I have an ambivalent, ‘to me – to you’ relationship with violence. Like the chuckle brothers, smoking crack and trying to gnaw each other’s faces off. Those of you who regularly touch yourselves in an inappropriate manner while reading this after lights out will recall that I’m pretty much the product of violence.
To recap: I was named after my paternal grandfather, who (allegedly) battered my gran on a regular basis.
Growing up in edinburgh in the sixties and seventies, violence was all around. It was the golden era of football violence. Never mind the 1980s’ casuals – football crowds were much larger back-in-the-day, as were the record-buying and/or concert-going public. And concerts – and discos – were incredibly violent places; like a cross between the circus maximus and jail-porn.
The literature of the day, certainly for those of us engaged in growing big boy hair, spots and mood-swings, were the hell’s angels and skinhead books. Peter Cave, Richard Allen, casual racism, misogyny and above all, violence. Violence was like a river everyone had to swim in and credibility points were awarded to those who brought back the best tales of force and betrayal. Points were lost for flinching or not laughing during the telling of these tales.
Kids older than the rest of us were thought to have more experience in violence than us; it was seen as something to aspire to, something to look forward to when we grew up.

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