Matthew Scurfield I COULD BE ANYONE, all rights reserved.
I lost count of the times I went down to the Mill Pond to trade medical contrabands, but certainly there was a summer when I was standing with Pip, pint and pills in hand, when suddenly from out of the blue we heard a strange and distant yelling. These yelps and cries, unlike anything I’d heard before, very quickly became louder and more defiant. Everyone became transfixed by expectation, as the sound quickly metamorphosed into the spectacle of a black top hat on the head of a scarecrow, whose arms were outstretched in manic fury, crucified against the skyline. Like a demented cowboy on speed, his legs possessed by wild acceleration, propelled a sit-
An electrifying silence descended over the oncoming crowd, augmented only by the push and shove of those who demanded a better view. Every dog, man, woman and child gripped in suspense. The spell snapped, when a body leapt out of the water, on the other side of the river, with a Neanderthal roar. The punters went ballistic. Emo had arrived, cut to the quick and broken everyone down to a common denominator of a stunned and delighted audience.
Emo was a good friend of Pips, so it wasn't long before this wild creature arrived at our side to say hello. The water had sobered him somewhat, enough to tell us how he’d bought several packets of Morning Glory seeds from Woolworths, downed the lot, gone through hell, thrown up and then, with his head and stomach on fire, seized the first bike he could find to make a beeline for the river.
Imo, pronounced Emo, was a nickname taken from the initials of his full name, Iain Owen Moore. Emo had Pip’s distracted energy, but on first encounter seemed more gregarious, dangerous even. Like many of my friends from school, they were from the same impoverished area, constantly having to fight their corner in the classroom, at home and on the street. There was little or no verbal communication in their upbringing. Emo basically learnt to talk from listening to the wireless. Pip had been unable to speak, until Emo took him under his wing and gave him the reassurance he needed to find his voice.
To begin with, I believe Emo found me irritating, a little stuck-
It’s hard to believe now, but our long hair and jeans were subversive to the authorities. Emo was wearing sandals, which in the early sixties, especially for a young man of his age, was an extremely rare occurrence. For these policemen he certainly must have looked kind of biblical, because one of them grabbed Emo violently by his hair and referring to his Jesus boots barked out “We know you Moses”; and just as I thought Emo was taking the brunt, the venom shot out with lightning quick reflex and hit me right between the eyes, “but we don’t know YOU”, which pinned me to the seat of my underpants.
For those cynics, who might think I exaggerate for want of readership attention, the playwright and raconteur David Gale bears witness, with a sublime description of Emo’s friendship and his linguistic acrobatics, here!
The extract above is taken from Matthew’s book -