Saturday, 19 September 2015

Grass, Snitch, Nark, Blabber.

Grass by Mark Whiteley

When I was 20, I witnessed an horrific beating in a pub in Nottingham.  Two young, alcohol fuelled, angry men on a Friday night out, I knew both the victim and the perpetrator.  What followed was one of the scariest times in my life. I was threatened, stalked and even arrested. 

After the fight I was asked by the Police Officer what I’d seen, we all know what can happen to a grass on the council estates of England.  What would you do?  I did what I thought was right and decent and ultimately, I ended up paying a high price for being a snitch. 

Before the Crown Court case I was regularly visited by gang members wanting to know “what I was going to say” in court, under oath.  As the date loomed I didn’t know where to turn or what to do, so on the morning of the case I ran away.  Of course as a 48 year old I look back on that ridiculous decision with mature eyes, but I was caught between a rock and a hard place.

On the run from the Police and living on friend’s sofas I battled between my conscience and my fear for my safety.  In the end, Iaughably, I was “on the run” for just three nights. I had a chance meeting with an old lady on a park bench, who had far more life experience than I did at that time.  She listened and told me about her brother, a conscientious objector, who ran away for six months during WW2 then bravely returned to face the music. 

The next day I walked into Nottingham Crown Court and was arrested for Contempt on entry.  I gave evidence and the accused was found guilty and given 12 months, suspended for 12 months.  I left Nottingham pretty soon after that.

25 years later and the ghosts of my past are back.  GRASS is a new British crime drama from award winning Manchester theatre company HARD GRAFT. 

Venue -  KAVA 17 - 21 Mumps, Oldham, OL1 3TL
Tickets from £6*
Dates 30th Sept. - 17th October 2015
Time 7.30pm
*£6 preview tickets on the 30th September