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Hero. Legend. Good Bloke.
John Peel OBE, 1939 - 2004

Red Lick Records



Hogan's Heroes
Ray Smith

This is a humorous story from Ray Smith, about how things can get quickly get out of hand when you try and stop a barrel of Best Bitter from going bad. It's totally 'tongue in cheek' and written in 'Lankyspeak' (Lancashire dialect). We hope you like it.

The gig at Rottcaster Miners Club had been a blinder. BrandySnap had played their socks off to a full clubhouse yet again, and put three more dates in their diary. The last one of which was two years away! Yes, it was definitely one of their favourites.

And, as usual for one of their favourites, they had been invited to stay and have an after time session with the chosen few. They were well aware of this and stripped their gear down in record time.

On this Saturday night though, there was a bit of a problem. Three of the lads had Sunday engagements and wanted to get away. Zoot was off to Wales with his climbing club, while Rebop and Beamer were on an early Slackbottom Sea Anglers coach to Whitby.

Hogan and Nudger, meanwhile, were in the mood to stop a barrel of Best Bitter going bad, and then get a chip supper on the way home.

Wheelsnapper came up with the answer. He would take the three lads home and drop all the gear off at Beamer’s house, if he agreed. They’d done this several times in the past because Beamer’s house had a huge hallway where the gear wouldn’t get in the way. Beamer readily agreed, especially as BrandySnap had another gig in three night’s time and the band gear was always easier to load from one location.

The round trip for Wheelsnapper would take about two hours. This would give Nudger and Hogan ample time to down a good few beers each. As a bonus, Wheelsnapper told them he’d call at the chip shop on the way back to the club and took their orders.

Sure enough, Wheelsnapper’s estimated time was spot on as he arrived back at the club two hours later. The two lads had got quite merry and greeted their driver with raucous shouts. They didn’t want to leave and ordered two more pints of bitter.

Wheelsnapper was becoming visibly more and more upset with them. He was annoyed that they’d broken the tacit agreement that he’d made with the entire band. He started pulling his face and making sarcastic remarks. He told them several times that their chips were going cold in the van!

Eventually, he managed to cajole and bully the two reluctant drinkers out of the club and into the back of the van. He then sped off for Slackbottom at high speed.

Arriving at Hogan’s house first, he stopped the van and opened the back doors. He was still very annoyed with what had occurred.

‘Right, you, get out,’ he snarled, poking Hogan in the chest with a stiff forefinger.

‘Who do you think you’re talking to?’ shouted Hogan. He promptly dived headlong out of the van onto Wheelsnapper, giving him a smack in the chops in the process.

This bounced the band’s driver onto the ground via the van’s door, which swung wildly open before the powerful spring started to pull it back again. As both Hogan and Wheelsnapper scrambled to their feet, three things happened simultaneously.

Hogan started to swivel on one leg, with the other one sticking straight out in front of him. It was a sort of a kung fu come karate kick.

The van door zoomed back on its spring at one hell of a lick and whanged into BrandySnap’s driver/roadie with a sound like a cracked church bell. It’s a matter of conjecture whether Wheelsnapper actually heard that sound. What isn’t conjecture is the way he hit the ground face first with a dull thud.

And Nudger, quietly tucking into his chips and curry in the back of the van, emerged to see what all the racket was about.

Hogan’s death kick attained its full velocity and impact at this point. But even through the haze of Best Bitter he seemed to be in, his manic glazed eyes could see that this wasn’t the target he’d originally aimed for. Instead, it connected with the chip curry in Nudger’s hands.

Chips and lumps of yellow-brown curry sauce spattered across Nudger’s face and hair, and then off into the night. He screamed and sank to his knees by the side of the prone figure of Wheelsnapper.

‘The curry, the curry. It’s in my eyes!’ Nudger sobbed over and over again. He sprang to his feet and pushed his face repeatedly into the damp leaves of Hogan’s privet hedge. He was still babbling and making garbled noises as he attempted to dislodge the curry from his eyes. The leaves had the effect of rubbing the curry sauce even further into his eyes, while the leaf stalks and twigs were causing scratches all over his face.

Hogan’s wife had heard the van pull up and the commotion that followed. Light flooded out from the front door and down the garden path as she came out to see what was going on.

Wheelsnapper was stirring groggily, so she helped him to his feet. Passing Nudger, she plucked him from the hedge and pushed them both indoors.

Once there, she switched more lights on and sent Nudger up the stairs to the bathroom so he could bathe his face and rinse his eyes with cold water. She then turned to her brother, Wheelsnapper. He was standing there glaring out of one good eye and one rapidly blackening one. Blood matted his hair and neck from a cut where the van door had got him, so she pushed him into the kitchen to clean himself up.

After a few minutes more, in through the front door strolled a nonchalant Hogan. He was met with the sight of his wife in her dressing gown, stood in the middle of the room with her hands on her hips.

‘Now then,’ she said, shaking her head. ‘Do you remember the first words you said to me when we met all those years ago? No? Well, I’ll tell you. You said “I’m a good fighter, I am.” So, what have you been up to?’

Copyright Ó Ray Smith 1998   

Check out Ray's  Grey Mare mini blues festival in Ramsbottom, Lancashire

Check out other Lancashire stories from Ray:
West Pennine Boogie Blues

Only Maloney

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