The Tale of the Third City
We would have had no idea as to what life outside Northern Ireland pre 76 was like and I am not going to pretend that we did. We will let the armies of day dreamer's living in fantasy world do that for us. I myself can only go on what I have heard, such as, those stories told by the John Lydon’s the Joe Strummer’s and the Billy Idols of this world. Again, you should know as well as I, the list goes on with very little or no alteration between their stories and you know it’s true. Each and every one of them, time and time again telling the same tales of woe. No doubt, you have probably seen all the films and documentaries, seen and heard all the interviews yourself, I know I have but you know what? I didn’t fall for their bullshit then and that’s probably why I am not going to listen to the bullshit being spouted about by our own local wannabe hero’s.
When Rotten & Co were speaking of their hard times back in London 74 - 75 - and 76, they weren’t speaking on behalf of the Geordie Kids, the Birmingham Kids or the Glasgow Kids. The same goes for all those kids in any other English town, city or village they may have come from. Whereas, I know what it was like for the Kids in Belfast, more importantly, I know what life was like for me and my two mates.
I can remember what it was like to roam the streets of East Belfast at night. I can quite easily recall the dangers, the same way as I can still see the crowd of lads we grew up with, as clear as a day. Still there “hypothetically” impersonate the Tartan gangs from the road and you know what? It makes me laugh just as much today as it did all those years ago. To think of them standing there, loitering on street corners always well within the secure surrounding of the estate in which we lived and, of course, well out of sight of all the other rival gangs. Now don't think I am not being cruel or bitchy by saying this, I say this because I can, because I know what the outcome would have been if ever they were confronted by any of those gangs. You see; I myself once fell victim to a rival gangs at the tender age of just fourteen. A day I will never forget, not just because I got the shit kicked clean out of me, but because I stood my ground and all those so call friends of mine ran and left me!
You know what……. When that happens you quickly realize who your true friends are, who can and can’t be trusted......I know for a fact, Ken and Gus would never have left me nor I them. I guess that was the main reasons why we saw ourselves as being different back then. It certainly was a good enough reasons to distance ourselves from the so called “Belmont Tartan”.
Then, of course, there are the more obvious and down to earth reasons. Their hobbies, their favourite past times, their weekly highlight, which was to attend the Blue Lamp Disco’s that were run every Thursday night by the RUC. Again I can still picture it! A church hall full of teenyboppers, each and every one of them, with their hopes and expectations riding high on the slim possibility of a quick snog and a sly grope of a tit, which I am sure would have brought their night to a satisfying end. At least it would have given them all something to talk about, among themselves, on their way home but if I am being honest with myself, it was their choice of fashion.
You see “Roller mania” had taken Belfast by storm a year or so before and virtually every dickhead in the city was dressing just like the famous five. I guess that’s when we truly realized we no longer had anything in common with the lads from the estate.... An understanding that came quite quickly. The understanding that we and they, were worlds apart and the closer we got to Christmas that year, well….It became even more apparent! It was them and us, we didn’t speak, we didn’t associate with them, and I am left with no doubt in my mind whatsoever, if it had've evercame on top, well…. we would have been on our own.
The facts are simple, we had started to move on while they chose to remain in that same old rut. In all fairness, we did have a slight advantage which came in the form of Ken’s older brother, Ronnie, who was a couple of years older than us but more importantly, he was light years ahead of us musically and already playing in a band that went by the name of Rudi. Who; as we now know, were playing regular gigs in pubs and clubs all over the place, in Belfast, Dundonald, Lisburn and even as far away as Larne, which is really not that far away but when you're fifteen it may as well been on the Moon.
These extracts have been taken from first dratf chapters, even though they are displayed on this site they may not necessarily appear in the book, but I can assure you without any doubt whatsoever, they most certainly are part and parcel of the "Trilogy Story"! So if you buy the Book, you like it and want to read the Chapters that are not included, they will be available from this site! Remember its 40 years of memories and 5 years of research!
I would also like point out, that we are in search of photos of the era, so if you can help please send copies of whatever you have to, email@example.com don't forget to leave your details so we can credit you. Thanks