Night fishing! Right before you start to think “Oh for fuck’s sake, I hope he isn’t gonna start going on about fishing, it’s boring!” or, “I can’t go night fishing anyway my wife won’t let me!”, or, “he’s gonna start cracking on about what’s the best bait for cod!” No me ol’ sausage, I’m not…. Well, maybe a bit.
This is a story about two rival gangs; the Mods and Rockers. Hang on a minute! Look, come to think of it there are some people out there who would like to hear about fishing. Do you remember that programme many moons ago called ‘Out of Town?’ Yeah, the old geezer with the pipe? Smashing fella! It was about country life, in the way of horses, blacksmiths, fishing, farriers…. farriers?? I know what ya’ thinking!
What the dickens is a Farrier? Well, let me explain. A Farrier is a geezer who goes around changing horse’s shoes. Now you thought it was the blacksmith, didn’t ya’? You see, there’s a lot more to me than just a guitarist/ex-football lout/taxi driver, eh! I used to watch this programme every week as a kid and I really did love fishing, but if those credits went up after I’d waited all week to watch it and there hadn’t been a bit about fishing, I’d get the right hump.
This particular Bank Holiday Weekend me and the lads (about eight of us) decided to go all night fishing for eels off a place called Kingsgate, right next to Broadstairs. We’d actually fish off the top of the cliffs. This was a bit dangerous, especially at night because it was quite a drop from the cliff top; around about eighty feet. But it was a good spot. The only bad thing was a lot of the eels used to get off the hook before they reached the cliff top. If the eel did stay on, by the time you reeled it out the water, up the cliff to the top, the dead weight of it felt like you had caught a whale.
Kingsgate is a lovely little posh area, you’ve got a nice big Kingsgate castle, North Foreland golf course and a boozer called ‘The Captain Digby.’ There was a pathway that ran from the road, past the boozer and all the way around the cliff top. There was also a fence to stop you going over to the cliff’s edge, so we would climb over the fence onto a plateau, were we’d fish.
We never bothered to go in the boozer as we didn’t need to drink, we were too busy fishing. LIAR!! LIAR!! Alright, we had our own mini pub with us, a right cocktail of piss, anything from Watneys Party Seven to Babycham (SICK). The problem with the Party Seven was that once it was open you had to drink the lot, otherwise it’d go flat. It’s called Party Seven because….. You got it in one; it had seven pints in it.
Funny that! You don’t have to be Einstein to figure that out, do ya? I bet drink drivers would try and pull the wool over the copper’s eyes when they were being pulled over for drunk driving and say something like “Honestly officer, I’ve only had the ONE CAN so I can’t be over the limit.” It was a popular choice and value for money (for all you reduced item shoppers or bargain hunters out there). Scotsmac! I wonder who invented that? I think it could have actually caused long-term damage to ones brain if over indulged. We also had cans of Double Diamond and last but not least, a personal favorite of mine, Olde English Cider – marvelous, classic.
Once upon a time when I was at a party, I drank a whole bottle of that piss water cider Olde English. This was also a milestone for me ‘cos it was the very first time I got drunk. All I can remember was waking up with my head in a bowl of puke. Bloody marvelous! The bowl was nearly full of brown liquid that really stank and, just to top it off, there were loads of peanuts bobbing about in the froth. Ever since that day, just the slightest whiff of that cider would make me wanna chuck.
It should have been banned, or kept for those tractor drivers, way down in the West Country. Did you know that up in the real world we have Auto Trader, and down in the West Country, they have Tractor Trader? How funny’s that? We saw a copy of it in a shop in Bodmin Moor when I was working down there in the summertime not so long ago. So here’s a little footie tune for all you scrumpy drinking tractor drivers of the West Country!! OOoh!!AAArrhhh!!!
“I can’t read and I can’t write
But I can drive a tractor
I’m a Bristol City fan and
I’m a fuckin’ wanker!!!!
Come on farmer Giles, it’s only a bit of banter!!!”
I’ll have to thank the Millwall boys for that one. I never went to either of the Bristol clubs back in my football days.
Back to the fishing, hooray!! Right, so we don’t need a boozer ‘cos we’ve got our own. I had a motorbike back then but I wasn’t a so-called Biker or Rocker, I just had a bike. It was a Suzuki GT185 and for a relatively small bike, it went like shit off a shovel.
We’d been fishing for a few hours when Bog Rat and Woz (two of my mates) decided they needed to go to the shop (to get some puff, wink! wink!) and the only way to get it was on my bike. ‘Cos there was no way I was going; I was too busy concentrating on my fishing and that was that. So good ol’ me let them use my bike.
After all, it was the only bike, all the others had bikes but left them at home so they could be dropped off with the tents, sleeping bags, stoves, alcohol, wood for the fire and all the other camping goodies we needed.
To me, there was always a strange feeling of anxiety whenever you lent someone your motorbike. Thoughts and questions would run through my head like… ‘I bet they’ve come off?’, or ‘Am I imagining it or have they been ages?’, or ‘They’ve been pulled by the pigs and ain’t got no insurance?’, or ‘I bet they thrash the bollocks out of it once they’re out of sight!’. On this occasion, they really had been ages and I was really getting paranoid. It really seemed like hours, then phew! Sigh of relief and all that. I saw a headlight coming down the hill towards the pub and then I could hear the engine.
Yeah! That’s my bike! The only problem was it wasn’t slowing down to turn off to where we were fishing. Terrific! Closely following behind was another headlight, followed by another headlight, then more headlights, then a hundred headlights and then seemed like THOUSANDS OF BLEEDIN HEADLIGHTS! It was the Mods! And they looked like they only had two goals in mind; my mates and my bike!
The good news was the quick thinking of Bog Rat, to which we were all extremely grateful, was not to drive to where we were fishing but to carry on out of sight what a very cunning move. They would’ve kicked the shit out of all of us, fishing or not. Bog Rat must have known that there was no way in a million years those poxy Lambretta’s or Vespa’s would catch my Suzuki rocket, so happy days!
About half an hour had past and there hadn’t been any sight or sound from them or my bike. My ‘Bothered Ohmeter’ was going crazy. The Mods were still buzzing around up and down the road, although not as many now. We’d turned our fishing lights off by now too, and put out the fire and just sat there waiting in anticipation. Suddenly, two figures came running out from the mist and light from the road like Batman and
Robin. It was Bog Rat and Woz! Their exact words were, and please excuse my French, “YOU CUNT, your bloody bike ran out of petrol.” Now I’m quite good at making up excuses and I was gonna hit them with “Well if I’d known you were doing time trials for the 24 hour Le Mans, I would ‘av put some more in it” but I really couldn’t believe that it had run out, I totally forgot! In all fairness to them, and let’s face it, at least we didn’t get a kicking, and yes, Le Mans is a car race.
We’d heard that there was going to be an invasion of Mods this Bank Holiday weekend and, I’ll give credit where credit’s due, there was about 800 of them which made our Skinhead firm look pathetic. We never had any intention of going looking for them down Margate.
Now where the hell’s my bike? They said that they’d abandoned it about a mile up the road, in some bushes, just round a corner by the golf course. Well, my imagination was running riot as to what, by now, my bike was gonna look like. I had visions of it being stamped on, jumped on, set fire to and then dumped off the cliff! We had to play a waiting game. Well, I did it was my bike, they all had lifts home in the morning.
This wasn’t the only unfortunate bit of bad luck to happen to me that night either. While we were fishing my line had got snagged on the edge of a rock shelf in the sea. I really had a strong line on my fishing reel so it must have been the weight that was stuck, ‘cos the hook would have straightened out under the pressure of the rod.
Anyway, my mate, Geoff said: “Give it ‘ere, let me ‘av a go”, so I let him. He gave it an almighty great yank and my rod shattered into about ten pieces – bloody marvelous. I shouted out rather sarcastically “Is there anything else anybody needs to break, nick or smash-up of mine, you can have the keys to the house! Go on, get in there and do some damage.” It was plain to see, I WAS NONE TOO PLEASED!
In the morning I took the walk of doom to try and find my bike. God knows where it was! I walked slowly, fearing the worst. It really was a bad night, we were lucky not to get a right hammering from the Mods. My mates had really pushed it with them, calling them all the names under the sun knowing full well that they were gonna get away and escape on my bike. I could just imagine my bike looking like one of those cars at the breakers yard that had been crushed into a little square block.
I kept walking nearer to the so-called location where my bike had been left. Left to be fed to the lions more like. As I got closer to the bushes, I could see a part of an exhaust pipe sticking out of the undergrowth. I composed myself and took a deep breath. I noticed it was still in the shape of a bike as I drew nearer, there was some hope. I picked it up and put it on its stand. Everything seemed intact. No new dents, no pipes pulled off, the tyres were still pumped up, the only thing missing was the keys. Result!
But now I had to push it home and it really was a long way to my house, and even if I’d put petrol in it I still didn’t have the keys.
That long walk home was a scary one; I was thinking it would be just my luck if that enormous great gang of Mods came along the road as I was pushing my bike and kick ten bells of shit out of me.
About a hundred yards to go ‘till the finishing line, my house and I could hear the noise of engines, you can’t mistake that hairdryer sound. It was a couple of Mods and, just like Bog Rat and Woz, it sounded like they were stopping for nothing. Then low and behold, following behind them was a big group of Greasy Bikers. What happened after that only they’ll know. I really hoped that little group of Mods didn’t get it, ‘cos I felt I’d got away with it with them. I would’ve taken the walk home over the smashed up bike any day. Cheers Mods!!
LONG LIVE THE WHO!!!!!!!!!!!