Caught by the River

Shadows & Reflections

Mathew Clayton | 27th January 2016

Shadows and Reflections: the annual collection of postings where Caught by the River’s contributors and friends take a look back on the events that have shaped the past twelve months. Today it’s the turn of Mathew Clayton. (Apologies to Mathew for this slipping through the net.)

She Looks Right Through Me*

‘What are you up to at the weekend?’ I am making small talk at the barber’s. The girl cutting my hair is about 25, she has pink hair, piercings and extensive tats of some cute looking cartoon animal – possibly feline, probably Japanese.
‘I am off to a garage night at the Concorde in Brighton’, she replies.
‘Ah. Is it 60s garage or 90s garage?’ I say chuckling.
‘Err I dunno. MC Neat and DJ Luck are headlining. What’s that?’
‘That’s 90s garage. I can’t believe those two are still going’.
‘Oh right’ she replies neutrally. There is a pause in our conversation. She changes her scissors. I decide to set off on an anecdote.
‘I remember 90s garage actually from the 90s. I had these friends that put on parties in South London. And in 91/92 I hung around Elephant and Castle a fair bit. That’s where the garage scene got going. There were these pubs that would open up really early on a Sunday, like 9am. People would set-up decks and everyone that hadn’t been to bed would pile in’. Her face was completely blank. I have never seen anyone less interested in what another human being has to say. Foolishly I pressed on.
‘The weird thing is though, the fashion at that time, for the men anyway, was leather trousers worn with tight ribbed white t-shirts and leather waistcoats. And this was accessorised with these little leather holsters that hung around the chest for your fags and your phone – a sort of prototype man bag.’ Her expression hadn’t changed, maybe I needed to make the point more clearly. ‘You know it was a VERY macho scene, that heavyweight boxer Nigel Benn was always hanging around, but the leather trousers and stuff, well,’ I paused for emphasis, ‘that is an EXTREMELY gay look.’ Her face didn’t even register that I was talking. I would been more understood if I had been speaking Latin. Don’t think I can ever go back there.

Otherwise it was a pretty good year.

*glancing reference to The Waltones.

Mathew Clayton on Caught by the River