Moss Side in the early 90s was scary at night: streets lined with dark, hooded figures, eyes glaring out through scarf-wrapped faces; blacked-out BMWs cruising around with menace, growling and buzzing on jungle basslines. In off-licences and late night petrol stations, the till and goods were kept behind multiple layers of bullet-proof perspex; the customer simply stood in this perspex corridor waiting to give their orders to stoic shopkeepers. Armed robberies were frequent. Frankly, it was terrifying; I was almost permanently terrified living there.
As students, we stayed in and smoked weed. Sky Sports, PGA golf, FIFA and turntables kept us amused; Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Pringles and Dairy Milk satiated the munchies. However, some nights we would run out, and one of us, in a heightened state of marijuana-induced paranoia, would need to go to the garage.
Once, it was my unavoidable turn to go with £20 for sweets, crisps, fags and rizlas.
I clicked the door softly behind me and swiftly made down the street, thinking myself into invisibility. It was a quiet night, no-one on the streets, nor in the garage.
I went in and with embarrassment ordered my £20 worth of different confectionary items.
As I was leaving, a BMW came screeching into the garage and two hooded men jumped out. One walked straight up to me. His eyes blazed out red from under his hood and he looked down at what I was carrying. “Munchieeeeees!” he yelled gleefully, and was off to make his own purchase.