A lil story from my youth…
When I was in sixth form (that’s like the last two years of high school to you statesiders) at my school I worked at the local hospital on the weekend, doing linen deliveries. It was easily the coolest job I’ve ever had. Between coming in late, having little naps and playing football, I just packed big trolleys full of fresh linen and wheeled it all around the hospital a few times a day for very good pay. About a year in we were given a pay rise, meaning even more money, but this didn’t fully take effect until around the time I was leaving school. So on top of already being paid well, I got a ridiculous lump sum of back-pay just as the school year was about to end, which made me very susceptible to agreeing to daft ideas on a whim. After getting ripped off by my first eBay fraudster while trying to buy an iPod, ordering my first punk shirts from Interpunk and decking my bike out with new parts, my next move was to accept an offer from four girls in my class to join them on a summer backpacking trip to Germany (yeah, I know what you’re thinking, and no, I didn’t).
So next thing I know four of us are on a plane to Dusseldorf to meet the fourth girl in our group, a German exchange student who had been at our school for two years. Obviously I was looking punk as all fuck in my kelly-green Dropkick Murphys coat of arms shirt and a shaved head. We get off the plane, go through the security checkpoints and head to the baggage carousel to pick up our rucksacks. Of course, there’s nothing coming out. The girls were chattering away to my right about something, and I start to absently look around the building while I’m stood waiting. It was about that moment that I glanced to my left. Standing there, about four feet away from me, was Ken Casey, Al Barr and the rest of the Dropkick Murphys and crew. The combination of my green shirt and deeply embarrassed red face probably made me look like a Christmas elf. The two minutes that it took for the bags to finally come out felt like a year. As soon as my bag came out I grabbed and dashed for the exit. The guy holding the DROPKICK MURPHYS sign didn’t know what the fuck was going on when I blanked him and walked straight past. Definitely one of the weirdest things that’s ever happened to me. Oh yeah, I lasted about five days on that Germany trip before the others pissed me off and I flew home to join an illegal city-wide BMX street event in Sheffield, which turned out to be probably the best weekend I’d ever had up to that point.
Just to clarify, I am still a certified Dropkicks fan, from the Oi! era right through to the Irish stadium rock phase. No apologies.