Sunday, April 01, 2007


I ain’t never had no interest in reading and writing, the only ABC I was ever interested in was the Amateur Boxing Club. All the boys of my family went, brothers, cousins, uncles and my dad. My dad was a top fighter, won loads of bouts, got a lot a’ money. I remember a time when my mum had a fancy coat and her hair done at the salon once a week, when us kids had sweets everyday and dad rolled up in a brand new car. He was fighting fit then, his big knuckles tight with speed. We had parties that the whole family would come to, big bowls of coleslaw and sausages on the barbeque; a dustbin full of cold beer and a bottle of Frascati for the ladies. These parties always ended in a fight, but never anything serious.

Girls ain’t allowed to fight at the ABC, the only way in was with my brothers or a boyfriend, and then it was only to cheer ‘em on, get ‘em going. The boys all competing over a girl’s attention. But I wanted to fight. I didn’t wanna hang out outside the record shop all Saturday, blue mascara on my lashes and bleached streaks in my hair. I wanted the rush my brothers had, being a champ, having a chance at being the best. I wanted to fight with the boys. I would spar with my brother in the house, till he got a clout for hitting a girl. I hated being a girl, soft as shit with my whole life mapped out.

I didn’t want a little job looking after kids or perming old ladies hair, till I found a bloke. I didn’t want a council house round the corner from my mum. I didn’t wanna have kids that went to the same school as me. I didn’t want a husband my dad liked that I hated. I wanted a shelf with trophies of my own, I wanted to win and I wanted to be good at something other than just being a girl. Biology is something to beat right?

Heidi James

No comments: