peter the postie

Wer'e not really here
From Gary, to Jimmy James... and Gary again.
Continuing the story from here Frank .......

From Gary, to Jimmy James... and Gary again.

I would like to say, Gary eventually learned to ride the Garelli and grew up into a fine and competent motorcyclist but, he didn’t. Two weeks later he wrote the bike off after ploughing into a skip and breaking his leg. After an age on crutches he bought a Suzuki A100 for his 17th birthday. Again, I accompanied him to the dealers to collect the bike and again he repeatedly crashed it on the way home. Surprisingly the hot mum did'nt curse me on this occasion. As Gary pulled yet another bruised bike onto its stand she looked at me square in the face and winked an exquisite eye without any further expression. Did I just see that!! .. I smiled, and tried my level best to contain my adrenaline. Red blooded teen thoughts start to wander as I compose myself later.
Billy Paul - "Me & Mrs Jones" 1972.

The Suzuki was eventually stolen, or so Gary claimed and, his next bike was a Kawasaki 250 triple. This time Gary didn’t crash the bike on the way home on account of me riding it with him on the back.
To make up for this, the following day he popped down to the shops on the Kawasaki to buy a T-handled screw-driver. Of course Gary being Gary, he stuffed this in the top of his trousers and, of course, he crashed on the way home; rear ending a Morris Minor. He would have come out of this spill relatively unscathed if the screw-driver blade hadn’t sunk into his abdomen and penetrated his liver.
The Kawasaki was junk after the crash and when Gary was out of emergency care, he bought a used Yamaha XS750 triple with the insurance payout. The Yamaha lasted a record 6 months mainly because for 5 of those months Gary was bed-ridden with hepatic dysfunction. The Yamaha met it’s Waterloo when Gary rode it into another mate’s Kawasaki 400, writing off both bikes and most of our mate’s left foot. After this, Gary had the good sense to buy a car and wear his glasses. He even found himself a wife, even though everybody else, including yours truly had already found her before him.
Sadly, I began to see a lot less of Gary's mum (Oh and Gary of course) as the years rolled by, but we did keep in touch. So let me tell you a little of how the void was filled............

The Brut gave way to the more uptempo Hai Karate. And Barry Sheene moved aside for Farrah Fawcett Majors as I discovered myself during those 70's years. A balding West indian chap at work admired the "Smiley" patches on the knees of my levi's and we struck up a kind of friendship.
It was quite an odd partnership I guess, because he was at least 40 years old, and actually played in a steel band. His name was Zargo curiously, and he introduced me to my first joint.
I repaid him by confessing that I had stolen the "Smiley" patch on one of my many shoplifting excursions into W.H.Smith in Stockport.

West indians were quite a rarity in those days and having a joint smoking, timpany playing, middle aged one as a friend drew strange looks from my other friends. Thanks to Zargo I spent a lot of time trying my best to grow Cannabis plants in my bedroom cupboard until mum found out, told my biggest enemy brother, who clipped me around the ear, and threatened to have me sent to prison. Dad, on the otherhand tucked into his bacon & melted cheese and muttered something about "President Ford having another assasination attempt on his life". Who cares???

Girls were becoming a much bigger deal to me too, and a drug fuelled 16 year old on a sports moped was a good catch for most of the fairer sex in Levenshulme. The seventies were now really opening up to me, and yes I did conquer that large breasted girl that lived next door. It was nothing complicated. After some flirting and playfully calling her "Turkey tits" I persuaded her to climb through Mr McEvoys garage window with me, and there we did the deed. Two virtual kids fumbling around amid pots of paint in the dark but we got there in the end.

We spent a few weeks together after that and even the mighty Fizzer took a back seat briefly as we spent time dancing to Jimmy James "Blame it on the pony express" or Van McCoys "Hustle". The latter song was one that everyone danced to at our youth club. A line of boys on one side facing a line of girls on the other. One week we'd all be wearing "Stones" trousers, the next we'd be wearing "Two tones". Fashion really did change on a weekly basis in those days, though I drew the line at "Canary Yellows".

My big breasted girlfriend from next door was a really nice girl, but after those few brief dance & fumble filled weeks I got bored and needed her out of my hair. I rode off on the mighty fizz, leaving her sobbing whilst listening to Jimmy Ruffin on her doorstep. I just loved life and wanted to live it to the full at whatever cost. And besides, she thought David Cassidy was better looking than me.
Summer was in full swing, and Tony Orlando & Dawn was'nt doing much for me. I took her best friend Joy Withers to see "Jaws" and she chucked her boyfriend the next day. He was a round faced kid with red flakey skin around his cheeks, so no great moral victory for me there. And yet Joy was a very apt name as it turned out, but thats another story.

August 1975. Anthony Pallaggi, the 13 year old brother of Mike & Albert is buried alive whilst digging for old pottery & bottles on spare land. He often showed me the treasure he'd unearthed from those digs. Green bottles with glass stoppers in the neck. Now his picture was on the front page of The Manchester Evening News. Suddenly, the world seems unreal. Even at the age of 17 I grasp the enormity of the tragedy and never forget it. His Hungarian father never did get over it.
The Bee Gees make a return to the charts with "Jive Talkin" ..... So what?

So what about Gary? Well for most people the story would end happily there but, not with our Gary. He took his young wife on holiday to Corfu, a place I'd never even heard of. Whilst there he hired yet another bike. If only the greek business owner had half a clue of Gary's somewhat peppered history of motorcycling.
Gary mounted the bike, revved the engine, dropped the clutch too quickly, careered onto the road and smashed into a lamppost. The bike fell on top of him, crushing his rib cage and 4 feet of small intestine. Gary ended up in hospital again and was eventually flown back to England, where he virtually took up full residence in Wythenshawe Hospital.

The hot mum phoned me up and asked if I could bring him in a couple of bike magazines when I visit? Now its been two or maybe three years since I last saw Gary & his mum, and a lot of water has flowed under he bridge. I could very easily tell her I was'nt going to be visiting Gary, but this was Gary's hot mum on the end of the line and to be honest I was struggling to say anything at all. I probably had the vision of the yard brush in my sad head and although common sense told me to give it a wide berth, how can I refuse a mate?

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