The Beach Diaries 2012 – #14

Previous: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13

* Holidaymakers sat on the riverbank, across from the chippy, toss handfuls of chips and batter into the air for the seagulls, naively unaware of how frenzied the tourist-town sub-species of the gull can be. I duck my way through a thrashing white cloud of beaks and talons, like a terrorised Tippi Hedren.

* Down on the common, a lone Indian man sits bored among the clothes and bags of twenty people. Two hundred yards away, over the tiny wall and the long bench, his friends frolic in the low tide.

* Overheard conversation snippets. Twenty-something girl to her friends.

“Yeah, well he got his cum all over my iMac, so he’s one to talk.”

* From behind the shrubs separating the common – where I’m sat – and the prom, come shrieks. Playful at first, but quickly more frantic, like someone being attacked by a wild dog.

“Stop that now! Get him off me – you must stop!” It draws the attention of a pair of men who’ve since returned to the pile of clothes guarded by the bored mate. They jog with smiles towards the sound, as the commotion escalates. I stand, brazen, for a better look, but all I can see are the open mouths of bystanders. The two men step over onto the prom, where there’s animalistic screeching, and a voice that begs “Stop it!” The next voice I hear belongs to one of the men.

“Are you alright, mate?”

They lead a third man back over the wall, returning him to their group, arm in arm. He’s about thirty, dripping wet, and wearing only a pair of shorts that hang two inches below his crack. From my range, he looks exactly like Casper from Eastbound and Down. He clearly has learning difficulties, and spins and staggers from their grasp, shrieking with laughter the entire time. On the other side of the wall, a well turned out man of sixty passes, a mixture of livid and shaken. He buttons his jacket back up, straightening his clothes with all the dignity he can muster, his face reddening beneath the gaze of passers by. The wet, laughing man throws himself down on the grass, while the friends smile and chuckle like whatever just happened happens all the time.

* Later. Wet Guy makes a break for it, staggering away as the rest of his group dresses from their swim. Three give rather lazy chase; then four, then five, but he’s stronger than the lot of them, crazy strong, and lays immobile on his back, squawking like a giant bird. It looks to be that old familiar dance of the seaside. A ton of special needs people are brought down here on outings, and when hometime comes, many refuse to leave, clinging to poles, shoving away the arms of their guardians, or staging sit-down protests on the sand. I remember a kid from a couple of summers ago who resolutely refused to go back to the coach, until the cool dude lifeguard gave him a thumbs up and started chatting. The sudden sense of shame at acting like a baby in front of such a dude saw him dust himself off and amble away.

“Not the eyes! I need them to lech on nineteen-year-olds!”

Casper’s friends walk over with a large bottle of water. He takes a glug, then slaps at their hands when they try to take it back, so they empty it over his face. Again, he breaks loose, and roars down the common, arms flailing, emitting a piercing Ric Flair “Wooooo!” His friends/family laugh, casually strolling over as he grapples with a random black guy, who isn’t finding it quite so funny, nor the pack of strangers he’s pulling at and mauling. They’re beholden to his disability, social law decreeing they surrender themselves to wet headlocks and gropes where others would get a “Fuck you, buddy” and a fist to the face. Like a chimp at a Hollywood party, he’s got diplomatic immunity to fondle and fight as he pleases. Even as he spins away into traffic and out of sight, it’s a half-hearted run from the friends that follow him.

* Ten minutes later, they’ve not returned, and the black guy marches down to the family, pointing and waving a hat. Snatches of impassioned West African syllables float on the wind. I wonder how far his attacker has gotten, and how many tourists he’s bullied to the ground. Even now, as mobile phones start to come out, and two more from his group amble off to look for him, they’re all smiles.

* An ambulance pulls up on the corner by the café. Related, perhaps?

* Overheard conversation snippets. A woman to her husband:

“That picture of Paul McCartney – is that included?”

* An hour later, and Casper’s buddies still haven’t returned. He’s probably halfway to Brighton by now, scaling the pier like King Kong; a slew of bodies in his wake while his mates wryly titter from the ice cream queue.

* A grandad leaps out of the bushes.

“Raaaar!” His granddaughter squeals with delight.

* Casper returns, a guy on one arm, a women on the other. His busy hands keep honking on her boobs, and soon, her finger is in his face.

“I don’t care. You ain’t got the right to fuckin’ touch me!” He’s led back to the group, and with a defiant “Wooooo!”, he’s on his back once more.

“I’m absolutely fackin’ livid!” yells the woman, whose rage can be heard from France, “he’s barred from any other trips!” She screams into indifferent, even amused, faces that he’s confined to the coach.

* Ninety minutes later, I pass them again. Casper isn’t on the coach. But he does have a shirt on.

* Seagulls squabble over large sacks of piled leftovers abandoned in the middle of the common by the Casper Crew. Between where they sat and the coach, stand a dozen empty bins.

The complete collection (plus appendices) of 2011’s Beach Diaries are available to buy for the Amazon Kindle for £1.99/$2.99. If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon have a free Kindle app for PC/Mac/phones/tablets, available right here.

The Beach Diaries 2011 on

The Beach Diaries 2011 on


~ by Stuart on July 4, 2012.

4 Responses to “The Beach Diaries 2012 – #14”

  1. “Casper” is Ayn Rand’s wet dream, and an example to us all. We should all be able to act like that one day a year, perhaps on our birthday.

  2. You know, Tippi Hendren was genuinely attacked by birds during filming; Hitchcock was a big believer in torturing his leading ladies to make their terror seem ‘genuine’. Some of Hitchcock’s creepy#iness is quoted within in regards to Hendren, particularly where it says he gave Hendren’s daughter a doll that was an eerie likeness of her mother, complete with an ornate ‘coffin-like’ wooden display box.

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