So, first thing’s first; I didn’t expect things to get as fucked up as they did. But it
happens, so that’s life I suppose. I just don’t want people getting the wrong
impression about me. I’m not just some hard-nut wanker who came out of the estates.
Yeah, I’m a Prod, from an estate in Northern Ireland- but that doesn’t define me. I’ve
got a fucking literature degree- I’ve read Mansfield Park- okay? I actually quite liked
it too. Anyway, I suppose I’d better go back to the start.
Two years ago, life was pretty normal. If you’re reading this, then I suppose
you already know I’m Jimmy Black, I’m forty two and I come from Ards in Northern
Ireland. You’re bound to have read about me in the tabloids. I’m the one covered in
tats, pretty well built, short black hair, and I admit not the prettiest you’ll see in the
If you’ve never heard of Ards before then that’s because it’s a shithole.
However, it does have a lovely old tower on the hill called Scrabo; from where you
can survey the shithole. Anyway, I live there- or did, and I worked in Bangor- the
town up the road. Now, Bangorians are different from the inbreds in Ards. They think
they’re fucking living In Monaco or something. You’d expect to see Grace Kelly
resident at the Town Hall. I digress. So, I had a shop in Bangor called
Yeah it’s a pretty cool name. It was a nice little music shop with musical equipment,
and a vinyl section too. Any of you music aficionados out there will realise the
namesake was an album by Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa. It’s a great live
album that provided me with a tenuous link for my musical instrument shop. Well
there you have it. It didn’t do a great trade, but I really did love that shop. It was also
the only place around to get strings or records that wasn’t on-fucking-line. So many
Bongo Fury good music shops went bust the last lot of years. Loads in Bangor had all closed, until there were none- but not just Bangor. Belfast had only one or two left. Like Good Vibrations- opening and reopening over and over again! They even made a movie
about the owner Teri Hooley, and he still can’t keep its doors open today. Maybe one
day there’ll be a movie about me too. So, I ran it myself, and on this particular day- it
was a Tuesday I think- I had had shite all customers in so far. I was enjoying a cuppa,
a biscuit, and just chilling out. It was about 11am and in walks Big Stevie. Now,
Stevie and me went way back, from knocking about together when we were kids on
the estate. We both were in trouble a good bit back then, but I had wised up by the
time I was out of my teens. Stevie hadn’t. I never got that involved with the
paramilitaries, despite my family tree being like a who’s who of Loyalist crims.
Stevie dipped in and out of it and at this point he was mostly out.
“What about you Stevie?” I said, as he ambled into the shop. His long, greasy
hair swayed over his blue denim jacket. He was actually double-deniming it that day;
blue jeans finishing the ensemble. Never was the most stylish man.
“Alright Jim, ya ball beg,” said Stevie, in his usually colourful way.
He walked past the guitars and stood at the other side of the counter, and we
had a wee chat. He almost knocked into a lovely second hand Les Paul, the big eejit.
“Watch my new sunburst Stevie,” I said, “If you’re gonna bang into
something- make it a Stagg.”
I put the kettle on and we had a brew together over the counter. The shop
wasn’t very big. I had about a dozen guitars, a couple of keyboards, and a few other
instruments. Mostly, I had lots of general bollox- like strings, plectrums and drum
skins. There were lots of posters on the walls and shit, and really the place looked a
pretty decent job. Of course I also had a bongo- but that was just for the window
display. It was a little ways out of the town centre, up towards the Abbey;
but the passing trade wasn’t bad. I had some decent regulars too, who were good craic.
“How’s the wee one doing?” he asked, taking a slug of his second cup. I told
him she was fine. That’s my daughter- Skye-she was about one at the time.
My wee sweetheart.
“How about your crew?” I asked him.
“They’re wee shites!” he said, making a face.
I laughed. Stevie was good craic- he wasn’t a hood as such. He just was good at
making bad decisions sometimes.
“Look, the reason I called in, is to ask a favour,” said Stevie, giving me his
pleading side smile. I’d seen it a brave lot over the years.
“Go on- I didn’t think it was close enough to the twelfth for you to need a new
snare skin. What are you after?”
“Well, not so much a favour- more of a wee job if you’re up for it. You know-
the kind of thing you’ve done before.”
That was one way I supplemented my income a bit. I had a wee sideline.
Somehow I fell into being the go to guy for sorting out a variety of probl
ems. I’m not a fucking PI, but I help people out and they pay me for it. No, I never decla
red it for my taxes- not that it matters much now. Yes, I got paid- I’m not bloody Oxf
am. My place in the community, because of my family, gave me some standing and I’ve
always been well built and suppose given off a certain confidence. I’m really not that
cocky and I tend to finish fights- not start them, but people seemed to always trust me
and think I’ll look after them. Because I wasn’t actually involved in any particular
faction and was merely ‘connected,’ that also seemed to help people come to me as
well. Anyway, I’d try and sort shit out for people if I thought I could, and they’d
usually bung me a few quid for it. I was like Philip Marlowe on Buckfast to the local
prods. Not that I wouldn’t have helped out a Catholic- I’ve no time for all that
sectarian shite- but most would probably sooner swear allegiance to her
majesty, than come to me.
Bongo Fury is out tomorrow and available to pre order from Amazon.