1. London – Paris – New York – Milan

From sometime during The Derelicts 2005-6 season crafted by the maestro, Mark Thornberry. The image was taken about a decade later, by which point Kinger’s penchant for pink was flourishing…


Hairnet carefully manoeuvred the ageing family utility vehicle out of the drive. He had been meaning to move the half-skip of sand now piled up outside the garage doors for some time.

He’d recently taken the advice of his friend and mentor Kinger and gone up-market, firmly into middle Ashteadshire. Firmly, he’d been re-assured, into middle class acceptance.

However, there had been a number of important competing demands on the domestic coffers (Lions Tour, Val d’Isère with the boys, Arsenal abroad in the Champions League) that had left him without the ready ackers to really get the professionals in…..and the ever-growing pile of building materials to the side and front only served to remind him that he really needed to pull his finger out and get on.

He looked in the rear view mirror and a half smile flitted across his well tanned face. No chance now, he thought.

He pulled out onto Barnett Wood Lane, patted the kit bag on the passenger’s seat and turned the radio to Heart FM. Billy Joel, dependable as ever, blared back. Derelict’s debut today and Kinger had been quite firm about the chinos……

Ten miles or so west and Kinger had also embarked on a little home improvement, though it was definitely not turning out to be a Dry Blackthorn day for this ageing second row forward.

He’d not only woken up to find he’d run out of his favourite hair conditioner, serious as that was….but how the bloody hell had he got himself 40% over budget on the 9,000 square feet extension to Ripley Mansions….how?

He scanned the unimpeachable Excel spreadsheet in front of him with renewed vigour…but the phone that he’d ignored previously didn’t stop ringing.

He reached over and tetchily grabbed the handset. Where the hell was Jane?

‘What!’ was all he could muster.

‘Ah, Kinger, Tap here…..’

His mind raced, Tap……….Tap, Tap, Tap. What did he want? Something ..something……..he quickly put a nascent thought to the back of his mind.

‘Kinger, look, I’m going to wear the fuchsia V-neck. Just checking we are going to be completely aligned on our colour shading this afternoon’.

A sharp, rasping intake of breath, that he felt sure could be heard on the other end of the line. Smart move. No, more than that…..top move. The Gant jumper. He’d seen it on someone before at Kingswood Golf Club and really liked it then. Really, really, liked it.

‘Yeah, Tap, er, yeah, nice one. No probs, erm, gonna, yep, I’m doing lemon…yeah, definitely lemon, the Lacoste polo, got a few of them whilst out with the trouble and strife in Turkey’.

He replaced the receiver and clenched his fists.

Lemon Lacoste – me arse. He smiled and smoothed the front of his crisp, pink, full-sleeve Ralph Lauren button down. No knock-off here mate he mused, genuine…ninety sobs, no f*cking about. One last look in the driver’s mirror and he gently gunned his overpriced M3 BMW towards the Big Field.

Skip, looked into the bottom of his now empty glass. True, London Welsh had been dispatched less than an hour previously via an excellent display of Old Lags rugby – and that new lad from Ashtead had looked more than a bit useful…yet it was feeling all a bit different this season.

He looked down the bar, zeroing in on the nearby raucous laughter and glistening white teeth. He strained to catch the conversation….the odd tale of front row skullduggery perhaps? An exaggerated re-telling of a crafty dig given to an overzealous oppo flanker? He moved his bar stool closer.

Kinger had taken his shoe off and was holding it outstretched to his fellow forwards….’Come on, come on, lookey here ….Gucci lads… Knightsbridge mind you, not bloody Kowloon …..’

Skip turned back, shook his head and quickly called for another Stella.


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