STONE ISLAND ‘97 - A Short Story By Neil Thomas Ward

STONE ISLAND ‘97 - A Short Story By Neil Thomas Ward

Neil is a writer from North Yorkshire, England, that lives in Hong Kong now. He likes film, photography, and seeking out vintage Burberry. He can be contacted through Twitter @WardNeilThomas. For Biancissimo he will present us a short story  from his secondary school days.

A short story about Stone Island becoming popular among young teenagers in North Yorkshire for the first time, the way that fashion trends can have unusual regional twists (refracted through the hardest, most influential kid in the school), and the way that good clothing was even more respected if it was stolen. 


‘‘About £300!? You’ve got to be joking. How can a coat be worth £300? You can buy a second-hand car for that.’’

‘‘I’ll do chores every—’’

‘‘What good will that do? We can’t afford it and that’s that. ‘Stone Island’? What does that even mean? It sounds ridiculous.’’

‘‘Mum, listen—’’

The kitchen door closed and I couldn’t hear Craig and his mum arguing anymore. I flicked through Sky, looking for MTV. The door swung open and Craig stormed into the living room.

‘‘Let’s go,’’ Craig said and quickly put on his Nikes. I followed slowly as ‘Dreamer’ was playing.

‘‘Bye, Mrs Kyle,’’ I shouted. Craig slammed the front door and we walked down Leeds Road.

I knew why Craig wanted his mum to buy him a Stone Island coat. Danny Wilson, the hardest kid in the year, said he wanted one because football hooligans wear them, and Craig wanted to impress Danny by getting one first. It was pretty obvious.

But why did Craig care so much about impressing Danny? We weren’t really part of Danny’s gang. We had our own thing too.

We went in Londis and bought some sherbet and Cherry Coke. We went to the park but nobody was there, so we found a ball and played kerby until it started raining.

A week later, Craig knocked on our front door. He was wearing a bright blue Stone Island puffer jacket. I had to admit, it looked minter.

‘‘Mum, I’m off out,’’ I shouted behind me and put on my Nikes.

We walked down Doncaster Road. Craig was thrusting his shoulders like an ‘ardman.

‘‘Nice coat,’’ I said, finally saying what he wanted to hear. ‘‘How much was it?’’

‘‘I don’t know,’’ said Craig.

‘‘How much?’’

‘‘Mum bought it in Leeds. Had to use two credit cards.’’

We bought scallop butties from Yorkshire Fryers. Craig leaned forward to eat his, making sure no scraps fell on his coat. He did this so obviously, it annoyed me.

‘‘Let’s go to the park and see who’s there,’’ said Craig when we’d finished.

‘‘You mean see if Danny is there?’’

We walked down Leeds Road. Entering the park and seeing Danny, Andy and Jim ahead, Craig dropped his shoulders and looked uncertain.

‘‘Come on,’’ I said.

They were sitting down on a bench, smoking Bensons. ‘‘Alright,’’ I said.

‘‘Alright,’’ said Danny.

‘‘What’s happening?’’


Danny hadn’t noticed Craig’s coat or, if he had, he hadn’t said anything.

‘‘Nice coat,’’ said Andy.

‘‘Thanks,’’ said Craig. Craig looked at Danny out of the corner of his eye.

‘‘Is that Stone Island?’’ said Danny.

‘‘Yeah,’’ said Craig.

‘‘How much was it?’’

‘‘Not sure.’’

‘‘Come off it, how much?’’


‘‘Go on.’’


‘‘Alright, don’t then.’’

‘‘Twenty quid.’’

I stared at Craig.

‘‘Twenty? You’re fucking joking,’’ said Danny. ‘’Is it fake? It doesn’t look fake.’’

‘It’s real.’’

‘It can’t’ve cost twenty quid then.’’

Craig paused. ‘‘Honest… My uncle raids warehouses… My uncle and his mate Reg, in Ireland. They drove down to our house yesterday, ‘‘twenty quid to you,’’ my uncle said. Their van is like Aladdin’s cave, man, you should see it… Reg has tattoos everywhere, he’s been to prison twice. My uncle is a football hooligan, he loves Stone Island.’’

There was silence. ‘‘Buzzing,’’ said Danny.

‘‘Buzzing,’’ said Andy.

‘‘Your uncle sounds ace,’’ said Danny.

‘‘I’d love to meet Reg,’’ said Jim.

‘‘I’d love to meet your uncle and Reg,’’ I said looking at Craig out of the corner of my eye.

It had worked: Craig had impressed Danny. This was a new Craig, not the one who only started saying he preferred Shed Seven to Oasis after he heard Danny say it (Danny had noticed, contemptuously), but a good lad with a Stone Island coat and criminal connections.

Danny spat on the ground. ‘‘I’ll give you thirty quid for it,’’ he said.

Craig looked confused.

‘‘I’ll give you thirty quid for it,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s a tenner profit and you can buy another one from your uncle.’’

Craig still looked confused. ‘‘I dunno—’’

‘‘Why not? Ring him tonight and ask him for another one.’’

‘‘I suppose– well, I could do—’’

‘‘Here then,’’ said Danny. He handed over three £10 notes. (Danny always had money on him).

Craig slowly took off the coat. It fitted Danny better than Craig, to be fair.

‘‘Nice one,’’ said Danny, shadow-boxing against imaginary Man U supporters. ‘‘I wanted a Stone Island coat too.’’

We walked down Doncaster Road, the two of us again. I wanted to ask Craig if he felt cold but thought better of it.

‘‘I could say I was robbed?’’ said Craig.

‘‘Your mum would make you file a Police report, wouldn’t she?’’


We walked past a skinhead wearing a cream Stone Island coat. When we were a distance away, Craig turned around and shouted, ‘‘you bald wanker.’’ I wanted to ask Craig what the hell he was doing but we were too busy running for our lives.

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