The Legh Road Bloods! Mike Knowles
This photo was taken back in the late ‘50’s after we’d formed ourselves into a notorious gang modelled on the American ones we’d heard about. Our notoriety, however, was an entirely imaginary one. Even the cannon we constructed out of an old pipe, a banger and a marble was a one-off. (We pretended we were testing a new weapon). Although it blew a hole in an old rug hanging over a washing line, we decided it was too fiddly and dangerous for actual combat. The fact that there were only three of us was also a problem. Worse still, we were reluctant to get into any real trouble. A major handicap for anyone setting out to be a juvenile delinquent. So we compromised by pretending to go on the rampage. There was a home for delinquent girls about a mile away and our favourite fantasy involved storming the place in the dead of night and setting them free. Luckily it never happened because they’d probably have eaten us alive! The photo is also interesting in that it recalls a bygone sartorial age. You’ll have noticed that the tall streak of piss in the middle is wearing his school uniform. In fact, he probably went to bed in it. (Although, I hasten to add, I never tested that theory). Whereas Tubby and I couldn’t wait to get out of ours. Needless to say, the uniform clashed with our gang culture. How the hell can you raise havoc in a school uniform? ME: Okay, creep. You’re on our turf and we’re gonna carve our names on your backside with our flick knives! MAN: Is that before or after you’ve done your homework? See what I mean? I’m on the right wearing the nearest thing I could get to Marlon Brando’s leather jacket in The Wild Ones. I even tried to get my mother to dye it black. And, when she refused, I was momentarily tempted to use shoe polish on it. Now that would have been a bit of juvenile delinquency! I could just imagine the headline in the local paper: “GANG LEADER GOES BERSERK WITH A TIN OF CHERRY BLOSSOM! Things were definitely looking black for the Legh Road Bloods when...” And why the hell did I fasten it up, thus taking on the appearance of a bag of shit tied in the middle with string? The kid on the left was
another disappointment. I definitely recall telling him that we were supposed to be a bunch of teenage thugs. And look at him. Okay, give him his due heâ€™s part of the way there. The Humphrey Bogart raincoat suggests Casablanca and the violin case is straight out of the Valentine Day Massacre! The problem is his little chubby face. He looks about as threatening as a garden gnome. But we tried to be hard. Iâ€™ve just remembered what that little boy was doing there. Our violinist was no Menuhin and, when he got into his stride, it sounded like the wailing of a 100 tom cats being castrated without the benefit of an anaesthetic by an inebriated vet using a rusty tin opener. So we were about to torture the kid into handing over his pocket money!