, knowing full well they couldn’t terrorise me like my father did. I cottoned on to that from a very early age. They had rules - rules I could subvert, bend, flout and play to my advantage. I got into a fair deal of trouble at school but nothing serious. I could probably have done a lot better though.

I moved out, went to college and met my wife. During my late twenties she encouraged me to ‘get to know my father’ hoping the damage could be repaired. He would come to our home, I’d cook a meal, and he would ruin it being drunk and aggressive. The final straw came one New Year. He got completely hammered, leered all over our next door neighbour and made a complete arse of himself. I asked him not to smoke in the bedroom, so he burned a hole in the new carpet then simply denied smoking. Then I walked into the kitchen to find him pissing out the back door into my garden.

I’d had enough. I wrote him a long heartfelt letter. Never got a reply. Not a word. That was 12 years ago. I see little of my mother as I won’t go to her house, it’s driving us all apart, she adores my little boy but he’s never set foot there either. My father missed my wedding, the birth of my son, his first steps. He’s missed my life.

My sister got married a year ago. She wanted to play happy families, have the perfect wedding and for me to be civil to my father. She didn't want to be embarrassed in front of her friends. But she was also afraid what might kick off – it would be the first time I clapped eyes on him in 11 years. The first time he would see his grandson - her wedding day. I could see she had a point. I agreed to a ‘family lunch’ in a restaurant, a few days before the wedding, a neutral location (I picked a nice one I knew but my sister was worried he would feel uncomfortable there). I resented my sister for insisting upon this whole thing for my father’s sake. I flew back from where I was working abroad and took extra holiday for this shit – he got hammered and failed to show, said he was 'unwell'. I got landed with the lunch bill.

In the run up to the wedding I had fantasies of kicking the shit out of him, I’ve never been a violent person but I wanted to punch and kick and stamp him to a pulp. But the sight of him; skinny, red faced and bug eyed mad just brought the sick feeling of fear back to my stomach. At the wedding I was civil for my sister’s sake. He saw this as a green light that all was forgotten. I was incensed at this. He has never made any attempt to apologise or even acknowledge the damage. My mum is still with him, her and my sister try their best to sweep it all under the carpet. I can’t do that, the pain and misery, the threats, the sick feeling of fear, the raging fights; they’re all still too vivid.

My sister now has a 5 month old child. But we have a strained relationship. I have seen her twice in the last 5 months yet we only live about 12 miles apart. I last saw her just after the birth. It caused friction that I didn’t attend the naming ceremony. I wouldn't go because my father would be there. My mum pulls her head out of the sand periodically to complain that I should let him see his grandchild claiming he would be a ‘good grandfather’. I stand by my assertion that if he can’t be a father he can’t be a grandfather. My wife supports me in this. But inevitably it’s caused a rift. As my mum has got older she has developed a rose tinted set of memories – like some sort of domestic holocaust denier.

I love my grandmother but at 86 she won't be here forever. No doubt my father will be at her funeral when she goes. I can’t bear that thought. When his liver eventually goes I know I won’t be at his funeral. I will get dog’s abuse from my sister for that and probably resentment from my mother.

I’m not without my own issues. I can have a foul temper and I too drink far too much. I love my wife and little boy dearly but my wife has said on occasions I can be abusive and have sometimes frightened her. This has caused me great pain and deep shame. I’ve tried hard to address this and keep on top of things - make sure I don’t turn into my father. My boy gets my love kisses hugs and encouragement every day. We lost everything this summer and had to flee home from abroad. I’ve been unable to get a job since, but on the upside I get to play with my boy every day.

He has a father who loves him dearly, a father who he is completely unafraid of, and a father who he loves dearly in return.
(Thu 12th Nov 2009, 20:33, More)

» PE Lessons

the competitive aspect
By some odd arrangement what with funds being left by some long dead benefactor - our school playing fields were miles away, and I mean other side of Glasgow miles away from our inner city school. This required two coaches for PE, and probably quite sensibly, that meant one for boys one for girls.

It was a 20 minute journey so to make up time it was customary for us to get changed into PE kit on the bus (which explains the mystery of why pairs of shoes are often seen at the side of the road – flung out the window of our school PE bus no doubt.)

This arrangement worked fine until one fateful day an otherwise dull trip was transformed when one coach driver decided to overtake the other on a brief stretch of dual carriageway. As the boys coach inched past the girls, the world went into slow motion – there they were; Jacqueline Marshall’s pale pert perfect breasts. The coach went wild.

Word must have circulated among the drivers because it seemed from then on every week there was a mad dash for the boys coach (always behind) to overtake on that hallowed stretch of dual carriageway. Accidental slip ups soon turned to school blouses pulled open and tits squashed against steamy windows – like Homer Simpson peering out of a diving mask. Spotty boy’s arses shoved up against the glass and both buses rocking with cheers and jeers. Good times.

The drivers seemed to love it and a lone PE teacher down the front was always going struggle to keep order what with a shed load of hormones careering along the highway. My guess is they kind of liked the competitive aspect (and probably the show).

All until one week that is when we heard the blues and twos - our bus just about exploded with cheers when it became apparent the girls bus was being pulled over by plod.

I’d have loved to have seen the coppers face when he realised he had pulled over a grinning speeding perv with 38 semi naked schoolgirls on board.

One for the wank bank surely.
(Sun 22nd Nov 2009, 17:14, More)

» Asking people out

when i was around 17 or so
i pulled a girl in a rubbish club called The Warehouse in Glasgow. Her name was Dawn. Looker too. I remember that much. Quirkily she even had the same birthday as me - how we laughed! I remember that well.

What i can't remember is what i said to her that charmed her so well.

And it must have been good. Bloody good. I remember breaking away from Deep Snog - that jaw aching esophageal snog that only teenagers practice. I had to, otherwise it would have been her tonsils rather than her shoulder that copped the sudden vomit.

I remember being even more surprised returning from the toilets to find her still sitting there. God knows how she got the vomit off. Amazingly she was happy to continue snogging me with my beer/vomit breath.

But I still cant for the life of me remember how i chatted her up.

Must have been bloody good though.
(Sun 13th Dec 2009, 20:48, More)

» PE Lessons

here! watch this...
Stumpy was never destined for a glittering career in applied physics, never the less watch we did. The cricket bat soared upwards, tumbling and rolling towards a lazy zenith, then stalled, suspended in the grey sky for what should have been ample time to consider the consequences. A slow roll signalled re entry. Slack jawed we stood transfixed as the heavy lump of willow hurtled back to earth. The act of smashing into Stumpy's cranium followed by the immediate crumple of his body was seamless. It was like he had been vaporised and his clothes had collapsed in a neat pile.

Those air ambulances are really cool.
(Sat 21st Nov 2009, 16:41, More)

» Spoilt Brats

useless bitch
she has been moved from more roles in the company than I care to mention purely on the grounds no one want’s to work with her

she has a phoney American accent (she is not from the states and has spent very little time there)

she has adopted some other charming American affectations –EVERYBODY has to listen to her voice, particularly her client calls (unless of course she has fucked up again, then it happens behind closed doors)

she thinks our office manager (a charming delightful girl) is in fact her PA/dogsbody/runner/waitress

if out of her depth (and shes sooo out of her depth she’s actually in someone elses depth) she rolls her eyes does this world weary routine like she’s seen it all before and spouts some very loud patronizing bullshit

we have a lot of non European staff – she speaks loudly and slowly to them like retarded children

she constantly moans about her workload yet is singled out by clients as having contributed very little

we have a long list of clients who refuse to work with her

we have a long list of staff who refuse to work with her

she need’s lots of time to be ‘centred’ and ‘balanced’ (bunking off basically)

she thinks she is funny, sophisticated and witty. She has a painful lack of humour in reality, is very uncultured and to be honest dull.

Funny thing is though the owner of the company thinks she’s fucking great.

Oddly they never sit together at functions, though and always leave half an hour apart.
(Thu 9th Oct 2008, 18:07, More)
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