The Mick on Being a Paddy in 1980s London

UPDATE: The Mick’s memoir is published. See

The Mick had a welfare fraud scheme in London during the 1980s. Below is a paraphrased transcript of an audio recording of him talking about his time there. 39 hours of such recordings are the reward for donors of $100 or more to This Mick’s Life: Addiction and Underworld from Ireland to Colombia.

Note for those on the west side of the pond: ‘paddy‘ in European slang is derogatory for Irishman, as ‘mick‘ is in the United States.

A Paddy in London

The Mick speaks:

I went over there to fuckin’ start doing the dole

I was strung out and doing fuckin’ three different doles. Just get there on Thursday morning, and work all day, get the three fuckin’ doles and head off again. A paddy was not a good position to be in fucking London with the IRA bombing everywhere, and the Irish have a bad fuckin’ name.

And I’m robbing the fuckin’ British government. I have three doles goin’ at the same time. Lots of old money. Lots of those fuckin’, you know, the Good Queen, those pound notes with her boat race on them. It was so easy to do, I couldn’t believe it. You’d be there 20 minutes and you’d have 400 quid.

I used to have to be in London. We had to stay for a few months first and that was not very fuckin’ pleasant. Nobody was nice to a paddy in fuckin’ London.

The store I went to every day, they wouldn’t say hello. Never once said ‘Good morning’ or ‘Good afternoon’ or ‘Kiss my ass’ or nothing. And I don’t even think they were English. I think maybe Pakis, which is worse again – Pakis givin’ me stick! Fuckin’ loads of Pakis in one of those little Paki shops and they’d never say hello to ya, never say good morning because of the bombings.

You could not rob anything from one of those Paki shops. You’d go into a Paki shop and there’d be 20 of them working, serving ye. Fuckin’ kids. You fuckin’ go to take something and BOOM, there’s some kid looking at ye. All over the shop, millions of them.

So at least they were workers. But to be Irish was maybe worse than being a Paki at that time in London. So London was not the place to be. But it was the place to get the money. Get loads of money and move out. We used to fly to Paris or to Amsterdam, and just stay away as long as we could. Just hit London to get the dole and go somewhere else. Just not to be there because you’re just a paddy in London.

The Irish community in London was just workers, laborers, fucking building workers. Big, stupid paddies working on the building sites in London and being abused by the fuckin’ Brits. I wasn’t into that at all. I was into robbing them, to see how much I could get out of them. Not to see what they would pay me.

I couldn’t say anything nice about London. I didn’t even like the beer. Or the pubs. Nothing about it. Full of shit. Wet shit too. And being a paddy in London is like being a fuckin’ nigger, somewhere not very pleasant where you can do what you want but you’re still a nigger. Just Irish you know.

And then with In the Name of the Father and the bombings and the false accusations and the Brits being fuckin’ liars. And they wouldn’t say hello to you!

Finally we lost the dole business. To get started on the dole you have to stay at some cheap hotel. And you bring in a couple weeks of receipts from staying at the hotel. And as soon as you got cleared for the dole, you’d leave the hotel. But after a few months if they came and checked on you and found that you’re not living in the hotel, they’d cut off the dole. You couldn’t really go back and try to re-start a false dole. You just had to leave it. But we had three each, myself and Mary Anne and Mop. We made good money at that. There was plenty of old Rich Queen money to go around for over a year.

We were chasing the dragon every day, smoking the china. Maybe 15 months or two years, something like that. I wouldn’t have been staying in London if I didn’t have the dole. No culture, nobody says hello to you, fuckin’ shithole. I didn’t like anything about it. It had nothing to offer me except the dole money.



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