181. Armley, Wortley and the Surrounding Districts


Riding my bike on my way to work,
I don’t touch the brakes ‘cause here dragon’s lurk,
Stopping at the traffic lights could cost me a wheel,
You could say this part of town is down at heel,
Where industrial estates meet the housing estates,
And the human states and their drug dealer mates,
I don’t like riding here but I’ve often risked it,
I’m in Armley and Wortley and the surrounding district.

It’s eleven in the morning and outside the boozer,
There’s a long line of punters and each one’s a loser.
There’s blokes with the tremors and tavern tans,
A variety of ASBOs and driving bans.
Sipping with care at their first morning’s beers,
Squinting in the sunlight and handing out leers,
To the Chavalcade of mothers and their flotilla of prams,
Who stopped taking the pill instead of taking exams,
And they swap cackled catcalls that turn the air blue,
Swapping scandalous rumors of who’s knocked up who,
But the fellas have no fear of the CSA,
They can’t take nothing when they’ve got no pay.
And what money they do have they’ve already pissed it,
Up Armley and Wortley and the surrounding district.

There’s a sweaty looking bloke who’s incredibly fat,
Sitting on the ground outside the laundromat,
And he’s smoking a fag and he’s drinking a Stella,
In Wortley that’s a sign of a sophisticated fella,
And I feel sorry for for him, think he’s down on his luck,
Till he asks a passing teen if she fancies a fuck.
And I realise then that he just another misfit,
From Armley and Wortley and the surrounding district.

The lad in jogging bottoms and a baggy white vest,
And his mate without a shirt who flaunts a xylophone chest,
Are sitting in a garden smoking weapon’s grade skunk,
Surrounded by the crushed cans of the lager they’ve drunk,
And a girl with curls hurls up into a skip,
Caught out by a whitey or another bad trip,
All this on a work day, but nobody’s working,
I figure it’s a shirk day because everyone’s shirking,
They’re on a gravy train but I seem to have missed it,
In Armley and Wortley and the surrounding district.

There’s a little old man looks in fear of his life,
While he’s holding the arm of his fragile wife,
But the scag jackals clock them and begin to measure,
The couples net worth in sale-able treasure
And they follow the pensioners round a corner,
And later that day they’ll attempt to pawn her,
Wedding rings and her precious things,
A butterfly brooch with emerald wings,
The assorted contents of the old gent’s pocket,
While he’s sat in A&E with a fractured eye socket
Just another mugging, if you blinked you’d have missed it,
In Armley and Wortley and the surrounding district.

A Pakistani shopkeeper is having a fight,
With a skinny looking kid who’s incredibly white,
I say it’s a fight but it’s more of a twatting,
It seems to me that Pakistan’s the only team batting,
By the looks of things he’s caught the kid thieving,
Grabbed him by his tracky top just as he was leaving,
Batteries and porno mags all fall to the floor,
As the shopkeeper lays in he says, “You want some more?”
And as he gives the kid a good crack to the face,
The kid screams ‘FUCKING PAKI!” which don’t help his case,
So when the shopkeeper finally let’s the kid go,
Says he can’t come back to his shop no more,
And as he staggers away the kid sticks two fingers up,
Shouts, “If you tell me mam I’s gonna cut you up!’
And I can’t help but admire that ‘V’ he’s flicked,
Down Armley and Wortley and the surrounding district.

A lass pushes a push-chair whilst dressed like a hooker,
And she shouts at her toddler, ‘Come on you little fucker!’
As he dawdles behind with a bottle of coke,
And she lights a up fag, stares at me through the smoke,
And her glance is a challenge, defiant and cold,
And I think how’d a young lass start looking so old?
Her life can’t be easy, raising kids on state handouts,
She’s living alone now because her old man doubts,
The nippers are his, and they don’t suit his lifestyle,
He wants this shit sorted on Jeremy Kyle,
But she’s nobody’s fool, she’s used to his tricks,
In Armley and Wortley and the surrounding districts.

So I’m off down the hill and I’m going to work,
To a fact’ry where similar animals lurk,
And some ten hours later I’m heading for home,
Feel drained as i cycle through the Wortley war-zone.
And in Armley and Wortley its Mardi Gras time,
As they stagger from Lidl with bottles of wine,
Tubes of cheese Pringles and cases of beer,
And packets of baccy for smoking their gear.
And the take-away queue snakes right out of the door,
Selling more chicken buhnas than ever before,
Pizzas and burgers and Donner kebab,
Before heading for home in a black and white cab,
And their kids tea tonight is a packet of biscuits,
In Armley and Wortley and the surrounding districts.

I’ve no cash in my pockets, no cash in the bank,
My entire life savings are not worth a wank,
Yet it seems like these people have money to spare,
Live lives without consequence, problem or care,
So I leave the environs of Armley and Wortley,
Cross over the river and cycle through Burley,
Then head up to Rawdon and Horsforth and home.
Where no dragons or pissheads or drug dealers roam.
And the streets smell of grass, not the narcotic kind,
And the people seem gentler types of mankind,
But nowhere is safe, the doors still need locking,
And the house prices round here are really quite shocking.
So who’s got it right then? The wasters or me?
Work for a living or get it scott free?
I don’t have a clue mate, I’d go ask a mystic,
From Armley and Wortley and the surrounding district.

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2 Responses to 181. Armley, Wortley and the Surrounding Districts

  1. Ian says:

    Classically funny and pathetic in equal measure. Brilliant. As per usual from a man who puts words to what our minds see.

  2. FarmingHaiku says:

    Absolutely spot on Luci.

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