I used to be in a gang. We could never really decide on a name for oursleves, so it was usually just referred to as ‘the gang’, although I suspect we all had our own private names for it. To me it was simply ‘Gav’s gang’, but I never confessed that to the others. Apart from anything else, they all had Raleigh Choppers and I only had a Grifter. The Grifter was, in many ways, a far superior bike, but it never had the street cred of the Chopper, and I doubted a leader could ride a Grifter.
The gang would spend its time bombing along the old railway line on our choppers, except for me and Fishy Billy, who only had a second hand girls’ bike. Fishy Billy was the one who was kind of just tolerated by the gang because he always had sweets, I think every gang’s got one like Fishy Billy. So we’d pedal madly along the railway line until we got to our den, where we’d smoke dog ends we’d collected and tease each other about girls, who remained a peculiar and incomprehensible species to us.
Then one day Fishy Billy stood up and said, “For God’s sake! We’re all forty year old men! What are we doing with our lives?” And we all kind of drifted apart.
I ended up joining the Papcastle Life Drawing group instead of hanging out with the gang. And a very friendly little group it is too. There’s no tuition, but if you’re a beginner I’m sure people will help out. It meets every second Tuesday at the village hall,, from 10 until 1. The organiser is Susan Fleming, and you can contact her on 01900 823 543.