Sunday, May 20, 2007

Idiot Head

When I was a schoolboy, I had a friend called Bruce, commonly known as "Toota" (although I don't remember why). He was a member of a schoolboy band called Applecore along with Stew, Tud and a fourth lad whose name escapes me.

Toota came from what today would be called a dysfunctional family. He lived with his Dad and Brother on the 9th floor of a tower block in the centre of Newcastle.

His Dad was a journalist for the Newcastle Journal and went by the non-de-plume of "Joe Cona", inspired by their coffee machine. The brother was called Norman who was large, fat and hairy, wearing denim and liking heavy music. Norman had an unusual hobby- he transcribed cricket scores out of Wisden almanacks into exercise books. He was friendly enough, although another of Toota's friends used to wind him up mercilessly.

Toota shared a room with Norm but as Norm mostly watched Telly, whenever I came round we would go into the bedroom and Toota would play guitar. He had a Hofner Bass copy as he was a big fan of Paul McCartney and the Beatles. He wore a leather jacket and had hair long at the back.

At some point along the way, the Dad reconciled with his Mum and she moved into the flat. One one occasion, I was invited to join them for tea, which strained the crockery arrangements somewhat and they rustled me up whatever the meal was on a saucer. Using my vast wit and repartee, I said "I've never had my tea on an ashtray before".

After that, Toota's Mum took something of a dislike to me and it was a small source of argument between the couple, as his Dad rather liked me as I had intelligent conversations with him (something his two obsessive Sons were not good at).

Toota told me once that she was openly hostile about me, saying "Is that Idiot Head coming round again?", although when I was there she just treated me with silent distain.

I sometimes wonder what happened to Toota. He got a job at a hardware store (a traditional old fashioned brown overall job in the Handyside arcade) but got the push after he was caught shoplifting an Album from Callers record department. The silly fool had stuck it up his jumper but they had recently fitted a security alarm system which went off as he went out of the door and he was caught banged to rights. He was an excellent guitarist though and had the talent to go far.

By chance, many years later, I bumped into Stew at the Kenton Bar, a large Pub near my Parents' house. It was his wedding reception night and it seems it was a bit of a shotgun wedding. We were invited back to Stew's parents house, were we found the Bride sobbing on the stairs, crying "I never wanted it to be like this" and the two families arguing. Exit stage left...


Liz said...

You've got all your lead characters for a novel there!

Delicolor said...

Liz, more like a Soap Opera.

Tasher Slapper: "Leave it Stew, he's not worth it!"

Deranged Grandma:"Who let Idiot Head in?"