Claudia McLeod, Derby
‘And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack’
Jody skimmed greedily through the collection a’music on Haydn’s laptop. I grimaced, but the only person who felt awkward and annoyed at this point were me. We’d played a gig in a Derby pub, and so the rest a the band got invited in various vegetative states ta hang out at our flat in Dresden House.
Jody’ud already explored ev’ry nook an cranny lyke an excited cat. Little Nic, our drummer, shadowed him fa fear of havin to talk to anyone else. Marc, the bass player, were so drunk that he was tryin to hit on Cookie, and t’other guitarist Olly, had thankfully fallen asleep after an evenin of hyperactivity. No doubt unable to track down any drugs to maintain that sort of energy.
It were in rusty blue hours lyke this that I wanted to break-up the band. It were bad enuff that I had to attempt a civil relationship wi’ an ex-boyfriend, wi’out him bondin wi’ Haydn over a slobbering love for Talking Heads and Neil Young.
Rufio, discarding thoughts of Patti for the moment, gazed adoringly at Nic and attempted to mekk conversation.
“However does a lickuw petit poi lyke you play the drums?”
She gev him a trademark adorable scowl and he grinned and laffed.
“You not like me?!”
“She’s got bigger guns than you, Roofie,” I said.
“Really? Lemme see,” he begged.
Nic rolled her eyes and refused to roll up her sleeve. Rufio sat next her anyroad, an put his upper arm next to hers. Marc were busy writin his phone number into Cookie’s phone.
“Why is it Marc with a ‘c’?” she asked.
“It’s short for Marcus,” he replied in that public school voice. “Why’re you called Cookie, is it because you’re yummy?”
I held back the vomit.
“Oh my name is Alison Cook, it’s such a dull name.”
I tried to decide whether I should intervene to stop her sleeping wi’ him, given he would no doubt be a rayte snob to her tomorrow when he sobered. His disgust fa people wi’ dreadlocks knew no bounds. And while I didn’t much lyke her, knowin her terrible self-esteem, this would mean a few weeks worth a self-pity. Cryin on Haydn’s shoulder every few minutes about why she couldn’t meet ‘a nice boy like him’.
She’d no doubt find sum other reason fa this, but I decided it was alrayte to pretend ta be a Good Samaritan once in a blue moon. So I devised the correct topic.
“We’re goin tu’t Easy Star All Stars gig in Nottin’ham next week, Marc. Ya fancy comin along?” I asked.
“Oh gosh, all that Reggae-Dub shit? Fucking hell no. Never mind the ridiculous ‘yardie’ music. All those smelly, white students with dreads talking about ‘ganja’? I just want to smash their heads through mirrors, since they don’t know how to use them properly.”
Back of the net, I thought. Although I were slightly disappointed he’d avoided the extra icing of (mild, ignorant) racial slur. Maybe he’d ‘ventually bin around Nic enough year to know better. Cookie looked gobsmacked, Haydn slightly incredulous. Rufio laughed like a hyena. The rest ayus were already numbed to his neo-Daily-Mail opinions.
“Oh I’d love to go! I didn’t know they were in the country,” Nic enthused. “There’s loads of them, sax, trombone, it’ll be ace. Are there tickets left? Their version of ‘Karma Police’ is just amazing.”
“You can definute’ly come,” Rufio smarmed happily. “I’ll get you a ticket, my mate works in the Maze.”
“Yeah,” I added, “and Rufio’s girlfriend Patti is comin so you won’t have to wipe the drool off yar shoulder all night.”
Roofie spread his hands out, palms facin me.
“What yoo sayin bout me skank? I iz a most devoted manogumous lover!”
“Sure, sure,” I said.
Cookie gev me an accusing glare. No doubt it was my fault fa bringin a snobby, judgmental, posh boy near her personal garden.
“Don’t look at me,” I said. “He was in’t band ‘fore I joined. I’d get rid of him if it were up to me, and I sure-as-shit wouldn’t invite him around ma house.”
I shot Haydn a look, but he and Jody were reabsorbed in their muso conversation.
“Lot uv love in this band ain’t there?” Rufio said.
“It’s not a band,” I said. “It’s a conundrum of egos verses sense and both say we should give up t’ghost.”
Jody looked over now, disgruntled.
“Cool it guys,” Marc slurred, leaning against the side of the sofa. “It’s just banter, it doesn’t mean anything.”
“Hear that Joad?” I breathed sarcastically. “It’s jus banter. I don’t mean it, you lot mean the world to me an I love you inflictin yissells on my personal life.”
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