30 April 2015

"I'm Simon Graham, What The Fucks It To You?"

Life is short 
Filled With stuff 
Don't know what for I ain't had enough 
I learned all I know by the age of nine 
But I can better myself if I could only find 
Some new kind of kick 
Something I ain't had before 
Some new kind of buzz 
I want go hog mad I'm lookin and lookin and lookin for 
Something I ain't had before 
I'm lookin' and lookin' and lookin and lookin to find 
Some new kind of kick
-New Kind of Kick- The Cramps

This photo reminds me of my friend Simon Graham. Simon was a couple of years older than me when I met him and he was total Fred Smith III devotee.

I met Simon’s dad first on the compound we lived in near A’ali on the island of Bahrain. Simon’s dad must have seen me skateboarding around and approached me one day to tell me he had a son who was about to move out with him and could I show him around because he’s had some problems. At the age of twelve or so, it made me feel important and I looked forward to the day of meeting another expat Brit lad my age, cruising by the house daily until the mysterious Simon would arrive.

When he arrived, he reluctantly came out to meet me, probably because his dad forced him. He was wearing tight black jeans wild spiky hair and a Cramps T shirt  and full of Working Class Glaswegian attitude. He had very little to say to me and almost seemed irritated by me form the get go. What a let down. However, he soon picked up skateboarding. It was something I already knew how to do so I got some begrudging respect from him. Very quickly he developed an obsession with Fred Smith the III an obscure 1980s skateboarding pro (who was never really professional if I remember correctly). While the rest of us worshipped the glamorous Christian Hosoi, Simon was all about this crusty tattooed (way before tattoos were OK with square society) East Coast Alva boy. He’d only ride Fred Smith boards and soon his spiky hair became dreads like a true Alva boy. I was pretty fucking impressed and we soon became mates.

Simon introduced me to some amazing music, had a bogey collection named 'bob' that was the size of a baby's fist that he would keep in the drawer beside his bed. He also taught me how to sniff glue (not cool kids, not cool). I remember I was probably thirteen and Simon was fourteen, and he was around my house and casually lit a cigarette in front of my mum. No shits given. I remember asking her afterwards why that was OK with her and she said something to the effect of, “Well it looked like he knew what he was doing.” I was proud to be associated with him and enjoyed introducing him to people, which would often result in a classic snot-faced, “I’m Simon Graham what the fucks it to you?” Which cracked me up every time.

Often we'd stay around his house listening to bands I'd never hear of until two in the morning, drinking a crate of beer that his dad had bought for us. We were pretty tight for about one year and then one day, he said to me, "You won’t be seeing me much anymore Pete, as I am going to be pursuing pussy instead of skateboarding." I told him that sounded ridiculous but fine.

Sure enough, he was true to his word, the dread locks became flowing long hair, the Cramps became Guns and Roses and girls replaced skateboards. He lost me and I lost him. I haven’t heard from him since he left Bahrain. He did say that he could not wait to return to Scotland to try every drug he could get his hands on. Hopefully he made it safely through that pursuit. I often wonder how he turned out but really I don’t want to know. It simply wouldn’t sit well to find out he’s wasting away in an office in front of a glowing monitor like the rest of us. In fact I hope I never hear from the wanker ever again.