The last blog post ended up going down the rabbit hole of a messed up broken prison system. This is relevant to the story as it provides a lot of back information regarding our circumstances.
Understandably, my father had this mindset. I mean with everything that had gone on and with his background he wasn’t going to start selling insurance or patio furniture.
Granted this is no excuse for a lot of the fucked up shit he did at home at this by no means gives him a free pass but it would be much more likely to happen in this way to someone like him than from someone born into a loving family.
Another thing which I am trying to point out is the effect of drugs. This is not just about the user but of the people around them.
This is how drugs are given their classification system. This is also taken into consideration the damage it will do to the community.
So for example I’m selling Heroin in Toxteth and I have twenty regular customers. That’s twenty people who are becoming physically sick and will do whatever it takes to get money for their next fix.
It’s a huge spike in crimes such as theft and burglary and also prostitution. This also puts a huge strain on hospitals, health care, and protective services.
So clearly this is why Heroin would be a class A as it’s not exactly uncommon to rob off your family to continue this expensive hobby.
If you refer to my earlier posts as well there was suddenly a lot of Heroin in Toxteth after the riots so it quickly became just like the TV show The Walking Dead only with a lot more extras taking their roles very seriously.
The same with cocaine even though its a psychological addiction it still has its fair share of casualties myself included. This will always be a class A drug as well.
Don’t be fooled by Cocaine it looks so glamorous but it still wrecks families especially when made into Crack.
Class B would be things such as Speed, Ecstasy, and Ketamine. This would not wreck a community but could easily wreck a person’s health so it gets this classification.
Class C is things such as prescription medication and steroids.
Steroids are a bit of a grey area as its legal to have them and use them but illegal to sell them. If it’s for personal use then you will not get into trouble.
I have experienced this first-hand many years ago when stopped and searched and they gave me and my friend back our bag of gear untouched then let us go.
There is a well known saying that crime does not pay and, to be honest, that’s not true. Granted it’s getting harder and harder to get away with things in modern times but at the time the money was coming in thick and fast.
My dad had bought our house and had bought the butcher shop as he was always involved in something.
He told me many stories from before he met my mum and he had been locked up in numerous European countries.
He told me Sweden was the best place to get locked up and he was sad to leave when he had finished his sentence.
I don’t know what’s worse in comparison Sweden offers no deterrent for offenders or that my dad was so used to living such a chaotic life that jail was just seen as the norm?
He told me though this was a different world and in these other countries, people were a lot more trusting.
This was also way before the days of CCTV and agencies and police actually talking to each other so for years he was literally doing his own thing.
There was not such widespread poverty in these places either so the people were not nearly as streetwise which played a huge part in his success.
He would tell me unbelievable stories of turning up to a department or a jewelry store in a suit with a story that he had to fix something or needed access to the back of the place.
They would let him in and next thing he would have the safe open and be gone.
I’ve said numerous times if he hadn’t of found drugs he would probably have been a millionaire easily but he always ended up back at square one due to his broken programming because of his environment.
As creative as he got the more risks he took and the more money he made. The more money he made then the more drugs and alcohol would rear their ugly head then sooner or later he was back in Jail.
The last place he was locked up before he came home was Switzerland. His friend was in there already and they ended up with a nice assignment in the tailor’s shop inside the prison.
My dad told him the truth that he had no idea about being a tailor. His pal told him don’t worry you will pick it up and its the best job here. That was so typical of John Bailey he was in prison a day and got the best job without even trying.
He told me the security fences were pathetic and a far cry from Walton prison. He managed to get a suitcase out of the property store, got himself a few made-up changes of clothes, and then fucked off in the middle of the night after serving a year of his sentence.
The prison was right next to a group of mountains and he spent the next three days walking across the mountains with a suitcase and managed to sneak himself back into the UK without incident or alerting the authorities.
If he had kept his nose clean he would have been ok. Years later after my mum left him he decided to give his friend Mo a lift. Unknown to John, Mo had an outstanding warrant for a job he did years back.
The police swooped on them in John’s car and they both got arrested. It was a sheer fluke they found out about Switzerland so John had to finish his sentence back in the UK. As the saying goes let no good deed go unpunished.
So the shop is running smoothly and I started at infant’s school. Right across the road on Mill street, there was my school called St Cleopas.
I remember every day my mum taking me to school and she was trying to install manners into me and teach me things such as not to drop litter.
As she’s trying to teach me this there are mothers opening chocolate bars, throwing the wrapper on the floor, and giving it to kids all in front of me.
She was pushing water uphill but still, she persisted and as a result, this was the start of me learning core values. If you learn this stuff early on it becomes second nature.
Someone once told me and it’s so true manners cost nothing but you cant buy them.
This was also unfortunately when things started to seriously break down between my mum and dad.
I don’t remember this but there were times when I was a baby and he had been locked up and that put a huge strain on things.
Now he was out of jail and making money but still the drugs will always come first. That’s not a personal thing and no addict sets out for it to be this way but believe me it’s always the case.
I remember when I first started going to Cocaine Anonymous and there was a new guy in the room and he was sharing. This is when you decide to speak to the group. He was telling his story and also asking for advice.
The chair of the meeting said to him if you had to choose right now between your kids and Cocaine what would you choose?
The guy answers my kids of course don’t be stupid. Well, he replied I’ve known you an hour and you have already told me multiple incidents when you have chosen Cocaine first every time.
The addict sat back gobsmacked as he hadn’t seen it this way. I’m sorry I’m a little vague on this story but it has to stay anonymous for a reason or people will not get better. Believe it or not but miracles do happen in those meetings.
Another huge strain on the relationship was that my mum had to do absolutely everything as my dad was always sick. Now it’s obvious why he was always sick but back then drug knowledge was very limited at best.
We thought that he was sick but the comedown from Heroin is fucking awful. Not to mention that it makes you sick when you try to withdraw off the drug itself.
So mum would have to get up at the crack of dawn to get to the slaughterhouse to pick up the meat.
Then she had to get back and get me ready for school. Then she would have to make breakfast for dad.
He would not surface until about midday.
He would help out in the shop but mum knew having him near the til was a bad idea and they wouldn’t have a penny unless she took charge of this as well.
Looking back it’s such a waste to see someone with so much potential pulling off crazy jobs all over Europe getting locked up for really stupid stuff.
The worst one he got caught for was shoplifting in Leos. Leos was a huge supermarket in Toxteth where the big Tesco is built now.
At the time the area of Toxteth was still a white area and I had never seen a black person before.
I never forget this black lad joined our class and he sat opposite me.
I don’t mean this to sound ignorant as there was no hatred or malice towards him.
Me and my best mate Carl Johnson started talking to him as we were fascinated and he had never seen a black person before. Carl was my best mate in that school and we did everything together.
I’ve tried to look for Carl on Facebook but it turns out there is a lot of people with that name and I haven’t seen him for 35 years.
Wherever he is I hope he is doing well as we used to have a scream together and play in each other’s houses.
He taught me this genius game where we would run into my mum and dad and shout poo. Then we would laugh and run away.
I don’t know why that game didn’t get old quickly but we seemed to have hours of fun with that and playing with He-Man figures together.
So me and Carl are eating lunch with the black lad and I had a genius idea and asked him to pass me the salt. He did and I touched his hand to see if any of his black had gone onto me. It hadn’t and luckily he never saw what I was doing.
I ran out of school mum mum mum.
She calmed me down and I told her all about this kid. She told me it was normal and I didn’t believe her.
She took me to the library and shown me some encyclopedias and I asked quite innocently so there is more than one black person mum?
Trying not to laugh she explained there were a few as close as a mile up the road.
He became good mates with me and Karl and for the life me I don’t remember his name. Once again I hope he is well and he’s reading this laughing at my stupidity.
Later on, in the year and Indian boy joined and he started hanging out with us as well. I was a lot more prepared for this now and I figured there would be more than one Indian in the world.
You are all probably gobsmacked reading this but remember this was 1984. So many places in the north of England were even worse. Multiculturalism wasn’t a thing and Liverpool was one of the first cities to embrace this.
A good example of this is in the book Cocky which is a biography of Curtis Warren and his rise to being one of the biggest drug dealers in the world to his downfall where he is still locked up at the time of writing.
Curtis born and bred in Liverpool obviously had a huge network of people working for him. When conducting surveillance none of the other police forces at first could figure out why the black lads were working together with the white lads.
when it was explained that they all grew up together this was normal this left many of the detectives speechless as this wouldn’t happen where they were from. This is the mid-90s which is not a million years ago either.
I remember me and the Indian boy came out of school with Carl and again mum mum mum this is my brown friend. This wasn’t seen as racist back then but my mum pointed out that’s great but you don’t have to point out that he’s brown.
But mum he is brown look. Yes, I can see that son you don’t need to tell me. I can’t remember this guy’s name but if you’re reading this I hope you’re well.
There was another kid I was mates with called John Cassell. His dad also called John was mates with my dad and we used to play in each other’s houses.
I knew his dad John had died about ten years ago but by chance one night when working behind the bar in the Parkfield in Lark Lane we got chatting.
He added me on Facebook and I asked him is your dad called John and your mum Winnie. How the hell do you know that he asked?
I told him we were best mates when we were kids and at first, he couldn’t remember. He rings his mum and she confirms his story so we become mates again.
Not like when we were kids but you have to admit it’s a small world and everything happens for a reason.
I said to him please don’t think I’m speaking out of turn but can I have your mum’s number and ended up talking to Winnie that night.
We were on the phone for about two hours and I was made up to speak to her. Big John and her were always lovely to me as a kid and you don’t forget things like that.
We had covered pretty much everything in our long conversation before we said goodbye.
Im so glad I took the time out to do this because just over a year later she died.
Even though I hadn’t seen her for years I was gutted for John. He took it as well as expected and he has his own family now and is doing well.
We don’t speak often but we are ok with each other and I’m so glad me and Winnie got to speak one last time. In case you’ve missed it in any of my previous posts time is precious.
Things were getting considerably worse at home and mum tried her best to hide it from me. To be fair she did a really good job.
I could never understand why when I sat on my dad’s knee or lay next to him watching TV he couldn’t even keep his eyes open or string together a sentence.
In hindsight I know now he was fucked up on Heroin but as a kid, it was just put down as one of life’s mysteries.
When he was functional he was nice to me and used to give me money for ice cream. He would throw it down from the top window into the street.
I honestly don’t think he wanted to be this person but he didn’t have the tools to change.
The more he hated himself the more drugs he took and the more he poisoned his environment.
It had got to the point where he could hide it anymore so my mum started making plans to move us both away.She felt like she had no other option and this was no place for a child.
A couple of months before the butcher’s shop had gone under and we were not making any money.
You add that to my dad not being able to string a sentence together let alone plan any jobs or get involved in anything money got tight fast and mum began to seriously worry for all of us.