Ian holds a flannel to his left eye. As the right one is covered by the slant of his gelled hair, it makes him effectively blind. The flannel is the only jarring note in an otherwise perfect outfit: skull & crossbones t-shirt, stonewashed denim jacket, studded leather bracelets, metal belt and silver plated pointy boots. When he shakes his head to clear his thoughts, his stretched earlobes waggle from side to side.
‘I knew today was too good to be true,’ he says. ‘It was my girlfriend’s birthday, so she came round to mine. We spent the day watching horror films. Got a stack of pizzas, had a smoke – you know, one of those classic days in. Things turned a bit amorous, of course, which was also nice.’ He pauses, but when I don’t say anything he gives his head another little shake – as if maybe I had said something but his injuries meant he couldn’t hear – and carries on.
‘Anyway, I walked her home, but when I came back through the alley they were all waiting at the other end, blocking the exit. About a dozen of them. I said could I get past but they said no and by the way, could I give them my phone? When I said it wasn’t worth much they all started in, punching and kicking, going mad, basically. I think one of them had a crowbar. Anyway, I tucked myself up as best I could and eventually they got bored and left me alone.’
There’s no sign of any major injuries. The only thing we can find is a bruised eye, with a small cut to the brow. As soon as he’s back on his feet he walks up and down, shaking his legs out.
‘D’you think I’ve got a limp?’ he says. ‘It’s funny really. I used to be a backyard fighter. I did this shit for money. I actually enjoyed the pain. I thrived on it.’
He drops the flannel and stands there with his hands by his sides, chin up, like he’s posing for the prize photo. But I find it hard to believe. The EMO Kid? His signature move, an existential put-down.
He presses the flannel back to his eye.‘I knew today was too good to be true,’ he says.