Monday, 21 November 2011

Guns, dealers and breaking in.

Alan Harrison, who I met when I was 5 year old and it was like putting semtex and a match together

See that title got yer attention didn't it! I was never a big drug taker, even though I was surrounded by mates who were smoking and taking everything they could lay their hands on. But lets get this straight I was no plaster saint, far from it. My trick was I knew when it was time to put away childish things and grow up before I went down the paths I've seen so many mates go.

Disclaimer: Remember this was 23 years ago, safe to say I was a bit of a serious dickhead back then so bear this in mind as you read it. I have changed..honest.

Back in the day I had a lot of mates and only half knew each other, this often meant my days were filled with wall to wall excess. I'd pop to see a mate in the afternoon, come back have some dinner then be off out doing more crazy stuff with different people an hour later. But our craziness wasn't confined to the hours of darkness...oh no!

Lets take a typical week day when I was about 17 years old....

Morning was always spent with my mam and dad, usually recovering from the excess of the previous night and getting some right old ear ache about it. Once the clock hit midday it was party time.... Usually if my mate Rob was skiving off university I'd walk to his and we'd sit doing crazy stuff till it was time for dinner. Rob always had drugs.... he wasn't a dealer and wasn't a person at the bottom of life, just the opposite. But he was a mate I'd known since I was about 6 and the stuff we got up to has until now remained 'withheld' lol.

So one afternoon in mid December robs dad who owned a few shops had left some fireworks for him as he had them left over at his Consett shop. I always had a lot of time for his dad Don as he'd known my dad for years (this also meant being very careful as if we were caught doing insane stuff it would get back to my dad adn he would not be a happy little bunny). After a few joints and the usual craziness, one of us (I can't remember which) came up with a great idea. The convo went something like this:

'We've got to let these fireworks off mate'

'yeah but its daylight we'll not see shit'

'Well rockets are just simple missiles anyways..lets fire them at the old people's home across the road'

So for the next 25 minutes rob and I stood 20 feet inside his house with the door open wearing a pair of woolly gloves laughing our backs off shouting 'WAKEY WAKEY YER FUCKERS!' and various other things that make me shuder when I remember them.

How we didn't get arrested I'll never know. How the old people didn't all have coronaries is still a mystery....maybe as they were used to the various crazy stuff that went on at robs house when his parents were out.

So stoned off our boxes the rockets finally ran out and I tried to walk took a while. To this day every time I see a firework rocket I think of that afternoon.

After dinner I had a pop over to see my mate Alan, I've known Alan longer than any human alive outside of my family. Now him and me were a toxic combination, as when we got together anything could happen...and usually did. After an afternoon talking complete bollocks to each other and smoking enough dope and drinking enough to make the whole of Jamaica float away on a cloud. We went for a walk to blackhill.


Consett used to have a massive steel works complex until it was shut down in 1980 by the Tory government as an experiment to see what would happen if you ripped the heart out of an industrial area. I'll tell you what one had a fucking job or any money that's what happened. While most of the old steel works complex was knocked down, a few remained for years afterwards.

ok back to the story....

So we for whatever reason had always noticed what we referred to as the CIC building that was about the size of 4 aircraft hangers and largely left untouched as it had when they had locked the doors for the last time. So Alan and I went through a hole in the fence and decided to have a look. Not for nefarious reasons...just out of curiosity. Alan had the wonderful idea of breaking in. Now as at this time I was still working as an escape artist I was given the job of breaking into it. I achieved this by the rather high tech way of kicking the window in.

So in we crawled and the sight that met our eyes was like manna from heaven for a couple of teenage lads. All the machinery had been auctioned long ago leaving the biggest god damned room I have ever seen in my life (and I've seen a fair few!) So off we walked with torches and explored the place, expecting 2 feet tall rats or something to come running at us. It was pretty damn clean, cleaner than most nightclubs in Consett to be honest. This gave us the idea of putting an illegal party on, the idea of a band quickly died when we realised obviously it had no electricity.

This did not stop us. So invites to a select group of people of both sexes was thrown out and as the film sys 'build it and they shall come'...and they did. I won't go into all the details but let's just say it was like Sodom and Gomorra for that 1 night. There was every type of drug available to us (bar heroin which no one would touch in our circle, crack hadn't appeared over here and E's hadn't been invented as far as I know.... simpler, less dangerous times) You had people tripping on acid and any hallucinogen they could find, people with joints so large Bob Marley would have been jealous and an infamous 'mmix'.... that was something unique of my own that I came up with. No one ever bought it, you had to 'earn it' and most refused to ever have it was nasty stuff. Nothing in it was illegal but kicked like 17 mules, so technically I wasn't breaking the law.

Some people, not saying it was me mind...did end up in the offices leading off the main 'hall' and did end up shagging on the desk that had been used by the bloke who ran Consett Steel works day to day. The lucky part was the ghetto blaster we'd brought echoed around the place and made it sound like you were at the fucking monsters of rock festival. We were all having a great time....then it came..the moment I always dreaded.

Alan said his usual 'I got to see a man about a dog mate...I've ran out', which was his lame code for one of his many trusted dealers. Alan never had any money, and what little I had i wasn't giving him...Alan was already completely off his tits and chances of him remembering anything past about 9pm were slim at best, let alone me lending him money. So I didn't.

But Alan, ever resourceful decided to go to a dealer who was a 'mate of a mate' and his mate owed him money. How the hell this all worked I'll never know, but about 40 mins later there we are sitting in what these days would be considered a crack den. Me sobering up very fast surrounded by people I didn't know who did not seem very happy to have 2 loud mouthed teenagers there.

I could tell the atmosphere was getting a bit heavy, but Alan stoned off his little titties totally ignored this. Eventually Alan quietened down after getting passed a join that was going around. Now I passed it as I wanted to be as sober as possible till I got the hell out of here...wherever 'here' was.

Now I remember the two blokes coming in....I remember them sitting opposite us, I remember that they were sweating and carrying a sports bag. What i remember very well was them pulling two saw off shotguns out and placing them on the table. (This makes no sense to me to this day.....why??? only an idiot would do that!) Now Alan was gibbering on like a lunatic obviously trying not to look scared. I was nearly shitting myself as I was now in a dealers house with 2 angry looking guys withyorkshire accents with sawn off shotguns.

There is a bit of a blank bit at this point.....I'm not sure what occurred or who said what to who but next thing I know Alan and me have two shotguns pointed at our faces by two VERY angry geezers. Alan seemed to be rooted to the spot and have came to the conclusion (surprisingly for him) that to say fuck all was a real good move at this point. Now I have one big failing as a human being....well one of several but this one is pertinent. I fear no one, I never have. So I went from 'Clark Kent / won't hurt a fly Wayne' to full on Jack Regan Sweeney mode.

'get that fucking gun out of my face now you fuckhead!'

why I said that against all sanity and terror I'll never know. I've had decades to mull it over and came to the conclusion that it was a 'fight or flight' response and there was simply no way I wanted to die in a drug house with shotgun to the head. Something snapped...I think I didn't want my parents to have that as the last thing in my life. I didn't want to let them down.

There was shouting and threats from both sides (not wise when someone's angry and pointing a gun at you) and I batted the shotgun pointing at me away, I remember it hitting the table and worrying it'd go off and blow Alan's kneecaps off. As all hell was breaking lose, Alan said the wisest words he had ever said in his life....'RUN!!!!'

So we did...and didn't stop till we were outside his parents house....after two hours of panicking and paranoia we calmed down. I went home and never set foot in a dealers house again and made a rule to not go near buying drugs. (I used to let others do that lol.... mind you I've not taken anything for over a decade and a half, just to clear that up). It scared the hell out of me and I don't mind admitting I very nearly shit myself when the gun was in my face. The guys weren't local that was the funny thing....the accents they had were Leeds accents.

overall it was a crazy day and not the only one I had.... next time 'trouble at the ballet'.

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