Stardust was opposite the bus station in Bridgend. This was 1984-5. A micro, velour Las Vegas - token wins could be exchanged for cigarettes (single or cartons), for Fray Bentos pies, for xXx videos. Cash wins were better. There weren’t jobs in South Wales in 1984-85. The Miner’s Strike was raging - non-scabs were on the hobble (working for cash-in-hand), taking all the shit non-union jobs. I was unemployed, stuck at home when most of me mates were off at uni. Margaret Thatcher hated me. There was nothing to do, but drink and fuck and gamble. It’s not so much of a gamble when you’ve nothing much to lose, when your dole stretched like a stepping stone path of Brains SA to your next giro (each step a risky leap, the route eked out). Little cash to me mam. Fiver aside against Christmas. I’d walk the eight miles into town to sign-on, sink a few with the last of me buddies, walk home. Giro day was a kerpow day: chauffeured to Bridgend by bus, a skip-a jump to the Post Office, pub, chips, Stardust - lose, and back home on foot - win, few more beers, a video, perhaps a night at Crossways or a weekend run into Cardiff and... It was a bi-polar existence. Weeks of tiny highlights, mostly on tv or on John Peel’s radio show. I wrote poetry. I drew pictures - of the bathroom sink, of chairs, of the war memorial on the square, the infantry man. I played with tape decks, recording and dubbing and fucking about. I took photos of the dullness I felt mired in. I began to see glory in the shitty-ness of everything. I used to love the largesse of drink, the Hollywood of drink, the theatre, the big screen, the liveliness of drink. I made an art of smoking. Silk Cut (working class minimalism). The sudden firework of unshredded magnesium igniting - there to intensify the fag’s burn . I went up for jobs. They were wary of me A Levels, suspecting I’d be off to uni in time. Though me mam was a teacher, I thought jobs meant driving trucks/buses/coaches, mining, steelworks, shops for girls, labouring and such. I did a hobble as an ice cream man. I did a short stint as a cashier at a local garage. I ran a kid’s footie team. I applied to art college. I had to escape the gyro of the giro. The empty life I led. In 1986, I evacuated to Surrey - me being Alice following the white rabbit of Art. A label about my neck read ‘drink me. eat me.’ I was quite, quite lost.