Broadmeadows, Victoria. It’s reputation precedes it. A nice place to live says some, while others acknowledge that there’s a shadowy corner that lurks around the train stations and “does burnouts on Camp Road”.
(LOL, hard-hitting journo stuff right there!) Seriously though, I was living in Glenroy, which is like a retirement village just down the road from the ‘cruel’ streets of Broadmeadows. It was no secret that there were gangs in the area, their tags sprawled around many of the streets and train stations, the gangs seen in different sized groups at all hours of the day.
The Broady Boys, a gang hailing from Broadmeadows, was always something spoken about around me. Come to think of it, I don’t even recall where I first heard about them. They were like an urban myth spread to scare little kids into not straying too far out of sight of the main streets.
My run-in with “The B-Boys” came late one night on a train heading out of the city back home. I’d been out in the city, just hanging out with the Goths, and was all dressed up.
Back then, this was my usual “goth garb”: my velvet cloak, obviously; knee-high boots with a four-inch heel; all black pants, shirt and jumper; spiked choker around my neck; rings on almost every finger; eye-liner and my long hair down. Man, I wish I had a photo – so ridiculous!
Anyway, one night I was sitting on the train, minding my own business—I was drawing on my hand. I had an obsession with tiny little lines that all connected. I would start on one fingertip on the back of my hand and draw a network of interlinking little lines and shapes until every finger was covered, the back of my hand and up my forearm.
But yeah, I was minding my own business when a bunch of guys—probably a good fifteen-to-twenty I’d reckon—all came right up and sat around me in the train. Plenty of other empty seats, so I knew I was in for some trouble.
I tried to avoid eye contact and was caught unawares when the guy sitting next to me (flicking a knife) said, “Oh my gawd, sick! Is that a tattoooo?” (sorry, I just had to write the accent, it’s burned in my memory!)
I answered as polite and calm as I could, even though I was shitting bricks… “No, it’s just pen.” I held up the pen I was using so he could see.
“Aw shit man, could you draw that on me?”
With that one line I was basically forgotten and I did a fairly rushed job (but as good and close to mine as I could) on his arm.
By the time we reached my stop at Glenroy, I’d gotten his hand done and part way up his arm. I told him it was my stop and he shook my hand and clapped me on the back. I got off the train and don’t think I looked back until I was at least half-way home.
That was the only time this little goth kid saw or experienced The Broady Boys, (except for the odd shouted comment from afar here-and-there).