Purple Aki, The Liverpool Muscle Feeler
This struck me as very funny, surreal natural comedy of the most touching kind. Akinwale Arobieke - Purple Aki - has a thing about muscles and squat thrusts. He's been jailed for nuisance, chasing young people around the streets of Liverpool, asking to touch their toned young flesh. Now he's out, and despite the fact he's committed no sex crime, in the usual terms, Merseyside Police have applied to Liverpool Magistrates' Court for a Sexual Offences Prevention Order against him.
People are retreating into a sanitised reality which has no place for the local loon. When I was a young lad, half a billion peanuts backside, we used to have Purple Akis abounding in the streets, some dangerous, mostly just nutters, fall out from Broken Britain, mostly men, some of them troops from WW2 who had never demobbed and were now homeless and often helpless and stinking, with plastic-bagged feet and endless layers of dank coats. We knew who they were and their particular foibles, which ones to avoid, which ones where unstable. It was local folk knowledge. Despite their occasional high-profile madness, they were mostly tolerated.
These people weren't on the edge, they'd fallen off. We knew that they were persona non grata, and we'd be scolded terribly by concerned parents if they knew we were risking any contact at all; but we wanted to understand them, in our childish way; we wanted the thrill of contact with the outsider, though at a safe distance, courage bolstered by secretly carrying stones.
My friends and I were nice kids, no pouring petrol or pissing from on high, not like the thickos, who'd tie tin cans to a cat's tail for a sadistic laugh shattering the summer day's boredom with a fitful bout of cruelty. We even gave them food, though we'd leave it and hide, watching as it was discovered and stashed in some pocket or carried bag.
When we were feeling brave, and only with strength in numbers, every so often we'd approach one or other of these old freaks and engage them verbally. Used to mockery, we'd get snarls from them, or else a thrown bottle; sometimes we'd conduct a strange conversation, the memory of which would be seared into our impressionable young minds, repeated and exaggerated for weeks.
Purple Aki doesn't need suppressing with spurious court orders, he needs his own series on Channel 4. Let's hear it for some Unreality TV.