Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

You Lookin' at Me, Punk?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

You Lookin' at Me, Punk?

Article excerpt


Neighbours on Patrol BBC2

IT'S ALWAYS the amateurs who spoil it for everyone else. Amateur drunks who can't hold their booze on New Year's Eve and create impromptu action paintings on pavements. Amateur singers who insist that they're not singing sharp, it's the entire orchestra that's flat. And, worst of all, amateur nudists, those portly middle-aged men and women whom nobody would ever pay to see naked, yet who persist in walking about unclothed, while telling us that the body is the temple of the soul (even though theirs looks like a Fallujah mosque after a makeover from the US air force).

My heart sinks whenever I see a documentary about British naturists in the schedules, because I know it'll be wobbly jelly time on my screen, a sad anaemic pageant of sagging buttocks, wrinkled bellies, and pointed floppies obeying gravity by drooping down to the navel. Honestly, it's a sight so distressing that it makes you wish the Corby Trouser Press people would invent a model for humans.

We had amateur drunks, amateur singers, and a flabby amateur amateur nudist in the opening scene of BBC2's Neighbours on Patrol, but at least the film crew was handily located for buying a trouser press.

That's because last night's grimly fascinating documentary was shot entirely on location in Corby's Kingswood estate, where 1,500 crimes are reported each year, graffiti covers every wall, and residents have lived for years in fear from hooligans who specialise in vandalism and intimidation.

"Once the steel works closed down, this became a ghost estate," sixtysomethings Yvonne and Les von Bujtar told us sadly, but in August they'd launched a fightback by persuading their even more elderly neighbours to help them set up a street-watch scheme, supported by the local police.

"Let's get the criminals running," was their pitiable geriatric war cry as the vigilantes took to the streets for their first night- time patrol, which seemed overly ambitious, because even a gentle stroll would have enabled the fit young vandals to escape from this feeble band.

What a tragic sight. Young ruffians desperately looking for (but not finding) some hip joints, while being pursued by old codgers who were on the NHS waiting list for theirs.

By day, the cameras revealed the estate to be as clean as a whistle, by which I mean that (as with any well-used whistle) it was thickly coated with gob and phlegm. Indeed, the local teenagers seemed to communicate with adults almost entirely through the medium of mucus (by ejecting "greeners" or "grollies" of sputum from the back of the throat onto their victim's face), and when they did occasionally resort to speech, they looked and sounded like a gaggle of pierced and pissed Vicky Pollards, expressing themselves in hormone-and-alcohol-fuelled streams of adolescent scatological incoherence. …

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