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The Bad Fire

Story Behind the Song

The Bad Fire as written and performed by Johnny Vedmore

The Bad Fire has a fantastic story behind it. Even though it is obviously about an abused woman and an angry hate filled man the actual events still make me chuckle. It was a busy night in a hotel where I was working a few years back. I was the Duty Manager and I was in a slightly cynical mood. It's easy to become cynical when you work nights in a hotel, as you are often surrounded by drunk people at their very worst. When they get kicked out of pubs and clubs they come back to where they're staying, often bedraggled, moody or with bad company. I've had the same inane conversations with drunk people over the years. It's often like nursery school for people detached from responsibilities. They forget what politeness is and become impulsive and rash in their actions. Some fight, some threaten, some attempt to abuse others and to rape when the opportunity arises. If you have 400 people in house and a third of them are stag and hen parties things become gruesome and so if someone wants to book in late at night with no reservation then you must be a little suspicious of what may occur once these people are out of sight and amongst other rooms.

On this night in question I was working with a wonderful Kurdish man, and though he resembled the Hulk in many ways he had a hernia at the time and couldn't exert himself. There was a girl working in the bar and no security as it was relatively quiet. A taxi pulled up and out of it came a couple, a completely delightful and stunning Kurdish/Turkish girl of about 20 years of age and a Indian looking fellow of about the same age who was dressed and walking like a wannabe gangsta. I always try and judge by manner and behaviour so when they entered the hotel I was nothing but polite and welcoming. They requested a room, the man gave a £20 to the girl and told her to get them some drinks and wait for him in the bar. I was relieved that he didn't seem that bad until the girl left and he started showing me his macho alpha face. He chucked me his credit card and scribbled indeterminable words on his reg card and instantly changed his manner. He started trying to impress me by showing me texts he was writing to his 'other' girlfriend. I was quite clear about my feelings towards treating women badly and told him that we should get on with the registration process so he can go on and live life his way. He wasn't paying attention and just continued talking about how he's gonna shag this girl in the hotel and then shag his girlfriend. I made it completely clear that I had no loyalty to him and this is information I do not want to know about. I told him that I am an ethically and morally strong person and that if he continued telling me about his indiscretions that I wouldn't allow him to stay and I may even inform the girl he was with. He looked at me like I had just shit on the desk, like he had never had his alpha bravado questioned before. I made him rewrite his reg card with his full address on it and I asked for extra ID because I knew that this was about to turn raw.

His credit card was declined, which really made me happy. My spider senses were buzzing and I didn't want this guy staying. I told him his card declined and I was about to tell him that I wouldn't be letting him stay in the hotel, but before I got to say the latter he whistled across a crowded bar at the girl he was with and she started walking over to us like a whistle was her usual name, almost like she was trained by him. Before she got to us I told him that he wouldn't be staying to which he started screaming and shouting at me. "Who the fuck are you!" he screamed over and over. The girl reached the reception concerned and asked what was going on. He told her to give me her Credit Card, she went straight into her handbag but I stopped her and said that I don't want him staying. She looked surprised and asked why, he walked out the door quickly and told her to follow him. She didn't, so I did the unthinkable and I told her everything I had heard and he had said. She looked shocked but it changed to not being too surprised in one fluid facial motion. She went outside took his phone off him came back in with him chasing and obviously saw the incriminating texts. He went back outside, she went after him and a ding dong ensued of her pointing at his phone and shouting and him trying to protest innocence, which had come a tad too late. My Kurdish colleague and I were watching the drama unfold from inside. She was about to turn to come back in the hotel when he grabbed her by the arm and tried dragging her around the corner and out of sight. She was screaming and my buddy and I went rushing out to stop him hurting her.

As we got outside and shouted at him to stop he came towards us quickly. Me and my Head Porter walked into view of the camera and into the road whilst he kept coming towards us with obvious malice in mind. I saw the girl run into the conference area of the hotel so her safety was assured and he was helpless to stop her getting away. Then the mood really changed because the guy, who was named Ricky, kept lifting his fist up to attack me. I'm used to being threatened working nights but fights are few and far between. My Kurdish buddy was standing to the side of us, though I knew he'd be no good with a big hernia popping out his belly. I lined myself up ready to defend myself. Ricky was a big boy up top and would beat me with fists. I was trying to work out where his first attack would come from. He kept lifting up his fists as though he was coming in to attack and then stopping and changing footing. At this moment I realised that there was only one way to deal with Ricky. I watched his footing change and he moved into a position directly facing me with his left fist raising. This was almost gifted to me, I had always wanted to do what I did next but I had never had the stars aligned like this before. With one very quick, hard movement, I raised my foot up and kicked him full force in his scrotum. I had always explained to my niece that if a man ever tried anything she didn't like then she should kick them in the balls but aim to kick their chin. This would mean strong contact with the genitals and that the pain only gets worse. At the moment of impact all movement stopped. The three of us were all in a state of shock at the ball kicking. Ricky looked at me with the widest eyes I'd ever seen on a man and obviously decided the fight was over. He hobbled into the hotel to try and find the girl. I called the police quickly and followed. He hadn't been able to find her in the 20 seconds I was on the phone and I can't even imagine the ball ache by this time. By the time I got to the conference area he was hobbling out of the fire exit door and into a taxi alone.

I found the girl, who had hid in a toilet cubicle and we talked whilst waiting for the police. Her story was sad, she was Muslim and he was Sikh. Her family would disown her if they found out and he had no intentions of treating her well anyway. She told me of times he had held a knife to her throat and hit her before, how she had given him so many chances to change. I spoke to her sister on the telephone and begged her to make sure she helps get him out of all of their lives. The police chuckled about the ball kicking and left it at that. The girl left in a taxi to her sister's house. I never heard from any of them again.

My Kurdish colleague and I watched the police leave and looked at me "I can't believe you kicked him in the balls" he said with a large smile. I made a cup of tea and continued as normal. That morning I returned home and wrote The Bad Fire. The words will make more sense now, it's a message to women to let them go before you only have the option of you or them. The Bad Fire is a Scottish expression used for hell and I've always liked Scottish colloquialisms.

I hope that wherever that beautiful young lady is now, she is safe and happier and far away from Ricky Singh.

Thanks for reading, all my music is available on Reverbnation and YouTube or just Google 'Johnny Vedmore' to find out more.