Mike Harding, what do you know

January 30, 2009

It might have been hard being a cowboy in Rochdale, but it was a damn site harder being a punk, then a post punk, in Barnsley. Even worse at a shitty comprehensive, desperately clinging to its grammar school past, on the edge of the wild and windy Pennines. Being threatened by the psycho kids for wearing dayglo socks; being spat at by men in their 30’s; chased by skin heads after missing the last bus home; and worst of all – my Gran’s tears when I had my “lovely curly hair” hacked to a 1inch spike. Being a punk in a northern town in 1978 was like fighting a war.

Trying to perfect ‘the look’ wasn’t easy either. The high street was still all ‘soulie bags’ and acrylic jumpers. We had to be creative. We befriended old ladies to get ‘first dibs’ at jumble sales. A friend’s mum took all our jeans in. Red Doc Martins were dyed black. We customised t-shirts . My Dad’s old raincoat saw its first airing for 30 years ( and I still can’t understand why he hated me in it). When we had some money we skived school. Caught the train to Leeds and headed straight to X-Clothes. The coolest shop in our universe. Cavalry shirts, winkle picker creepers, bondage trousers and the hippest kids hanging out. A window into another world, big city life, London calling.

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