By Brian Hall
Saturday 27 Oct 2012 17:56:00
Browse all Brian Hall articles



Yesterday, I popped up the street to meet a mate, Gus, from over Windy Nook, Gateshead way. Us two have been known to meet in the odd bar or two over many years, whether at Newcastle home or away games, or just gannin out on the hoy! We had opted for a more civilised approach on Thursday though - the local cafe and a quick cup of coffee. This time, that is!


 Anyway, nearby was Kevin, an old Mag, taking his notes and drinking his cuppa. And he passed me a tiny message over, after waving over, about NUFC, which been part of his whole life since a bairn.


I dont want to give away his second name. He is a very modest and unassuming ageing man.  But half of Heaton knows him only too well, and he is respected immensely throughout this part of the East End, in the Heaton and Byker area. Why? Due to his vast experience of life near the Big River, brought up as a kid in this area, shipyard worker, street fighter boxer,  cleaner, you name it. And  last but not certainly not least, in his later days, a writer.


On that last point, it turned out that was how I first got to know Kevin well, quite a few years ago now. After a dodgy and rough spell in my own life, I went to a local writers' group. It was a long way from posh Islington, or even Jes..Mond. It was full of real folk, and talent. I learnt some things there, in that short spell, but his particular work and readings were superb. He had, and still has not, no computer - all he used, and still uses, was his pen and paper. He made the rest of us look very poor imitations in comparison in that field. He has never sought out payment for his work in that sphere, but believe you me, he could have. 


He knew the Tyne, as he grew up, as a thriving, vibrant place. He knew the Yards and all that that entailed. He knew his street fighting boxing, and was apparently very good at it, to say the least - in one way, it left him punch drunk, as a result. He knew his NUFC history.  Above all, he knew, and still knows, how to write. Brilliantly.


He is now in a sheltered housing scheme. He potters about the area. Safe to say that if ever anybody tried to hassle him, quite a large part of the local population would not be too amused!


I am lucky. Kevin counts me as a friend. His little note simply said............to Brian, best wishes and thank you my literary friend. ( that was a compliment in itself ).                            It added...................Wish you all the best in Europe tonight. Go for glory. Howay the Lads.


I intend to keep that note in my personal stuff. It might sound emotional to say so. But am not bothered. A message from Kevin like that is an honour, as far as I am concerned.


Just an ordinary Tyneside EastEnder? As if.                                                 tarah.                Bry


ps        I know one thing, for sure. When I bump into him next, his excitement about our progress in Europe will be increasing. And he will probably be taking his own private notes about it.

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