I first met George in the bogs at the Vortex. Screwdriver were playing and the atmosphere was thick with violence which jarred amongst the glitter and gladrags of the camper prettier punks. One Skin had gathered his own large turd in a pint glass and was threatening to throw it at people.
“you coming down the Vortex?”
On the top deck of the number 43 bus he explained gay sex in detail: that they took it up the arse, although some men preferred to be the fucker. He told me about some posh party where an older man locked and mounted him in the loo. I lapped it up. George told me that he was gay but that he expected to get married and have children later. That seems kind of poignant now.
“I love you babes but don’t touch the barnet”.
He only ate cheese sandwiches. His sister was in jail. In his fonzyesque leather jacket, rough but rule-bound like so many working class men, his ‘otherness’ and his talent as a cartoonist enamoured me. Like most men, he was prepared to spend any amount of money on me for drink, but food was something else: once, after a drinking sesh at the Duke of Hamilton pub in Hampstead where he and his crew, who were later to become the band Madness, hung out, I said I was hungry.
“‘Course I love you, I bought you chips”.
I looked at him: he was serious. Buying me food, even a take-away, showed commitment of a different order.
“I had to stop George from spray painting your parent’s living room with graffitti” Melissa told me.
I was shocked that a friend would consider such a thing. I still got in a heap of trouble with the parents, even though my brother and I had spent a week clearing up. We weren’t sure how to repair the fixtures and fittings though, such as the wood surrounds of the doors which had been ripped off. For a week or so afterwards whenever I went out to a club, I was famous as the girl that had ‘that party’.
“Are you talking about Nostradamus?” I interjected.