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Memories of Death and Craziness

Beat Steve, who'd been staying at Melville Road on and off for a couple of months after breaking up with Chrissie, said casually in his broad Yorkshire accent, "Ah tried t' c'mit suicide yest'rday", and on being prompted showed me the hole in his arm - "Ah did it with a knittin' needle tha' knows" - i didn't see him again... three days later he threw himself into a gravel pit

and Lorna, who i'd once put up when she'd been sleeping out under Twickenham Bridge - i heard that she and Van made a suicide pact, but someone managed to get Van out of the water in time

John had left his wife and slept by the wall next to the cooker (with seven and sometimes more to the room, there wasn't always floor-space for everyone to lie down at once, and people would have to go away and come back another time) - Hilton persuaded me to split from Marchmont Road, leave it all behind and move to Earls Court - and that night John drank a bottle of whisky and swallowed a bottle of pills - Baz told me that by morning all the blood had drained away from the upper side of his body leaving it blue, and it stayed that way even though he tried turning him over to see whether it would run back again

Geoff gassed himself because he still loved one who loved him not - Melanie and Dominic, siblings who both ended their own lives, separately - Azar starved herself to death

Roger shared my space above the stage all winter long, and fell in love, and lived a dream, and when it ended must have been so hurt - but i had problems of my own - he came to visit and then returned to fall back into habits we'd shared some years before - and one night with friends he just kept taking more, but the next day, unlike them, he did not wake

someone told me Jon Jon threw himself off a motorway bridge - Maureen threw herself under a bus - Mary, wild and bright-eyed, spreading energy, giving in to the moment, she lost her way and drifted down, tumbled down, fell deep down, bewildered, derelict, almost unrecognised by previous friends and casual lovers, found strangled with a scarf

but there's many other stories, not all sad, some bizarre enough to make me smile - tho where are they now who could back them up?...

long past midnight hours at St John's Terrace, so hungry and out-of-it we'd bribe each other with joints 'till someone would give way and wearily drag themselves down four flights of stairs and across the road to the phone box to ring up Derek or Steve (they usually worked nights), and plead with them - and shortly afterwards, sure enough, round they'd come, complaining, carrying cardboard cartons filled with food they'd filched from the police canteen...

and when driving back from the city centre out to Headingley, they'd testily snap at us, all squeezed in the back, demanding that in future when it came to closing time, we should ask for them by name and not just phone the duty sergeant's desk and leave messages, as Fig had done, for the "Drug Squad Taxi Service"...

we told them tales of mystery dealers (again) - and though barely curious, yet with nothing better to do, they let us tag along - no wonder student doormen didn't understand when, following those who had the badges and legitimate authority, half a dozen penniless teenage junkies, Dereck D, Monty, Birchie, Little Roy... some strangely suited and booted, others bare-foot and ragged, all trooped in behind, each in turn also saying "Drug Squad!", giggling crazy, methedrine clarity, morphine holed, smashed with black charas from Chapeltown's domino-slamming pork pie hats Prince Buster's Ten Commandments pubs - how else could we attend the dance?

- Weed (February 1994)

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