Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (49)

Dave Dunn’s disco lights were flashing red, green, yellow and blue in the otherwise darkened hall – which was hardly the ‘Dynamite’ that the sign on the front of Dave’s decks promised but it was marginally better than nothing at all. Furthermore, the music was blaring so loudly that Gordy, Daisy and Frazer could barely hear each other speaking as what seemed like hundreds of teenagers sped around in a large circle as if it was rush hour in Piccadilly. Some were clearly novices and were tottering about just trying to stay on their feet, whilst others, like Frazer, were experts who were bombing around at twice the speed of everyone else.

Gordy and Daisy were clinging onto each other for dear life as Frazer sped off to do a few circuits, saying that he’d be ‘back in a bit!’ leaving them floundering by the door alone.

Then, as Dave Dunn seamlessly segued from A Taste of Honey’s Boogie Oogie Oogie and into Sylvester’s You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real), Steve Cool and Pippa Wilson skated into view.

For a moment both Gordy and Daisy were in shock as the objects of their affections floated by in what seemed to be slow-motion.

Gordy gazed longingly at Pippa who was in a tight-fitting T-shirt and jeans, her ample boobs pushed out proudly in front of her and her shiny blonde hair glistening in the disco lights as it flowed out behind her. She was wearing a pair of white leather pro-skates with pink wheels and lime green stoppers and was holding Steve Cool’s hand as he effortlessly skated backwards beside her on his black leather pro-skates with yellow wheels and red stoppers. His hair was black, quiffed and immaculate and looked absolutely nothing like Gordy’s cheap imitation feather-cut; his Levis were tight, too, but certainly not as tight as Gordy’s which were more like actual tights – only blue and made of denim, and he inevitably looked unbelievably cool.

“Flash bastard!” Gordy thought and was busily grimacing jealously when Pippa glanced over at him and smiled.

“Hi Geoff!” she mouthed, giving him a friendly little wave, before glancing down at his skin-tight Levis and looking a little shocked. But Gordy didn’t notice the shock on her face, just that she had smiled and remembered his name – actually, it wasn’t technically his name but Gordy was now seriously thinking of changing it to ‘Geoff’ by deed poll. Immensely happy that he had been recognised by the love of his life, Gordy threw up his hand and waved back, almost falling over as a result of the sudden movement.

“Hi, Pippa!” He yelled, waving madly, but Pippa had already gone by so didn’t see him. However, Steve Cool, still skating backwards on his super-duper skates, did see, and a vindictive little grin appeared on his handsome, cooler than cool face. But Gordy didn’t notice as his focus was still on Pippa’s pert butt as it fast disappeared into the disco throng.

Meanwhile, Daisy had ducked her head down and was skulking behind Gordy trying desperately hard not to be noticed by Steve Cool for fear of him seeing her as she presently was; bobble-hatted, boobless and baggy. But it was too late as he had already seen her and was busily planning his next move.

As Gordy squinted through the migraine-inducing flashing lights into the crowd, trying to get another glimpse of Pippa as she skated around the huge wooden floor of the hall, he spotted someone he was really, really, really hoping to avoid.

Kev.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

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Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (48)

Apprehensively, Gordy and Daisy strapped on their rented roller skates in the deserted changing room of the Drill Hall which was now strewn with bags, coats and shoes; their owners already in the ‘roller-disco’ area. Frazer had his pro-skates on in a jiffy and was now whizzing up and down the changing room at break-neck speed whilst Gordy and Daisy were still sitting on the bench seats struggling with the worn leather straps of their cheap rented ones.

Daisy, by now, had removed the snorkel parka, under much duress, but had flatly refused to remove the bobble hat and any attempt by Frazer or Gordy to persuade her otherwise had resulted in a look that said “If you want to live, step away from the hat!” and they chose not to argue.

Unfortunately, as Daisy hadn’t planned on actually going into the roller-disco after her disastrous experience with Madge, which, in her opinion, had left her resembling a very butch, very militant lesbian, she was not dressed at all as she had previously intended. Under the parka, she was just wearing a loose-fitting T-shirt and a pair of baggy brown cords – which totally disguised her freshly formed feminine figure.

Nevertheless, after a lot of coaxing from Frazer and a now much more ‘girl friendly’ approach from Gordy, who was suddenly full of compliments, she was convinced that she didn’t look too much like a boy and in fact looked actually quite attractive.

Once Gordy and Daisy were suitably shod, the time came to make an attempt at standing up and immediately it became clear that this was no easy task. Both fell over a number of times as the evil rubber wheels, that were now firmly strapped and buckled onto their regular trainers, refused to remain stationary long enough for them to get their balance.

Nevertheless, after several minutes of ‘Bambi’ like stumbling and much clinging onto the wall (in Gordy’s case) and onto Frazer (in Daisy’s), they eventually made it out of the changing area and into the actual roller-disco.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (47)

Trevor had given much thought to his outfit for the roller-disco but he was having to resort to using his not so brilliant memory to conjure up an image of The Fonz as, unfortunately, Happy Days was one of the few shows on TV that he didn’t watch. Indeed, it didn’t even feature on his radar, as he preferred shows like Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 and Dr Who which were far more suited to his geeky appetite.

Sadly, Happy Days had also finished its recent run on the telly so was no longer available to give him a point of reference.

Of course, everyone knew that The Fonz wore a leather jacket and a white T-shirt – or possibly black, or maybe blue, or was it yellow? Trevor couldn’t quite be sure – but a leather jacket nonetheless – definitely a leather jacket. He also wore jeans, didn’t he? But Trevor couldn’t think for the life of him what The Fonz wore on his feet.

Trevor was not stylish by nature. Fashion was an alien concept to him and the word ‘cool,’ unless referred to in the ‘how to stop your ice-lollies from melting’ context, was a complete mystery. So effectively teaming a leather jacket and jeans with the appropriate footwear was completely beyond him.

This presented a bit of a problem when trying to sort out his roller-disco outfit. He’d even pored through that week’s edition of Look-In but there were no photos of Fonzie – just the usual rubbish about Benny Hill, Just William and The Famous Five.

He was at a loss. He asked his mum but she had even less of an idea than he did and his dad didn’t even know what a ‘Fonzie’ was. So Trevor had to wing it.

As he left the house, on his way to the Drill Hall, in a bid to win back his best friend, Trevor’s ‘Fonz outfit’ consisted of the following:

1) A red crash helmet (open-faced, no peak) – because Trevor was almost certain that The Fonz rode a motorbike.

2) A white polo shirt (Airtex), borrowed from his dad and, therefore, several sizes too big, used as a substitute for a white T-shirt which he didn’t possess.

3) A very tight shiny black PVC, faux leather bomber jacket that had been hanging in his mum’s wardrobe since the early sixties; designed for a very slim, very short young woman.

4) A pair of sky blue brushed denim jeans with patch pockets which his mum had bought for him from Fosters earlier that Summer but he had not yet worn.

And

5) A pair of black wellington boots because both Trevor and his mum and dad had assumed them to be the most logical footwear choice for someone who rode a motorbike – particularly if it was raining. Which, presently, it wasn’t.

Trevor was not 100% happy with the outfit but he was fairly sure that anyone ‘in the know’ would instantly recognise him as The Fonz, so cheerfully made his way to the Drill Hall safe in the knowledge that Gordy would be suitably impressed.

As it was, Gordy was already inside the Drill Hall when Trevor arrived but he was not worried as he had no intention of skating. He merely intended to reunite with his best friend and give him a resounding “Heyyyyyy!”

As Trevor opened the door, the sound of incredibly loud disco music blasted his eardrums – or it would have done had he not been wearing the crash helmet. The music was pumping at full volume from the huge speakers of Dave Dunn’s Disco Dynamite.

‘Dave Dunn – still living with his mum’ – as the saying went, was the balding, 49 year old, mobile-disco king of Bradley who could be found behind the decks at nearly every social gathering held within the local area.

However, Trevor was not impressed and was extremely thankful he was safely insulated from the God-awful din.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (46)

Chapter Ten

Daisy blinked, trying to clear the fog from her newly fitted contact lenses which her eyes were still struggling to get used to. Her tear ducts were doing everything in their power to reject them which was causing her vision to be periodically blurry. ‘Par for the course’, so her optician had told her, ‘Nothing that a good blink won’t sort out’. But the fact that she couldn’t see didn’t help much when she was trying to avoid being seen.

Her plans for the roller-disco had been decimated by Madge’s psychotic snipping and rather than ending up with a hair-do that resembled Farrah Fawcett-Majors she had ended up with a crew-cut that would be the envy of most army sergeant-majors.

Madge, however, had been delighted with the cut, saying that Daisy now looked the spitting image of her idol Lee Majors. Daisy just didn’t have the heart to add to Madge’s obvious confusion by explaining the difference between Farrah and Lee – the Hollywood husband and wife who she had clearly mixed up.

Nevertheless, the whole thing had been a complete disaster and Daisy had resolved not to go to the roller-disco after all as Steve Cool would not look at her twice now. But curiosity had gotten the better of her and she had decided to sneak down and take a peek. The lure of seeing Steve Cool, even at a distance, was just too great. So in order to disguise her abomination of a hair-do she had pulled on a plain brown bobble hat that she had found in her mum’s wardrobe – the only plain, non-paisley, non-flower-power, non-mental garment in there.

Daisy also wore a shapeless snorkel parka that she had purposely chosen to further throw people off the scent of who she really was.

But it hadn’t worked. She had been rumbled and as she stood peering around the corner of the Drill Hall, blinking her eyes to get a better view of the groups of teenagers entering the roller-disco, she saw the unmistakable sight of Frazer and Gordy running towards her. Through her blurry vision, Gordy appeared to have very thin blue legs and a pair of clown shoes on, he was also running strangely, like he was drunk, which struck her as a bit odd. She was not to know that the roll-up Gordy was smoking had gone straight to his head and he’d come over all woozy, making him run in a wobbly way.

Anyway, before Daisy could make her escape and hide her embarrassment, Gordy and Frazer caught up with her.

“I thought it was you,” said Frazer, grinning triumphantly. “Wow! You look really great without your glasses! And I dig the hat too – real edgy.

Gordy knew that ‘real edgy’ wasn’t exactly what Daisy had been going for and completely understood the reason for the hat – again guiltily wishing he’d been a bit more forceful in preventing Madge’s madness. He also doubted if bobble hats could ever really be described as ‘edgy.’

But he did agree with Frazer that Daisy looked great without her glasses – really pretty and the freckles on her nose that were now visible due to the lack of hideous blue specs just added to her prettiness.

However, “Blimey!” was all he could muster, sounding unintentionally unenthusiastic due to being still worn out from his short, smokey sprint. ‘Blimey,’ in retrospect, was not necessarily the most encouraging reaction, however.

Indeed, it was open to a multitude of interpretations by an insecure, newly sheared young girl – from ‘Blimey! you look incredible’ to ‘Blimey! – you look bloody awful!’

Because she was feeling so insecure, Daisy opted to dismiss the former possibility and all too readily accept the latter, prompting her to burst into floods of tears – very nearly washing her new contact lenses away in the process.

“Hey, no – you look fine – really okay!” Said Gordy digging himself an even deeper hole.

“Fine? Really okay?” Snapped Daisy, tears streaming down her face. “Don’t you know anything about girls at all?”

“What? What did I say? You look nice. Very nice – is that better.”

“Nice, Gordy?” replied Daisy sarcastically, “Not fine or okay – are you sure? I mean, don’t go overboard!”

“Jeez, yes, I’m sure, alright! What’s up with you anyway – why does it matter so much what I think – it’s Steve Cool you’re trying to impress, not me”.

He had a point and Daisy really didn’t know why she was getting so upset with Gordy but for some reason, it did seem to matter what he thought and the realisation of that fact shocked her. Maybe it was just PMT – not that she’d had any previous experience of that before but there was always a first time. So that’s what it must be or, at least, that’s what she chose to believe.

“You’re right. I’m sorry,” she said, drying her eyes. “It’s not your fault – it’s just a bit of PMT that’s all – honest.” Just saying that she had PMT made her feel a lot more grown up and much more womanly, which was surely a good thing.

However, this was all new territory for Gordy. PMT? He thought, what the hell did that stand for? Pissed-off Moody Teenager? Post Madge Trauma? Particularly Miserable Today? He had no clue but all he said was, “Sure. No problem”.

“C’mon, guys – let’s not argue”, said Frazer, “Let’s just get in there and have a laugh”.

“In there?” Squealed Daisy. “Are you mad? I can’t go in there looking like this!”

“Course you can – you look great, really great. Doesn’t she, Gordy?” Said Frazer giving Gordy a look that screamed ‘for God’s sake don’t fuck it up again!’

“Yeah, you look fi— I mean you look fabulous!” He said. ‘Fabulous’ was clearly well over the top but it was certainly better than ‘fine’ which was what he was going to say until he caught Frazer’s eye. And it seemed to work.

“I do?” Said Daisy brightening a little.

“Yes”.

“Really?”

“Yes, really!” Gordy and Frazer said in unison.

Daisy smiled. “Well then, I could go in for a little while, I suppose”.

“Good. C’mon then”, said Frazer, “We’ve already missed the start and everybody’s gonna be out on the floor before we’ve even got our skates on!”

“Then we’d better get our skates on!” Said Gordy chuckling at his own pun, which was a typical ‘Alan’ type of joke that would have gone down well at the Golf Club or at a Round Table Dinner Dance but not so well at a teenage roller-disco. As it was, neither Frazer or Daisy heard because they were already heading towards the entrance.

“Bugger”, said Gordy under his breath before stubbing out his thoroughly unpleasant roll-up and running, in a wobbly way, to catch up.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (45)

With the T-shirt on, Gordy kept a furtive eye-out for Kev as he made his way on foot to the Drill Hall in his ‘spray-on’ Levis and what seemed to be canoe-sized trainers. Keeping his head down, he ran his fingers through his newly shorn locks, wondering how he could have made the description any clearer of the haircut he wanted to prevent him getting the haircut he got.

As it was, Santos, the barber, had done a reasonably good job but instead of getting a replica of Steve Cool’s quiffed and flicked super cool style, Gordy had ended up with a feather cut – as did quite a few people who entered Santos’ Barbershop looking for something ‘different’ – mainly because Santos could only do four sorts of haircut – a number one (skinhead), a number two (suede head), a number three (miscellaneous – which covered a multitude of requests) and a feather cut (which fell loosely into the ‘specialist’ or, on occasion, ‘punk’ category).

Of course, Santos never told his customers this as whenever anyone asked him if he could copy a certain style he would always say “yes”. This was mostly because Santos was Italian and the extent of his English was ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – even though he and his shop had been in the town for over twenty years. Anyway, a feather cut is what Gordy got and ultimately he was pleased – it certainly beat the hell out of the basin cut that Barb normally gave him or the scalping that Madge had once subjected him to – and had most likely inflicted on poor Daisy too.

Gordy looked completely different to the way he had before the Summer holidays. Gone was the plumpness, the specs and the basin cut; and no more was he dressed in clothes which his mum had chosen for him.

He had not sung so much as even one chorus of a show tune during the whole holidays and had not watched any musicals with his mum whatsoever. His comics he had stuffed under his bed and had only been briefly scanned in the privacy of his own room when no one else was looking.

His toys he had put in a box and forced himself not to look at or play with for fear of being lulled by their bright, plasticky allure.

He was making progress and felt incredibly proud of how far he had come – he had even seen and touched a boob for Christ sake! Now that really was progress.

Indeed, he even felt reasonably cool, especially modelling his new haircut and clothes.

He was a smoker now, too, and a music aficionado. He was also a good(ish) dancer and was on his way to meet a new, extremely cool friend who, as far as Gordy knew, did not have a penchant for dressing up as TV characters.

Gordy had managed to tick-off many items on The Cool List in a very short space of time and tonight, he was hoping, that his efforts were, at last, going to pay off.

As he approached the Drill Hall, which was a low, box-like building with a pointy railed fence surrounding it, Gordy thought about Daisy again and expected to see her by the gates waiting for him, but he didn’t. He did, however, see Frazer or, at least, Frazer’s mohawk which was clearly visible over the heads of several other roller-disco devotees and, this evening, was dyed bright purple and seemed to stick up higher than ever.

When Frazer saw Gordy he threw up an arm (complete with wide, leather wristband with metal spikes sticking out of it) and waved him over.

“Hi, Frazer,” said Gordy, a little nervously – it still felt a bit odd having someone as scary as him as a friend.

“Hey, man!” replied Frazer cheerfully before noticing Gordy’s skin-tight Levis, “Dig the crazy spray-ons – they’re insane!”

Gordy hoped this was a compliment and he was fairly sure it was, although coming from Frazer, who was dressed in a tie-dyed T-shirt and knee-length denim cut-offs, he was not sure that he should take it that seriously. Besides, ‘insane’ was not the look he had been going for when he left home.

“Er, thanks,” Gordy said, apprehensively, “they’re new.”

“Yeah?” said Frazer, sounding not entirely convinced but happy enough to go with it. “Great.”

Frazer had a green PVC Puma bag over his shoulder, which was open, and inside Gordy could see what looked like a well-used pair of very expensive ‘pro-style’ roller skates. Suddenly he started to think that this whole roller-disco thing might not have been such a good idea. He pointed at the skates and said, “They’re nice. Am I supposed to have some?”

Frazer smiled. “No man. You’ll be able to rent some inside like most people do. I’ve just got these cos I skate a lot”. This did not make Gordy feel any better but he smiled anyway.

“Daisy not with you?” Frazer asked, looking about at the now dwindling parade of punters making their way warily passed him and into the Drill Hall and seeing no one else heading towards the roller-disco except for a small lad in a knitted bobble hat.

“No. We were supposed to meet here.”

“Oh,” said Frazer, sounding slightly disappointed. “Maybe she’s running a bit late.”

“Yeah, perhaps,” said Gordy, although Daisy didn’t really ‘do’ late. She was always on-time for everything. Once again, Gordy thought about Daisy being dragged off to Madge’s house and desperately hoped that her failure to appear tonight or, indeed, her absence at Bailey’s Bandstand that day, hadn’t got anything to do with his nan’s hopelessly hack-happy hairdresser of a neighbour.

“Let’s give her a few minutes shall we?” Said Frazer, suspiciously eyeing the young lad in the bobble hat who was now loitering at the far end of the building and avoiding eye-contact. This was par for the course for Frazer. Many people found him intimidating and had a hard time looking him in the eyes but he couldn’t for the life of him think why.

“It’s alright, mate!” Frazer shouted to the young lad, “You’re safe – I won’t bite!” However, this just prompted the lad to disappear around the corner out of sight.

“Oh, well, I tried,” said Frazer, shrugging his wide shoulders. “Fancy a fag?”

“Er, yeah, sure,” replied Gordy, eager to show off his natural prowess as a smoker.

Frazer reached into his Puma bag and pulled out a well-worn tin of Golden Virginia. Inside, along with a half quantity of tobacco was a cheap Bic lighter, a packet of green Rizla and half-dozen pre-rolled roll-ups. He offered the tin to Gordy.

Gordy looked at Frazer’s white, wizened rolled-up efforts wishing now that he hadn’t accepted the offer of a ‘fag’ so quickly. He’d only just mastered smoking ‘normal’ cigarettes, with their nice smooth lines and perfectly cylindrical filter tips. But these roll-ups of Frazer’s couldn’t be further from those. They were wrinkly and thin and had wisps of tobacco protruding uninvitingly from both ends.

However, Gordy was desperate to look cool and experienced in the art of all things smoking related and had Frazer pulled out a hand-carved Bavarian pipe he’d have no doubt had a puff on that too, so he selected a particularly puny looking cheroot and placed it cautiously between his lips only then wondering, a bit too late, if it might contain what his dad would describe as ‘whacky baccy.’

In turn, Frazer selected the fattest one for himself and sparked it up with the Bic lighter, then offered the flame to Gordy.

The taste was harsher and much coarser than the filter tips Gordy was used to and when the smoke hit the back of his throat he couldn’t help but cough a little. Fortunately, though, Frazer didn’t seem to notice as his attention was elsewhere.

The young lad in the bobble hat was now peering around the far corner of the Drill Hall and Frazer was squinting his eyes, trying to get a better view of the person he was now almost certain that he recognised.

“Daisy?” He whispered, in disbelief.

“What?” Said Gordy, spitting rogue pieces of tobacco out of his mouth that had jumped ship from his poorly packed, foul-tasting roll-up and trying desperately not to cough his lungs up.

“That’s Daisy,” said Frazer.

“What? Where?”

“Up there. In the bobble hat – peering around the corner.”

“Eh?” Said Gordy, following Frazer’s line of sight and then adding “Oh, no,” as his eyes came to rest on the ‘young lad’ loitering alone at the end of the building.

Gordy instantly recognised his friend and in the same instant realised what had happened.

Madge had obviously struck again.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (44)

The moment Gordy tried on the altered jeans he suspected that he’d made a dreadful mistake. It was not Nan’s fault, she had done just as he’d asked – which was to make them ‘skin-tight’ and skin tight they now definitely were. They were so tight, in fact, that they were almost cutting off his circulation and his poor gonads which had only recently descended had made a hasty retreat back up for fear of being brutally crushed.

Not only that but because the jeans now hugged his ankles as if he was wearing bicycle clips, his feet looked like two massive canoes. Furthermore, if he bent down even slightly, the tightness of the jeans on his legs, having no ‘give’ in them whatsoever, would cause them to slide down his backside, pulling his pants down with them, to expose the bare pink flesh of his rosy buttocks and at least three inches of bum crack.

The jeans, which now resembled a ballet dancer’s tights, made Gordy look like a poor man’s Rudolph Nureyev who was about to perform the Nutcracker (literally) in a pair of enormous trainers.

Nevertheless, the jeans were still Levi 501s so he decided to wear them anyway. Because Levis were cool.

Gordy had pondered for several days what to wear on his top half that would best set-off his brand new, mega-expensive and now extremely snug jeans. He had pored over the men’s section of his nan’s Grattan catalogue – only briefly pausing, as was his custom, on the ladies lingerie section – as he tried to find something suitable but nothing really grabbed him that shouted ‘cool!’

In the end, he chose a black T-shirt with T-Rex printed on the front in white under a picture of Marc Bolan. Very cool indeed.

However, unfortunately, the shirt took pride of place in his brother, Kev’s, wardrobe – mainly because it was the property of his brother, Kev – and he would never consent to let Gordy borrow it.

Furthermore, if Gordy wore it without asking Kev the consequences could be dire – far worse than a tweaked nipple or a Chinese burn. Kev had a rather grumpy disposition so by taking the shirt Gordy was knowingly risking a thumping. But Pippa was at stake, ‘coolness’ was at stake, and this was perhaps Gordy’s one and only chance to impress.

So it was a risk he was willing to take.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (43)

The alarm bells started ringing in Gordy’s head when Daisy phoned him on Friday evening and told him that she wouldn’t be working the next day. She said she had already cleared it with Mr Bailey, claiming that her Mum needed her to help out at home. Gordy was immediately suspicious that this was not the true reason for her absence – thinking it more than likely had something to do with Madge Essom instead but he didn’t push it.

Nevertheless, without his friend to talk to, he filled the time at Bailey’s Bandstand on Saturday by playing classic tunes on the Thorn Ultra.

Genre: Northern Soul. Customers: Too many to count – mainly Soul Boys wearing Spencers Bags and Solatios or Mods wearing Sta-prest and Hush Puppies).

During the few periods when the shop was empty, Gordy practised his dance steps, hoping the darkness of the shop would prevent him from being seen by passers-by outside, but as he slid and span around the floor, trying to master the very specific Northern Soul style that Daisy had shown him, he couldn’t help but think about her and hope that she was okay.

She had said, though, that she would meet him at the Drill Hall later, which did slightly allay his doubts – especially as he knew how keen she was to see Steve Cool. As it was, he, himself, could barely contain his excitement at the chance of seeing Pippa again.

By the time he’d shut the shop and walked the short distance to Nan’s house to pick up his newly tapered jeans, his worries for Daisy had all but evaporated and been replaced by the thought of meeting up with her and Frazer at the Drill Hall in just a few short hours for the much-anticipated roller-disco.

First, though, he had to pick-up his jeans then head straight to the barbers, who opened late on a Saturday, to get his trendy ‘Steve Cool-esque’ haircut – which he hoped would seriously impress Pippa.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (42)

Chapter Nine

Trevor was not sure what he had done wrong. He knew that Gordy still liked him but something was different. Gordy was different – or at least he was trying to be. He was apparently trying to be ‘cool’ whatever that meant.

Trevor truly didn’t understand.

Then, of course, there was Daisy who Trevor genuinely liked but found very difficult to converse with – which wasn’t just because she was a girl. She just didn’t get any of his references and knew next to nothing about Star Wars which was a completely alien concept to Trevor in both an ironic and a literal way.

After all, how could anyone not know who c-3po was? More to the point, how could Gordy ever be friends with someone who didn’t?

Anyway, Daisy and Star Wars aside, Trevor knew that he had to make things right with Gordy and after overhearing him and Daisy discussing the roller-disco, Trevor decided that Saturday night at the Drill Hall was exactly the right place to do it.

The roller-disco would be where he got his friend back. All Trevor had to do now was decide which outfit to wear.

And then the answer struck him – the perfect outfit to impress his friend.

He would go to the roller-disco dressed as The Fonz.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (41)

Gordy was standing on a dining chair in his nan’s front room holding a chipped and glued tea plate and eating burnt, buttery toast whilst his nan knelt on the floor, her mouth full of pins as she tacked the side-seams of Gordy’s hideously expensive, brand new 501s.

“I need them to be tight, Nan,” said Gordy, trying to remember how tight Steve Cool’s Levis looked when he visited Bailey’s Bandstand but instead thinking how tight Pippa’s cut-offs looked and how firm her breast felt under his palm as he accidentally touched it.

For a brief moment, he felt faint and nearly fell off the chair.

“Hold still, will you!” Mumbled Nan, through clamped lips, whilst tugging on the bottom of the jeans. “If you want them right then you’ll have to keep still.”

Gordy didn’t really know how tight the jeans were supposed to be as he’d paid far more attention to Pippa’s denims than he had to Steve Cool’s but the salesman in Debenhams had said ‘shrink-fit’ meant shrinking them to the wearer’s body shape so Gordy could only assume that they had to be as tight as possible.

“Make them as tight as you can, Nan, please,” he said.

“Are you sure, Oddbod? You don’t want them to rip.”

Gordy almost laughed. Of course they wouldn’t rip. Everyone wore tight jeans nowadays and none of them seemed to rip. Besides, these were Levi 501s, the Rolls-Royce of jeans, not the flimsy brushed-denim, patch-pocketed inferior type that his mum usually bought him from Foster Brothers or Burtons.

“They’ll be fine, Nan, don’t worry,” he said suppressing a smile. “Just make them tight, please.”

Meanwhile, Daisy was nibbling politely on her too burnt, too buttery toast whilst talking to Grandad and Madge, Nan’s best-friend and next door neighbour who had recently arrived. She had appeared at the back door much like she did at regular intervals throughout the day, usually when the kettle had just boiled, and let herself in with her customary “Cooey!” battle cry – even though they had seen her and waved to her through the lounge window when she had opened the back gate.

Madge was thin, wiry and wrinkled with an elaborately styled hair-do that looked a little bit like an over-sized, over-dyed, blonde crash helmet and clothes that were clearly designed for a woman fifty years younger. She was, however, kind and considerate and worshipped the ground Nan walked on who, in her eyes, could do no wrong.

The conversation had somehow gotten around to the roller-disco and Daisy was telling them all about it. Gordy and his nan were in easy earshot as the front room was accessed through a set of glass sliding doors that separated it from the lounge. The doors were presently open so that everyone could be involved in the conversation.

It was at this point that Daisy made her fatal error.

Quite innocently, she mentioned that she was planning on getting her hair done for the big event, not noticing the sudden gleam in Madge’s eyes or Grandad shifting slightly uncomfortably in his chair. Nan, too, stopped pinning and turned to look at Daisy, willing her not to continue.

But Daisy was oblivious. “Yes,” she said, “I’m hoping to have it styled like Farrah Fawcett-Majors – you know, Jill Munroe from Charlie’s Angels?

Grandad didn’t know, nor did Nan and neither did Madge but that didn’t stop her from saying “Ooh, yes. Lovely. That would look so nice on you – really suit you.”

“Do you think so?”

“Yes, definitely,” said Madge. “I can see it now. Beautiful. But it’s an easy cut – especially for someone with such lovely hair.”

Daisy had never heard anyone describe her hair as ‘lovely’ before and was so flattered she didn’t notice Grandad nearly choking on his tea or Nan almost swallowing a pin. Even Gordy stopped chewing on his last mouthful of toast as he listened, aghast, with butter running down his chin.

“Thank you,” gushed Daisy, “That’s so nice of you to say.”

“It’s nothing but the truth my dear. Your hair would be a pleasure to cut – I would do it for nothing – I mean, even after all my years as a hairdresser, it’s still lovely to see such a wonderful head of hair.”

Grandad was now looking over at Nan with alarm in his eyes whilst she, in turn, was positively glaring at Daisy, desperately trying to prevent her from falling into the opening trap. Gordy, too, was wishing he could employ the Jedi Mind Trick and was trying to use The Force to tell Daisy that ‘This was not the hairdresser she was looking for’, but Daisy stumbled unwittingly on.

“You’re a hairdresser?” she asked Madge, which was the $64,000 question – to which the $64,000 answer should have been a resounding ‘NO!’

Madge had worked in hairdressers once in the early fifties – sweeping the floor and making tea, sometimes washing hair but she was NEVER a hairdresser even though she liked to think that she was.

Of course, poor Daisy wasn’t to know that for ‘Crimes Against Hairdressing’ Madge had previous form. Barb, Alan, Kev, Gordy and Nan, too, had all been past victims of one of her scalpings, each having been lulled into it by Madge’s flattering and fictitious credentials. Only Grandad had escaped because he was bald and Izzy because after her other two children had been sheared within an inch of their lives, Barb swore it would never happen again.

However, Madge just smiled knowingly at Daisy and replied, “Ever heard of Mister Teasy Weasy or Vidal Sassoon?”

Daisy hadn’t but said “Yes.”

“Well, I’m Madge Essom.” This was clearly not an answer that meant anything whatsoever – it certainly wasn’t the answer as to whether she was a hairdresser or not but Daisy seemed to miss this completely.

“Wow,” she said.

“Yes, wow,” said Madge proudly. And then came the hammer blow. “I could do yours if you like – save you a lot of money. Won’t take long?”

By now, Nan was shaking her head furiously and trying to verbalise a warning but her mouth was so full of pins that it resembled a porcupine’s bum and she could do nothing but make some very odd noises.

Grandad was trying to defuse the situation by saying, “Oh come, now, Madge – you’re far too busy,” even though the woman hadn’t actually been ‘busy’ since 1967 but he was grabbing at straws. “And Daisy, surely you’d be better off going to a place that’s much more young and trendy—” he continued desperately before being cut-off.

“Young and trendy!” Exclaimed Madge, “Why how old do you think I am, Sid?” Grandad knew for a fact that she was not a day younger than seventy-eight but thought it best not to bring it up. “I’ll have you know that I still keep up with the fashions and would like nothing better than to help Daisy out – and save the poor girl some money too!”

“Do you think you could cut it like Jill Munroe?” Daisy broke in.

“Jill who? Oh, yes you mean the little girl from ‘Charlie’s Thingamajig’s’, yes, of course I can. Easy.”

‘Little girl’ and ‘Charlie’s Thingamajig’s’ should have been enough to stop Daisy in her tracks but instead, whilst Gordy, Nan and Grandad were waving their hands and shaking their heads in a bid to stop her, she said, “That would be great, thanks.”

“Super,” said Madge. “Come with me and we’ll get started straight away.”

“No, Daisy, wait!” Shouted Nan, frantically spitting pins out on the carpet. “Stay here, please – have some more toast, have a drink! – Sid, show some gumption, quick!” ‘Show some gumption’ was another one of Nan’s famous phrases and meant ‘show some initiative’.

“Yes, stay!” Said Grandad trying to do what his wife had demanded. “Stay and have some Nesquik – please!” The word ‘Nesquik’ had never previously passed Grandad’s lips and he knew not what it was but it had to be better than the fate that awaited Daisy at Madge’s house.

“Why, Sid, Mrs Lancaster, anyone would think you don’t trust me to cut Daisy’s hair – which of course, I know is not true.” Said Madge, “She’ll look perfectly lovely when I’ve finished with her – just like this Charlie she loves.”

“Jill Munroe FROM Charlie’s Angels,” said Daisy correcting Madge.

“Yes, quite, dear, Charlie from The Angels,” said Madge.

Nan and Grandad were speechless now. They knew Daisy was lost and they wished they could save her but it was too late.

However, Gordy wasn’t ready to give up. “Hadn’t you better be going home?” He said, attempting to save his friend from Madge’s incompetent clutches one last time. “Your mum and dad will probably be worried!”

Daisy smiled. “You’ve met my mum and dad, right?” She replied sarcastically, “I’ll be fine, don’t worry. I’ll meet you on Saturday night down at the roller-disco. I’ll be the one who looks like Jill Munroe.”

More like bloody Matt Munro, Gordy thought, if Madge had anything to do with it. But he remained silent as Daisy, being led by the hand, left Nan’s house by the back door and headed innocently to Madge’s ‘salon’ next door.

As Gordy and his nan and grandad looked helplessly on, it was like watching a lamb going off to slaughter.

“Oh shit and corruption,” said Nan, using yet another of her famous phrases.

And Gordy and Grandad couldn’t have agreed more.

To read on, please download the complete novel here.

Jam Tops, The Fonz and The Pursuit of Cool (40)

“Hi, Nan, Grandad,” said Gordy, rather self-consciously. “Erm, this is Daisy.”

“Well, strike me up a gum tree!” Said Nan, as Daisy shuffled into the room behind her beloved grandson. ‘Strike me up a gum tree’ – was an expression of surprise and one of Nan’s famous phrases. Another, which meant roughly the same, was ‘I’ll go to the foot of our stairs!’ Nevertheless, whichever of the phrases she used, she was, indeed, surprised to see Gordy being accompanied by a girl.

However, she recovered well. “Oh, Daisy, is it?” She said conspiratorially, “Hello, Daisy, come in. I’m his nan. Would you like some toast?” This was the standard question Nan asked to anyone associated with Gordy mainly because Gordy, himself, liked toast, particularly Nan’s toast which she cooked under the grill and allowed to get quite burnt before serving it up with lashings of melted Lurpak. Gordy had toast almost every time he visited his nan. It had become their ‘thing’ and one of his very favourite pastimes.

“Er, toast?” replied Daisy, a little taken aback by Nan’s opening gambit, “Um, no, I’m fine, thanks.”

“Oh,” said Nan, sounding slightly disappointed. “Maybe later then, eh?”

“Yes, maybe,” said Daisy with growing confusion but sensing the strange importance of toast in the old lady’s life.

“Hello, Daisy!” Chimed in Grandad, as if greeting an old friend he hadn’t seen since the outbreak of World War II, and rescuing her from the slightly awkward ‘toast stand-off’ which had unexpectedly arisen before making things much worse by adding to Gordy, “You didn’t tell us you had a girlfriend Woggitt!”

Both Gordy and Daisy coloured up which had been a rather annoying and regular habit of late.

“She’s not my girlfriend, Grandad. She’s just a friend, that’s all. We work together at Mr Bailey’s shop.”

“Oh, just a friend are you Daisy?” Said Grandad, clearly not believing a word of it.

“Oh leave them alone, Sid, you interfering old man!” Snapped Nan. “It’s nothing to do with you.”

But Grandad just grinned and puffed knowingly on his King Edward. “Sit down, Daisy, take the weight off, any ‘friend’ of Woggitt’s is a friend of ours. Ignore that old biddy,” he said, jabbing a thumb over his shoulder at Nan, she’s only ever ratty with me, no one else – so you’ll be fine.”

“Oh, be off with you, you silly man!” Said Nan, clearly nowhere near as angry as she was pretending to be and guiding Daisy into one of her ‘best’ chairs – the one which was reserved for the vicar, the Avon lady and the nice man from Prudential Insurance who came around every Wednesday evening to collect their contributions.

“Now, Oddbod,” she said, as Daisy made herself comfortable, “I’m sure you’ll have some toast, won’t you?”

“Yes, please, Nan, two slices,” replied Gordy relieved that the topic of conversation had moved on from ‘girlfriend’ and back to ‘toast’.

“Daisy, you sure I can’t tempt you?” Said Nan, “I’m making some anyway?”

“Oh, okay then,” said Daisy finally caving into what she assumed was some kind of important initiation ritual, “I’ll just have a slice, thanks if that’s alright?”

“Of course it is, sweetie,” said Nan visibly brightening now Daisy had accepted the traditional welcome gift of toast.

“I’ll have a cup of tea, Gert, if you’re going out there,” piped up Gordy’s grandad, winking at Daisy, ‘out there’ meaning the kitchen, which wasn’t really ‘out’ anywhere other than about three feet away through an open doorway.

Gordy’s grandad had called his wife ‘Gert’ to be purposely mischievous. It was her name but she hated it. She had been named after three aunts; Gertrude, Ada and Florence and she despised each one  – the names, not the aunts. However no one, except her husband ever called her ‘Gert’ or even worse, ‘Gertie’ which Grandad frequently did when he was feeling particularly naughty. Very few people, other than family knew her first name and even her very best friends all called her ‘Mrs Lancaster’ which was very formal for a woman of such an amiable disposition.

“I should cocoa,” said Nan, using yet another of her famous phrases. This one, in this context, meaning ‘you should be so lucky’ – although it was used in a myriad of other ways which were Nan’s to call upon as and when required.

“Don’t be like that, my sweet,” said Grandad marshalling all his considerable charm to persuade his wife, whilst winking once again at Daisy and Gordy, clearly delighting in showing off for them, “You know I love ya!”

“Oh, alright, bloody man!” Nan said, instantly buckling but also happily playing along with her husband’s well-practised routine.

“Thank you, dear one,” Grandad said with exaggerated effect as Nan stepped into the kitchen and clicked the kettle on.

“Can I get you a tea, Daisy?” Nan called.

“No, thanks,” said Daisy hoping that this wasn’t yet another initiation.

“Coffee?” Nan said.

“No, thanks.”

“Milk?”

“No.”

“I’ve got some Nesquik, both a banana and a strawberry flavour?”

“No. Thank you.”

“Orange squash then?”

“No.”

“Ribena?”

“Er, no. Thank you, I’m fine.”

“I’ve got some Robinson’s Barley Water – Lemon, I think, somewhere in the pantry – would you like some of that?”

Nan’s pantry was fully equipped to keep a small army alive for months in the aftermath of a nuclear war. She never bought one tin when six would do, never passed up an offer to buy one get one free and never knowingly had too much of something. If Heinz ever started running low on soup, they could call Nan up to help prop up supplies. She had tinned goods and preservatives in the back of her pantry that had been there since VE Day and, according to her, were all still ‘perfectly edible’. Gordy seriously doubted it, as did everyone else but it still didn’t stop her buying yet more of it.

“For God’s sake woman!” Grandad said. “She doesn’t want a drink.”

“How on earth do you know?” Said Nan, indignantly before peering around the door and saying to Daisy, sweetly, “Sure I can’t get you anything?”

“Sure. Thanks.”

“Okay. Well if you change your mind, just ask.”

“I will,” said Daisy.

“Praise be!” Said Grandad. “Thank the Lord that’s over. Now, Woggitt, what’s in the bag?”

To read on, please download the complete novel here.