Money for Nowt
Mark recalls how as a young lad, him and his brother would dress up as a guy for bonfire night, collect money for it, and then spend the money on fish and chips which they ate down the Ouseburn.
Roll on November, me and my young un’ didn’t have a couple of ha’pennies to rub together. Penny for the guy was a great way to make money and me and him, we were definitely the guys to make it and I’ll tell you something for nowt, me and the guy was a waste of time and all. Why aye it was. The big kids would only come and nick it, hold you to ransom and nick it again. So we became the guys didn’t we, the best part was we didn’t even have to dress up in old clothes, we were already wearing them. All we had to do was rub a bit of old betties lipstick on our faces, soot on a finger painted a great moustache and an old trilby pulled way down over our lugs finished the job off. You should of seen the state of us, down Sheila’s road we’d swagger and rattle our tins as we went; ‘penny for the guy’ we’d yell and like pennies from heaven, the money clunked in. with a bar nearly every corner it was money for nowt. By ten we’d reached Byker Bank with more money than sense and just to prove it we’d act daft and acted even dafter. Like a lunatic I swung way out on the rope that hung from the railway bridge, my Tarzan call echoed over Ouseburn Valley. After counting our money out we lay on our backs and counted the stars. On our way home we shared a bag of chips and laughed at nowt and drank the vinegar at the corner of the park. Weren’t we the tough guys a’right, aye scared of nowt us. We were ready to take on the whole world, only the world wasn’t ready for us but me ma certainly was. Ready and waiting she stood at the top of our back stairs, man she didn’t look happy. The sound of my mother’s voice waiting ‘oh Marky’ she pulled us back down to oath. With our pockets full of pennies, my mothers voice ringing in our ears at full pelt, we ran down our lane. Well Friday night was bath night wasn’t it, why aye it was, even for a couple of tough guys, you bet your life it was.
Beyond the Map
Community groups come together to record stories about Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley.