As you may know by now we had a jacket stolen from the shop. This wasn't just any jacket from a huge wholesaler though; this jacket was one of a kind, the only one in the world. When we opened the wife of the chap who made our shop sign (the fantastically talented Jonny Learjet) offered to hand make some clothing for us. So when this jacket was stolen we were totally gutted, it's not like we're a huge chain and it's not like this jacket was one of thousands churned out by a factory in Thailand. So minus one jacket there I was sat on the door at a show we put on in the Steamboat in Ipswich when a chap and his lass walked up to the door to come in. Not that unusual admittedly, I shuffled on my stool, checked the cash tin and prepared to exchange pleasantries as I relieved them both of three quid in fair exchange for being entertained by four bands. Only this bloke saw me and made a sharp right turn that would have made a rally driver proud, and then proceeded to walk past the pub. Now if you don’t know the Steamboat very well let me explain something; the pub isn’t exactly in town. In fact it’s a fair fifteen minute walk to get there from the town centre, and once you are there there’s nowt else to distract you. It’s right on the river, next to a converted maltings office block, and if you walk past the pub all you have to look forward to is a stumble in the dark for about ten minutes then nothing, wasteland, nada, zilch. So when someone walks up to the door, then apparently decides to explore the local area before settling down for some punk rock, it’s odd to say the least. I turned and frowned at Lee the Steamboat Bar manager who was helping me on the door, I then turned to frown at Graham, my co-promoter. Only Graham wasn’t showing the time honored nonchalant raised eyebrow expression that befits all Steamboat oddities, his expression was more akin to someone who has just seen a ghost, a ghost wearing stolen goods…
About twenty seconds later said punter discovered that there really is nothing past the Steamboat and tried to sneak his way back past the front door. Sneaking isn’t really an option here, there’s nothing for about thirty feet in any direction from the front door of the Steamboat, and it’s on a corner! As the walking lunk walked back past I clocked his jacket, or should I say OUR jacket and turned to Graham to mirror his stunned expression. One thing I’ve always admired about Graham (especially as we’re in a band together) is his sense of timing. This won through yet again as he asked me if I was going to do anything about bringing about closure on the current situation rather than sitting with a similar expression on my face as when I attempt mental maths. Well admittedly those weren’t his actual words, they were far more colourful and Saxon in origin. At this point I was so stunned that I didn’t really know what to do next, so I ran out of the door and camera in hand I darted up behind the line of cars that was the other side of the pavement that jacket man was now making a speedy exit on, and prepared to jump out at him, immortalising the moment in photo form forever. I crouched behind a van, double checked my camera and estimating the loping speed of our perpetrator I leapt out, with an itchy finger on the shutter trigger. But nothing, he’d gone. Fortunately he had only gone from my eye line, when I returned to the pub to announce that I had been outwitted I spotted Lee (the bar manager) chatting with a very sullen faced young chap. I was totally bewildered as to what one should do in a situation like this so I let Lee take the lead, but not before I had taken great care to get the perfect photograph of the situation.
Lee informed the very pouty chap that stood before us that the jacket he was wearing was the only one of its kind in the world, and it had in fact been stolen. The responses were mostly monosyllabic and can’t have been interesting or relevant enough for me to remember. Given a chance to think, the only reply that was spluttered forth was, “man, this is gay, I bought this jacket off a mate, gay”. He seemed to use the gay an awful lot, maybe he was pinching stuff to reassure a fragile grasp of his own sexuality? Lee offered jacket man two choices, he could return the jacket and walk home in the freezing cold, or we could call the police and have him arrested for handing stolen goods. The word gay was mumbled a few more times and the jacket was returned.
I do remember this bloke coming into the shop on the day the jacket went missing. I thought something was a bit odd at the time as he was an avid Splitknot fan and appeared to be older than 12 years old. That just doesn’t add up.