Sunday, 17 June 2012
Skinhead's Return (Kollaps)
Following the smashing of the windows and door at Kafe Kollaps (see earlier post), the Spiders Web Gang made themselves scarce for a while. Then we heard from Hippy Steve the dope dealer that Geronimo the head Skin was inside, serving a short sentence at a young offender's institution—he was not yet 18, we were amazed to discover. With Geronimo away, the gang didn't know what to do, nor how to do it. There was no natural leader to step into Geronimo's size 10 boots while he was otherwise indisposed. But that didn't stop a couple of skinny runts with big ideas from attempting to take over.
About 4 weeks after the trashing of the Kafe, four of the gang turned up early on a Saturday night. The Mob were due to play later, but being early, there was only Darlington Dave, fast Alan and Jerry the Junkie in the place. Dave was minding the bar when a slight skinhead wearing a too-big Crombie, checked shirt and jeans rolled up above his DMs stepped up, sniffed loudly and croaked.
'Weer gonna give you pr'tection'.
'Oh aye?' drawled Dave.
'Yer, and it won't cost much.'
Yer, give us a ton every week and we'll make sure no-one busts the place up'. Skinny-skin shrugged over-padded shoulders up to his ear lobes and stepped backwards, so that he was sideways on to Dave, giving him a 'hard' stare.
There was a pause and the sound of Martha and the Vandellas sparked the speakers into life.
'Wot?" Skinny looks puzzled.
'Nah', repeated Dave.
'Butbutbutbut…' Skinny looked as if he would either cry or headbutt the crudely constructed bar, which consisted of a piece of corrugated iron bent over sturdy lumps of off-cut wood, picked up from beside the West Hampstead railway lines.
'Wanna a drag?" Dave pushed a four-skinner toward Skinny. He looked even more likely to cry.
'We'll smash the place up!' Skinny took his fists out of his pockets.
'But there's nothing to smash up,' Dave was calm, almost apologetic. 'You did away with the windows on your last visit, and that plywood's pretty well banged on the frame of windows and door. We got rid of the chairs and I don't think you'll do much damage to the bar. Do you?'
Skinny looked around. He was bewildered, stumped.
'Alright then we'll… we'll…smash you lot up!'
'No. You won't.' Dave pulled the gaffer tape-wrapped snooker cue from a ledge under the bar. Alan and Jerry stepped behind him and picked up similarly enforced cues. Alan whistled as if calling a dog, and the thunder of footsteps came down the stairs. Soon the door was filled with Big Stan, all 15-stone of him. Behind Stan were a half dozen mohicans, newly shaved heads (the Mercs) and Big Janet.
Skinny peered anxiously outside to where his three fellow spiders webs had been.
'Go on, have a toke and let's talk business', said Dave evenly, with joint in one hand and weapon in the other.
Two hours later, stoned out of his tiny brain, Skinny returned to the Abbey Rd high-rise squat he shared with the rest of the gang, having agreed that they could go into the Kollaps anytime it was open and either buy beer or swap pills, powder or weed for similar and no-one would bother them. The truce lasted a few weeks. Some of the spiders web gang would come down to the Kafe late on a Friday or Saturday night to dance, get a little rowdy and have a laugh. They never got violent or too out-of-order. Until, that is, a new 'leader' arrived one Saturday night.
'Ahm Johnny Rabbish, ahm frae Perth!' A squat, plug-ugly semi-skin wearing what looked like Skinny's Crombie, with a bright red Mohican beginning where a particularly badly drawn web ended on the right side of his face, stood in the doorway of Kollaps.
He attempted to glare around at the almost empty Kafe (it was about 9pm).
'Really,' drawled Dave, 'You don't sound Australian'.
'Yahfookingcant, ahm frae Perth SCOTLAND!'
'Ahm here ta get tha dope'.
Dave sighed, looked down at his feet for a few seconds, and then beckoned Johnny Rubbish over to the bar.
Johnny obliged, marching up to the corrugated iron with what might have been a malicious smile on his face; it was hard to tell because of all the nasty tats.
Dave swung the cue right handed, catching Johnny just below the Mohican. For a split second the Mohican-skin looked surprised. Then he fell over.
'I can't be fucking bothered.'
Dave signalled Big Stan over and together they dragged Johnny Rubbish out the back of the Kafe. There they set to kicking some sense—and respect—into Mr Rubbish.