Sunday, 11 March 2007

I was in Shameless once (for a brief spell).

For the record I hate drugs. I have three cousins in Scotland who are smack addicts. One of them, John, has been in and out of prison most of his life due to his habit. He was never violent but he was a thief and would steal cars, handbags and break into houses. I am glad to say that he has now reformed his ways and is happily married with kids. Barry on the other hand was violent and would beat his elderly father up for money, often stealing the old man’s pension. He has also been to prison several times for violence. I am glad to say that he has now changed his ways and is no longer using. He now has the care and responsibility of a young son to consider, as well as this he has been able to build bridges with all of the people he hurt over the years. I actually really enjoy bumping into him now, when I go back home. As for my other cousin, Mark, he is still using the stuff. So, let’s hope he manages to get the appropriate help he requires. His mother has acquired a debt of over twenty thousand pounds, she is obviously subsidising his habit.

She doesn’t have the strength to let him go.

A very close friend of mine who I lived with during my university days foolishly smoked a joint of Marawana once, at a party. The potency of that stuff is lethal and it can in fact trigger mental health problems, and this is exactly what happened to her. She suddenly became hyper manic and had to be hospitalised. In fact she went completely nuts and spent the next four years in and out of psychiatric wards. Her life at the moment is ruined she was (and sometimes still is) an incredibly talented musician. She has a beautiful voice and I love her. But, I just don’t see her anymore because of her mood swings - she can be incredibly nasty. Perhaps I have failed her as a friend, but it's just too much.


I was thinking about my husband this morning over coffee. I was thinking he probably hasn’t even realised that I am not there any more. He’s probably still sitting in the same position, he was in five years ago, in a Bolton pub. I was thinking, I left him five years ago and according to my sister, who is a lawyer, I can now get what is called an automatic divorce.

It was a short lived experience lasting only a matter of months. We lived on a very similar council estate to the one featured in C4’s Shameless. In fact we even led a very similar lifestyle to the characters featured in Shameless. Both him and his father (apparently) used to hire a white van and turn up at factories, wearing white coats and would say “we’ve come for the delivery”. They’d steal a whole load of stuff and then sell it on. I hated going shopping with him because he would always come out of the shop with something he’d nicked. He was a total kleptomaniac. He obviously was very quick and discreet because I never ever saw him take anything. It was always a painful experience for me, being a teacher I can’t be associated with anything dodgy. I always demanded that he take the stuff back.

I read him the riot act many times. Do it again and I’ll show you the colour of my temper.

He did well out of me. I bought him a brand new car, clothes, shoes, paid the rent and all of the bills, cooked him all of his favourite meals, made him packed lunches, all containing neatly and lovingly folded starched, pressed, gingham napkins, cleaned the house and I even gave him pocket money. I was in a total dream world.

Things started to go wrong when his friends began to move in, which was shortly after our wedding. The first of his friends was on the run from a loan shark, in Darwin. This guy loved guinea pigs and in fact he bred guinea pigs. I came back from my teaching job one day. I worked at one of the toughest schools in Salford. Now the kids there were vicious, Hackney kids are mild in comparison to Salford kids, believe me. Parents would turn up yielding base ball bats, waiting to confront kids that they claimed had bullied their kid. The police van was always a regular feature outside the school gates.

Anyway, when I got home I discovered five cages, all containing guinea pigs, on the dining room floor. I had to literally step over them to get to the kitchen. Then there was the note “Alex has moved in - we’re down the pub”.

We had a small two bedroom house. The smaller bedroom had bunk beds in it, and this is where his mates slept. The second friend that moved in was a university lecturer called James Whitzard – another crusty drunk. I used to call him professor Whitty. He was totally grotesque. He rarely bathed and he had skin condition, which meant that I would frequently find bits of his flaky skin all over the house. He was disgusting. I once went into the bedroom to retrieve all of the dirty plates and cups that they had been hoarding. I found a floor covered in beer cans and used condoms. God knows what they had both being doing in there.

One morning my husband made me breakfast in bed. I knew then what was coming next. Before he said it I just came out with it “How much do you want?” He wanted three hundred and fifty pounds.

When I returned home one evening all of his crusty mates were sitting in the lounge smoking it. There was a brick of it on the coffee table. They’d obviously had the munchies as there were endless fast food cartons all over the floor.

So, I waited. And then I started packing.

One evening when he was out, down the pub. I took my Marks and Spencer’s carpet bag, I grabbed the brick, which he had left on the coffee table. I jumped into a black cab, saw a wheelie bin on the streets and I told the driver to STOP. I threw it in the bin. I then proceeded on my journey to Monton Green where I stayed in a very tasteful B&B for the next year.

Yes, that marriage lasted two months. He gave up work when he married me. He said he wanted to pursue an acting career.

Young men with blue eyes are trouble.

1 comment:

David Allen said...

"Young men with blue eyes are trouble" tell me about it!