E44 More Famous Pupils and the Music Teacher Mystery

There is a couple of people I forgot to mention from my class in the previous episodes.
Helen Cameron was one of the clever kids and we are still in touch on Facebook.

We don’t talk much but when I went back to school I got a lot of encouragement from her and it went a long way especially on those all-nighters in the library.
Helen is now married with two kids and I met her husband a few years ago and he seems like a cool guy.

Helen unsurprisingly went into teaching and this was the right choice.
When we were at school she was one of those kids I loved to hate.
She would read something twice and then go and score 90 percent of her exam.
I say I hated her but in a joking way she was and still is a lovely person and I’m so glad she’s doing well.

Paul Woodburn who for obvious reasons had the nickname, Woody.
He used to hang out in our group from time to time and he was a little cheeky kid with glasses.
He left school and did a series of menial office jobs that he hated and bored him to tears.

He got heavily into his training and me and him went to the same Thai boxing school for the best part of a year.
The school shut down and I ended having a long break away from it but he continued and ended up having a few fights in the ring.

It was amazing to see the complete transformation in Woody as he was always a tiny skinny kid in school.
He went on to join the navy where he worked for several years.
He came out and now works as an engineer. We haven’t spoken for a while as I’m away but I used to see him all the time near my mum’s.

He’s now one of those adults I love to hate as he’s the same age as me but looks about 29.
The good thing about Woody was his banter and in school, he was a cheeky bastard.
That hasn’t changed but he doesn’t run off anymore and at times he has me in stitches laughing.

PT Nathan Smith left with Paul Woody right

Back to the story, we were on our way to music class which was taught by Mr. Jones.
I can’t figure out Mr. Jones and I hope I explain it well in this blog and maybe one of my classmates can shed some light on this.

Mr. Jones was a cool guy in our first year of high school.
His lessons were interesting and engaging and we would always have fun at the same time as learning.
This was nothing like my situation in art class as I didn’t have my heart set on doing music or becoming one of those X-factor people even though it wasn’t on TV yet.

Speaking of X-Factor a student from our school became famous and landed a record deal because of this show.
Rebecca Ferguson went to our school but she’s about six years younger than me.

Rebecca Ferguson

She came second in the show but at the same time because she was so talented was given a recording contract.
I used to be good mates with her brother Adam Shaffi and we would both pick her up from school every day.
Coincidentally this was our old primary school in Woolton.

This went on for a couple of years and at the time Adam and I were quite close.
We both drifted apart over the years and I bump into him about once a year. I say hello and I’m civil but that’s as far as it goes.
I don’t have any bad blood but I’m in no hurry to be friends with him again so why open up any old wounds.

He used to live in Woolton village with his mum and his brothers and sisters and when we were kids I would see him all the time.
He has his own family now and lives in Ormskirk and the last I heard he was in recruitment.

I recently got back in touch with Daniel who is also their brother I was close to for years and he’s in the process of opening up his own off-license.
I hope it works out for him as I always got on well with Daniel.
For those who don’t live in the UK and are wondering what an off-license is see the pictures below

I’m never a fan of those reality shows like X factor but when it’s someone you know on TV it’s different.
You can’t help but follow the competition as like it or not this is life-changing, to say the least.
I’m not denying that Rebecca is incredibly talented but I feel she went overboard on her personal story.

If anyone is unfamiliar with the show X factor ill explain it as there is nothing worse than assumed knowledge.
The premise of the show is thousands of hopefuls from all across the country come to audition for the possibility of winning a recording contract.

Nobody expected this show to be such a huge hit and many countries have their own versions of this.
The hopefuls will audition in front of former famous singers and record executives like Simon Cowell.
They get rid of the deadwood and soon they are left with some talent.
It should be noted that many people who try out are awful with I’ve put in the compilation video below.

This competition then becomes a battle to the top and a lot of it comes down to marketability.
There was a Scottish singer called Michelle Mcmanus who won one of the early seasons.
Even though she won she didn’t get much of a push to become famous.

There was a lot of speculation about this but many say it’s because she was not stick thin and as a result, she wasn’t marketed the same as other singers such as Leona Lewis.
Now Michelle is a radio DJ in Scotland which is tragic as she has some much talent.

Michelle Mcmanus

Back to Rebecca, I remember listening to her story which all of the contestants had to do in a bid to get the audience to vote for them to stay in the competition.
Rebecca went into a monologue about how she was bullied for years because she was different.

I’m not claiming that this didn’t happen but it was the icing on top of the cake which made me cringe.
She said I used to cry myself to sleep and dream of becoming a famous pop star.
Throughout my sobs that nobody heard I longed to be famous
She kept on laying it on thick and even writing this I’m cringing a little.

This as well as her talent had the desired effect and she was awarded a recording contract.
I was pleased with her and even though we weren’t close I had spent enough time with her and knew her family so it was a good feeling for me to see her come this far.

I remember thinking to myself I wonder how many people will be coming out the woodwork with their hand out now she has a bit of fame.
I wanted to wish her well and that I had to word this properly in my message to her as she may think I’m one of these people wanting something.

I found her Facebook through her brother’s friend list and I found this a little unsettling.
A month previous to her winning nobody had a clue who she was and now she was on TV I found 11 profiles on Facebook all claiming to be Rebecca Ferguson.

Maybe it’s because I’m a little old but who does that?
It’s weird enough setting up a fake profile but who says to themselves, yeah I’m going to pretend to be Rebecca Ferguson on Facebook?
This is probably a common problem for famous people but I didn’t realise it until trying to get in touch with Rebecca.

I imagine people like Mick Jagger must be on Facebook under a very ordinary name with a car as his profile picture.
I could write about ten blogs about the things people do online but we will address that later.

So I decided to write a message to Rebecca and if my memory serves me well it was around 2011.
I told her I was happy for her and good luck for the future and basically said well done as well.
She saw my message almost right away and ignored it well except to decline my friend’s request which I was surprised at.

Glitter and gold music video
X factor judges

It’s not like we went to Vietnam together or stormed mount tumbledown nor was I suddenly wanting to meet her for drinks so I thought this a little odd.
I was a little disappointed but it didn’t ruin my day.
Then later a couple of years later she was invited to sing at the White House for Donald Trump’s birthday but she declined.

This is the part I can’t work out she declines singing for Donald because of her beliefs and the negative press he gets but then does an exclusive interview with The Sun newspaper?

For those not from Liverpool see the links below which will explain why people from Liverpool detest this newspaper.
During the Hillsborough disaster, 96 fans died at the match.
The Sun told horrible lies about the Liverpool fans which gave the city a bad name for years.

It’s only very recently they have admitted they lied and still many places won’t sell their newspaper in the city.
They also give away free copies of The Sun at Manchester airport.
Every time I fly in or out ill pick up whatever is on display and put them in the bin.



It should be made clear that I’m not even a football fan and I feel this strongly so in a city full of football die-hards it’s a complete mystery why Rebecca would sell a story to The Sun.

It was in the paper recently that Rebecca was conned out of a hundred grand by a so-called friend of hers.
This friend claimed to be an accountant and convinced Rebecca to let her take care of her money.
It came out that this person didn’t have a qualification to her name and it was all a big con which is told in the link below.


I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy and even though I disagree with some of Rebecca’s decisions I felt sorry for her.
The music industry isn’t exactly known for its morals and I can imagine most of the time you have the wrong people around you.

To be constantly on your guard and to have everyone you meet stood there with their hand out must be draining at best.
She opened a beauty place in Childwall in Liverpool a few years ago and I wish her well for the future.

An update on the blog regarding Rebecca needs to be added here. I’ve just been contacted by her brother and he told me what happened regarding The Sun.

Rebecca gave an interview to an independent journalist who failed to disclose to her that he worked for that paper. When she found out it had already gone to press and the damage had been done.

I mentioned earlier in the blog that I thought it very strange to do this interview but decline singing at The White House. Now this has been explained im happy to leave this for everyone to see.

The purpose of this blog is to tell my story and my perception of the world around me. The last thing I want to do is drag anyone’s name into the mud or to fuck them over.

Everything else I feel ive written fairly but I apologise for misinterpreting the information that I had as in hindsight this likely happens more than I think. It should be noted as well Rebecca didn’t get paid a penny from The Sun

So back to the story and Mr. Jones’s lessons were fun and he delivered it well and I never argued with him at all.
I wasn’t an angel but I never seriously disrupted the class and neither did anyone else.

This was one of the few classes where we would move around and be out of our seats a lot which was a welcome change from copying out of books and being shouted at because we were bored to tears and made our own entertainment.

So the year of music went without hitch and then we had Jones again in the second year and he had completely changed.
The lesson stopped being fun and Jones would always have a shitty comment for me.
He didn’t single me out but he changed a lot and not for the better.

I didn’t mess about much in his class but there was always something negative from him and to this day I don’t know what changed.
Maybe my reputation from the staff room had made his mind up for him and I noticed this had become a common trait amongst many of my teachers.

This behaviour honestly baffles me as to be a teacher you need a degree and a PGCE.
To do this that’s a lot of essays and a lot of research before you get your cap and gown.
I’m speaking first hand from my own experience so who do so many so-called educated people believe what other people say without question?

The author left with Kieren Hunt at graduation in 2017

I never had an issue with Jones and suddenly he was a prick towards me.
To be fair he didn’t go out of his way to make my life hard but it was made very clear what he thought of me.
I think when people are so easily swayed by what other people say it says a lot about their character.

I mentioned in earlier blogs with my teacher Steve Harvey, Janine Kitchen, and the famous Bernicoffs.
All of them made their own minds up about me and we got on like a house on fire.

Anytime they punished me for something I accepted it because the respect was there from the start and I likely deserved it.
I’m not afraid to admit I was no angel at school.

Another thing that amazes me with many teachers is they will be incredibly shitty towards you and they can’t figure out why your not desperate to win their approval.
I think if I acted like that it would show a lot of insecurity and weakness on my part but then I don’t really care what someone thinks of me if they have lost my respect.

There have been times in the past where I have messed up with people or teachers I respect and I have felt awful about it.
I’ve done my best to make it right and usually if your willing to admit that your wrong then almost anything can be rebuilt.
As for the others, I just think fuck them I’m not pizza I can’t please everyone.

After the second year, I had no more dealings with Jones and if I saw him in school he would always be pleasant and say hello so in my mind I thought we were OK.
About five years ago I was on Smithdown Road in Liverpool on my way into Subway to get myself some lunch.

Bear in mind I left school in 1996 so this is what makes this even more confusing for me.
As I’m walking into Subway I see Jones about to walk out.
I hadn’t seen him since I left school nor did I have any hatred, resentments, or bad blood towards him even in school.
He saw me and he looked like he had just seen the devil and his mouth was wide open with what looked like fear.

I didn’t acknowledge this at first because there would be no reason for him to be afraid of me.
I had never even had a serious bollocking off him just constant shitty comments and then more comments because I wasn’t trying but he couldn’t see his part in that.

No way hello Rob it must be twenty years

He’s breathing heavily

OH hello Arlo how are you

I’m great thanks so are you still at Gateacre then?

He looks uncomfortable now and he’s fidgeting looking at his feet.
I need to make it clear I never tried to touch him, raised my voice, or got in his personal space but now I noticed his behaviour.

Yeah yeah I’m still there

So are you the head of music now then?

I was the head of music back then he said

He stammered like a machine gun ok I’ve got to go and walked past me with his head down.
I was a little concerned with his irrational behaviour and called him on it

What’s up Sir I’m only talking to you?

Nothing erm I have to go

before you go Sir just look where you are

Jones stopped for a second and looked around

What do you mean by that?

It’s the middle of the day and about twenty people are watching us as well as CCTV.
What do you think is going to happen?

Erm, nothing I’ve got to go then his face turned the colour of beetroot and he walked past me very fast with his head down and didn’t look back.
I was blown away by this and then a girl with her boyfriend snapped me out of my trance.

What the fuck has just happened lad?

I really don’t know

Who is he?

My old teacher

The girl laughed was he a proper dickhead toward you then?

I answered as honestly as I could and told her we weren’t exactly best mates but no I can’t call him a dickhead and believe me this encounter was surprising to me as it was to you.

The girl’s fella stepped in and said wow he thought he was about to get twatted then and me my girl couldn’t take our eye off this.
I told him even at school that wouldn’t have been on the table.

We all stood there silently for a second contemplating what had just happened and I broke the tension with the same time next week then?
The girl and her fella laughed and left and I went in and ate lunch.

I never lost any sleep over this encounter but I often wondered what was going on in Mr. Jones’s head when we met.
Why did he show such fear which makes me think for him to act like that and to react the way he did he’s clearly done some serious shit-talking about me.

Shit talking or not I left school in 1996 and if he’s honestly still speaking about me all those years later then I have mixed feelings, to be honest.
I’m honoured that he has dedicated so much time to me but a little sad that he’s wasted so much energy with this hatred and resentment.

Once again I have no issue with Jones and I believe that Oscar Wilde had the right idea when he said the only worst thing than being talked about is not being talked about.
Mr. Jones retired from teaching 18 months ago and I know hes working but not sure what hes doing now.
My friend Louise Rowlands sent me a link to his YouTube page.

It’s music-based which he runs with his friend and they have about one hundred followers.
As much as I’m not holding a grudge I don’t feel it appropriate to post a link to his page especially when it’s clear he does not have the time of day for me.

As sad as I am that Jones feels this way it should be known that I wish nothing but the best for him.
If he is holding onto all that anger the only person he’s hurting is himself.
I spent years doing that and the other person involved never gave me a second thought.

Speaking of Louise Rowlands we didn’t have any classes together but we were mates in school and have stayed in touch on Facebook.
She told me that Paul Duffy mentioned in last week’s blog is still teaching in Broad-green International School.

He’s now a deputy’s head and he teaches one of Louise’s boys.
She saw him recently and said he made a point of coming over and talking to her.
I’m glad to hear this as this proves he’s still a cool guy.
He told her that Mr. Mckeen was a teacher there as well but had retired a few years ago.

Louise asked her son what Mr. Duffy is like as a teacher all these years later and he told her that he’s a great guy but he can shout when he wants to.
Duffy is sixty now but according to Louise, he looks about forty at the most.
I hope Duffy never reads this as he will get even more of a big head.

Louise is still living in Liverpool and has four kids. She is getting married this year and I have to say it couldn’t happen to a nicer girl.
I’m glad we’re in touch and she has a very similar sense of humour to me which is pretty dark.

Louise and her husband to be

In the third year, we no longer had Jones we had a new music teacher called Mr. Warner.
Warner was very strict and we locked horns on many occasions but in the years afterwards, he didn’t hold a grudge.
I saw Warner about ten years ago at the high school reunion and I ended up chatting to him for about half an hour.

He was genuinely pleased to see me and we had a great chat together.
I was happy to see him and see he was still in the teaching game.
I found out earlier on tonight that Warner is still teaching in Gateacre Comp since our meeting and I’m glad we are both friends.

The bell in Mr. Joneses class rang and we made our way to French.
We were looking forward to this class as the idea of learning a new language fascinated me.

Published by aab01uk

A traveler trying to find his place in the world. Trying my hand at most things and making a new life for myself outside of the UK while enjoying the journey along the way. A very diverse path but always entertaining as the saying goes the truth is stranger than fiction. I've experienced some serious highs and lows and even hit rock bottom multiple times. This is my long diverse journey which will make you laugh and hopefully teach you some life lessons along the way.

10 thoughts on “E44 More Famous Pupils and the Music Teacher Mystery

  1. A bit disappointed in this Arlo, I thought better of you to be honest. Would be intresting to see if you could actually find that interview “exclusive” to the sun. To my recollection she was interviewed by a independent journalist and was never paid by any newspaper. If you can find the interview that would be great.

    Secondly, you mustn’t of known her that well if you were only requesting her as a freind after the show. Imagine how many hundreds of people were requesting her at that time…hundreds, thousands? I wouldn’t take it personally.

    I’ve seen the comments you put in the daily mirror website about her and now this. I would really appreciate it mate if you refrain from mentioning me or any of my family in articles like this or elsewhere moving forward mate.


    1. To be honest mate I didn’t know that regarding the sun and like I said in the blog I couldn’t understand why she had done it
      I will make an amendment to that because I’m not trying to fuck anyone over whatsoever.
      Also mate I haven’t said anything bad exelt that
      I mentioned that she had likely had a lot of the wrong people around her and that has been proven
      I mentioned getting on well with your kid and I mentioned we used to be good mates but drifted apart and didn’t go into detail on what happened I don’t know how you are pissed off about that it’s true
      I will change that in a couple of hours and ill comment again here as it’s 1030 am here and it’s 0430 there


      1. I remember getting a message from her really upset asking me “Why is Arlo writing things in the Mirror about me?” I couldn’t fathom it as it seemed completely out of character for you, so just smoothed it over with her and told her to ignor it. It makes sence now because she didn’t reply to your message or respond to your freind request. But as mentioned, I wouldn’t take that personally.

        I’m not sure if you would be happy or pissed off if I was writing about u or one of your family members publicly in a national newspaper or this?


    2. I’m not sure what reply you will read the first mate but if you read this first there are two replies so please look at the other as well.
      If you go back to the article underneath the last picture of Rebecca I’ve added a few columns. They are all in red so it’s easy for both you and other readers to spot.
      I hope this clears anything up and I hope all is well with you
      regards Arlo


  2. Ok Adam there has definitely been a miscommunication here as I’ve never written anything in the mirror
    I didn’t take it personally when she didn’t accept my friend request mate it was more of a surprise than anything but then like I said in my article it’s not like we went to vietnam or anything (meaning the war)

    If you want to write about anything mate that your choice like I said I’m not trying to drag anyone’s name through the mud and hope you extend me the same courtesy of the truth and if a mistake is made that you amend it quickly like I did


    1. It wasn’t a Dailly mirror column mate, it was the reply with comments section and you defo did because I read them. I will try and dig it out when I have time and send it to you. It wasn’t anything really bad, you were just saying stuff like, I used to know her brothers and she has turned really snotty and up her own arse.

      It’s not the end of the world and if that’s how you felt then fair dues, just don’t personally see the point in you writing stuff like that?

      Why would I want to write about you anyway mate its all a bit pettty, I’ve got better things to do and focus on.

      I hope you see where I’m coming from.


      1. No need to look them out mate that sounds accurate
        It wasn’t meant as a malicious attack just the way I saw it at the time.
        How hard would it have been to send a thumbs up or even a one sentence reply when I sent a nice message?
        I wasn’t grinding an axe not did I think we would become super best friends now she was a singer it just came across quite snotty in my mind
        I’m a different person to what I was back then but sure I can see your point as well.
        I can now see both sides of the coin
        None of this was a personal attack I just said it how I saw it


      2. Mate, she doesn’t even reply to me at times especially around that time when she was full on touring ect. Not due to being snotty just to being over whelmed and exhausted. But yeah thats how it can look from outside I suppose.

        Anyway I’m off to work, have a good day!


      3. Fair enough mate
        Like I said I can see the other side of the coin now and in hindsight I probably should not of commented on that public page.
        With the information I have now I realise that I could have handled that differently so I apologise to you both for that.
        Glad we got to talk and I’m sorry I took this out of context
        Have a good day


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