We had a lovely summer’s day last week and you don’t get many of those in Brocklehurst so I decided to make the most of it and lounge out in the garden, fortified by some gin-and-tonic and an ice bucket.
Imagine my annoyance when after about five minutes of catching the rays, I was assaulted by the sound of heavy rock music. No, not the sound, the noise, the racket, the din of rock music. It wasn’t that it was rock music that did my head in; I should’ve felt the same if it had been Beethoven’s Fifth or some other classical stuff. It was the intrusion into my peaceful afternoon that I objected to. Someone, somewhere close by, was playing loud music and couldn’t give a damn if he was disturbing the whole neighbourhood. I say he, without even seeing the culprit: I was certain no woman would ever be as thoughtless as this.
I could stand it no longer and went through the gate in my garden and into The Avenue. The paving stones were almost vibrating to the noise of the music and its source was immediately obvious. Just across the road, half way up a ladder painting the front of the house was a young workman. I say young; he might have been somewhere in his thirties but at my age that’s pretty young. Near the foot of the ladder was a contraption that was blaring out the music. I did a “double-take” when I saw what it was. I honestly don’t think I’ve seen such a thing in twenty years or more.
It was what we used to call a ghetto-blaster until the politically-correct folk told us we had to say “boom-box”. It was one of those combinations of a radio and cassette tape (I think CDs hadn’t been invented when they were fashionable.) I think they went on the scrapheap when the Sony Walkman came out and suddenly we were all “wired for sound” behind our own personal ear-phones.
I was about to cross the road and kick the ladder away so that the blighter fell from a height onto the accursed boom-box and (hopefully) flattened it to destruction when I had a sudden thought. Things like this often happen to me on days when the sun shines brightly. I suppose a psychiatrist might explain it better than me but I had a flashback; that is to say I remembered something from a past summer that I hadn’t thought about in more than 40 years. It was the boom-box that did it.
I was still at college and living in the halls of residence and there was this fellow student who always – and I truly mean always – had his ghetto blaster going at full tilt. He carried it with him wherever he went. He had a room somewhere on the third floor but the cacophony he created could be heard all over the building, even where I stayed on the ground floor (just next to the entrance if you insist I pinpoint it.)
I remember him so clearly, even though this was 1974 I’m talking about. He called himself Ian C. Hirst. We thought he was a bit of a tit because of the “Ian C.” bit. Nobody used their middle initial in their name. We didn’t say, “Good morning, I’m Alan P. Taylor,” or what have you. Only Americans did that sort of thing. Perhaps, Ian C. Hirst wanted people to think he was American, although why anyone would want to do that is beyond me. [That’s meant to be a joke, please don’t write to me]. Ian C. thought a lot of himself. I remember it was a long, hot summer that year and he paraded around college wearing only a pair of white shorts and nothing else. Shorts were properly short in those days; I’ve seen underwear today longer than those shorts. He had a muscular, hairless torso and dreamy brown eyes. His hair was curled and fashionably long. He turned the heads of all the girls, and a quite a few of the boys secretly had a crush on him (I can testify to that).
So, Ian C., sexy or not, was a complete pain in the you-know-where. It was summer and exams were fast approaching but how could we expect to study with all that racket going on? Naturally, those who had rooms on the same landing asked him to turn it down. He did so and we all sighed with relief. But before too long the building was shaking once again. Back in those days people didn’t talk much about “rights” and there were no student residents’ committees and in short there was no one to complain too. Today, an Ian C. Hirst would be out on his ear, but in 1974 we were left on our own.
So what to do? I think it was my pal Edward Anthony who made the suggestion. It might plausibly have been me. Whoever it was, it was an idea conceived in drink, of that I can be certain. It seemed like a good idea at the time. And, as time would show, it was. We couldn’t do it on our own, there needed to be a gang of us. The more the merrier. There would be safety in numbers. When we discussed it again in the cold light of sobriety we began to have our doubts. It did seem to be an extreme measure. What if it didn’t work and Ian C. turned on us? He was bigger and fitter and although I’d have been happy to wrestle around with him, I didn’t fancy getting my face bashed in.
Don’t worry, Edward Anthony said, there would be plenty of the boys ready and willing to join with us. And, indeed that turned out to be the case. There were easily a dozen in all. Poor Ian C. Hirst, he never stood a chance.
It was late afternoon and lectures had finished and we students were back at the halls of residence. In about an hour people would start to prepare meals in the communal kitchens; so this was the perfect time to pounce. Naturally, with the music blaring from his room, he never heard us coming. It took some hammering on his door before he realised he had visitors. As he opened the door, he also appeared to be buttoning up his shorts. His hair was messy (he was famous at college for using half a can of hairspray every day to keep his locks in place) and I wondered if we had interrupted him with a girl (or please God, a boy!) but his room was tiny and it was immediately obvious that he was alone.
“Grab him!” One of our gang yelled and six pairs of hands grabbed out. “Worr…!!” Ian C. bellowed in reply but he didn’t get much chance to say any more because already he was being manhandled down the corridor towards the communal kitchen. As so often during that summer, he wore only his shorts and we had very little to grip hold to as we bundled him along. He was effing and jeffing, of course, and called us all the names under the sun, but we had so effectively overpowered him he had no choice but allow himself to be carried along.
We had the kitchen to ourselves. Somebody locked the door. We were not going to be disturbed and Ian C. had no escape. I remember someone, I’m pretty certain it was Simon Aldridge, had written a charge sheet so Ian C. knew exactly why he was there. Simon sounded a bit pompous when he read it out, but it must have been good practice for him because later in life he went on to become a well-known lawyer in London.
This wasn’t a court of law and it most certainly wasn’t a democracy, so we didn’t ask Ian C. to speak in his own defence. We went straight to carrying out the sentence. It doesn’t matter how fit and strong you are, or how good a fighter, when eight people simultaneously take hold of you then you are defeated. So it was with Ian C. We had it planned. It was simple and like many simple plans it was entirely effective.
The kitchen was a large room with six laminated tables pushed together in the centre so up to sixteen students could sit down to eat at the same time. It took only seconds for us to heave him up and spread-eagle him face down on the table. He yelled blue murder, but Alan Keefe had shown the presence of mind to bring the boom-box along with him. When he switched it on it drowned out all of Ian C.’s protests. He had a boy at each corner, his wrists and ankles holding him firmly down. Ian C. wriggled and writhed, but he was going nowhere. Even though that was entirely obvious he squirmed and struggled. Another couple of boys held his legs and that settled him. We were nearly ready.
There was still one important matter to deal with before we could start properly. I delegated myself to perform this task. It was, as I joked beforehand, a difficult job but somebody had to do it. Ian C. was reasonably sedate for now, but that changed immediately I reached out beneath his body and searched for the button at the top of his shorts. It indeed proved to be a difficult job because the full weight of Ian C.’s body was resting on his stomach and he wasn’t about to raise his torso to give me clearer access to his shorts.
Eventually, after much fumbling, I got the top of his shorts open. Then, it was a fairly simple mission to get the zipper down. The shorts, as I said previously, were very short and also extremely tight fitting. I had hoped to take hold of his shorts and with some ceremony lower them down over his buttocks and then down his thighs before abandoning them somewhere near his knees. I would then, with even greater ceremony deal with his smooth cotton briefs.
Alas, the combination of his weight, the tightness of his shorts and Ian C.’s continued attempts to wriggle free meant that I had no opportunity to debag him with great ritual. His shorts and underpants slithered down his bum together and I left them at his knees. Another of our gang by the name of Patel (I blush to recall that he was universally known by the nickname “Inky”) then lowered the garments further until they settled at his feet.
I had a perfect bird’s eye view of Ian C.’s naked bottom. It was as I had imagined: smooth and hairless; meaty but firm. His cheeks were creamy white in stark contrast to the rest of his body which was a deeply tanned. I did not resist the urge to rub his mounds with the palm of my hand. I knew for certain I was not the only fellow present who desired to do this.
Obviously, there had been no possibility of rehearsing or practising what we wanted to do, but we all knew what was intended. As I had been removing Ian C.’s shorts and pants, the rest of the gang had removed their own leather belts which by now they had doubled (or trebled, depending upon their length). One boy, James Banks, had with him an authentic leather taws. It was one with two tails at one end and he later told us he had purloined it from his school near Edinburgh when he had left two years previously.
So we were set. Ian C.’s feet and wrists were firmly held, he was face-down on the table top. His bottom was bare to the breeze. He was an easy target. And we all took advantage. There were eight boys armed with straps, they took up position four on each side and to put it simply; they let him have it.
I don’t know if you have ever been belted or maybe seen another boy belted, but a heavy strap quickly leaves its mark on naked flesh. Within half a minute Ian C’.s backside was criss-crossed with deep-pink lines. It resembled an aerial shot of a railway junction. After a couple of minutes the deep-pink had turned red and soon mauve and purple blotches appeared. Ian C. fought like a trooper and I was very pleased that we had so many people in our gang that we were able to hold him down. I wouldn’t fancy our chances otherwise.
At one point we all ceased our own battering to allow James a free-range with his taws. I have to report he was something of an expert. He positioned himself to the right of Ian C. and took aim by first laying the two-tailed strap which was probably fourteen inches long so that it rested across the highest point of both cheeks. Then he adjusted his own position so that he had enough room to raise the taws and rest it over his own shoulder so that it tapped the small of his back. Then he practised to make sure he could swing the taws in an arc up and over without touching the ceiling of the kitchen and then bring it down right on target. He took two practice swings and then let rip for real. My! The CRACK! of the leather on Ian C.’s hard, naked bum echoed around the room. I think we were all relived that Alan had brought the boom-box and that the music from it drowned Ian C.’s shriek. James let fly with a half-dozen swipes before making way for some of the others to resume with their own more modest belts.
So, that was it. Ian C.’s bum looked like raw hamburger meat. He never played his boom-box in the halls again, we all studied hard, sat our exams and went our separate ways. And that happened in 1974 and I hadn’t given it a thought in more than forty years. There was one other thing I remembered: after we had finished with Ian C. I went back alone to my own room and shot my load about two feet high. I was twenty-one then; I couldn’t do that today. I know because I’ve just tried.
And, as for the young man painting the house? I didn’t kick his ladder away. I didn’t get a gang of neighbours together and tan his backside. I pointed out to him that he was causing a disturbance. He blushed prettily, apologised profusely and turned his boom-box off. He was, I mused to myself, as I poured my second gin-and-tonic in my garden, really rather sweet.
Picture credit: Unknown
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More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website
Charles Hamilton the Second