I Remember Part I
by Michele Christopher

A story about a day in my life as a mid-teen Punk. I changed names and a couple facts here and there to keep it interesting.

John was a punk in every sense of the word; the look, the attitude, the music – he had it. He called to tell me CJM got knocked out downtown after Brody’s party – We had to get down there. I lived just outside the city, John lived about 20 miles north of me so I would just meet him at Market East and we would walk from there. Brody lived just off South Street on 6th. Not too bad of a walk when you’re NOT hung over. Brody was like the ‘King of the Punks’…. not only did he have a perfect double hawk but he knew everyone, his girl would go over to Europe all the time and bring back all kinds of otherwise unavailable music and of course, he was over 18 so he could stock up his fridge with beer purchased in Jersey (drinking age was to 18 there at the time).

I always hated Market East; bums everywhere, the whole station smelled like piss, every single asshole that walked by me either tried to start shit or just gave me that ‘I’m so glad my kid is not you’ look… but I waited there anyway. John showed up about 20 minutes after I did and we didn’t even get to the Gallery entrance before a couple older black kids started some shit – there were too many this time so we had to walk – this just made John even more pissed. We weren’t two blocks from the Gallery when John decided to beat some innocent kid to the sidewalk. John had a violent streak created by his older jock brother who would literally throw him down a flight of stairs if he looked at him wrong. I stood back on this one, I wasn’t a violent kid… at least not like John and CJM. We kept walking. John was singing “I ain’t no goddamn son of a bitch…..” I loved the Misfits but the only music in my head was GBH – man what a fucking great show – City Gardens actually got some real bands in there back then.

“Dude, let’s stop at Rock’s and grab some beer.” Didn’t matter that it was only 11:00 AM – John could drink all day…. Rock’s was this little deli where the old man who ran it didn’t care how old you were, if you showed him a card, any card I’m talking a school library card – ANYTHING, you got served. This was perfect for a couple of 15-year-olds, who either cut school or got suspended for poisoning the vice principle’s fish, and had nothing better to do all day, “I’m sure Brody’s out…” Of course I wasn’t gonna say no. I was a poor kid from the suburbs of Philadelphia – John lived in some $500k house in Buckingham – He always had some dough – Dude wants to buy me some beer, who am I to say no? (Nancy Reagan would have loved me!). We got some beer, Old English 40’s, and continued to Brody’s place. We ran into Butcher at the ‘Circle’, “Watch your back dude, DC skins are up.” Every now and then a couple of DC skins would show up, fuck up some young punks and steel their boots. ASSHOLES! skins.jpg

Butcher was probably to blame for this – He was one of Brody’s boys, a real fucked up dude who got his name from slicing up some dude’s face with a straight razor because he threatened Brody in some local rag….. He started with the skins at a ‘Rock against Reagan’ gig in DC. Philly Skins were pretty well known back then and actually got along with the punks… well, most of us anyway – As long as you didn’t wear any ‘un-American’ shit or rich kid Rock n Roll mall store crap, they were pretty tolerant. They always liked Butcher, probably because there wasn’t a situation that Butcher would back down from. Well they backed him up, chaos erupted and the relationship between Philly and DC would forever be shot…

“Fuck her!” He was referring to India-- the leader of this little skin mob from DC – If that’s not enough, she’s a black girl who doesn’t remotely resemble a skinhead…. whatever – “The mood I’m in…I hope we run into that bitch – no one’s fucking getting my Doc’s!” (This ‘fuck you’ attitude was typical of John…… CJM and I once witnesses a brutal beat down by his brother and his jock stooges…we tried to make him stop but he just kept going back – his face swollen and bleeding, he was like a wild pit bull – eventually THEY stopped and moved on…. as far as CJM and I were concerned, John won).
By the time we got to Brody’s the beer was gone but the buzz was good, hair of the dog right? I felt much better. Brody’s door was always unlocked. I suppose when you have a crew like his, you don’t really have much to worry about. The place looked like a bomb hit it… the ever-present stench of cheap beer, stale cigarette smoke, dirty hash pipes and cherry incense.

zipperhead.jpg“Brody! Where the fuck are you man??” John was too busy looking for floaters, “Yo Brody!” –
“Dude, stop yelling man” Brody appeared from the kitchen, “My fucking head….what are you guys doing back so early?” Brody’s hawks were both down,
“You like shit dude!” :blank stare:
“What happened to Budgie?” This is what Brody called CJM, addressing him any other way was useless.
“How did you hear already?”
I really loved this place, Brody and his roommates never had real jobs…. One was a bartender, one worked on South Street at Zipperhead and Brody owned a record store – all three were in the same band. This was a typical morning at Brody’s place, I woke up here enough to know that.
“I heard from Jane, she called John this morning….” Jane was CJM’s girl; a fringe skin who looked like a runway model.
“Wait, where the fuck is Jane?” Brody still hanging on the refrigerator door, “They both left about fifteen minutes ago….dude, where the hell is John going?” John had made his way upstairs looking for CJM but only found Stalin – Stalin was Ivan’s sidekick; Ivan was a massive skinhead, very intimidating, very communist – no one ever questioned why…… if you saw him, you wouldn’t either. Stalin, however, was a colossal asshole... Still, John would never pass up an opportunity to fuck with him.
“Why is Stalin always fucking that skank Tina?”
“Stop fuckin’ with him John…. dude, they left…”
We wouldn’t hear CJM’s version for hours…

....to be continued....


Tesco still lives just outside of Philadelphia and still has his boots. Archives


It's '80s punk version of die with your boots on. Awesome.


Thanks Cullen...
Michele, these pictures rule!


Thank thefinn, he did your pictures.

You tell a good story, tesco.


market east still smells like piss, too.

good story. i dig how i can see bits and pieces of it in my head, the streets and landmarks standing out for me. cool deal.


I have to agree with the missus... Market East never smelled quite as bad as Frankford Ave., but I doubt that as many people were utilizng it as a restroom... Nice job and I look forward to Part II ("The Quickening" ?)...


i always like these stories

good job tesco


Love it! Can't wait to


Thanks Finn, you rule. I'm more concerned about part 3 -I haven't written that yet!


So, what... we're supposed to wait a week for the rest of your story (the story which seems oddly familiar :P)? Sucks.

And take it easy on the Pit Bull cracks... or I'll have mine eat your face off.


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