I did say I was going to talk about the deviants, the sexual deviants, the porno mags and the rubber dolls. There was only one real anecdote with a
rubber doll, if the truth be told. I’m struggling where to start because it was such a crazy time, it was when I was starting to drink alcohol and it would form the basis of a problem in the core of the 90s, for me. I say it was a problem, but if I didn’t have that drink problem, I wouldn’t here now – so I think it’s divine providence that I drank Newcastle Brown Ale like it was going out of fashion back then.
We had some characters in HQ Battery. We lived below 29 Battery, I think? Our accommodation block was backed on to the Officers Mess and the fronted by 25 Royal Engineers Regiment. One story was of a guy called Bash Bate and he set off a smoke grenade in the accommodation block and apparently you could see smoke billowing out of the windows from the Guard Room. Everyone was evacuated and it was, in effect, a Negligent Discharge of a munition.
Bash went off to do a Special OP course with me in 1993, I didn’t get past the first week with an injury, but he carried on all the way through and decided to jack it in near the end. I think he was getting a bit stir crazy with all the covering up of the light and the luminescent strip on the Silva Compass.
We had one guy who had stacks of porno mags and you’d go round to his room and borrow one or two. Some of the pages were stuck together, especially the centre spreads. There were some sick little A5 glossy magazines, and it was reputed that he had magazines with midgets, chicks with dicks, and a whole manner of perversions. There was a shop down town opposite the launderette (Splish Splash) on Hassestrasse. It was porno shop that had a whole range of sex toys, blow up dolls, magazines, masks and it had a range of wanking booths in the back. Some of the guys would blow off steam by going in there every week. I went in a few times and bought magazines that were encased in a clear plastic bag, in fact there may have been three magazines in there too.
Here’s the tale of the guy who had just recently bought a Sex Doll. I’m not sure if it ever reached Urban Myth status.
“Ah’s gonna get me’sel a fuckin’ blur up doll. Gonna fuckin’ rag it senseless, man!” Trigger says to Pete. Trigger’s eyes are wide and wild, he’s just been paid and he hasn’t had a shag in months. Balls like fucking space hoppers. Pete, nods. It’s Friday afternoon, they’ve just been paid and he sees an opportunity here. Trigger will be back in an hour once he gets the Taxi from out front of the Camp. A smile creeps across Pete’s face. He looks up to the top locker as Trigger heads off in his, trainers, jeans and white t-shirt. The top locker is balanced on the standard issue wardrobes they had in this block (which was Block 3), the other blocks had been refurbed and kitted out with fitted wardrobes.
Pete manages to climb into a white locker balanced on the wardrobe and closes the hatch. When he hears the door open and close he opens the hatch slightly. A crack of light and he sees Trigger check that the room is empty. It’s only a 4 man room so a cursory check would suffice and he locks the main door with his key.
He rips open the plastic packaging and pulls out a flabby, deflated, plastic and what looks like a raincoat with pink bits. He begins to frantically blow at the tube that is situated at the foot of the doll. It goes up with remarkable speed as Trigger is desperate to get his lover inflated. The doll rises like a perverse corpus Christi on Sugar Loaf, arms outstretched. Pete is trying not to laugh.
Trigger drops his jeans and gets his flaccid cock out, grabs the doll and throws it on the settee. The settee is stained with cigarette burns and lager stains and spunk stains. “Reet! Yer gonna get it, yer bitch!” He squeals, his northern accent a quaver higher than normal. “C’mon then y’bitch! I’ll fuckin’ give it to yer!!”
Pete is shaking with hysterics. He’s fitting and cackling like a witch in the locker. Then he falls out. The drop is just under 2 metres. He lands with a crack. But he’s still laughing, despite the fractured arm. Laughing and crying.
Block Three was an ad hoc affair when it came to putting furniture in the rooms. Some full screws (Bombardiers) would have an entire 4 man room to themselves with a whole range of furniture. These were basically your divorced mid 30s Bombardiers, there were a few of these knocking about. Then you had us, a group of scrawny youngsters who stuck together and were a little insane. We’d get paid on the last Friday of the month, or so the rumour went. We’d spend all our wages by the time the actual end of the month came round, so we were living like kings for the last few days and skint for the rest of the month.
I had two room mates; Dave and Benny. We were skint on a Friday evening. How the fuck were we going to get enough fund to get some beers in? Dave decided to go round all the rooms and ask for a donation in the Pfennig jar. Each person was generous and gave us the odd Mark here and there. By the time we’d gone round the entire block, including the other Battery upstairs, we had about DM34.76pfg. Not bad. We got shit faced that evening. You’d generally have the best evenings when you had less. We played pool in the pool room and mess about. Great times. We were young, impressionable, still single, and our whole lives ahead of us.
Dave, Benny and me formed a group known as the Special Pisshead Squadron, and we even had T-Shirts made up too.
Sidenote: We had the T-Shirts made up in Blackpool. The front had a thug giving you the finger and the words “YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO EAT SHIT AND DIE”. On the back it said ‘Blackpool Tour 1994, Special Pisshead Squadron’ and our names in a list.
We had these special powers, Dave could drink for an eternity, Benny could drink a pint in about 3 seconds and I would drink anything. We often put these powers to the test with amazing results.
One evening the Regiment had come back from Hohne on exercise and we’d cleaned gats, sorted the wagons out and we were all in the NAAFI bar. It was packed. There were numerous birthday drinks going on. It was the 14th May and that was my birthday too. Me and two other guys, and a girl, had to stand on chairs and down a ‘Top Shelfer’ pint. It was basically, every optic in a pint. I downed mine along with the other two guys. A girl, I think she was a clerk. She said she wouldn’t down her half pint, so I did the chivalrous thing and downed her drink for her. Needless to say, I was found slumped in the vending machine area later on. I was lifted out by a Battery colleague and I then proceeded to piss on him. My autopilot system was guided by some other force. I look back and think of it as a personal demon. One Battery Commander (Thompson) called me a Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde character back in the mid 90s. I agree with him.
One of the main characters who will always be a beacon in my memory, was a lad called John Ginty. He was a quiet bloke in the Battery during the day, did his work no problems, but in the evening, he seemed to don this cape and become this super hero. He got the nick name, the Tazmanian Devil. If there was a fight, you wanted this guy on your side. He was invincible and he was fast. He’d drop people left, right and centre. He once lay on the ground, with a hand propping up his head for a penalty kick. He offered the shot to another combatant who he was fighting with. The other guy took a good run up and booted John in the face. John just got up, wiped the blood from his face, laughed, and then proceeded to pummel him. Fucking psycho, but I loved the bloke. We’d be at these raves in a place called Bramsche (about 10 miles north of Osnabrueck) and he’d be in there, on the dance floor, shouting ‘SPOIL IT!’, and he’d spoil it. He’d go topless and jump on the speakers. “SPOIL IT!!!!”
I went to his place in Catchgate one year. Fuck! That was a pissup! It was to take place over the course of 2 days and the events will be burned in my memory forever. This was a predominantly mining village in County Durham, old school rules and no women in the Workies apart from the lounge. I was told that there was a particular guy who drank in there who had just come out of prison for drug trafficking and ABH (Actual Bodily Harm). I was told to keep my distance from him, we all had to because he was a particularly volatile person. We’d been in the Workies for about 3 hours, it was about 2 in the afternoon. Some of the lads made a bet that I wouldn’t make it past 3 pm. One of the lads pulled out a packet of white powder (not naming names here J), it was a small plastic bag and he sprinkled the contents of it in my pint of lager.
15 minutes later.
I wasn’t aware of the chemical induced lager at this time, but I felt a sudden moment of clarity and sobriety. “Lads! You’ve just gone and lost the bet.” I announced in a cockney accent.
Heads turned to me.
“I feel fucking brilliant! You’ve lost the fucking bet! Hey ho! Let’s fucking go! Where’s that fucking drug dealer!? Fucking fag boy!!”
There was an eruption of cackles as the empty bag was produced and placed on the table. Oh, well, party on.
“Fucking drug dealers! I shit ‘em. Couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag,” I announce in an even more pronounced cockney accent. The table went quiet and someone’s pointing behind me.
The fellah sat behind me was the ex-convict, lunatic. He must have been taken aback. He bought me a beer and shook my hands, saying I was a good lad.
Like they say. What goes up, must come down. I’m not sure what happened at the Karaoke at god knows where it was. I trashed it I think. We ended up in Consett and I ordered a Heineken at a Taxi Rank and got told to fuck off by the guy there. I set my jeans on fire for a laugh later in John’s house and ran around his house with an S6 Respirator on. His parents were away, which I think was a good idea.
We carried on Sunday and ordered Sunday lunches down at some other pub that was at end of a long road and ended at a dead end. A bit wierd. Got a pint and on my way back from the bar I fell over landed on my back. The pint was still upright, in my hand – NOT A SINGLE DROP OF LAGER was spilt. I can get people to testify this. NOT A FUCKING DROP. Good drills that. The lads were proud of me that day, they didn’t tell me, but I could tell they were.
Back in the singlies block. We’d form Block Parties. They looked a bit like those street parties where you’d commemorate the crowning of the Queen, except this was inside with everybody’s settee pulled in to the corridor. Music blared and copious amounts of beer were drunk. I went over to 97 Battery’s block and played ‘The Drunken Sailor’. You got a can of lager, shook it and shotgunned it. Or what you could do was shake it, spike it with a key and drink from the hole – then a ‘Turbo’ was performed. This was when someone pulled the key ring and blew down it. Once the can was downed, you’d get a broom shank and look up, then do about 10 twirls before running down the corridor like a lunatic. I crashed into a door and flipped over. I had a scars from that on my back and they served as a reminder for months.
And so ends this section on Violence and Alcohol. I shall revisit this with the Dutch invasions and other sordid tales of Germany in the 1990s.