In a Dead Man’s Jacket
Published by TWA Corbies Publishing
Charges headlong through a battered world of chancers, small-time drug-dealers, neighbourhood hoods and Hooray Henrys in 1983 Thatcher’s Britain. A wryly accurate and hilarious account of a young Scotsman on the make, determined to survive the Thatcher years.
Summer 1983, Margaret Thatcher has been triumphantly re-elected and Martin Duff is leaving Glasgow University, degree in hand, to join 3 million others on the dole. Back in his hometown of Dundee there is no possibility of a job and worse, having fallen foul of the Unemployment Benefit Office, no prospect of a giro either!
The city has fallen a long way from the days when it built great ships and Duffy rejoins the ranks of the underclass, eking out his time and worrying about his scallywag younger brother Ned’s troubles with drug gang bosses. Duffy recruits fearsome uncle Jimmy to deal with the problem. In court to hear of Ned’s latest brush with the law, he is contacted by Parky Gates and Solly McCabe – crime bosses from Milngavie – and in cahoots with his pal Ian, is set up as a skunk cannabis farmer based in a derelict Angus farm at Nether Balbungie.
But Ned returns from jail determined to get involved and when he is snubbed, rats them out to the rival local drug gang, the Hannans. The police arrive, the inland revenue Gestapo are on their tail, the landlords are after back rent, the electricity board wants to investigate massive unpaid electricity use in the area, both drug gangs are after them. More people are after them than pursued Al Capone in his heyday.
They manage to escape, disguised as pirates – with the entire skunk harvest inside a vintage split-screen orange VW campervan – and high (in all senses of the word) society beckons. Soon they are hobnobbing with Chelsea toffs, partying with the yahs and looking forward to spending their expected millions – once they can find a buyer.
Part scabrous comedy, part political fable, In A Dead Man’s Jacket charges headlong through a world of chancers, small-time drug-dealers and Hooray Henrys where the class divide yawns ever wider and the ship of state is sinking fast.