Official statistics tell us that violent crime is falling. But as the media drools over mayhem and Street PUNCh-UPS, we meet former perpetrators and innocent byst
if a return to the bloody past is looming. Words: Josef Harrison
‘ took five tabs of acid and went to the game. I .\lost of the time I was just watching the wet
hot ha/e coming off the lights. and when the game finished the darkness descended on the again and [just said: “Are we having them then. lads?" We pulled out our weapons and beat them to a pulp.'
'l‘hirty-Iive—ycar-old Michael used to be one of the infamous llibs casuals in the spectacularly violent period of the early—to-late b’lls. While his team llitted around the league tables. he and his comrades in arms redeﬁned the face of football hooliganism. llis tales would be repellent were it not for the redemption he and many like him found through the advent of club culture and. in particular. the drug ecstasy.
‘lt changed everything almost overnight: we used to go out radgin’ mainly because it was free entertainment but also because we‘d inherited this genetic shitbag that made us think that if you are poor or working class. it
is good to hate. And if the incentive is religion or football. even better. Then suddenly after years of necking speed and acid and the occasional touch of coke. you have this drug inside you that says everything is ()K and it‘s acceptable to show affection to someone else. It sounds hippy-dippy but that‘s how it was; terrace mayhem didn‘t seem quite so appealing after that.‘
It‘s a familiar story echoed again and again by previous bad boys in both Edinburgh and Glasgow. Whatever the truth. those on street level genuinely believe that in the last fifteen years it's not half-baked undercover operations or government-backed initiatives that have shaken the switchblade from the thugs hand but the widespread use of a German anti- depressant.
lt may be a nice and simplistic take on recent history. but one that hides a million sins perpetrated by idiotic petty criminals in the name of club culture. And as druggy bonhornie dissipates in the natural rhythm of time. is there now a retum to the kind of drink-related violence that crippled our cities while Baroness Margaret dismantled our industries?
Twenty-nine—year-old Derek is a freelance joumalist who specialises in writing about music and clubs and
in the last ten years has seen the
More List readers were upset at Freddie Mercury’s death than Diana Spencer’s
best and the worst Edinburgh and Glasgow's nightlife has to offer. He is beginning to feel a change. ‘There is a palpable atmosphere of violence on the main drags: walking down either Sauchiehall Street or Lothian Road late on a Saturday night and not being in a gang of Ted Baker shirt- wearing retards can bring on the fear.‘
Though he believes the violence is more implied than
acted upon he thinks it‘s only a
40% of List readers approve of the death
short step to the bad old days of constant townie on student violence. ‘It‘s ridiculous really that in these days of gross hornogenisation where. more than ever. students dress like neds and vice versa. that things should be going back that way. The only way I can describe it
is that it‘s like the feeling you get when you realise a million rugger buggers are going to be in your city for one night. but then you realise that they're not going to go away. Where did they all come from? Is there some hydroponics greenhouse in Wester Hailes that grows these morons?‘
Whatever the feeling is on the streets. the rate of violent crime does seem to be falling; at least. according to the Police Public Performance Reports. On the l.othian and Borders 2001—2002 midterm update we are informed that there were 38.738 crimes from April to the end of September (200] ). a drop of 0.6 per cent on the previous year. Of these. less than half were solved.
Out of those there were five murders. 43 attempted murders (down 15 on the previous year) and serious assaults were down from 395 to 376. Yet rapes are up,
80% of List readers think Itchy and Scratchy are funnier than Homer and Bart
35°/o Of List readers run away when they see
under- reportedi U the media
28 Feb—14 Mar 2002 THE LIST 13