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post 41 on Saturday 4th August 2007 at 02:27

Crimes Against Normality

A youthOK so you've probably heard by now some of the sagas connected to the criminal damage that's been too regular a feature in my life over the last 9 months.

When I first moved to South Bank, I couldn't quite understand what the fuss was about. Criminal damage? Surely if you had an alarm on the house, an adequate insurance package, and the right attitude towards keeping the locals happy, everything would be OK?

I clearly just didn't get it.

These aren't hardened criminals looking for heists on Grannies Wedgwood figurines, nor are they in any way associated with some romanticised idea of bygone robberies Ė bags of swag and harmless goons and all that.

No, these are obnoxious and wicked kids; a group of young lads no older than 18, who maraud the streets of South Bank in the small hours with a mťlange of weaponry including knives, chains, and bricks.

It started off with the breaking of the rear passenger window of my trusty Ford Mondy. I came down one morning to find it had been smashed through, yet amazingly, not a thing had been taken from the inside (which incidentally contained the CD player which I'd forgotten to unhide from the glove box, and a good fifty CDs). Although a relatively harmless incident, I think this first time perhaps felt the worst for me, as I gained the realisation that I was no longer living within a crime-free bubble. It hit me quite hard, but I tried to make sense of it by stashing it away in my brain under "one-off incidents".

To err on the side of caution, I was now sure to lock the car away every evening. But even locking it in the alley every night wasn't enough to protect it from my local friendly hooligans: no Ė they somehow managed to manoeuvre their red house bricks over the 8ft alley gate to land beautifully and gracefully upon my rear windscreen, rendering it down to the shards and cubes that would later become wedged in my backside.

On a third occasion, my front windscreen was broken too.

Then the abuse on the house started, and I waved goodbye to any sense of security, whilst desperately trying to figure out how I could raise the £200+ needed to repair the window. Luckily, a friend of 13 Oak was able to help, and the whole debacle cost just pounds to straighten out.

But now, as I sit here protecting what is left of my belongings; with two broken bay windows and three slashed tyres, I start to see the severity of the situation. Not only do I lose a days pay, hours of sleep, and quality time with my fella; I also have lost my peace of mind. Because I canít explain why four or five youths would target my house, break the windows, and slash my car tyres at 1.30am, and be seen on the horizon; brandishing a blow torch in my general direction. What makes me stand out amongst my neighbours?

I certainly have things they donít have: I have a car, I have a job: two very normal things, in a normal society. I have a way out of here. They are stuck here indefinitely.

And so I sit here at 2.00am, sipping coffee to keep myself awake, jumping at every noise, and unable to get into my own bed to sleep for fear of being attacked. I can't use my car. I canít get to my job. And what have they gained? Do they feel happier for stripping me of my ability to keep moving forward? I doubt it.

But maybe this is the push I need, to help me move forward, to make me see I am different and that it's better that way. I don't belong here, sad to say. It's not a crime to be normal.

So Monday I pay a visit to the Citizen's Advice Bureaux. I find out how I can get out of here, and I go. So you see, young thugs, you're actually doing me a favour. Bet even your own Mums' didnít think you would be so helpful. Cheers lads.

tags: [ 13 oak street ] [ boro ] [ class divide ] [ crime ] [ rants ] [ south bank ]
post 49 on Thursday 10th January 2008 at 19:24

The South Bank Glossary pt1

This place actually existsGutterance
The mumbled yet scathing articulations of a drunkard South Bankian returning home from Fat Katz night-spot.

Doorstep Challenged
Subhuman species that flock into the foulest of streets to engage in some bizarre social ritual of littering the place up. Usually involves SCOOOOTER!

Land of the Undead
The square in South Bank, where old gits stagger out of Greys with the evening's entertainment/company wrapped loosely in a carrier bag under their arm; soon to be joined by numerable lifeless creatures in the form of the "dawn chorus": urban choristers who instigate the weekly braying down of taxis which drive along Normanby road, and the subsequent outbreaks of violence.

Skip Rat
A gentleman, who makes a living from salvaging "unwanted" items from refuse and waste receptacles, namely skips. Can also be found scavenging public bins when times are lean. The most infamous of South Bank skip rats is known as Bob, who can be sighted regularly around the town being followed by his pet mongrel.

Not Inhabited
Delivery men never knock since the windows got boarded up.

Power Rangers
Want-wit and impoverished neighbours who, after determining they cannot afford the luxury of electricity, attempt to wire their pre-paid meter through yours, thereby stealing the credit on your electricity supply meter. To rub salt into the wounds, the Power Rangers use your power to fuel SCOOOOTER!

Dawn Chorus
At the 4th hour of the morning, the Dawn Choristers begin their pilgrimage to Land of the Undead.

tags: [ class divide ] [ crime ] [ culture ] [ glossary ] [ rants ] [ south bank ]