The dangers of skating

“What sort of gun do think that is?” I turned to my friend.

“Looks like a 9mm Baretta” he replied.

“Do you think he can hit us from there?”

“Yeah, probably.”

“Ahh right, do you want another pint? I’ll get these in.”

It was Sunday. I remember it quite well. It was June or July. School had finished and it was the beginning of summer. Myself and a house mate were sitting down to watch Songs of Praise. Throwing things at the screen each time Thora Hird appeared. Neither of us wanting to get up and turn it over.

Suddenly the back door flew open and in walked the mutant dwarf. Huffing and puffing, in a foul mood. It wasn’t an actual mutant dwarf, just a short house mate we had fallen out with.

On returning home from the pub one night, me and my friend found our names on the hit list we had posted on the wall. Just next to the giant head of Cliff Richard and the human meat guide. They had been scrawled on to the bottom by the mutant dwarf.

The list was a list of those first against the wall when the revolution comes. Or those first against the wall even if the revolution didn’t come. Back then we were idealistic students, not the bitter old curmudgeon I’ve now become. The dwarf had no right on putting our names on it. It was our list.

Sure, we had burnt down the washing line and urinated on the gnome on many an occasion, (it wasn’t even her gnome) but that didn’t give her the right. Ok, so many of the names on the list were on there for a lot less. But it was our list.

I summed up the energy to ask what was wrong.

“They wont let me through”.

“Who wont?”

“The police. They say there’s an incident at the bottom of the road and they’ve cordoned it all off. I can’t get to my friends.”

I turned to my house mate “ Fancy a pint?”

We left the house and made our way, via the back streets to where the incident was taking place. It was slightly surreal. Hanging out of an upstairs window of the now defunct Palais nightclub was a man waving a gun. Every now and then he’d push it against the woman’s head he had taken hostage. Down below the firearms squad were lined up. Machine pistols in hand. Bullet proof jackets and helmets. Alsatians straining at the leash, just waiting to be let loose.

The Palais was a nightclub at the bottom of London road in Sheffield. It had a strange pagoda roof. Eventually it fell on hard times and became The Music Factory. The grubby white paintwork being hidden by black paint which appeared to have been applied by idiots. It was a bad job. The Music Factory came and went and was replaced by a nightclub called Bed which promptly burnt down. After several years the derelict building was bought and turned in to a Sainsbury’s which still retains the odd pagoda roof.

I’m assuming the club was called Bed so that you could amusingly turn to your friends and say “Do you want to go to Bed with me?” That joke would be funny for lets say, at least thirty seconds.

I came back outside with two pints. Flowers Original I seem to remember and handed one to my mate.

“Anything happened?” I enquired.

“Not a lot. I think he’s let the woman go”

A few moments later the police stormed the club. There were no shots and we could see nothing from where were standing. I assume the bloke seeing the futility of his predicament had decided to come quietly. The police bundled the character out of the door and in to a waiting police van. It was all over.
It was a pleasant evening. Early summer, warm but with a slight chill in the air. As the pub car park had no seating we retired inside to finish our pints.

Skate Central. The venue used by the Sheffield Steel Rollergirls was cordoned off this morning. A man was murdered outside the nightclub attached to it. When I passed by this morning the forensics team had finished their job and all that could be seen was police tape and two police cars. Officers sat in them looking bored as they kept an eye on the crime scene.

Ok, so skating isn’t dangerous, unless of course you live in the murder capital of Sheffield, which I now appear to.

And as for the drive by shooting that happened down my road, well that’s another story.


Popular Posts