Up until the age of fifteen I lived on an amazing street. It was a huge figure eight-shaped avenue (in the middle of which was a small field covered in daisies) inhabited by young families and a ton of other kids (half of my schoolmates lived on the avenue). It was a vibrant, sunny council estate -someone was always having a jumble sale outside their front door, selling home-made perfume or having a game of polio or rounders on the front. If my memory serves me correctly (perhaps it's a little rose-tinted) the ice cream van came round EVERY day.
Behind our house was another street. We called it 'The Backins'. This street was a quiet cul-de-sac, a little bit posher, and populated mostly by older people. The backins was pretty non-descript, apart from the fact that it had a short but steep slope in the road. A little concrete hill.
Believe me, when you're a kid without internet and computer games and are forced outside to play while your mum cooks potato hash, an actual hill right on your back doorstep is a very exciting prospect indeed. All the things you could do with a short, steep hill! You could dance on it (if you've never danced on an short, steep hill, I feel bad for you), ride your bike down it (hands or no hands, or one handed, the options were endless), sit on it and peer down onto the road below imagining that you were queen of all you surveyed... but best of all, you could rollerskate down it. Rollerskating down the hill was the 90s kids equivalent of, I don't know, dance party wii or going to a Bieber concert. It was mildly dangerous and hugely exciting.
So my sisters and I spent a LOT of time rollerskating down that hill. We'd roll down while wiggling our hips or throwing our hands in the air as if we were ice skaters and then we'd use the stoppers like ballet dancers en pointe to get back to the top of the hill, ready to roll down once more.And then again.
But all good things must come to an end. And our rollerskating era was cut off before it really even got going. The reason? A nosy old woman called Josie.
Josie was about 60 at the time, with white curly hair and glasses with sun-reactive lenses. She had a permanant grimace on her face and a dazzling array of sickly sweet floral dresses that did nothing to offset the child hatred emanating off her in waves. She earned the moniker Nosy Josie by constantly sitting in her front yard, keeping an eye on everything, staring out of her window, checking whose grass had grown half an inch longer than she found acceptable and whose nets needed a wash.
To be fair, we did roll past her window about 50 times an hour while she was trying to watch Going for Gold or stir her couldron. When she could stand it no longer she came out to shout at us.
It was so long ago that the memories are a bit blurry, but I specifically remember that she didn't just tell us off for rollerskating past her house. Her issue was that she didn't want 'council estate kids' playing near her house and she'd growl (at kids between the ages of 10-14) that she didn't want 'the likes of us' anywhere near her. She threatened to call the police so that they would take us back to where we came from. She was a mean old snob, and everyone knew it.
My younger sister and I were mortally offended by Josie's reign over the backins and spent a large amount of time concocting a revenge plan. After much discussion, we finally had it, the idea, the very thing that would put Nosy Josie back in her place.
Oh yes. We would write and perform a song about Nosy Josie. There would be a dance too. A song and a dance to really put Josie in her place.
For reasons unknown we decided to write our song to the melody of Greased Lightening from Grease.
Here are the lyrics to our song...
Nosy Josie, lookin' out her window again
(Nosy Josie, Nosy, Nosy Josie)
Nosy Josie's pushing up her glasses again
(Nosy Josie, Nosy, Nosy Josie)
Open the door, call the police
Well they can come, so KISS MY BUM
(Nosy, Nosy Nosy Nosy)
We practised and performed it quietly on the bollards by Josie's house. I don't think she heard us.
I was telling Edd about Josie the other day. I told him how mean and nosy and snobby she was and how she was always in her front yard snarling at any children that happened to pass by. I told him that long after our family had moved out, Josie had had a fence built to seperate the council avenue from her road. He thought that perhaps we had over villified Josie and she can't have been THAT bad or THAT nosy (and he was probably right). I went on Google Earth to show him the fence she built. And what should I find, twenty + years later...