Gerard Evans is the lead singer and co-founder of the band Flowers in the Dustbin, author of The Story of Crass and is a practitioner of Mindfulness. I met him at his home on the south-coast of the UK.
I’m interested in the ways in which the anarcho-punk scene remains part of our critical consciousness. This interview came about because of your post entitled ‘The Journey and the Destination’ on the Everyday Mindfulness website. You begin your post in 1988, a couple of years after the initial split of FITD and a time when you initially moved to Brighton. Can you tell me why you moved to Brighton?
Yeah, when the band ended I was kind of listless. My mum and dad were in Bromley and they decided to go back to Liverpool because my dad had retired and he was in ill health. I was living with them (for the sake of vanity I wasn’t always living there) but at that point I was back with them. So I had an interview with a guy in Brighton, very much like the one I’m having now, and I told him I’ve got to find somewhere to live. He said why don’t you come down to Brighton because we’ve got a spare room. I was on the dole at the time and didn’t have many options, so I decided to come down.
In terms of what you initially asked, if we talk about FITD first, we weren’t as solidly in that network as much as other bands were. I don’t mean with that as a gripe. I’m very comfortable with that, because I would say that I probably feel more outside it on various levels, which I’m happy to talk about. I mean, we don’t get offered the gigs like other bands; it’s not that we say no, it’s mainly because no one asks us. And that’s because we’re not seen to be as much of a part of all that as, perhaps, as Hagar the Womb, who seem to be doing gigs every week. For instance, we never did gigs with Crass, Conflict, or Flux of Pink Indians. We were always further outside from that than our records would suggest. And that suggestion came about due to our association with All Madmen Records and Mortarhate.
Let’s go back a bit further. When we started, we just couldn’t get gigs [laughs]. But then we got offered a gig at the George Robey via some promoter who it just happened to be with either the Lost Cherrees or Omega Tribe, one of the two. During our soundcheck we got offered another gig at the same place for two days later one one. So the way it developed was that we were obviously playing with those bands, kind of second-generation bands, those who were not just having stuff out on Crass Records. So, we started to do that, but what I always wanted to do, because my favourite band was Adam and the Ants, and the bands I was listening to at the time were Southern Death Cult, Sex Gang Children, Bauhaus, etc., I wanted to do something as good as those bands musically. I thought that a lot of the anarcho bands music was shit to be honest, admirable politics, but the music just left me nonplussed a lot of the time, so I wanted to like mix the two things. Hence, the one step removed that we have always been.
But the ‘ideas’ side of things, that’s where it really did chime for me, and in particularly the protest movements like the big CND marches. I was very passionate about animal rights and vivisection – I used to know what all the E numbers were. Looking back, I wonder what I boring bloke I must have been! But that’s how I was.
And we lived in this kind of commune-type house – we being me and few other people, not the band – and that was very much a political activist-type place from which we were involved in the first Stop the City, for instance, and that sort of thing. With hindsight, I was sold the utopian line and I look back on that with cynicism because it was clearly utopian and the people who were older than us, I think, were being pretty dishonest. It was never gonna happen and I think that that kind of utopian-thing kind of weakens people. Particularly as it kind of gradually dawns on you that it’s not gonna happen. I also believe that it’s based on a very Judeo-Christian thing – I might be wrong as to the roots of it – but the whole thing about the perfectibility of mankind. Again, I think that’s a pretty poor line of existentialism. Humans are not perfectible, certainly not through listening to punk records,that’s for sure.
So, I have mixed feeling about the whole scene, but the stuff that stuck around for me was the animal rights stuff, the sense of being on the far-left and I would specifically say that I certainly wasn’t one of these ‘left-wing, right-wing you can stuff the lot’ people. But then again, I was on the far left already, probably down to John Lennon more than anybody else. So yeah, I think the anarcho-punk thing had massive, massive value. The present day preponderence of vegetarian food being a good example, although I don’t think you could have put it all down to anarcho-punk, because if you went on animal rights marches there weren’t a lot of anarcho-punks there even at the height of the movement. I think what is going on here is quite a bit of revisionism to be honest. I think people are looking to claim a legacy for themselves and in doing so are prone to exaggeration as to how important things were. On a micro level, they were important, but in terms of how much we changed the world, well, who knows. I think it’s important it get it recorded but I also think there needs a sense of perspective. Because for instance, CND didn’t get revived because of anarcho-punk, but because of the imminent threat of nuclear war. And Glastonbury Festival was also a big influence on CND. It’s not a competition, but it needs to be put into perspective.
In The Story of Crass, you note that ‘Penny Rimbaud has taken of late to complaining at every given opportunity about how Crass have been airbrushed out of punk histories.’ You wrote that is 2005ish, and of course Crass are not airbrushed out of history now.
What we’ve seen since I wrote that is a bit of a rebalancing. Not just in the sort of stuff that you’re doing, but in a more general level. When The Guardian does something around punk now, for instance, there is often stuff about Crass, or Steve Ignorant or something. So I think there has been a valuable readdressing of the history of punk.
What are your thoughts around there being a core anarcho-punk ‘movement’? Do you think it was it as unified as is often written and thought?
There were a core of anarchists that you got at the front of the speakers on marches who would generally heckle and be unpleasant and that sort of became the anarcho-punk types. But for me it was all punk. I got into punk with the Pistols and the Clash, I loved all that and for me, when Crass came out, it was a really specific moment because a lot of bands seemed to be – like The Jam, who censored some of their lyrics (‘This is the Modern World’) and Splodgenessabounds, who brought out an album where they clearly thought they would get a crack at the charts, so half the swearwords disappeared from their songs – and you had a general sense that it was fizzling out. And then you had the mod revival and the two-tone bands. And then Crass came along with this thing that was clearly unrecuperable: every other word was fuck, so that wasn’t gonna get on Top of the Pops!
So that was really kind of fantastic. I don’t know if it’s obvious, but in the book about Crass. I completely ignore their record label, and that’s deliberate because I have really very little positive to say about the fact that they did that. That’s where the movement solidified around the label and I didn’t like that – I mean it was up to them and not up to me – but I didn’t like it cos before anarcho-punk was called that, we (I mean the people on the ground) used to call them ‘Crass bands’. What a damning thing to do, to call a band a derivative of another band. And then you had all these people wearing black clothes, uniforms. Crass fans were old punks at first but as time wemnt on, a new generation of people getting into it and it was thoroughly different. For a start they didn’t dye their hair! We’d go to Crass gigs and everyone would have brown hair! But at punk gigs previous to that you saw loads of crazy colours. It all went a bit grey. I’ve never thought about this, but it seems they followed a similar trajectory to the hippies. Where the hippies started off with the psychedelic, swinging 60s London – looking really colourful and far-out – and then, by the mid-70s they were all wearing army great-coats and looking like Neil off The Young Ones.
Because you weren’t grey were you? Nor were bands like Rubella Ballet.
Of course, yeah. I mean, we didn’t dress up like Rubella Ballet. They made – and continue to make – a thing about the day-glo, which is really cool. We weren’t like that. But we weren’t tied into black clothes or anything like that. I certainly wasn’t, I was probably quite keen to deliberately not look like that. Although I felt an affinity on some levels with anarcho-punk, but as time went on I got a bit disillusioned.
Do you think that was due to you being on the periphery of the anarcho-scene?
Yeah, I wasn’t massively interested in belonging. In hindsight, a lot of people went to the Wapping Anarchy Centre and sort of found their people, they found a place to belong. Which was really cool. But that wasn’t really what happened to me. I was definitively out on an individualist trip. For me, John Lydon was the influence rather than Crass and the right to be yourself, which I feel a little bit uncomfortable when I talk about, because there is an uneasy cross-over with Thatcherism in that respect. That was the right to be yourself and the right to be different. That was my primary battle, because I was always gonna stand out of the crowd cos of my size for instance. It didn’t matter what crowd. So I had a consciousness through all that which was slightly different and I wanted to play for the people who were outside of everything: not just for people who had found a way of being inside the outsiders. The real freaks, if you like, those who would get something out of it.
And people did. We weren’t half as big as some other bands, but sometimes we would get letters that showed an astonishing connection. People who had really been moved by your music. That really made it worth it for me because that’s why I was doing I guess, I was doing it for the individuals who were dotted about thinking they didn’t fit in with anything, rather than the people who thought ‘great, I’ve got somewhere to fit in now.’
You say that you were influenced by John Lydon and elsewhere you talk about being influenced by David Bowie. I would say that the theatricality of both these artists are evident in your work.
My first love was Glam Rock. That’s what I brought up seeing on Top of the Pops, seeing Slade, Sweet and Gary Glitter (if you forget what a bad man he is!) The thing about these people were that they were just incredibly out there and it was just a generation thing, so that’s what I was into. I wasn’t particularly aware of Bowie at that point, I was too young to get the nuances of Bowie. Plus, Bowie was from Bromley, as everybody from Bromley was enormously pleased about, because there wasn’t much in Bromley to be proud of round there. Apart from the Glam Rock thing, I didn’t have Bowie down as a real influence in hindsight, but what I did get from him what I wanted to give other people which was the stance of the outsider and the right to be yourself. Like Johnny Rotten really, that kind right to be different, the right to be a freak and the right to not be ashamed of being yourself.
And I think this makes sense. When you look at your videos, especially in the background of an otherwise drab, anarcho-punk aesthetic. I was reading Alistair Livingstone’s piece ‘Punk Lives in the Strangest Places’, and he talks about the gig with Blood and Roses. This was your final gig as Anabolic Steroids. Can you tell me a little bit about your relationship with the centre?
I didn’t go there a lot to be honest. First of all, it was a long way from Bromley, especially to get home again, this being an obvious curse of living in the suburbs. I wish I’d gone there more, because after that I got more friendly with the Puppy crowd and I felt at home with them, whereas I didn’t particularly feel at home with the wider anarcho-thing. In terms of Centro Iberico, I was quite surprised, because when Wapping kind of folded in on itself it didn’t occur to me that anyone would try and keep it going anywhere else. But yeah, I never played there as FITD. Our first gig was in Wolverhampton with Curse of Eve. They were a wonderful band, because they were from Telford, and the whole anarcho-thing there was totally different. In Telford people always seemed to be doing it for themselves, and they always seemed to have access to cheap printing and they always seemed to be really creative. Also, there didn’t seem to be all that black clothed influence there for reasons I have no idea about. But it just seemed a lot more open and fluid there. Yeah, it was a real pleasure to do our first gig with Curse of Eve.
Alistair notes how you were part of the ‘anarcho-punk goth’ scene of Blood and Roses, etc.
If you have to have a label then that’s pretty close. Because we were going to see Sex Gang Children, Bauhaus, Southern Death Cult, The Cramps, and other bands. Obviously I also used to go and see Crass, even at the end I would go and see Crass, even if their records had gone off. But that was one part of a bigger whole. I think that it seems to me that there was a real disconnect between London and everywhere else when it came to the anarcho scene. Because I think what was going on in London seemed like it must have been quite different than what was going on in Cornwall or something. Alistair, for me, has got it spot-on. What is really interesting about Crass and London, was that they weren’t actually in London. They weren’t far out of it, but you would very rarely see them at any other people’s gigs.
I believe that anarcho-punk would have happened without Crass, and it would have been interesting to see how it would have developed. People often see Crass as ‘anarcho-punk’, as anarcho-punk coming out from Crass, but there were other bands about: Crisis being one of them. The world does not remember Crisis as being anarcho-punk, but that’s because it remembers all the Crass stuff. It was a weird time. Although no-one realized the enormity of it, Thatcher getting in was really important, especially with The Falkland War, the Miners Strike and the Battle of the Beanfield. In terms of the Falklands, this was the first war – apart from the war in Ireland of course – that was reported as a ‘war’ in my lifetime.
Let’s return to your musical career. I noted your enthusiasm for Curse of Eve. What was it like playing with them?
It was a pleasure to be honest. The gig came about because I was going up to Telford all the time, although I can’t remember why it was in Wolverhampton. There was another band called The Sears who kind of headlined the show, and they were a really good band too. The second and third gigs were in London in the George Robey and then we just started getting gigs partly because of people perceiving we were part of all that. I mean, we were part of it, we did Stop the City benefits for instance, and various other benefits.
How did you get involved with All the Madmen records?
We only ever played once with The Mob. We were playing this gig in Harrow and Mick Lugworm, who lived in the house with Mark Mob and Tony Puppy, etc., he came up and said, do you want to do a record on all the Madmen, which came completely out of the blue. I didn’t think we were ready for a record; this was like a dream that happened to other people. So we recorded a record [Freaks Run Wild in the Disco] and we did a gig with The Mob. I really liked The Mob. There were few bands that the band all agreed on and they were one of them. I used to go and see them all the time in London.
Did you see yourself as an anarcho-punk?
I saw myself as an anarchist and I saw myself as a punk. I sometimes wonder whether anarcho-punk was anarchist or punk, really, because when I saw myself as anarchist I was probably thinking about people like Stuart Christie and people like that, and when I saw myself as a punk I was thinking about the Sex Pistols and people like that. I don’t want to write Crass out of the story, because they were a big influence as well, but I never liked labels and instinctively thought that these labels would start building walls around people. The enthusiasm to which people self-ghettoised just shocked me. I really thought people would rebel against that. Part of that rebellion was that you wouldn’t be neatly labeled and defined. But I was wrong.
So, now we’re up to 1986 and the end of FITD.
Yeah, what happened to me was that I was devastated when the Miners’ Strike was lost because I thought that the whole future of this country was at stake and not just the miners. It seemed such an ideological battle between Thatcher’s values and what I would call decent values. And when Thatcher won that, I was absolutely devastated in the same way that I would be if Trump got voted in. I mean Trump is a nightmare, but the people who vote for him are the really scary ones. It’s like Bexit. How can the majority of people vote for something so crazy? So, when the Miners’ Strike happened, and was lost, I was lost. Previous to that, the future seemed to be sort of living in housing co-ops, getting licenses for squats. Social progress, more people becoming vegetarian, more people being nicer to each other. Although the Miners’ Strike didn’t directly stop any of that, it seemed to me like a hammer blow. And how we dealt with that in terms of the band, I mean, where do we go from there? It’s really difficult.
Crass had just got awful by that stage. For me, their final few records had gone from being a really interesting, important band, to being like one of those 4th division anarcho bands. No vision, no new ideas, just moaning. I mean, I did get it. But we didn’t know what to do after the Miners’ Strike. It didn’t help that we [the band] were getting more and more hedonistic, drinking more and smoking more dope. Just figuring out that life would be acceptable if we could make a living out of music. We didn’t really have anything else, we were just signing on the dole. So, we started getting our act together musically. We weren’t planning to sell out, but at that point our ultimate idea would be to go on Wogan and do a Bill Grundy! [Laughs]. Although it would have probably ended one of us doing a Sid Vicious. We weren’t taking heroin but we were caning it pretty hard and now I look back, it was a way of dealing with the fact that the war was over and the good guys lost.
Because you got a broken leg at one of your last gigs didn’t you?
Yeah, it was Chas and Bill having a fight and me trying to break it up. It was at Surrey University. Funnily enough, that wasn’t the end of the band. We literally hobbled on for a couple more gigs. But it was pretty much untenable by then. It was kind of Chas that was on his own in a lot of arguments; and I suppose that, because me and Chas couldn’t keep it together, it was inevitable that it ran its cause. It was a shame, because the bands that kept going, developed their own cottage industry.
And, as we were talking about earlier, 1988 saw you move down to Brighton.
Yeah, the band had split up, and I was thinking about what to do next. I was on the dole and did an interview with this guy, Lee Oliver, who was living in a shared house in Brighton and suggested that I move in. I hadn’t considered moving away from Bromley – that’s where my friends were – but I had a good think and moved down there in January 1988. And it was astonishing. It was so different. Where I was living in Bromley I was getting stopped and searched 4 or 5 times a week, but in Brighton no-one stopped and searched you. So you could carry your dope around in your pocket instead of down your pants or down your socks. It was just relaxed and happy. Little things, like if you phone for a taxi the people on the switchboard were happy. There was this level of happiness. And of course you could walk home from gigs, instead of having to struggle to get home after a gig. I was living near the Richmond, a place that had lots of gigs and we lived about 5 minutes walk from the venue. Without me thinking bout it, I kind of ceased drinking. Not on a conscious level, I just kind of ‘forget’ to drink. I mean, I was still smoking a lot, but just didn’t feel the need to drink. There was just an astonishing feeling that something was different. But then, it all starts slipping away and life gets back to normal, and, although Brighton was still better than Bromley, I started to get fed up with it.
And why was that?
Because it was so small. I was used to anonymity in London, in other words, you could go and make a cunt out of yourself in Camden, but had 800 other cool places to go whilst you could let Camden cool off. But if you made a cunt out of yourself in Brighton, there really wasn’t anywhere else to go. Also, the people I was kind of mixing with had much more of a hippy vibe to them than anyone I’d really encountered in London. It’s really unfair to call it a hippy vibe, it was more like a docile, childish irritating thing that pushed me back to remembering that I was from a football background, and I probably played that up a bit, which possibly has a resonance of what I was saying before about individuality and deliberately going too far the other way a bit. So I ended up moving back up to London two years later. At that point, I’d started writing for Sounds, the music paper so I ended up having some good years in London doing a job most people would give their right-arm for. And then I came back to Brighton in 1991 because Sounds closed down, and I’ve been yo-yoing between London and Brighton ever since.
You mention the ‘hippyness’ of Brighton. Because of your working class background of football do you feel that you came to mindfulness and meditation in a different way to others?
I had to jump through a few more hoops to get there than perhaps some people who have a skinny latte in Costa Coffee and chat to their friends about it. And because I had to jump through those hoops I feel that I’ve gone into a lot deeper than some people. The way I’d got into it there was no question of pissing about, because if I’d been some kind of hobbyist about it I just wouldn’t have been there in the first place. But I’ve got into it willingly at the deep end and I don’t think that everyone we see does that. It’s a really difficult question to answer, because you can never really know. I always had sympathy for this kind of stuff, it was just that the social demographic around it, as I perceived it, I found really, really, off-putting. I do feel a little awkward sometimes in these situations, but of course the mindfulness helps me in dealing with that. I went to the Brighton Buddhist Centre at the beginning of my journey of meditation, and I thought that we would all be sitting on the floor cross-legged (something that I can’t do because of the incident when I broke my leg), because that’s what you always see in pictures of when people mediate. And so I got there early and I asked the woman on the door if there was someone I could talk to for a few minutes because I didn’t quite know what to do. I talked to this average looking bloke who told me that I could just sit in a chair if I wanted, and that’s what I did. I was also scared about it being an hour long. I’d never done more than twenty-minutes, and I was wondering what would happen if you got cramp or something, but after the hour was up I felt fantastic. Ironically, I had to get into meditation to break down those barriers that I had in getting into meditation. In breaking down those barriers in dealing with people who weren’t like me. And now I realize that they are like me, and that it was me projecting stuff on them. And this is what I’m trying to do now, to take mindfulness to people like me. The people who really need it are rarely the people who get it, instead of those who are just trying it out as the latest thing in between baby yoga and Pilates. The people who really need it are people who are stuck on a council estate, who can’t afford to pay the rent and who unfortunately don’t know it exists. And I would like to somehow get mindfulness to those people. And my business partner and I have plenty of plans afoot to try to get mindfulness out there. Bizarrely enough, my business partner is an old music journalist who came to see Flowers back in 1983 whom I didn’t know. I was always one step removed from him. He used to share a house with a friend of mine. He ended up working for Loaded, interviewing all these hell-raisers.
So, FITD have reformed and you’re playing the ‘Grow Your Own Mini-Festival’ in London at the Dublin Castle, Camden.
Yes, we are. And regarding being part of things and so on, I’ve got to say that the people we’re playing with at the festival are people whom I’m comfortable to say that I feel part of. The guys out of Anthrax, for example, are fantastic, and we’ve always had a perceived kindred spirit with Hagar the Womb, even though our bands aren’t like each other really. Anarchistwood are quite an astonishing band, I’m really delighted that Hysteria Ward are playing because we’ve always been really good friends and The Fleas are this new band. So I’m really comfortable with doing records and gigs with those guys.
I felt the same when All the Madmen put out our record back in the day. It was when Alistair [Livingstone] was running the show. I felt that there was a meeting of minds; that we were going in the same direction. In fact, the other band who we thought were going in the same direction were The Smiths and it was something that me and Alistair used to talk about quite a bit. Of how we might be able to get into The Smiths fans. I was in Rough Trade once collecting our mail and the guy behind the counter said that’s The Smiths over there, and I didn’t talk to them. Those little moments on life. I mean, they might have told me to fuck off, but you never know. Perhaps we could have become friends and done gigs together. I’d be next to a swimming pool now in Los Angeles refusing to do interviews, saying ‘I don’t talk about the old anarcho days!’ [Laughs]
In The Story of Crass you note that ‘revisiting those years has been a strange experience. They were the punk years – years when we could be heroes, just like the Bowie song. And we were heroes…But these were also the Thatcher years [and] we’re still living with her legacy and many are still dying with it.’ What was it like writing the story of Crass in terms of your own experience and taking yourself back to that era.
There was quite a context to writing the book. Firstly, I was quite ill, I was undiagnosed diabetic who became diagnosed in the course of writing the book. I was struggling to run a business at the same time, so the book was written in my spare time, so a combination of that and being ill – because diabetes untreated means that you’re in a place beyond tired, a space where tired doesn’t even sum it up really. There was also some horrible domestic stuff going on that I don’t want to go into here. So, to write that book at all was a difficult experience. Plus, I always had dichotomies about Crass. On the one hand they were great – Feeding of the 5000 was an astonishing record – but on the other hand, there was the Crass Records thing that I thought was counter-productive. I can understand why they did it, but I felt uncomfortable about the whole control over the recording process. So, when I was writing the book I was trying to reconcile those ambiguities.
Also, I couldn’t believe that they had been left out of the story. I’d kept in touch with Penny and I’d phoned him up one night pissed, because I fancied a chat. I told Penny that someone had suggested I write a book about Crass, thinking that it would never happen, and he said that I should do it. I was shocked; I told him that I didn’t expect him to say that. I told him to give me week so that I could have a think about it. So the whole experience for me was one of confusion, where I had to decide on what angle I was going to take. I know that I’ve read a few reviews that are pissed off that I didn’t take more of a political angle, but I think that would have been really difficult. Also, it didn’t really interest me to be honest: I’d done all that. I didn’t see Crass as leaders but as fellow travellers. So the angle that I really wanted to go down was the art angle, as that was what really set Crass apart from bands such as the Exploited or Discharge, the different artistic levels. Also, it was a way through. I also wanted to write an objective narrative, to move away from the sanctimonious views of some people, who thought that Crass started punk and that the Sex Pistols were just a heavy metal band, which is kind of becoming one established way of thinking on social media.
So writing the book felt weird, it felt more important that it ended up being, because the band fascinated a lot of people. But my main reason to write this was to do my bit, to contribute towards social process. So for people to say that I’ve done it on a capitalist publisher is just crazy. The guy who put that out is a good friend of The Who, he was a big champion of Slade and he works pretty much on his own in an office. I can’t believe it when people turn round and talk about it being a capitalist label just because it wasn’t on fucking AK Press something.
Is that what people have said to you?
Oh no, never to your face. Keyboard warriors you know? Funnily enough, when I first talked to Penny, I said that I’d probably talk to PM Press or AK Press, he said no, go for a proper publisher (he might not have used the word ‘proper’ by the way), but what he meant was to go for a big publisher, to get it out there. And I was happy to do that. I know that I would get criticized for so-called ‘selling out,’ although that’s clearly not what I’ve done. It’s the old Top of the Pops argument isn’t it? It’s just weird to know that some people see me as some kind of Trump apologist because it didn’t come out on AK Press or whatever.
Interesting story, but when I printed the manuscript out I took it to the pub and was proofreading it. Because the ‘posh’ publisher didn’t have a proofreader, so you had to do it yourself. On the way home from the pub – I left the pub at eleven and it was a fifteen minute walk back to my house – and at two in the morning I was discovered unconscious on the pavement with my wallet, bag, shoes and the manuscript gone. What is even more bizarre is that I’m woken up by two plainclothes cops who then offers to walk me home. If you were to lend yourself to conspiracy theories, then you would wonder why two plainclothes policemen were walking me home. Isn’t that the job of a uniform copper? Also, this is a Friday night and someone has called them because I’ve collapsed on the pavement. But why wasn’t an ambulance called? It was weird. I remember leaving the pub feeling okay, but 5 minutes later I’m collapsed on the floor. There is an explanation here, with diabetes for instance, in that I could have had a diabetic attack, but the rest of it is a bit bizarre.
So, if you were to lend yourself to conspiracy theories, they might have wanted to check the manuscript to make sure I hadn’t written anything too risqué or outrageous. But you never know just how close Crass had been, with the Dennis Thatcher call-girl incident, or Wally Hope. Personally, I just think that I had a diabetic attack, but I can’t help ruminating on the fact that there were two plainclothes cops, presuming they were plainclothes cops, walking me home at two in the morning.