#1064: 1982, The Clash, Straight To Hell

by Ray_North on January 30, 2016

In another time and another place, I spend the summer in Bow working for a computer wholesaler. My first year at University has ended and I have decided to stay in London rather than go home, which has caused a bit of unhappiness with my mother.

My job is to deal with customer complaints. I share an office with Shirley, a hard drinking Australian working her way through Europe and Claire who is a proper Essex girl, about three years older than me (but decades more mature) and totally different from the girls I’d met at Uni. She wears a necklace with her name on and is madly in love with Patrick, the Senior engineer, who is about twenty seven, ruggedly handsome with prematurely salt and pepper hair. Despite being a bit of hunk, Patrick doesn’t realise that Claire fancies him – which makes the atmosphere in the office fascinating.

It is hot, and each day I make a sweaty journey from Golders Green across London.

I listen to casette tapes on my Walkman. I’ve recently discovered the Clash in a big way.

After five weeks, I’ve had enough, it’s time to go home to Wales, time to leave the computer firm – they organise drinks at The Carpenter’s Arms. I get drunk with Shirley and the lads from the warehouse; I go to leave, last train and all that; as I leave I see Patrick sidling up to Claire, she smiles at him, he looks at his shoes. I smile myself, then off to the train – Walkman on, The Clash, reggae dub, Mick Jones’ spiked guitar. I’ll never see any of these people again.

I put the song on again the other day, Straight To Hell,took me back to Bow, the Carpenter’s Arms, Claire and Patrick, I wonder what happened…..

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