Ps and Qs

I ran through the dark estate as I always did. I was on what we called my Ps and Qs. And it didn’t mean ‘please and thank-yous’, which Mum would say to prep mine or Safire’s behaviour when out in public. It denoted being alert, being on your toes or on your guard. On a social housing estate like Silwood, it was common sense to be on your Ps and Qs, to avoid either getting mugged, raped, or attacked for fun. Naturally I had my wits about me. I was always ready for an attacker. I held my door keys in my hand in defence mode should I become someone’s prey. It was about survival of the fittest. I let myself into the block relieved to be unscathed.

Stephanie Johnson

London rapper Kano launched his single Ps and Qs in 2004 on his debut album Home Sweet Home. His underground, ‘gully’ approach to a skillfully concocted description of how he would fend an unwanted prey, took the UK grime scene by a storm.

I’ve referenced this song because the term Ps & Qs is within common dialogue with the characters in Once Bad Intentions, and I completely respect Kano as an artist. The above quote taken from the narrator and protagonist, Stephanie Johnson in Chapter Four (Non P Territory), is indicative of the relationship she has with the term, and subsequently artists like Kano who reflect the world she’s a part of.

If you want to read more, get your Once Bad Intentions copy here.

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