This blog is all that remains from the former www.londonstreetgangs.com website which was closed after 8 years of providing a 'wiki' of urban street gangs in London.

An unfinished history of modern urban street gangs in London has been used to replace some of the content of the original site, beginning here

Monday, 20 August 2012

Freedom from the Womb Prisoner to the Streets (Chapter One)


PRISONER TO THE STREETS

CHAPTER 1

THE CHASE

WHAT the fuck have I gotten myself into? 
Again.
This wasn’t the first time in my sixteen years that this had crossed my mind as the boi dem chased us. I was having to ask myself that question on a weekly basis. If it wasn’t one hype it was another. Armed robberies, drug runnings, street robberies and all kinds of beef. I wasn’t really into the drugs 

and the robberies, but where beef was concerned you could bet your life on me.
How do I get myself out of this?
A few of the guys my age and older had been in and out of prison lately. I wasn’t plannning on joining them. But it sounded like we were surrounded. Police sirens from every direction, the reflection of the blue lights everywhere. There was no time to worry about anything. It was run first, think later.
Q ran first. Without thinking I followed. The boi dem were only a long arm’s length away when I breezed.
The chase was on.
It began when we were opposite McDonalds, on a back street off of Kingsland High Road, when the boi dem first clocked us. Like they’d been clocking us all summer. Like they always do in Holly Street, and Hackney in general. They had been circling the area for weeks. As if something was going down.
Something was going down, but nothing major. It was around midnight and we were just around the corner from Holly Street heading to Danielle’s. I was on my phone, not really paying attention to what Q was up to as he kneeled down next to a parked car. Like I said, robbery wasn’t really my thing and, even though I was chatting away on the phone, I knew that he was up to sutt’n. Either he was going to jack the car or the stereo. But I didn’t really pay him no mind. I just continued talking on the phone, minding my own business, until he was done with whatever he was doing.
I don’t know where they came from but all of a sudden they were there. A police car had crept up without its headlights on. It pulled up right beside us. The sirens screamed.
Q had already breezed by the time the boi dem jumped out. I was right behind him trying to catch up. The boi dem were also trying to catch up. All I could hear was their footsteps. It sounded like there were two or three of them on my back.
Q dusted down an alleyway that led us into Kerridge, an estate on the border with Islington. That didn’t trouble us. Hackney boys had no respect for Islington boys. It wasn’t like they were going to argue about whose endz it was. They simply weren’t on our level. The only surrounding area that we had respect for was Tottenham. Most of us Hackney boys were full of ourselves. We didn’t have much ratings for Leyton, Walthamstow or Stratford. Even though the African boys in E15 could fight, we were the heart of East London, and the hardest too.
But the boi dem who were chasing us didn’t care about our rep. They didn’t respect any of us. All they wanted to do was dash us in the bully van before their shift was over. The way they were running after us was like their livelihoods dependend on it. I chased after Q hoping he knew what he was doing. The further he ran the more I lost faith in him. By now my lungs were burning like somene was sparking up a spliff in my chest. Every gasp of breath was a painful reminder that there was much more at stake for me than TDA. I was fully strapped. And that would cost me more than a shit and a shave at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.
More time I had my gun on me because I was afraid to get caught slippin’.
Again.
I had mad beef dem times, so I carried my strap to beef with anyone and everyone who wanted it. Although this wasn’t beef, I was slippin’ into doing time for a fully loaded strap.
So I kept on running.
By now I was fed up with the chase. I mean, I don’t even run from my enemies. I couldn’t understand how the boi dem had me shook. They weren’t even strapped. And, to be honest, I had more respect for the Islington boys than I had for them. The stubborn side of me wanted to get ignorant - stop running, turn around and face them. The sensible part reasoned that the boi dem didn’t even know I was strapped, and what’s the use in making my problems bigger if I could get rid of the burner before the chase got longer.
Q buss’d another corner on the estate, past the football cage and the communal gardens. As soon as I got round that bend I dashed the gun into a bush. Fully loaded. Still running, I wondered if the boi dem had seen what I had thrown into the darkness. Man didn’t have time to watch dat. What concerned me now was the £5 draw tucked in my socks. But that was a minor, still.
What the FUCK have I gotten myself into?
That question still ringing in my head.
The boi dem were on to us differently. Determinedly. Still refusing to give up the chase. Me and Q breezed around a next corner. All that was keeping me running now was the need to sleep in my own bed tonight. At sixteen I had already spent way too many nights sitting on a blue rubber mattress in a cell. Who knows how many times it’s been pissed on. A nice warm bed and a spliff at home was my only motivation.
That’s how cocky we were. Getting caught by the boi dem’s a no-no. You can’t come back to the manor and big up your chest about getting shift by the boi dem. All it means is that you got caught. Bad bwoys ain’t supposed to get caught. Especially black boys.
Me and Q were easily up there amongst the fastest in Hackney our age, so we didnt have to worry about each other on a chase. We run from police for fun on a regular. With smiles on our faces. But this chase was no joke ting, because I was a big weed smoker dem times. I was still boasy of my chances in a sprint with the boi dem, but I wasn’t sure about going the distance. I had to find a way of getting away before we ran out of road into a dead end.
Ah shit. Spoke too soon. Q could have turned left or right. He turned right, which was wrong. I followed him regardless, hoping he had a plan. Before we ran into the brick wall.
The boi dem were closing in on us. I didn’t want to get arrested again or go to prison but it looked like we were on our way to Feltham if we didn’t make it over the wall - and fast. Q didn’t hesitate until he had climbed to the top. It was only when I managed to reach there myself that I realised why. What we had climbed was nothing compared to the drop on the other side. It was like we were sitting on the roof of a three or even four-storey house, looking down at the train tracks at the bottom. We looked at each other. I was thinking, Shit, we’re gonna need a parachute for this one. Q was probably thinking the same thing. But the sound of heavy boots, shouting and the crackle of walkie talkies not far behind got our minds back in focus.
We both looked at each other, and then down. I was thinking, “Olders first.” But he looked like he was thinking, “Nah, bro, youngers first.”
I don’t know who said it, all I remember is hearing “JUMP!” and before I knew it we were in mid-air and falling fast.

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RELEASE IN SEPTEMBER 2012


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