Mum's the Word

Catching the punk express



I’ve billed this as a quiet weekend in the Yorkshire Dales with our English relatives to Youngest Child.

“There will be lambs to feed and walks across the moors,” I’d said, but it’s not gone 11am on Saturday morning and we’re watching a punk pour vodka shots into his eye.

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At a tiny rural station our party of ten or so have boarded an almost full cross-country train bound for Whitby and it’s full of punks, steam punks and vampires all bound for a Goth weekend by the sea. We scatter up the carriage into any vacant seats we can find and I’m thrilled when Youngest and I secure places among the punks. There are green mohicans, studded dog collars, leopard skin, leather, patent and tartan, Dr Martens, blue lips and eyebrows. How fantastic they look, it’s making me ridiculously happy to see such an eruption of youthful rebellion.

I send a picture of them to Eldest Child who isn’t with us, and he emails back, “Aw yeah, you always go down for that weekend don’t you?”

Er no, although by a strange twist of fate we have indeed wound up in Whitby on Goth weekend once before. Next time I go to Yorkshire I’m wearing my Sex Pistols T-shirt just in case.

Then I notice one of the punks is wearing a leather jacket with the word ‘Exploited’ on the back.

“Oh look. I’ve seen The Exploited,” I tell Youngest Child. “In Edinburgh, in 19can’t remember.”


“I bet that punk wasn’t even alive then.”


“Shall I tell them I saw The Exploited once?” I say to her.

“No. They won’t care.”

“Or the Ramones, or about the time my friend baked a cake for Sid Vicious and sent it to him in prison?”

“Don’t bother,” she says. She’s right. I’m wearing a waterproof jacket and walking boots. I’ll frighten them.

Beside me Youngest sniggers with delight as another punk tries the vodka in the eye trick and squeals in pain. I snigger too, then remember I’m a parent.

“Don’t you think about trying that,” I say.

“Of course not!” Youngest says.

“I know, sorry. I know you wouldn’t do anything so mental,” I say.

“No, it’s not that. It’s just I don’t like vodka.”