Dear readers, tonight with us is a man from the seventies, here to tell us about growing up and the ethos of Punk.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I grew up in the inner city of Birmingham UK, a grim industrial city. In the early seventies working class people were moved out of the city to smaller industrial towns with new homes. We hated these towns, as there was nothing to do but drink and fight. At least the city had football teams, and with the multi-cultural community there was great food and good music. The towns had nothing but factories, pubs and trouble.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
Not really, my favourite things as a child was spending time with my Granddad in his garage; a den of interesting knick knacks. Going to the football games and on camping trips.
What do you do now?
I’m still in Portugal, still trying to stay off the drink. And writing books and travelling, doing the stuff I love. And most of all spending time with my son…we go to the footy together and hang out.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Well the story follows me and three friends growing up in the discontented seventies; broken homes, broken town, broken lives. And then Punk arrives… like a hammer blow; giving us a chance to make dreams, a chance to change. The ethos of Punk helps us fight for a life to live despite the crime, the danger; the whole knock you down pulse of the society around them. A Punk that helps us stay free from prison, and the gutter, and the mundane. So you follow our lives shaped by punk and see that we come out the other end; so far fairly intact!
What did you first think when you all went separate ways?
We still kept in touch, all the time really. That was the beauty of punk; it was a family, it replaced for many of us the families we didn’t have. And going your own route is part of the punk ethos. So I was glad that we were all away doing stuff, doing something, that’s the main thing.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
Getting involved with politics more and then the big struggle of the miners. Then things got really dangerous. Before the train attack, meeting up with the IRA guys was scary as hell.
What is the worst thing about growing up in the seventies?
No jobs, broken homes, nothing to do. No chance to go to University or do anything really. If you had a job it was in a terrible factory.
What is the best thing about it?
Punk of course! It was something new, a big kick up the arse to all the shit music that was around at the time. And it was a music that spoke for us and about us. And it gave us the inspiration to do-it-yourself. We joined bands, wrote fanzines, made clothes, became politically involved. No one gave us a chance so it gave us a chance to do stuff; it inspired us to have a go at doing things we were kinda told we could never do, achieve things we could never achieve.
Tell us a little about your friends.
Because of punk, I feel we all did OK in life. We did something with our lives. And we did a lot of different things. Me, I am still a vagabond wandering around but writing books. Jaz is a professor of sociology now. Writes books and gets to smash idiot Politicians ideas in BBC radio interviews; and he is coping with the HIV.
Julie is politically active as always. A local councillor fighting hard for her community.
Ben, ah Ben… still has a little heroin habit but paints and designs his clothes and lives out his bohemian lifestyle with his long term painter partner, in India, Wales, and London.
Any romantic involvement?
Well, there is the mother of my son, but our relationship is rocky, on and off. So I have flings now and then, sometimes long term sometimes shorter.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
The list is long. The schools for not giving us an education. Society for not giving us a chance. The Tories for wrecking the country, and all right-wingers.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
I can no longer drink in safety, so I have to try and stay off the booze. So coffee. Colour? Blue, cus of my football team. Relaxing, going to see bands and watching football and reading.
What does the future hold for you?
To still travel and write more books and spend as much time with my kid as possible
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
I was involved a lot more than people know with the political goings on in the eighties!
Nick Gerrard is originally from Birmingham but now living in Olomouc where he writes, proof-reads and edits. Nick has been at one time or another a Chef, activist, union organiser, punk rocker, teacher, traveller and Eco-lodge owner in Malawi and Czech. His short stories, flash, poetry and essays have appeared in various magazines, and has three books published.
You can find Colin on the pages of Punk Novelette.
Dear readers, join us next week to read the secret files about the first female Dragoon warrior. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.