The Coffin Rider

27th September 2012. The Coffin Rider.

Spoken word performance at [STATE] of uncertainty, curated by Kate Spence.

Part of the ‘my life stories’ series.


Ian is the one who lives five doors down and plays with cars in his dad’s garage. He is older than us but not too old to play with us still like things like hide and seek and foxes and hounds and spot kick and best man dead, but I don’t think he has many friends his own age. I don’t know his last name so I think that means we’re not proper friends or anything but sometimes he is fun but some times he is in a bad mood and shouts with his brother and dad and his mum looks really really old like maybe she’s his nan, but she isn’t.

When Ian leaves school he wants to be a mechanic in a garage or something. Not like his dad’s garage, which is in the service area behind our house where we play British Bulldog and stuff but a proper garage where they sell petrol and fix cars and have an office and everything like where my mum works with the lady who has nice bosoms but Andy who is my brother says we don’t talk about that because it’s secret or something but they make me feel all nice. Once, when I was running around there with Andy to see mum I made a mistake going through the precinct and ran into a post and cut my head so I had blood going in my eyes and it was hard to see. Mum took me to hospital and have stitches and that time my mum went a bit funny and did something called fainting I think.

Oh yeah, so Ian who wants to be a mechanic also does really good go-karts which we go and try to have races with but no-one else has a go-kart mostly, so we mainly go around the block and on the scrambling track in the woods where we ride our bikes sometimes. He made this go-kart one time that was called Herbie like the film and it had a stripe and a number on it like in the film too but it was really clever because he did a thing where the suspend-shun had little oil things that dripped in it or something and it made the suspend-shun better and i didn’t understand but it looked very clever and like science.

So, one time he made this go-kart called The Coffin Rider because Stevie Betsworth really liked horror movies, like the ones in his Hammer Book of Horror Movies which has some really good pictures in it. the best one is the one of Christopher Lee who Stevie says is the best Frankenstein Monster, not Boris Karloff who is American. The Coffin rider is shaped a bit like a coffin and you drive it lying down which is scarier and very hard but it is quite small so not everyone can drive it. Ian painted all spooky things on it and I had to hold my hand still while he copied it so it looked like a hand coming out of the coffin and my hand is really bony like a vampire probably.

One day we took the coffin rider to the scramble track in the woods which is really just like some trees that go along near Bishopsfield Road, which is the main road we are allowed to go across nowadays, so that the council houses where we live are separate from the private houses where Andy King and Simon Ratcliffe live. And also there is this tree near where my grandad’s flat is that’s really easy to climb that even a girl can climb it. which is just on the line between his council flat and the private houses where Andy’s paper round goes. And one time Laura, who is this girl I like who makes me feel funny and who kissed me on the playground once  was up the easy tree with me and she showed me up her skirt and I nearly fell out of the tree it looked really funny up there like it was all folded in. Oh yeah, so we were going up and down the scramble track on the coffin rider and jumbo was riding along next to us on his bike shouting things and we were having fun but then I don’t know what happened next but there was a crash and wasps everywhere and it was scary. We had to walk home  v  e   r  y      s   l   o   w   l   y   and every time I moved wrong I got stung cos there were wasps in my clothes and i didn’t know what to do and I cried and Andy kept going Shh we’re nearly there but we weren’t it was a really far away and I don’t like wasps. In a bit we got home and mum and dad made us stand on chairs and took our clothes off really really slowly but we still got stung more and cried and Andy was crying too which you don’t see much. All the wasps that came off then got squashed which is serves them right.

Mum and dad was a bit angry by then even though we had all the stings and they put Camo-line lotion on us to make the stinging less but then made us hurry up and put on special clothes that are smart saying Beryl and Glenn will be here soon who are my aunty and uncle who got married not long ago and drive an Austin Allegro.

When Aunty beryl and Uncle Glenn came we waited around for a bit but nothing happened and no-one said much but then we had to go and followed them in our car which is a really old one that we call Algie because the number plate starts with ALJ and sometimes it doesn’t start. We went to a place near Portchester I think where there was a big park with a thing like a church we had to sit in and there were these old people I had to say hello to but I didn’t know who they were and some of them kissed me but they smelled funny.and then we walked around the park and everyone looked up at this big smokey chimney and we all went home then.