1. THE JACKET
The three of us were about 21 or 22. There was me, Richie and Seán. It was a Thursday night, which meant it was free into the Plaza. Thursday was 70’s and 80’s night. Everyone we knew went, so ya always saw the same faces. The same lot would be there on Sundays too for the €15 in / €2.50 a drink night.
All the Tallaght heads would do Thursdays and Sundays, ya see. The outsiders, as we called them, the Clondalkin and Crumlin heads would be up there on Fridays and Saturdays. We’d only ever show our faces on those nights if we were bored and went up casual or if we didn’t bother trekking into town and fancied ‘a birra strange’.
Sometimes we would even go across to the Abberley Court. But very very rarely now. The niteclub there was were all the heads that were barred from The Plaza went. So ya knew it was bad. The niteclub at the Abbo was called 'Level 4' even though it was only two stories up. We all called it ‘Sticky Floor’. Ya wanna see it, your shoes would be literally stuck to the dancefloor. Spatula job trynna scrap them free. One lad we knew, Purdy, used to call it ‘Level Schmeck’ but I haven’t a clue why.
Some of the heads that'd be in there though, oh my days, especially the birds. No word of a lie, I saw a young’one in there one night with a tattoo of the Umbro sign. 'Love' and 'Hat' tattoo'd across her knuckles ‘cos she was missing a finger, ya know the sort. 40 Johnny Blue and Sovereigns galore. Those nights were more like goin’ on Safari.
It was approachin’ 3am and we were still outside the Plaza. The usual. Chattin’ and acting the bollocks and decidin’ whether or not to get chips and whether we should walk it or just hop in a taxi. It had been a fairly laid back night. Nothin’ mad. Richie was talkin’ to a group of people he knew from his college, Seán was around somewhere and I was just leanin’ against a wall, waiting for the lads and havin’ the odd random ‘howaya’ ‘howaya’ ‘good night?’ ‘ah yeah the usual’ sort of convos with whoever passed.
People were still emptying out from the club. Then this lad comes out. Loud like. Brash ya know? He had this mad lookin' jacket on. Richie made his way over to me. Nodded. We looked around for Seán. Couldn’t see him. The lad in the jacket starts singin' loudly…
“WELL IT’S SERGEANT PEPPERS LONELY HIGH SCHOOL BAAAAAAND”
He did this two or three times. He had dark hair in a classic Beatles cut, floppy like... and the fuckin' jacket. He had one of his mates with him. His jacket was normal. He wasn’t sayin’ anything. Just enjoyin’ his rock star mate. Next thing, John Jacket heads over towards me and Richie.
“Alright boys!” He's throwin' shapes like he's Liam Gallagher now.
Gives us both one of those ‘It’s not quite a high five, it’s not quite a handshake’ hand grabs.
“WELL IT’S SERGEANT PEPPERS LONELY HIGH SCHOOL BAAAAAAND” he sings at us.
There's a slight beat. I'm slightly baffled. Then Richie says... “Hearts Club" but the Jacket doesn't hear him.
“... SERGEANT PEPPERS LONELY HIGH SCHOOL BAAAAAAAAAAAAAND”
“Hearts Club.” Richie says again.
“Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band… Hearts Club”
Your man takes a second. Looks at his mate. Nothing. Looks at me. Nothing. Looks back to Richie.
“Aww what are you?... Some sort a’ fuckin’ Beatles expert are ya?”
“No… just stoppin’ ya makin’ a fuckin’ eejit out’ve yourself.”
Jacket can’t believe it. He looks around. He's not a small lad so I wonder if this is gonna kick off which, to be honest, is the last thing I'm in the humour of. And Richie loves a row by the way. Ya wouldn’t think it but he’s one of those quiet, friendly, funny, well-mannered lunatics. But a lunatic nonetheless. The Jacket's face changes. He smiles.
“Trev!” He calls out.
A bloke not far from us turns around. Trev, obviously. And holy good Jaysus. Trev is about 6’4 and about 22 stone. He's a bleedin' monster. Says ‘good luck’ to the people he’s talkin’ to and heads towards us. I’m not exactly delighted about this. I’m on the verge of sayin’ to Richie that maybe we should knock this on the head ya know... Make like a banana and get the fuck ou’a there but it's too late. Trev lands in.
“Alrigh’” he says to Kenny Jacket.
“This fella here thinks he’s a fuckin’ Beatles expert, fuckin’… correctin’ me.”
"Richie!!! Howaya!?” Trev says and he shakes Richie's hand.
Turns out Trev knows Richie’s brother-in-law or somethin’. The Jacket can't believe it! Trev's phone rings. He answers it. "Yeah, where are you?" he says and he turns away from us.
“Where d’ya get your jacket?” Richie asks.
“Why? What’s wrong with me jacket?"
-"Fuckin’ deadly jacket this is righ’?... Carl Barat gave me this jacket!”
“Did he yeah?” Richie says holdin' back a rye smile.
Jacket’s mate looks at me. He’s knows it's bolloxology and I can see that he's mentally thrown in the towel.
“Yeah he did.” And Jacket bursts into song again, this time it’s The Libertines, who are Carl Barat's band.
“IF YOU WANNA TRY, IF YOU…” but Richie cuts him off.
-“The jacket makes you look like a fuckin’ eejit mate.”
“The jacket makes me look like a fuckin’ eejit?”
Jacket makes a face. He's pissed off. He sees a lad close to us, whos half leaning, half sitting on a bollard texting. Big bloke, tanned, slick hair, absolutely ripped, wearing a t-shirt that looks a few sizes too small for him. Jacket taps him on the arm.
“Here mate, whatcha think of this lad here slaggin’ me fuckin’ jacket?”
Tanned bloke looks up from his phone. Unimpressed. Not the sort that likes a randomer talkin’ to him, let alone touchin' him, let alone annoyin’ him with this shit. Looks Jacket up and down. Looks at us. Looks back to Jacket.
“Yeah well he’s right to... the fuckin’ state of it!”
The Jacket scoffs... “Yeah says your man in the gay pink t-shirt!”
BANG. Daz, the fella in the pink, who happens to be one of Tallaght's biggest dealers knocks Jacket spark out with one punch. He splayed out on his back. We look down at him.
His sidekick does a legger. Daz walks off and Trev comes back over to attend to Jacket. He’s seen who's puched him but he’s made the quick decision not to start anythin'. Trev sorts of mutters “ah jaaasus” to himself as he puts Jacket into the recovery position.
Seán arrives on the scene along with everyone else who has seen or heard the bit of commotion. The bouncers start makin' their way through the crowd.
“Fuck happened?” Seán says. I look to Richie.
“Your man in Carl Barat’s jacket got a dig I think.” Richie says and we get out of there.
We decided to leave the chipper and walk it. I tell Seán the story.
“Hearts Club... I'm just stoppin' ya makin' a fuckin' eejit ou'a yourself." I say and we laugh. Richie says nothin', he just walks ahead of us.
We pass by Michelle’s house. Richie's ex. He’d been with her for about 4 years. He looks up towards her bedroom window and then walks on. Further down the street theres a house that has huge bushes over it’s front wall. Richie turns to us.
“I used to fuck all the johnnies I used on Michelle into that bush.”
“Yeah. Probably all still there.”