The newsagent on Feversham Avenue is small, dark and cramped, a situation that seems to physically constrict the bearing of its proprietor, Mr Johnson - a sallow, sagging man with blunt, endlessly grinding teeth.
“Morning,” I say, still rubbing night-sand from my eyes.
“Morning,” Mr Johnson replies through his vice-like grin. He hands me my stack of newspapers for the morning delivery and I head downstairs to sort and fold. Desmond, a friend from school whose round takes him north and east toward the Cooper Dean roundabout (mine takes me south and west along luxurious Queens Park Avenue), is already here folding and stuffing his delivery bag.
“Check out The Mirror this morning,” he says, holding up the cover for me to see. The headline reads ‘GET LOST BEASTIES’ in larger-than-usual letters. “You like that band right?” he asks. “They’re alright,” I shrug. In truth, I don’t really love their vibe all that much. ‘Fight for your Right to Party’ is incomprehensible to me at this age, but even I have to admit that ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’ is a banger.
I continue reading the article and find all of my good-boy-Christian suspicions about the band slowly being confirmed. Throwing beer cans at fans? Making fun of dying kids?* The B Boys, as suspected, are just a bunch of over-lagered frat-house gits making a mockery – for profit – of an art form I have too much respect for to allow them even an inch of intellectual territory in my mind. I wash my hands of them, here and now, and walk out into the cold morning air a renewed and determined crusader for all things good in hip hop.
Most of the newspapers I deliver lean conservative - Daily Mail, Express, Independent, Today - but I have one Daily Mirror reader on Bradpole Road, and my righteous indignation reignites as I see the headline on the front of the paper again. “They won’t last,” I say to myself, shoving the paper through the letterbox smugly, definitively.
I pick up my bike and start to pedal off when I notice a Volkswagen Golf parked on the road. Since the arrival of the Beastie Boys’ music in England a year or so ago - and since Mike D starting sporting a Volkswagen logo on a chain around his neck - I’ve rarely seen a VW of any sort with the hood ornament left intact. Nearly every Volkswagen owner in the country is driving around with a hole in the front of their car where the logo used to be. It must make them crazy, I think to myself.
And yet somehow, impossibly, this car’s ornament has survived.
I reach down almost absent-mindedly and touch the logo with my finger, wondering how much effort it would even take to release it from its setting. Within seconds the door of the house opposite bangs open and a man comes out, fists raised, dressing gown flapping theatrically.
“Get off my car you little arsehole!”
“I wasn’t... I didn’t...” I begin pathetically, but there’s nothing I can really say. I turn and pedal furiously away, using the slope of the hill beneath me to aid my retreat.
“Bloody Beastie Boys,” I growl.
*The Daily Mirror story was completely fake, but it tainted my opinion of the Beastie Boys for decades. I’m now making up for lost time.
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