E48 Things are looking up

Things were starting to improve a great deal for me and it was mainly to do with my training three times a week.
Now, this is widely known and many more people go to the gym or do some form of exercise.

Back in the 90s, this was a rarity and there weren’t many people who hit the gym regularly.
It felt like I had discovered the best-kept secret in the world.
As not many trained it took a while to see the positive correlation between my attitude and training.

All of my life I’ve trained in one capacity or another from boxing, Thai boxing, BJJ, wrestling, karate, and the gym.
As you have read so far and you will read in later blogs I’ve had some serious demons in my life.

These were largely kept at bay from hard intense training and later on, when I injured my back and couldn’t train for close to 18 months this was one of the darkest times of my life.
I will go into a lot more detail about this in the later blogs but as for now, I’m just laying the framework.

Boxing had improved everything around me as I wasn’t so hostile and my confidence had skyrocketed.
The only drawback from this was I seemed to be fighting a lot in school.
Looking back about 90 percent of this could have been avoided.

I was scared to become a victim especially after what had happened in the past and now with a new school year full of people I didn’t know I wanted to make sure nobody laid a hand on me.

This is quite a destructive way of thinking but even now in this modern time, I don’t know another way of dealing with things like this.
If you fight in school now you are expelled if this was in place when I was at school I wouldn’t have made it past the first year.

I understand that attitudes have changed considerably since the 90s but wearing pink ribbons to say your anti-bullying doesn’t do the victim any favours.
Telling the teacher and becoming a rat also marks you for the rest of your school life and there is no going back from this.

The flip side to this though is very positive. I’ve seen many quite unassuming kids go into fight gyms and within a couple of months, they are a completely different person.
The bullying has stopped and they are not spending their lives scared and miserable.

The first time I tried Brazilian Ju-Jujitsu in 2011 was such a humbling experience. I didn’t think I would show up and start owing people but when a 120 pounds 19-year-old kid with jam jar glasses is tying you up in knots without breaking a sweat you can’t help thinking to yourself wait a fucking minute.

BJJ with GI Jocko Willick left on his back
BJJ no GI

Back to the story and the boxing became a lot more intense and it wasn’t just pads and circuits anymore. We would also run around the fords car factory which I think was around 2 miles and Neil and the other trainers started to take us on the pads.

They would sharpen our reaction times and it would teach us to move out the way and the most important lesson that the punchbag doesn’t hit back but an opponent would.
Then the trainers started to play psychological games with us to teach us to push on.

The buzzer would sound to tell us it was rest time and they would scream at us to keep going.
Many people threw up or at times couldn’t continue but all of us wanted to be here so nobody complained.

We then would play other games with medicine balls where we would have to race to the centre of the ring, wrestle the opponent who was picked at random then get the ball back to your corner.

Medicine ball training

I remember getting put against this lad about my size and him beating me in about thirty seconds.
I was pissed off but not angry I just didn’t like being beaten and I understood my footwork was off.
I kept watching the rounds and the lad who beat me was called back into the ring.

Before Neil had a chance to pick anyone I jumped back in the ring taking the trainer and the lad who beat me by surprise.
I grabbed him and wouldn’t let him get his footing. He was faster than me but I was stronger so I kept moving him so he couldn’t get on even ground with his feet.

I pushed him almost out of the ring and got the ball back to my corner.
All of the trainers were cheering as they had seen my reaction to getting beaten earlier.
There was no malice involved and the lad even laughed and shook hands with me afterwards and this was exactly what the trainers were trying to install in us.

In school things were getting better as well as the teachers left me alone as I was no longer disrupting the lessons.
I still didn’t have a clue what I was doing a lot of the time but that was OK for many of the teachers as they were more interested in a quiet life instead of doing their job.

Then for the first time in a while, I got a nice surprise from the school.
Miss. Kitchen called me into her office to tell me that I was no longer on the report.
Luckily for me, she was not vindictive like many other teachers and she genuinely wanted me to do well.

She was impressed with my change in attitude and told me she didn’t want to see me on the report again.
A lot of this change was because of boxing and I still got angry in school and people still pissed me off but I had an outlet to get rid of my rage.

Miss. Kitchen had not made the connection to the spike in fights I was having in the schoolyard or after school either.
I would get a detention and a bollocking for this but I was used to staying behind after school so it was no real hardship.

Miss. Kitchen loved the fact I would always tell her the truth as well and I never went through school twatting people for nothing.

Why were you fighting?

He hit me.

You should have come and told a teacher

yeah sure

OK year detention

Why were you fighting

He was taking the piss out of me

Why didn’t you tell a teacher?

Really?

OK year detention.

The thing is the fights died down after a while people don’t tend to bother you when they see your game to throw down with them and you can fight so at the time I was in a happy and secure place.

Then when I thought things could not get any better I learned that we would be going to Colomendy again for a week.
My experiences were not great here but a lot had happened since I was last there and besides, it was a week out of school away from home.

We seemed to get there very quickly which confused me because when making the journey as a kid it seemed to take forever.
John Farrell, Billy Collins, Ian Black, and I all sat together so glad to be having a week away and it was also a relief to see the teachers looking so relaxed.

I was right in my thinking and the week wasn’t a patch on the horrible experience that I had when I went with my old school.
It seemed they had scrapped the 1972 safety brief now and the only thing we had to do was a fire drill which took us thirty minutes at most.

Colomendy

The first night we were all in bunk beds with our friends and Mr. Harvey told us that we were on holiday so it was OK to have a chat with our friends.
He instantly regretted it because as soon as he left the dormitory everyone kicked off.

Not in a violent way but for the most part, everyone started making screaming sex noises and shouting out each other’s mum’s names.
I remember having tears in my eyes laughing as Peter Bell was in the next bed to me and he was screaming

Beryl oh Beryl

Chris was laughing but screaming back

Oh Eileen Oh Eileen oh yeah

I’m pretty sure I dished a lot of this out and within minutes we were all screaming the dorm down.
Harvey came charging back into the dorm going ballistic.

Right stand up outside your beds

How dare you abuse my trust you have all let yourselves down

We all stood there with our heads down and took the bollocking. he was right we had taken the piss big time and then we were ordered back into bed.
Harvey slammed the door behind him and you could hear a pin drop as everyone was silent.

Everyone was wide awake but didn’t dare speak then someone farted and it sounded and smelt like they had shit themselves.
This was better than winning the lottery when you are 12 and we were all pissing ourselves laughing.

This was twice as hard because we were trying to be quiet but failing badly.
We were not quiet enough and we started talking to each other as the dirty bastard who farted had got rid of the tension in the air but replaced it with what smelt like a slaughtered cow.

Then the inevitable happened and suddenly the dormitory filled with light.
This time we were in trouble as Miss. Kitchen was in the middle of the dorm and she was furious.

She made it very clear that if she had to get up again we would all be in a world of shit.
We all lay in our sleeping bags listening and we knew she meant business.
She left the dorm and we realised that we were taking the piss a bit now and went to sleep.

We also didn’t want to be half-dead when abseiling off cliffs or when canoeing so we played the game and went to sleep.
We were all waiting to go out for the afternoon and we were told that any fighting or bullying we would be sent home no questions asked.

We learned that Wayne Bassnett had been sent home for going too far with a practical joke.
There was a Pakistani boy called Shoabe who spoke with a thick American accent.

I’m not sure what the deal was with Shoabe as he left after the first year of high school and we never saw him again.
I think his dad worked for an international bank but I can’t be sure as we didn’t speak so often.

We were getting ready to go out for the afternoon and Wayne smashed a stink bomb on Shoabes back.
Shoabe not realising Wayne could fight slapped him across the face and shouted come on man let’s go in his American accent.

Wayne was pissed off from getting slapped so he battered Shoabe.
I don’t think Wayne meant things to get out of hand like this but he wasn’t going to let anyone hit him either so he ended up getting sent home and Shoabe stayed.

I’ll talk more about Wayne later as it will fit into a funny story I have about him and how I would be mates with him years later.
All of the pupils and teachers were sat by a lake after the day relaxing and suddenly we all heard Mr. Harvey kicking off.

Even Mr. Harvey was surprised until we realised Woody had secretly recorded our bollocking from the night before.
Luckily Harvey could take a joke and this happened many more times throughout the week.

When we were least expecting it we would hear ourselves being played back on tape.
You would think we would get sick of this but quite the opposite it seemed to get funnier each time.
At night we would go to the shop and get crisps and coke and all relax out in the sun.

I had brought a lot of Viz comics to read and someone would always borrow them and the teachers were surprisingly ok with us reading them.
For those who don’t know The Viz was a comic for adults who have run since 1979.

In the mid-90s, it was the third best-selling comic in the UK after The dandy and The Beano.
It still sells but I haven’t bought it for years. It’s not just me who says this but it just isn’t funny anymore.
I think they must have fired all of the good writers as I remember fondly pissing myself laughing on dozens of occasions.

It speaks volumes that this now sells about 50000 a year when in the 90s it was selling millions.
Well, it was great while it lasted but I feel now they should either get the old writers back or just give it up completely.

I remember someone also brought a pocket TV and we were all desperate to watch it.
I remember even back then being bored with it in about ten minutes
The signal was awful and the screen was tiny but then it was the 90s.

I remember John Farrell was locked into the pocket TV and I kept messing with him.

Leave me alone

I kept on winding him up

Arlo Fuck off I’m trying to watch it then the room went silent

Harvey was stood behind him and all eyes were on us then Harvey said without missing a beat

Yes Arlo he’s trying to fucking watch it

pocket tv 90s

The whole room broke down laughing and Harvey left the dorm pleased with our reaction.
We were to do a self-defence class that day and I unknown at the time was about to meet one of my closest friends in my later years.

The class was run by a guy called Dwayne Whitaker and he was 16 years older than us.
We didn’t become mates for a few years later but right away I knew I liked him.
His class was hilarious and interesting and he got us all involved from the very start.

I would find out that he was a third Dan black belt in Taekwondo.
I’m skipping forward a bit here just for context.
Dwayne was a wheeler-dealer and he was always up to something trying to make a few quid.
When I trained in the Venus gym years later he would come in with robbed Ralph Lauren shirts and other stuff he was into at the time.

Dwayne left Michael Flatley centre the author right

I would see him sporadically over the next few years but he was always nice and would always stop to talk.
Dwayne knew everyone and was well respected but he always gave everyone the same respect which said a lot about his character.

When I left the army in 2002 Dwayne and I became very close. He had worked on the nightclub doors for years and we seemed to have a lot of mutual friends.
We also seemed to end up at the same parties and like myself, Dwayne could go missing for days.

One of the things which stuck out though with Dwayne is both me and he had a relationship outside of partying and he has over the years helped me out of some very difficult situations.
I’ve always returned the favour and luckily it’s never got so serious.

It’s a lot more reassuring when you are in trouble and there is a crew of lads ready to back you.
Most of the time this could be sorted with a phone call and most of the time things were quashed quickly.

Left Michael Flatley Centre the author 2nd right Dwayne Right Ste Smith

Another reason I had so much time for Dwayne is he was by my side both during my success and in my darkest days.
It’s easy to be someone’s mate when your all making money and the champagne is flowing.

When I went to rehab for cocaine addiction and walked away from that life he stayed loyal to me and nothing changed between us.
We didn’t see as much of each other as he was still mixing with a lot of people who I had to avoid to get clean.

The only time I was pissed off with him is when he got sent to prison.
I found out that he was in trouble six months after he had been locked up.
Typical Dwayne just kept it to himself but If I knew he was away I would have sent him some stuff and even gone to see him.

Dwayne was involved with a counterfeit money gang and he found out the hard way that one of the lads who came in towards the end was an undercover cop.
He was given two and a half years in prison and he served half of that.

One thing which turned my stomach was the police trying to get the gang to incriminate themselves further.
The officer kept trying to persuade Dwayne and his crew to take the money into various casinos.

They refused to do that and quite luckily to as they would have been looking at at least ten years each.
Here is a link to the story below

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/warning-over-fake-money-3530965

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/4m-forgers-380-payback-3529823

When he got out he was the same and it never really affected him although it took him a while to get back on his feet financially.
Typical Dwayne got locked up, went to prison, and knew everyone in there so he had no problems.

The author left and Dwayne Centre

Dwayne, unfortunately, died in 2015 he was sick for a while and had been in for numerous surgeries.
I can’t remember what was wrong with him but I know he had complications during surgery and he died on the table and I was devastated.

He had in his last few years been running a nightclub security team in Spain and his boss was paying for his flights there and back weekly.
He was getting well looked after and was making decent money.

The author left and Dwayne right

He was still training in the gym and was quite healthy apart from his conditions but when he was suddenly gone it was a shock to us all.
It was more of a shock that we met in a passing encounter and became so close.

I went to his funeral in 2015 but I wouldn’t go to the wake.
It would be full of booze and cocaine and that was the last place I needed to be when in a low place.
It likely wouldn’t have made me spiral but why take the chance?

I know he would have understood if he had been alive and I said my goodbyes at his funeral.
I still think about Dwayne a lot he was one of life’s good guys and he was so good to me in the time I knew him.

Once in a while he would piss me off when he would ring me at a random party on a Tuesday afternoon from the weekend and I would have to go and get him and take him home but I couldn’t stay mad for long.

I feel it important to tell Dwayne’s story now as even though he will likely feature in later blogs I’ve learned from experience that this blog has gone in a completely different direction than I expected so rather early than never.
You’ve never forgotten Dwayne not just by me but by many people you’re missed greatly.

Back to the story and we left Colomendy after a fun week of relaxing and we were ready to go back to school after the weekend feeling refreshed and ready to continue.
I was off the school report and was training hard and things were happy for the moment.

E47 Boxing clever

The inevitable happened at school and I was put on report.
This was a big win for many teachers as I was now on the path to being expelled.

When you are on the report you have to get your teacher for that lesson to sign your report sheet and comment on your behaviour.
If you get bad comments you are then on a fast track to being suspended.

The system is in place so that the school can cover itself legally in all eventualities and all of this is recorded with a mountain of paperwork.
This was when safeguarding had just begun but it was years before they started to tackle the important stuff like violence and paedophilia.

Many children were being failed by the system and in most cases, the government could have done a lot more to prevent this but as the saying goes better late than never.

There is still a long way to go but the train is heading in the right direction and all we can do is build on that year after year.
I had learned early on that school was a waste of time but there was still a glimmer of hope in my mind of getting a decent job when I left school.

Although looking back it’s upsetting to see that many children’s cards are marked from 11 years old and onward.
To be honest I needed to be put on the report as things were slowly steering out of control.

I have admitted in earlier blogs how I acted up considerably but not only that I had been close to full-on fighting with 4 teachers.
In a year that has to be a record and let’s be honest whose side would, they take?
Four of the boys in the staff-room or some piece of shit who will never amount to anything in their eyes?

Many teachers are this childish and petty and even with the small group of teachers who were on my side this would not be enough to sway the majority and usually, the majority wins.

I’m pretty sure all of these teachers had started writing paperwork on me as soon as I had stood up to them.
Also, the safeguarding system was still in its infancy so nobody would have thought of anything as complex as to ask my version of events.

It’s likely as well that these teachers had over-embellished the events in question and made themselves look like Mary Poppins.
As there were no punches thrown there would be no need to dig deeper and like in any investigation when you’re building a case on someone you don’t tell them.

I may have been overconfident but I wasn’t stupid and knew I had to play the game at least for a while to get off the report for good.
I remember the final straw I had been sent to Miss. Kitchens office again.
I can’t remember what I had done but Miss. Kitchen was screaming at me.

Like I mentioned in earlier blogs I had respect for Miss Kitchen she was a straight shooter.
She didn’t take any shit off anyone but she wouldn’t stab you in the back either and she had your best interests at heart.

I may have the year wrong here but the conversation happened so ill just run through it.
I’m getting screamed at and probably for good reason by Miss Kitchen and she starts shouting about getting a job when I leave school.

The way you’re going you will never get a job

So everyone keeps telling me, miss

Oh, think your clever do you?

I know I’m not stupid but that doesn’t seem to be a popular opinion amongst many teachers.

Well it’s up to you to prove to these teachers your not stupid

really, ok thanks for that?

What the hell is your problem?

My problem is that I’m being singled out and treated like an arsehole and then I’m supposed to suck up to these people to win their approval

Don’t you dare swear at me

I’m not swearing at you and I have never had a problem with you I have a problem with the situation and teachers who think they are going to bully me

I interrupted Miss Kitchen quickly and said if the teachers tried to get to the route of the problem then it would not escalate and then it just turns into a huge arse covering exercise with teachers helping their mates and condemning students they don’t like

Miss Kitchen was fuming with me first because I was right and even though she didn’t play that type of game she was well aware that it was going on.
Secondly if an 11-year-old can see this then so can many others and there would be a time she would have to stand up as she was the year head.

She quickly changed the subject and said to me what do you want to do when you leave school.
I knew whatever I said to her even a road sweeper she was going to shoot down in flames so I stayed silent

What do you want to do she shouted at me?

I had watched the movie Leon the professional the night before and was also in the middle of playing the first Hit-man game.

I wanted out of the office so I had the first thing that popped into my head.

I want to be a hit-man

what what what

Oh not a bad guy but to work for the government

I thought that I would be kicked out of the office but Miss. Kitchen tried to run with it

Yeah well you cant be a hit-man without GCSEs

Oh really so what qualifications do I need kill people then I asked sarcastically

Kitchen knew she was beaten and calmed herself down.
She was only beaten in the short term and that was the day I ended up on the report.
I took my sheet away and headed up to RE and like usual it was a party in that lesson.

I sat at the back and shut the fuck up and then I kicked myself as I knew I didn’t have many friends who were teachers and now I could see I was an idiot to alienate Miss Kitchen.
Luckily unlike most teachers of that era, she didn’t bear a grudge against me and we were ok after that.

At the end of class, Reverend Upton Jones commented on my good behaviour.

I’m just doing gods work sir

The reverend nodded approvingly and said to me

Would you like to pray with me?

Don’t push it I answered

God bless you he said as I walked out of the class fuck my life I thought to myself

This carried on and the beauty of the report was the school could keep you on this permanently if they wanted to.
When you were under the microscope you had even fewer rights and that was a dangerous place to be especially during the era of children who didn’t have a voice.

I figured as well that it was a matter of time before a teacher made up a story that would get me booted out of school.
I had to be beyond reproach and I had to figure this out and fast.
It didn’t help that there were three schools of new children all put into the same year for high school.

There was a lot of tension between a lot of the lads all wanting to be the toughest kid in the year.
I was bigger than everyone as well so I would end up fighting a lot through my teens.

I will talk about this more in later blogs but now I had to do something about it before I ended up a victim.

Anti Bullying add

I had found out about a boxing club in Speke called Gemini Boxing and this place helped me so much.
Over the years as a kid since I started in Gemini, I had always done some sort of training.
Even though they all didn’t happen as a first-year Ill speak about them in future blogs and the impact they had on me growing up.

Liverpool is a famous city and over the years has had so many professional fighters who reside here.
I remember as a kid hearing all about John Conteh who retired in 1980 but was the WBC champion for a period.

I watched a few of his fights on video but at the same time, the 90s was probably one of the best eras for boxing with so many exciting fights and characters who fought wars in the ring.

John Conteh aged 70 last year

Many other champions came from Liverpool who I’ve shown in the pictures.
I used to stay up late and watch their fights on ITV sport and would always end up shouting at the TV with a lot of passion.

Years later I found out that my mum’s friend Tricia married Richie Wentons brother and I sent him a message on Facebook telling him I loved watching him as a kid and I was friends with Tricia.

He sent me a nice message back and I was starstruck even many years later after he had retired I had seen him have some serious scraps and he was a true champion back in his day.

Ritchie Wenton 90s

In another twist of fate, I would end up meeting Shea Neary many times when I became friends with a guy called Mick Metcalf.
This was Mick’s uncle and he owned a few pubs in Liverpool after he retired.

Many nights when there were stay behinds I would either be with Mick or he would call me and we would end up having a very late night.
I don’t see Mick anymore but we didn’t fall out when we see each other its all good but we both grew apart.
He still works in the Royal hospital in the supply department and he’s still living in Liverpool.

Years later I met Paul Hodkinson who was an animal in the ring and a very vicious entertaining fighter of his day.
I didn’t recognise him as it was 20 years later and he had a full beard and had put on weight.

His mate was shitfaced drunk and couldn’t stand up and he was trying his best to get us to let his friend into Empire where I worked in 2015.
He was polite and respectful but after a while admitted defeat and carried his mate off up the road

Paul Hoko the pocket rocket 90s

My mate Terry Phillips told me it was him and I was blown away as I had no idea.
Hoko was unlucky because he came from the era where the lighter weight categories didn’t make nearly as much as the heavyweight division.

He retired in the early 90s but burnt through his money quickly and ended up working on the railways for years.
My friend Carl knows Hoko well and tells me he’s a sound guy but loves a bet and loves a bevy that did him no favours after he retired.

Back to the story so I got off the bus and walked into the Austin Rawlings sports centre and was told where the boxing gym was.
I walked in and everyone stopped to see who I was.
It was really clicky and I was a stranger. A tall skinny guy who I learned later was called Neil Collins said

What do you want?

I want to learn how to box

Really why should we train you?

Because I love the sport and I need to learn to take care of myself

Do you think you hard then yeah?

Nah but I can handle myself

Neil seemed happy with my answers and told me to come back tomorrow.
There were two classes the beginners and the advanced class and I walked into the advanced.
The other trainer stepped in and said well it’s just circuits tonight your welcome to do this if you want but it’s not easy.

No problem I said a little too confident and they saw it and laughed.
I remember a lot of screaming and shouting and hitting bags, push-ups, sit-ups, and various other things.
I remember throwing up in a bucket and the trainers kept on and pushed me harder.

At the end of the class, I felt like I was close to death but the trainers were happy with me as I didn’t quit and gave me the times for the beginner class.
There was a lot of talent that came through Gemini boxing for example Tony Dodson.

He was the same age as me but had been boxing since he was ten and probably the best fighter in the gym.
He was always all over the Liverpool Echo for winning fights and they always wrote about him in a positive light.

Tony Dodson

Tony Dodson went on to have a very successful boxing career and was the British champion for a while.
He was beaten by Tony Quigley in one of the most brutal fights I’ve ever seen in my life.
It went 12 rounds and Quigley secured the victory in the 12th round.

Dodson vs Quigley fight starts around the ten minute mark

I became mates with Quigley from working nightclub security years later and we became friends.
I’ve been to see Tony fight in Manchester and a couple of other places and he is one of the nicest people you can meet.

Quigley lost his title to another Liverpool boxer Paul Smith and a year later he retired from the sport.
He now has four kids and works in Ashworth secure unit.
We speak from time to time on Facebook and he’s doing ok.

Tony Quigley after winning the British title

I haven’t seen Dodson since we were kids but he retired from boxing a few years ago and I’m not sure what he’s doing now.
Unfortunately, not everyone who went to this gym was a success story.
Liverpool seems to be a city with a lot of could have been a type of people who never use the talent given to them properly and end up living a very simple life.

This can go the other way as well and there can be a dark side to this sport especially with the attention it brings and the wrong people surrounding you.
A good example of this was Brian Schumacher who was the captain of the 1984 British Olympic boxing team.

He spent 23 years in prison for killing his mum’s boyfriend another tragic tale and again another boxer who spent years working nightclub security. He got out of prison this year and according to my mate he’s doing well and getting on with his life.
The link below tells of what happened and how he was locked up.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/boxing/article-8953697/Former-British-Olympic-boxer-Brian-Schumacher-opens-killing-mums-partner.html

Another tragic case is Carl Wall, I never really knew him well but we had a lot of mutual friends.
He was in the advanced class and according to many he could have easily turned pro.
As an amateur, he was smashing people but he had too many distractions outside the ring.

He was surrounded by rats and he got himself immersed in the world of drugs.
For years he was involved heavily in this game which took him into the big leagues
In 2014 Carl was sentenced to 21 years in prison and he had been under investigation from TITAN for almost two years.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/21-years-former-liverpool-boxer-6681807

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-drug-dealer-carl-wall-6659969

Carl Wall
Carl in 2014 on the day of his arrest

In my opinion, he had got away with it for so long because he had got to the level he had.
There were no police units like TITAN and no senior officer would open a case on someone that big without concrete evidence.

Unfortunately, the police are more interested in arresting lots of small-time dealers and junkie shoplifters as this way it’s much easier to manipulate the statistics and say that they are making a difference.

They carry on with this dog and pony show and then the funding continues and for many years many of the top echelons of drug dealers walked with impunity.

The police however will find a way to get you and they will keep you under the microscope when needed.
Carl and his mates were always having murder in town with other people
They were always in the middle of the madness.

One night the police came to break up a fight outside H bar on victoria street which was owned by singer Natasha Hamilton before it was closed down.
One of Carls crew dropped a gun when running away which the police found.

They didn’t go and arrest the guy they just kept it and 18 months later when they had this guy on a drugs conspiracy charge they introduced the gun as evidence.
Instead of a 5-year sentence, he got 13 years.

What a lot of these gangsters don’t seem to realise is the police run like a business and if they are spending money watching you then you better believe they want a return on their investment and one way or another they will find you in the end if your making problems for them.

Another example of the police working this way was the case of David Turner who was convicted for multiple drug offences and a murder charge on top of that.

My friend who I won’t name as he is still a serving police officer pulled him over in his car and he and his partner searched the car while Turner screamed abuse at them for ten minutes.

My friend told me if they had arrested him there and then they had enough to put him away for 15 years but they weren’t happy with that and waited another year.

A year later Turner was convicted and has been ordered to serve a minimum of 37 years before being released.
The link below goes into detail about what he was doing

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/exposed-world-city-gang-lord-3487386

David Turner 2008

All of this was yet to come and I was still only 11. The purpose of this blog was to tell my story and the history which was unfolding around me.
Luckily boxing and training for me were very positive and it helped keep me on the path.

I wasn’t going to school fuming anymore as 3 nights a week I was punching fuck out of bags and pads and learning how to fight and most of all learning respect.

I didn’t care about anything else just boxing and I knew because I had the gym release I could keep playing the game in school while I got myself off report and out of the cross-hairs.

It’s amazing how much of a positive effect training can have on your mindset.
More people are aware of this now and gyms are extremely popular but back in the 90s gyms seemed to be the cities best-kept secret.

E46 Fun with Geography

We made our way to geography class and we were to be taught by Mr. Steve Kelly.
It needs to be said that Steve and I are ok now and I’ve seen and spoken to him many times since leaving school.

We are not at the playing golf every Sunday stage or do I have his number on my phone but I’m glad there is no bad blood.
I must have played my part in our volatile relationship but I think a lot of that was because I stood up to him.

This was a bad move on my part because like many teachers of that era he was quite vindictive and held a grudge and believe me, he got me back later which ill explain in the story.

Kelly was about thirty and was in decent shape and also was partial to twenty minutes a day on the sunbed.
There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself at all but he did look like a boy band member.

In a way, I can understand his arrogance, as well as this, was 1991, and very few people trained back in those days.
Kelly was proficient in karate and I’ve had other sources back this up which makes the story of what happened next a little bit strange.

Full contact Karate tournament

He was no idiot and knew how to take care of himself so I didn’t understand his need for grandstanding as well especially in a class full of teenagers.
We came into class and it seemed he had a problem with most of the lads.

If the lads asked him anything more often than not he would answer with a shitty comment but if one of the girls asked a question he was either a good teacher or turned into a stand-up comedian.
How can I put this he was funny but probably 6/10 funny and not the 10/10 funny that he thought he was.

Kelly didn’t have a lot of time for me from the start especially when he would try to be funny and I would counter him.
Sometimes I would land and sometimes I would miss but when other people would laugh at my counter he did not like that one bit so it’s safe to say my cards were marked.

One day Kelly was telling the girls about karate and how he had been doing it for years.
It was years later when I confirmed this as true as I have a lot of friends from the karate world and they said he had his black belt and he could scrap.

Kelly used to work the doors in Liverpool at the weekend as well and like I mentioned with Mr. Duffy in the last blog there were no jacket fillers back then and the club scene was a much harsher environment.
There is no way he could have even got a start unless someone had recommended him.

When I left the army in 2002 the only reason I was able to start working nightclub security was that my uncle John Mckenna had recommended me.
He had been doing it for years and had a reputation so it was his nod that got me the start.

The author far right with the Empire door team in 2016

It was even harder pre 2000 to get a start so that’s how I knew Kelly was legit.
Kelly suddenly had to stop working the clubs because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A fight broke out in the club he was working and he dragged a guy out and threw him into the street.

Kelly was right to do this but the next thing he heard this woman next to him scream and say oh my god that bouncer teaches my little Katie.
Kelly knew he was in trouble and quick as a flash said

No way do you know our Steve then?

You’re not Steve Kelly the woman said confused

No, no that’s my brother that

Luckily for Kelly, the woman believed him but it was the warning he needed to get off the doors for good, and even back then when it was a much more respected job there was more of a future with teaching.

Kelly is in full throttle in the class talking to the girls about karate and shooting down any lads that have a question for him.
He then starts doing a karate demonstration in the class.

He’s doing the noises but all at about fifty percent effort because he was in a suit, not a Karate gi.
Most of the class was watching intently and none of us knew any karate so it was better than learning about water supplies in Peru.

Karate suit (gi)

The demonstration goes on and all of the lads are looking at each other not quite knowing what to say and five minutes later the lesson started.
Kelly starts handing out our workbooks to the class

OK, then Linda and then a fancy backhand throw, Leanne and another throw backward or under the leg, and each time they got more creative.
If it was one of the lad’s workbooks he would just throw the book at them normally and say nothing.

Kelly is handing out the books and the pile is getting smaller and smaller and he comes to my book.
He throws the book at me very hard which hits me in the face.
Acting on sheer adrenaline and rage I launched the book back at him which then hit Kelly in the face.

Kelly is furious and marches over to my table with a big red face.
I jump out of my chair and I think this is definitely on now.
As I had been the victim of violence in the hands of Francesca and like I mentioned in last week’s story no teacher was ever going to put their hands on me again no matter the cost.

In my mind this was the natural progression of violence it starts off with shitty comments and then it gets more personal.
If the person thinks they will get away with it they will take it to the next stage.
Why wouldn’t they? after all its all started from them disrespecting you.

After someone has hit you what’s to stop them from taking it further and then you become a victim.
So in my mind at an early age don’t leave anything left to the imagination and make it clear that you are willing to take it to that horrible place and quickly.

In the few seconds that had passed, I had got myself in that dark place and if needed I would fight Kelly until one of us was dead.
I had no idea of his background and that he could fuck me up quite easily and I think that’s what surprised him that I was game and how I had got so angry and quickly.

Get out of my class right now lad Kelly screamed at me

He was too close to me and he grabbed my shoulder and tried to pull me out of the class
I moved my shoulder back quickly forcing him to lose his grip and we were in the middle of a stare-down.

Don’t look at me like that son

I stared back with eyes of hatred. I didn’t hate him even though at the time I didn’t especially like him but I needed this hatred in my mind if I was going to survive the next few minutes.

Don’t look at me like that

Sit down right now he screamed at me

I wasn’t going anywhere and he saw that. He also twigged that I had absolutely nothing to lose and he had a lot that could be flushed down the toilet so he took a step back and continued handing out books without a word to me.

Twenty seconds after he was out of my personal space I sat down and slowly managed to calm myself down.
I finished the lesson in silence and just kept myself to myself and he did the same.

Things were not resolved with me and Kelly after this although he never came up in my personal space again.
He never had anything especially nice to say to me either but he never singled me out of tried to make a cunt out of me either as he knew I would kick off if needed.

We had a couple more run-ins throughout the year and I probably could have acted differently but I was 11 and he was 30 so surely he should have been a lot more evolved?
I think it was a sign of the times with all these vindictive teachers who held a grudge and targeted pupils.

I’ve given many examples of this in past blogs and will give more in the future.
The example I give which stands out the most was the deputy head, Phil, from my junior school.
A violent man towards many students who got away with it for years.

It was no coincidence that he tried to target Michael Kerfoot knowing quite well that Mike was in a children’s home.
I feel if Mike hadn’t been Mike and always stood up to him the abuse could have easily a lot darker and way more sinister.

There were many cases of this in the 80s and 90s and the way our headmaster Mr. Owen covered for Phil it was obvious they had some serious dirt on each other.
Luckily Mike was game as a badger and didn’t take shit off anyone.
Looks like Phil picked the wrong target that time……..that time.

Mike Kerfoot last year

Things did get heated a couple more times with Kelly but it was never in a way where I thought violence was coming but it was clear he hated me with a passion.
Mum had to come up to the school a couple of times and even then they both could not come to a middle ground.

As I had dared to stand up to him my cards were marked and he couldn’t hide his disdain for me even for twenty minutes during the parent meeting.
Mum is very calm and a softy spoken person but she won’t take any shit either so when he started fobbing her off they ended up in an argument as well.

By sheer chance, a week after this parent’s meeting mum was on a night out with a bunch of her friends she had known for years.
They were heading into town for drinks but meeting a couple more people who mum didn’t know.

This guy approaches the group and his face turned sour as did my mum’s.
It was Steve Kelly.
Her friend says to her this is Steve and Carol quickly interrupted and said yeah we’ve met.
They didn’t say a word to each other all night.

Kelly left me alone for the rest of the year but he was getting ready for one final fuck you and he delivered it with precision.
When the end-of-year reports came out he had crucified me.

He wrote that I had very little ability and that I had a very dismal future.
He also said that I was stupid and didn’t try and that was probably for the best because I couldn’t manage anything past 2 plus 2.
Mum went mad and was going to go back to school for a war.

She was not angry with me but angrier with his disgusting attitude.
She also realised that going up to the school would achieve nothing.
Teachers had a lot more power back then and complaints like this were ten a penny.

It also didn’t help that I was dyslexic and because I couldn’t put onto paper what I really meant Kelly had completely written me off as had many teachers.

To be honest, though I think it was more about me standing up to him and what he had heard in the staff room so this was another case of a supposedly educated person believing everything that’s told them without question.

I went through many years of shit like this with many teachers although this was the last time I had felt threatened in a way that violence would be used against me.
That was good for my own well-being but I paid a price in many other ways.

Many teachers of terrible cowards and will stab you in the back without thinking twice about it.
The profession has improved a lot but there is still a long way to go before it is perfect.

Its teachers like Kelly, and Francesca telling me I was no good and I would never amount to anything, and even a couple of years ago when
I was told by Lila language school that I wasn’t good enough to get on their CELTA course.

When I was younger this turned into pure rage but when I was older I got past this. I would think to myself fuck you and then go and do whatever it was I was told I couldn’t do.

Wen I was told I wasn’t good enough to do the CELTA course for my ESL teacher accreditation I told the head instructor if you dont let me on this course I will just go around you.

He thought the idea of me doing this and finding another similar course was laughable and he sent me the most condescending email telling me that I should hit the books and try again in three months……………. to give him my money.

Not only did I save myself 700 quid but I found a nearly the same course which I passed with flying colours while still working and over the Christmas period so it was a win win for everyone especially me because I didn’t listen to the no.

It makes me really angry and I’ve had a lifetime of people like this who were clearly threatened by me in some way otherwise why go out of your way to try and belittle me or bully me?

I never saw much of Kelly after the first year we used to nod at each other if we walked past each other in the corridor but we never stopped to chat we both didn’t have the time of day for each other.

Years later when I was working in Iraq around 2005 which was 9 years after I had left school I bumped into Kelly in town.
To be fair he made a point of coming over and talking to me.
I wasn’t holding a grudge and I acknowledged to myself he had made the effort to come over and chat with me.

I put away any angry thoughts towards him and we ended up having a chat with him.
He seemed genuinely pleased that I was doing well and he went on his way into the night.

I bumped into him at least ten more times over the next few years and he seemed like a different person.
He always stopped for a chat and one time I ended up chatting with him fr a good twenty minutes in JD sports in Speke.

It was good that there were no bad feelings and we both were evolved enough to put our differences aside.
He never apologised to me for his actions but then I wasn’t looking for that and it’s clear to see he has grown as a person and even though I haven’t seen him for years I don’t think he’s a bully.

He ended up going to a school close to Gateacre called New Hayes which he became the deputy head.
I can’t remember exactly what he told me but I think he is now a headteacher and close to retirement.

There was another time recently I saw Kelly and I was gutted but I think a lot of this was my own insecurity.
After I graduated I was finding it hard to get a job so I decided to drive a taxi until something better came up.

I had no idea when that would be so I decided to use my own car as a taxi and start working for Uber.
I had just spent my final year in university and all of those 3 am library sessions, junk food, stress, and not training had caught up to me.

mum left and the author right after a year of hardly training and late nights

I was two stone overweight and I had been living hand to mouth for close to five years while I had completed college and university.
I was in the doctor’s office waiting for my taxi medical and Kelly walked in.

He was polite to me and we had a good chat but a big part of me was gutted.
Even Stevie Wonder could see I was out of shape and didn’t have a bean and it hurt twice as much with him seeing that.
All of his comments came back into my mind and it put me on a huge downer for the day.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if I was doing medical to work in a cool job but driving a cab is a job most people can get.
There’s nothing wrong with this job and you can make your money if you put the hours in but after his words, I felt like I was being judged.

It’s likely that he wasn’t judging me and he could probably see that I was thinking that and he wished me well.
You never bump into these people when you have just completed your mission to Mars it always seems to be when you are at your lowest.

Back to school, I knew I was on borrowed time and I thought it was a matter of time before I have to fight for real.
I loved boxing and I wanted to learn more as I remember staying up late to watch the fights.
I had done some karate when I was a kid but it was only for a few months so I knew it was time for me to make this change.

Between boxing clubs, gyms, and the army cadets later on this kept me on the straight and narrow and taught me respect and humility.
These places saved my life as on my current bearing I was heading down shit street at one hundred miles an hour with no brakes.

E45 Learning the lingo and throwing down with teachers

We made our way to french class and learned we would be taught by Miss. Navin.
I was a bit disappointed at first because the original plan was we were to be taught by Miss. Howitt.
Miss Howitt was Luan Howitt’s mum and Luan and I was always in each other’s houses when we were kids.

When we came to Gateactre for the look at high school life day the lesson Janet Howitt gave was a lot of fun and the idea of speaking another language fascinated me.
Unfortunately, Janet quit teaching and had been given a very lucrative job offer elsewhere doing something non-teaching-related.

When I say unfortunately I meant for us I’m very happy she went onto do better things.
Luan and I were mates through high school but not as close as we were when we were kids but we never fell out.
We lost touch for a while and then when Facebook came along he added me and we briefly got back in touch online.

When I wrote about Luan and Mr. Moore from primary school I looked for him again online as for some reason he had deleted me.
I added him again which he promptly declined. I’ve no idea what I’ve done to upset him and even inboxed him asking him what was up?
He ignored it so I left him to it.

Many people grow apart after school but it’s a shame as at one time we were close.
I hope whatever he’s doing he’s happy and doing well for himself as he was a good friend to me as a kid.

Anyway, Anne Navin was a really nice woman. She spoke French perfectly and she seemed genuinely pleased to see us in every lesson.
You could have a joke with her and the French lessons at first had listening components so I thought to myself this will be my golden ticket.

The first week Navin did herself no favours as she was working with a prehistoric tape player.
It was similar to the one shown below

We were learning to count to ten in French and one in French is un
There was an issue with the tape player and it slowed down the tape and it kept repeating un un un un un un.
To all, us kids thought it sounded like a French guy having sex and we were all pissing ourselves laughing.

She was getting more stressed trying to figure out the problem and get the class back on track and she managed this as we liked her and we wanted to learn.
After ten minutes of this french porno, we continued the lesson.
French class started quite well and it was a lot of listening and repeat so I threw myself into it.

I figured to myself early on if I could learn a language or two even though I’m not likely to do well at my exams these will be a marketable skill I can use down the road sometime.
If I had been born twenty years later I would have been a lot more interested in longer as there are more resources available such as apps and YouTube.

These were the days of chalk and slate in the class well not quite but it certainly felt that way.
There was no way of going home and practising French and checking yourself unless your mum and dad were French or bilingual.
So we had to learn what we could in the classroom.

Early 1900’s classroom
Old school pen and paper

All exams are just a test of memory so if your memory was good then learning a language could really boost your GCSE scores down the road and many students took full advantage of that.

I started to lost interest quickly as the curriculum demanded a lot of written French.
Now this would be a huge struggle for me with my dyslexia it was hard enough for me to put my spoken English language onto paper and now the game had all changed.

stereotype french man

There are hundreds of examples I could use but we will use the number three as a guide.
Three in french sounds like Twa but it’s spelled Trois.
Even at a basic level, there were a lot of these words that kept creeping in.
All of the homework was written and mine would always come back wrong.

Anne Navin was never shitty to me about it even though she didn’t understand why I couldn’t do it.
This is no poor reflection on her it was just a sign of the times.
There was no help available and I have spoken about this in a lot of detail in past blogs.

After a while, the homework stopped, and then classes became more intense but it was all written based so I started acting up in French as well.
It wasn’t Anne’s fault she was a good teacher but she had to follow the curriculum so she did her best with what she had.

I remember being sat next to John Farrell one day and we kept making each other laugh and disrupting the class and like always we were separated.
I’m sat by myself looking at these awful textbooks trying to listen and not to get distracted but failing badly.

Then I noticed Linda Gladman’s troll doll had fallen on the floor and I picked it up.
I threw it at Billy Collins and he looked deep in thought to what he was going to do next.

Troll dolls from the 90s

The next thing I heard Linda laughing and a few others and I can see this doll in Will’s pants with the head sticking out of the zip in his pants.
Every time Navin turned around we would look down and carry on working.

Not wanting to be outdone John Farrell put two troll dolls into his pants peeping out the zip and like I’ve mentioned before John is one of the most naturally funny people I’ve ever met.
He starts doing the same as Will and we are all pissing ourselves but John gets carried away by the applause.

He’s pushing the troll against the desk with his crotch and even Billy has stopped his troll crotch thing as he has tears in his eyes from laughing.
John starts moving his hips sexually messing about and that’s when we all broke down

Not because it was especially funny but Navin had been watching him furious for about thirty seconds and we had spotted it but John hadn’t.
As soon as John realised he had fucked up Navin was in his face screaming for him to get out and the class lost control.

John was lifted out of his chair and we all cheered as he was dragged outside by his arm and the two trolls fell on the floor.
We listened as John got the bollocking of his life and the whole point of the lesson was lost forever.

The bell went ten minutes later and we all left with a smile except for John who left with detention.
Luckily Navin didn’t report him to Miss. Kitchen as then his life would be over.
Miss. Kitchen was awesome but by god, she could shout and you didn’t want to upset her.

Even in the first year, I saw that my options were thinning out quickly.
I knew what I was doing but on paper, it looked like I was a simpleton due to my undiagnosed dyslexia.
If I was born ten years later there was a lot more help available but every day was a big game of catch up.

The issue I had as I got older is that no matter how I played the game I could see it was rigged.
In the second year, we were put into sets for French and unsurprisingly I went into the bottom set.
I had two more years of French before I could pick my own options which would be our GCSE subjects.

Dave Walton was our teacher in both second and third year and he was a nice guy.
He was in his fifties and had dark hair and had a bit of a belly but wasn’t fat
He knew none of us wanted to be there so he left us to our own devices.

He would give us textbooks and tell us to do something but we all knew it was a waste of time.
I was in a class full of naughty kids or the kids who had learning difficulties so it would turn into a cluster fuck quickly.
This is no bad reflection on Walton I know people who he taught when he was responsible for higher sets and he helped them a lot and knew his stuff.

I’ve no idea what happened to Mr. Walton but if he’s still alive he must in his late seventies.
A gentleman who can take a joke and be very quick to give it back when needed.

That’s another reason why we liked him we would say something to him and right away he would fire back and usually whoever was the smart-arse would have their head down while the class laughed at them.
I’m not ashamed to admit he put me in my place many times.

History class was always uneventful because a lot of us were interested in the subject.
Mr. Parkinson taught us in the first year he was a very strict old school teacher.
It was hard to work him out and ill try to explain.

None of us messed about and we always listened then someone would ask him a question which he had already told the class and he would fume

Hooray lad Hooray well-done son do you understand now or should I tell you again

These outbursts would be strange and whoever got them would be more surprised than in shock.
His breath was awful like he had drunk 2 litres of black coffee and then smoked twenty cigarettes.

It should be said overall he was a nice guy even with these once in a while outbursts and I did enjoy Mr. Parkinson’s lessons

Many teachers smoked back then it was seen as normal and people didn’t go to the gym the same as they did now.
As a result of this, Mr. Duffy looked like even more of a unit as we were all tiny and most of the teachers were sedentary.

In the second year, we had a new teacher called Miss. Ganderton and again we liked her and liked the lesson so we worked for her.
She was good to us all so we returned the favour and tried our best.

I picked history for one of my GCSE subjects a year later and this is when I found out the game was rigged.
If you’re in the bottom sets for other subjects the school will put you in for the lower tier paper so then even if you scored 90 percent the highest possible grade you could get was a D.

The board of education only changed this ruling about five years ago and now everyone will do the same paper as it’s easier to work out the average of the year without any outliers.
So now you have a chance to leave school with a couple of GCSEs but this forward-thinking was none existent back in the nineties.

It’s important to turn a negative into a positive so bad grades or not it was very interesting to learn about the history of the world.
It’s crazy to think about what you can watch on YouTube now and this app played a big part in me getting my degree years later.

Maths started badly but went better in time for my GCSEs we were taught by Miss. Fletcher, who was around 60 and took no prisoners.
In the first year, I hated her as I couldn’t do the work.
I could add up and do what I needed to get by in the world but it seemed like black magic when we got into the belly of maths.

Me and her locked horns on multiple occasions and parents’ evening she decimated me to mum.
She was right to do this as I did myself no favours in those early years.
Later on, when I had her for GCSE maths she was a different person.

When she saw I was willing to work she treated me completely different and we had a fantastic relationship.
In all fairness, I can’t blame her for treating me badly in the first year as I brought it on myself.

She reminded me of Miss. Daisy from the movie Driving Miss Daisy and even though she was as old at the time she went out of her way to help me in the fourth and fifth year.

Movie poster Driving Miss Daisy

Things took an interesting turn though in the first year when Miss Fletcher had to go into hospital for two weeks.
Mr. Hillyard took over her classes and he was roughly the same age but he looked a lot older.

We knew not to mess about with him and we just sat there in silence doing our work.
Hillyard was proper old school and he didn’t take any shit.
That in itself isn’t bad but he presented himself as a bully and I couldn’t stand him for that.

We were all sat quietly in class and then Woody farted and it echoed all over the place.
All of us started giggling and even Hillyard smiled a little.
If Woody would have left it there he would have been OK but he starts smiling and wafting the smelly gas around the room and Hillyard flipped.

Get out boy get out now

Wood put his head down and walking outside and Hillyard followed.
We found out later what happened but not at the time but Woody came back into the room in tears.
Hillyard forced his fingers into his ears and this was before Woody knew how to fight or take care of himself.

I remember looking at Woody in tears and it was way out of order.
This also brought back a lot of memories with Francesca and I vowed to myself again as a reminder if any of these teachers put a hand on you then you will fucking bladder them and I meant it.

A lot of this was fear-based as I remember all of the sleepless nights Francesca had caused me with her bullying and her abuse of power.
There is a saying be careful what you wish for and this was going to present itself to me sooner than I thought.

I’m sat doing my work and not bothering anyone and I heard

Stand up boy

I carried on working because I hadn’t done anything and I thought he was talking to someone else

Stand upright now boy he shouted at me

What?

Don’t answer me back boy

I haven’t said a word

You were just talking I heard you

No, I wasn’t

Don’t you dare give me cheek

I haven’t done anything I shouted back at him

He screamed I can’t stand liars get out of my class

I left the class furious as I hadn’t done anything and then I heard his footsteps behind me and I knew what was coming
No fuck this he’s getting it I thought to myself.
Never again will a teacher hit me and if he wanted it then he was going to get it.

I was breathing heavily getting myself into that dark place I needed to be and then Hillyard appeared in the doorway and closed it behind him it was on and I knew it.

Come on then I screamed at him which took him by surprise.

He froze as he wasn’t expecting this and then a couple of seconds later started walking towards me.
My fists were clenched my hands were up and I screamed at him again.

You’re not going to fucking touch me

Don’t swear at me boy he said back but questioning himself as he saw there was no going back now.

Then out of nowhere, Mr. Poole appeared in the corridor

Arlo what’s happening here

I’ll tell you what’s not happening he’s not going to touch me

Poole deescalated the situation quickly and sent me down to see Miss. Kitchen.
Poole never questioned my motives only my behaviour which led me to believe that this wasn’t the first time Hillyard had done something like this.

I got to Miss. Kitchens office and she bollocked me but nothing too serious and told me I was on my last warning.
I would be on school report if this continued and then it would be suspension and then I would be expelled.

Considering I was seconds away from a huge punch up with a teacher I knew I had got off lightly.
She never questioned the incident which again leads me to believe it was not isolated.
I went back up to Hillyard’s class and took my seat.

At the end of the class, Hillyard told me to wait behind but he was quite softly spoken so I was on my guard but not worried.
He said he was sorry for shouting and asked if we were ok?
I was more relieved he wasn’t looking for round two and said of course sir.

He offered me his hand and I shook it. I’m not sure if he found the person who was talking or he was more surprised that I was willing to go toe to toe with him.
He was always OK with me after that. I wouldn’t say we were friends but he took the time out of his day to say hello and would stop for a chat from time to time.

I know he retired when I was about 23 because I was working the door on a nightclub called Chillies 2 in Liverpool.
I saw him out with a load of teachers and he was rotten drunk.
Not in a bad way but in a partying way and he stopped to talk to me at the door.

He kept shaking my hand then hugging me saying it’s nice to see you mate.
This was his retirement party and he was partying like it was 1999
That’s the last I heard from him and I don’t even know if he’s still alive.
I hope he is because except for our almost fight and what he did to Woody he turned out to be a nice guy under all the shouting.

It wouldn’t take long for me to be in trouble again and soon I would be placed under disciplinary report.

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsborough_disaster

https://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/why-the-sun-is-hated-by-liverpool-fans-banned-in-many-places/2hrhnj5tch2r1ae7tllvac6fb

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.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/rebecca-fergusons-disgraced-former-friend-5901069

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.

E43 Meet the Teachers

School continued business as usual and we had all settled into our little clicks of friends.
I always tried to be mates with everyone and even though there were many groups there wasn’t any bad blood and most people got on with each other.

It became more clicky in later years of school as we all went to different classes so with new classes came new friendships but for the first year, we were all together and we made the best of it.

Our science teacher was a guy who was around 60 years old called Mr. Lutner and he was a strict old school teacher who had been with our school since the British army were still using muskets and catapults.

He was as old as time and didn’t take any shit but at the same time, he was a nice guy overall.
He took the time to teach us and even though he was strict you could have a joke with him.

He didn’t kick off if we were all talking he would just step in if we were being too loud.
We never disrespected him as we knew he would come down hard on us and besides, we didn’t want to.

The only run-in I had with him was in my second week and he told me and Paul McVeigh to stay behind after class.
I hadn’t done anything wrong so I decided to think positive and thought he could be taking us out for ice cream.
I wasn’t that naive but I didn’t fuck about with him so I wasn’t worried.

The end of the lesson came and the class was dismissed and his face changed into a scowl.

OK Bailey you know what this is about

I’m sorry Sir I don’t

Don’t play games with me lad I wasn’t born yesterday

I am well aware of that sir I said mocking him about his age which I instantly regretted.
Luckily he didn’t catch it and was hell-bent on getting me to confess my wrongdoing.

OK lad ill give you a clue it’s about homework

OK

You haven’t done it

yes I have

No, you haven’t stop lying

I have done it and I pulled out my book and opened it on the page with my homework which I had done the same night he had set it.

Lutner was speechless but determined to lay down the law and he quickly retorted with Well that’s no good to me is it?

What seriously? Why not?

You should have brought it to me the next day

You never told me to

Well I shouldn’t have to

I’m sorry sir that’s ridiculous if you told me this I would have brought it to you.
So let’s get this straight I’m in trouble for not doing what you didn’t tell me to do?

Lutner thought about this for a minute and smiled and said well-played lad but in the future, you better bring me your homework the next day.

No problem sir I said smiling at him and he turned his attention to Paul

Have you done your homework?

No sir

Lutner went ballistic when he paused for breath and to continue I interrupted

OK sir this has got nothing to do with me anymore so I’m going home to watch Grange Hill.
Before he could answer I had left the classroom and poor Paul was in a world of shit.

I mentioned in my last blog Paul ended up in a special school but this was before his difficulties were known and I’m sure if Lutner knew he wouldn’t have been so hard on him.
Lutner was old school and he took no prisoners.

About a month later I forgot my homework he didn’t even raise his voice he said you should know better and gave me detention on the spot.
I was pissed off but accepted it as he had given me a fair warning and I enjoyed his class so didn’t want to fall out with him.

He was supposed to teach us in the third year as well but that fell through.
I was in Miss. Kitchens office one day on a message not because I was in trouble and the phone rang.
She looked very surprised and then put the phone down looking a little upset.

Well Arlo it looks like Mr. Lutner won’t be teaching you all in the third year

Why not miss?

Because he’s dead that’s why.

I was stunned by the answer as I wasn’t expecting it.
I wasn’t upset that he had died just surprised and it came as a shock.
I found out he had a massive heart attack in the night and died on his way to the hospital.
It’s Such a shame I think outside of the classroom he would have been a cool guy and nobody in our class spoke badly about him.

We used to have Mr. Duffy for technology class this could be anything from woodwork, projects, metalwork but for the most part, we copied out of books that were so boring to the class.
This was not Duffy’s fault it was the curriculum and he followed it to the best of his ability.

Now Duffy is a strange character in the first year of high school I couldn’t stand him.
Granted I acted up but he came across like a bad arsehole.
As soon as you had a joke he lost his temper screamed at you and would send you outside.
You would then end up getting another bollocking and usually detention.

Now there is no shortage of teachers like this but he completely changed in the fourth and fifth year.
I had decided to take typing as one of my options as I thought it would be a useful skill when applying for jobs.
I lasted two weeks in typing class.

Miss. Riley was about four feet tall and was so old she had an autographed bible.
Riley taught the class using typewriters from the 1960s.
Miss. Riley would stand at the front of the class clapping and I felt like I was trapped in an episode of Sesame Street.
The more this went on the harder it was for me to take her seriously and I raised a valid point one day.

School typewriter
Sesame Street TV show

I asked her why we are learning to type these typewriters when computers are more commonly being used across the workplace.
This was before the internet but still, all workplaces had started using computers.

She laughed in my face and told me to shut up telling me I was clueless about the world of work.
I quickly interjected clearly not it seemed I am a lot more informed than you especially when it comes to equipment.

Everyone was looking at her and she was losing the battle and she quickly said without conviction there aren’t the resources to use computers for everyone.

Really I said what about this and I got out of my chair.
Her room was opposite Mr. Cothard’s computer lab and a storeroom and I prayed he hadn’t locked it.
Her door was open and everyone could see me in the corridor I pulled on the storeroom door and it flew open.

Everyone was blown away and Miss. Riley was furious.
Inside the room were about fifty keyboards and monitors all stacked up to be used as spares.

Why don’t we use them, Miss?

Get out of my class right now

What have I done?

the whole class was laughing and I was smiling as I found it hard to take her seriously as she was wrong but determined to keep control

Get out of my classroom and go and see Miss Kitchen and tell her what you have done.

OK then

Riley thought about this and said wait a minute don’t you go anywhere and she frantically wrote a note for me to give to Miss. Kitchen.
Now Riley wasn’t stupid so she put the letter in a sealed envelope so I couldn’t read it.

So now on my way down to Miss Kitchens office, I had to figure out a way to open this envelope with anyone knowing.
Fuck this I just opened it I’m sure Kitchen would not check if it had been sealed or not.
I opened it throwing the envelope into the bin on the landing.

I’m making my way downstairs reading about how I’m the worst student she’s ever had and that I’m a thug and a trouble maker.
This was the first argument we had and I had done all the work up to this point.

When I got to Miss Kitchens office and we talked she didn’t seem mad with me.
She would never take the side of a student over a teacher unless it was a safety issue but everything I said she could see my point.
I said I was happy to apologise to Miss. Riley but Miss Kitchen told me we were past that.

Riley made it quite clear she never wanted to see me in her class again and was furious that I had even been allowed near a typewriter.
I had no interaction with her previous to this but clearly, my reputation in the staff room had followed me.

I was told I had to pick another class and I picked Vocational and I picked this primarily because it was all coursework and no exams.
I was happy with that then Miss Kitchen dropped the bombshell OK report to Mr. Duffy I’ve phoned him and he knows your coming.

Oh shit, I thought to myself as Duffy was a prick in the first year. I got to his class and he smiled at me

Hello mate how are you

I’m good Sir

I heard you got kicked out of typing you naughty boy he laughed

Yeah it wasn’t for me sir

Well don’t worry about that now that’s in the past

Five minutes later the class I was now part of came in and it was business as usual.
It was weird as Duffy was now a completely different person.
The class was so relaxed and we had a lot of discussions which ended up with us all laughing.

He helped us with work and explained it well and everyone loved his class.
I’ve no idea what changed but he stayed like that right the way through school.

Duffy was in great shape he looked like Bruce Willis but in better shape.
Now I’m taking young Bruce not 60-year-old Bruce watching Aston Kutcher bang his ex while on holiday.


I don’t know if that actually happened but they had a very strange relationship even after Bruce Willis and Demi Moore broke up.
It’s probably best you all do your own research on this but let’s just it’s an interesting read.

Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction

I found out later from a friend of mine that Duffy was very proficient in karate.
He had done it for years and was well know in the martial arts community.
I know he worked in town for a little while doing nightclub security back in the 90s.

Back in the 90s, no pretenders or jacket fillers were working on the doors as it was a very unforgiving environment.
I will talk a lot more about the doors later on I’m just making a point to say Duffy could fight.

Going back to the first year when Duffy was shouting you just stood there and took it.
A lot of the time I felt he went overboard but like I said that all changed later on.

Having said that I never felt at any time he was going to hit me it was simply an interview without coffee.
I went away on a couple of holidays with the school which he was a part of and I then saw another side to him which cemented that he was a decent guy.

I think it fair as there won’t be a chance later to mention Mr. Collier.
He was mates with Duffy and in his mind that made him a black belt as well.
He never made any such claims but he was quick to shout and would try and get in your face when shouting.

He used to stand in for Duffy and if I remember rightly he taught our class in the second year of high school.
There was another teacher who taught technology called Mr. Jennings and they used to call Jennings and Collier Ronnie and Reggie after the Kray twins.

There have been two movies made about the Krays and countless books written.
To this date, nobody has written about Jennings or Collier until now.

The Kray Twins

They used to walk around the school and try to carry themselves like they were old school gangsters but it’s difficult to portray yourself as no matter how much you shout and beat your chest a gangster teacher does not have a ring to it.
They were a tag team and they would always work together.

one of us would be sent out of class and Collier would be in the corridor screaming at them.
Then Jennings would appear

What’s going on here Mr. Collier?

Oh this little toerag thinks he can gob off to me

Oh really son fancy yourself as a hard man do you

I learned after my first encounter with the Krays not to try to talk as they would just talk over you.
They would get louder and louder telling you to belt up and to watch your back and you better not dare give them attitude or there would be hell to pay.

Neither of these teachers laid a hand on me but in my mind, I thought it was a possibility so I was always on my guard.
I couple of times Jennings tried to get in my face and I kept circling him and sidestepping him.

He saw what I was doing and continued to shout but backed off.
In my mind, this would be a fight to the death as an 11-year-old against an adult has the odds stacked heavily against him.
Two adults, it was clear I would get the beating of my life which I was OK with but I would make them work for it.

Luckily it never came to that but I think that many teachers relied on that intimidation of what they might do so they could keep order.
I knew I was no angel and I didn’t think of the consequences.
Many teachers saw that with me in high school so violence was never inflicted on me.

When I was outside the class and I started circling away from Jennings he knew what I was doing and right away changed tactics.
He could potentially lose his job or what if he lost the fight?
He probably wouldn’t of but there’s always a punching chance a prime example of this would be Lennox Lewis getting knocked out by Oliver McCall.

Lewis getting knocked out by Mccall

Later on in school, I had no classes or contact with them and when I saw them they were friendly enough.
They didn’t single me out they were like this with everyone they deemed as a troublemaker.
I didn’t take it personally I knew in their minds they were just doing their job.

Threats and intimidation didn’t work with me but I knew I couldn’t get by on blind luck forever so I started making inquiries about boxing clubs in the area.
These clubs kept me out of jail as well as the army cadets but that will be addressed in full in later blogs.

Mr. Collier popped up in the people you may know on Facebook a few months ago so I added him.
I had no bad blood with him nor did I have any resentments about our time together so I reached out.

I sent him a message saying it’s been a long time sir I hope all is good with you.
He saw my message and ignored it and when I checked a week later he had either taken himself off Facebook or blocked me.

At least I tried to reach out to him so if he does not want to talk then it’s up to him.
I’ve heard he’s retired and that’s all the information I had on him and I’ve heard nothing about Jennings.
Whatever they are both doing I wish them well and all the best for the future.

Another pointless lesson we had was Religious Education and nobody even the good kids took it seriously.
We had reverend Upton Jones take us for this class and I think he was around 60 years old.

I’ve never laughed so much in my life and every lesson would a complete cluster fuck.
Now in modern times, students are not forced to take RE and they have the option to not do it.
I don’t think there would be any of us who would have willingly done this and it is reflected in the bedlam of the class.

I remember the tet books were all full of graffiti and I’m not sure if it was one person who had done all this or it was just a collection from over the years.
It was hilarious but stupid and you never knew what you were going to get.

You could open the book to a little girl with a beard or it could be Mickey mouse with his dick out.
It could be a series of riddles that would get you turning to numerous pages and in the end, you would get called a pervert or a dickhead.

The reverend was frustrated as nobody wanted to learn and his department was so underfunded.
He knew what was in these books but the fact he kept showing up showed me how much he believed in god.

He kept me behind after class one day and I got myself out of trouble.
He was about to start shouting at me and I interrupted

I thought Jesus says we have to forgive?

yes that’s right Arlo he did

Brilliant thanks sir see you next week

Before the Reverend saw he had been scammed I was long gone.
I tried the same thing a week later and he was prepared and I ended up with a detention.
To be fair I’m surprised I got away with that once so twice was taking the piss and I got what I deserved.

The party never stopped in RE as you would get sent outside and then you would be looking through the window waving and still disrupting the class from the corridor.

This backfired massively one day for John Farrell as he was sent outside as in the middle of a lesson about Mary and Joseph John just randomly asked

Sir do you have a good recipe for flapjacks?

The whole class broke down and the lesson was finished the Reverend screamed get out boy.
The Reverend was trying to get us back on point and John had spiked his hair in the corridor and was jumping from left to right looking like a crazy clown.

We were all screaming laughing which he could hear outside which encouraged him to keep doing it.
We would see John fly sideways with a huge grin and his newly spiked hair.
John got too engaged in his act he didn’t notice Jennings to his right creeping upon him.

We couldn’t see Jennings either as the only view we had was through the small window.
Jennings like a ninja sneaked up on John and the next thing we heard a huge thump of John hitting the door.

Then we heard John getting the bollocking of his life and all of us had us all in fits of laughter.
Jennings burst into the class like John Mcleese and started screaming at all of us.

He knew the control was lost so he told us he was going to get the headteacher Mr. Barnes

Oh shit

What’s up said, Ian Black

He’s missed out the year head and gone straight to the headteacher

Oh fuck

We all calmed down quickly and the lesson continued and after twenty minutes there was no sign of Barnes the headmaster.
So like an idiot I asked a stupid question.

Sir was Jesus gay?

Of course, he wasn’t don’t be stupid

Yeah but he was never married, his best friend was a prostitute and he fucked off into the desert with ten fellas?

Get out get out get out

The class was lost again and I had completely screwed him over as well as myself just as I was being sent out I saw Barnes on his way to our class for a showdown.

He wasn’t expecting to see me and he asked me why I had been sent outside.
I told him I asked if Jesus was gay and then the unexpected happened.
Barnes had forgotten he had come upstairs to shout at us all and he ended up having a discussion with me in the corridor about the possibility of Jesus being homosexual.

After a few minutes, Barnes told me I had made some very interesting points and told me to go back into class.
I’m pretty sure the class heard every word and so did the Reverend.
I went to take my seat and the bell went it was time for music class.

We all filed out of class and made our way to the lower building for Mr. Jones’s music class.
All of the class was pleased with me as I had helped them dodge a bullet with Barnes.
It was not intentional it was just like good comedy the timing was perfect and so was the delivery.

E42 Form 7.8

The school year was in full swing and we had all begun to adapt to this new way of schooling which seemed alien to what we were used to.
I had my struggles with the subjects but even some of the other kids were finding it a little hard to adapt.

We were class 8 out of ten and we had started senior school with the new system of numbers.
It was a lot more simple before you would say the first, second, or third year but some genius in the city council had decided to change this.

We were now part of year seven as this was our 7th year of education.
How it worked back then was you had to go to school until year eleven then after year eleven you could leave school legally at sixteen.

If you were one of the clever kids you would likely stay on and do A levels which would then get you into university.
That wasn’t an option for me at the time so I figured I would do a separate course in the sixth form instead of A levels.

I’m glad I didn’t as most of those courses are not worth the paper they are written on.
Most employers and universities will recognise the A levels or Access course equivalent but because the government tried to sneak in so many of these new pointless qualifications many people just ignored them.

It was typical short-sighted behaviour from the government as in their mind it was better to keep people in school learning something and in theory, it would help people gain employment.
In most cases, this didn’t work out as most employers would not be clued up on this ever-changing system.

I’ve no problem keeping children in school if they would be taught a skill like carpentry or even useful life skills such as how to do your taxes.
This was quickly swept under the carpet as the schools could pass the book to the YTS.

The YTS was the youth training scheme that in theory provided apprenticeships for young people as there was a huge shortage of skilled labour in the UK in the 70s, 80, and 90s.
The YTS stepped in but came under heavy criticism as they were using school leavers as cheap labour.

Many children including a couple of friends of mine were introduced to this when they left school and were put on a three-year training program.
This could be any blue-collar work from being a plasterer, mechanic, panel beater, joiner.

The people on this scheme were paid around thirty pounds a week under the premise of getting a good job when they finished.
Unfortunately, many of the training providers cut corners and treated the young adults like slaves.

Then there were a few deaths across the country on the scheme as health and safety back in those days were none existent.
This led to protests and walkouts from many schools in the mid-1980s.
This led to the YTS being made the responsibility of local councils which then led to more cuts as many school leavers were not finishing the course which meant fewer opportunities all around.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth_Training_Scheme

My friend Paul Evers was six months away from becoming a panel beater and he got tired of the shit jobs which came in thick and fast.
In hindsight, he should have stuck it out for another six months but when we are young we don’t listen to reason.

I haven’t seen Paul in about ten years and he’s recently come off Facebook.
He is working and has seven kids if I remember correctly he’s a cool guy and I went to his wedding in 2002.

Unfortunately, he and Amanda are no longer together but they spent years together.
Whatever he’s up to these days I wish him well as I always got on with him and sat next to him in English class in years ten and 11 with Miss. Blohm.

Reading this and looking back at the time it’s scary how few options that I had and I’m glad I was ignorant to this as that would have been a lot to get my head around.
The education system has improved a lot since then and they do teach how the world works and functional skills for living life but back then it was who has the best memory in the exam hall then you were set free into the real world.

So it’s best to introduce you to some of 7.8 as I’m in touch with a lot of them through social media.
I will start with Barry Byrne as he was expelled about halfway through the year.
I never heard from him again but looking back he should have been in a special school.

All I know is that he lived in care and had been in dozens of foster homes due to his behaviour.
He was a funny kid but he always took things too far.
When there is one child like this the rest of the class starts acting up.
His cards were already marked with the teachers as his sister Terri had been expelled for stealing Miss. Scott’s purse.

Barry’s behaviour got worse as the year went on and he decided that he had a crush on Natalie Byott.
Normal people would say something like hey I like you but not Barry.
Every time she would be stood outside class he would start hugging her and making screaming sex noises.

He seemed to have an obsession with sex which is a little worrying looking back we would be in a lesson and he would just start screaming like he was in a porn film.
We thought it was funny but for the teachers, it must have been uncomfortable, to say the least.

I remember we were sat in religious education and Harvey knocked on the door walked straight over to Barry grabbed him by his blazer and dragged him out of the class.
Barry waved at us all as he was dragged out and we never saw him again.

It turns out Natalie had quite rightly had enough and told her dad who came up to the school and went ballistic about it.
You can’t blame him imagine your eleven-year-old daughter telling you that some dirty bastard was doing that.
I think if that was the modern-day it would likely make the national papers.

I’ve often wondered what happened to him as he fell off the radar completely.
We weren’t exactly best mates but it would be interesting to see if he sorted himself out or what’s happened the past thirty years.

I think it’s fair to mention Paul McVeigh as well. If my memory serves me well I think he left towards the end of the first year or it could have been the second year.
He was a nice lad but we gave him a hard time because he was a little slow.

He didn’t deserve that and he was alright when you spoke to him.
He would sit in the corner of the room playing with toy cars.
He had a lot of the same difficulties that I had only his were much more severe.

In a way, he was lucky as he was sent to a special school so he would have got some help with his work.
Thinking about it that’s a pretty ignorant statement from me because judging the state of the schools then it’s likely the special schools were not much better.

I’ve got Paul on my Facebook but we haven’t spoken in years.
He’s got a couple of kids and lives with his long-term girlfriend but that’s all the information I’ve got on him.

The group I hung out with the most was Ian Black, Billy Collins, John Farrell, and Mark Allison.
Ian has been an electrician for years and still lives in Liverpool with his girlfriend.

The last time I spoke to Billy was years ago and he was working shifts in a paint factory.
He was OK with it as he was making mega-money so I guess everything has its price.

He’s a bit like Ian Black where I will bump into him every few years and have a ten-minute chat with him.
We never fell out we are just all just doing our own thing now and I’m glad things are well for both him and Ian.

I bump into Ian’s mum and dad in Sainsbury’s once in a while and I like that as Pauline and Arthur were always lovely to me and they always take the time to say hello.
Ian’s brother Edward is doing well and he sees my mum all the time. He’s just about to move in with his girlfriend after years of saving for a deposit on a house.

Mark Allison has completely fallen off the radar but when we were in school it was always a mission to get him to hang out at the weekend or after school.
He loved his video games and you could not get him away from them.
I saw him in 2003 after I left the army and we chatted for five minutes and that’s the last contact I’ve had with him.

His sister Jayne is on my Facebook and I’ve told her many times to give him my number and he hasn’t reached out.
I’ve also asked for his number and Jayne has said she would ask him but has never got back in touch.

I am sad about this as he was a sound lad in school but I have to respect his wishes and hopefully, he will read this one day and reach out.
My door is always open and I know he must have his reasons to go off-grid.

Mark was a Chinese kid who was very well-spoken and came from a good family. He could play the piano and he was funny as fuck at times.
We had a good crew of friends and throughout school, we were all close.
We all went into different classes as the school years progressed but everyone’s form remained the same.

John Farrell works in IT and I haven’t spoken to him for years.
He’s probably one of the most naturally funniest people I’ve ever met in my life.
He’s had me crying laughing on many occasions and he wasn’t even trying.

I think to be this funny without trying you have to have Bond villain-type intelligence.
When we used to sit together we would be separated quickly as we would always disrupt the class.
John could get away with it though he was naturally clever and he left school, with As and Bs in his GCSEs without even trying.

He did A levels and almost got expelled as he fucked about a lot there as well but still managed to bring home the good grades.
Unfortunately, he came off Facebook a few years ago and I don’t know anyone who is in contact with him.

In around 2011 I was working nightclub security in a place on Hardman Street in Liverpool called The Magnet.
It was a nice easy place to work and for the most part, we had no issues.
I found a pair of sunglasses on the floor and took a picture and put it on Facebook as a piss-take.

Ten minutes later John pops up in the comments telling me that he was in the Magnet last night and he had lost his sunglasses.
What are the fucking odds I was gutted as I just left them downstairs but he wasn’t bothered as they were only cheap.

The author in The Magnet

John was good mates with Len Hope but unfortunately, Len is no longer with us.
Len was a proper geek in school and went to university in London where he completely reinvented himself
He became an investment banker and was on crazy money for years.

Len Hope

Len got in touch with me in 2013 as he was joining the Territorial Army as an officer.
He asked me a load of questions about the training and how to get ready for it and we spoke on the phone a lot and he went through and passed all the training with flying colours.

The TA which has now been renamed the Army Reserves was primarily a weekend thing as well as going to barracks once a week.
Len liked it at first but it didn’t give him the buzz he thought he would get from it.
He managed to get to the rank of captain before he called it a day.

Canadian signals soldier on deployment

We would speak regularly even though he was in London and I was in Liverpool.
He went a bit heavy down the partying route for a while before he got himself back on track as he realised he wasn’t happy and then, unfortunately, met the woman who would be his downfall.

He met a girl from Sweden and they had a kid together and at first, all was well.
As time went on cracks developed in the relationship and sooner or later things became unbearable.
Not wanting to ruin a time-old tradition the first thing his partner did was stop him from seeing his kid.

This destroyed Len and he kept trying to put a brave face on things while going through the courts which were costing him thousands with very little going in his favour.
He went to try and talk to his ex one day at his former home which turned into a heated argument and the police were called.

Things were not nearly as bad as he thought they were and I even put him onto my solicitor Richard Darby.
Len was beaten and didn’t have any more fights left in him and he went to Thailand suddenly without telling anyone.

He was messaging me one day from Thailand and he wasn’t himself and after a while, it became very apparent what he was doing.
He had gone to Thailand to kill himself.
We spoke for hours and hours and I could not snap him out of it.

I have also lived in Thailand and I know even with a proper address it would be next to impossible to get the police to check on him or even the consulate.
I kept him talking as long as I could and tried to appeal to his better nature.

I felt like I tried everything and felt so helpless as even though I hadn’t seen him for years I know ill miss him forever.
It got to the point where we were video chatting multiple times that day but then he would be in tears then he wouldn’t make sense and then he would be hearing things that weren’t there like gunfire.

Slowly the chat stopped and the next day the news spread like wildfire that he was gone.
I was briefly back in touch with his sister on Facebook but she deleted many of us.
It’s understandable as to what would we talk about as nobody wants to bring up that elephant in the room.

I also didn’t want to be the one who told her we were in touch on his final day as that could set off another potential minefield and then it would rip open old wounds.
People who take their own lives must be in the worst possible place but when they do it the pain just passes to other people.

People often say that suicide is the coward’s way out but I strongly disagree.
I think it takes some serious balls to kill yourself. I’m not saying I agree with it but it’s definitely not the act of a coward

I think it’s important to mention Len now as there probably won’t be another opportunity down the road.
If he had waited it out he would have been ok.
Obviously, I’m only hearing his side of the story but whatever has happened children should never be used as a weapon.
Rest easy Len you are never forgotten.

RIP Len

Some other notable mentions from our form are Nouska Hanly who went to Oxford University and was a professional Ballet dancer for years in London.
She became the dance captain at the royal opera house.

Leanne Condfliff is a very successful driving instructor and lives with her boyfriend close to Gateactre.
Paul Smith has got two kids to his long term girlfriend Helen and he works in Liverpool Airport.

Martin Skelhorn works in IT and I bump into him or his brother Craig about once every ten years.
It’s nice to see him as he is one of the good guys and he now has his own family as does Craig.

Even though we don’t talk as much as I would like it’s good that I was always friendly with everyone and have kept in touch in a way.
I see what people are doing on social media and that’s better than nothing.
When we left school in 1996 nobody bothered with the internet and goodbye had a lot more impact than it does now.

This would be nothing compared to what the next few years had in store for us all.
One things for sure it was never boring.

E41 Gateacre Comp

We had been in high school for about a week and had begun to settle into our routine.All of us had got lost at least once as we would have to go to a new classroom for every lesson. Our form tutor Steve Harvey would also be our English teacher this year.This was welcomed by us all as he was a great teacher and a very nice guy.

We would have to report to him both first thing in the morning and after lunch to have the attendance register marked. We also had to do a class called Pass which was an acronym for something to which I have no recollection.

This was a good class as it was only once a week and it was primarily discussion-based and we also would have a laugh when doing it. Harvey also acted as a good bullshit filter as he left out a few of the modules as they were not relevant.

It seemed some of the modules were designed for 7-year-olds and he would show us these ridiculous outdated sheets.I can’t remember all of the stupid topics but I remember one was called how clean are you?

We were supposed to fill in a survey they colour in a picture of a teddy bear in the bath. Then Harvey was supposed to teach us for 45 minutes the importance of getting washed.

Give Harvey his due he would either give us something else to do which would benefit us or he would tell us to do some homework. He cared about our education and he would always do his best to deliver the best possible lessons.

If he needed someone to do something for him like take a message to another teacher he would never pick any of us he would always ask who fancies a walk and as a result, someone would always volunteer.

A lot of the time it would be me as it would usually be a note to a teacher which would be in an unsealed envelope. I would on my walk to see the teacher end up reading the note because I was bored and nosey.

Most of the time it was nothing exciting but now and then you would hear about a meeting or a student being suspended which would then be thrown into the rumour mill with all the other stuff we were learning while starting this new school.

Harvey never treated me any different from any of the other children which were greatly appreciated due to my dyslexia which as it was not recognised caused me so many difficulties.

I’ve spoken about this in earlier blogs but ill touch on it again now as it’s relevant.Now there are many different forms of dyslexia that all come under the disability umbrella. Back in 1991, you were either a full-blown headcase who couldn’t write his name or spell dog, or you didn’t have it.

Many teachers knew this was a deeply flawed system but others would single me out in front of the class and try to make a twat out of me. Learning difficulties or not what kind of shitbag would think this is the best way to motivate a child?

I know it was a long time ago but so many people who to put it bluntly were shit at life were teachers especially back then. Most of this happened when I was in junior school which became the catalyst for me just fucking about and being a nightmare for most of my high school years.

Many teachers would never ask the question why?They had no intention of going to the source they just wanted the pay cheque and the nice holidays. I have tried to add many former teachers on Facebook over the years and all but a couple have declined me.

These are not teachers I had major problems with for the most part and even teachers who I got on well with but they don’t want to know. I don’t lose sleep over this but it makes you wonder why?When they have 26 mutual friends to you but don’t want to know you?

There is no shortage of people like this and I call them smiling assassins. They are nice when they see you and in your company but as soon as your back is turned they will throw you to the wolves.

This surprises me a lot with teachers as they are educated so you would think they would be more likely to make up their mind or see for themselves, unfortunately not. Throughout our lives, we will all encounter these smiling assassins but when we were in school we have no power over this and can cause a lot of damage if left unchecked.

I’ve just found this definition on Google and this is not directed towards teachers but smiling assassins, in general, see below.

The Smiling Assassin is a so-called friend who is really an enemy whose main weapons are inconsistency and unpredictability. They use rumors to undermine colleagues and adopt a passive-aggressive, indirect, dishonest style of dealing with people and issues.

We all got off the bus and headed towards morning registration. I remember it was cold and we walked quickly to get into class. There were about fifty people outside the school protesting and I felt sorry for them.

Some genius in the city council had changed the catchment areas for the schools a month before we were all due to go back to school. Like most projects, the council starts they put no thought or common sense into it.

Many children lived five minutes away and were told they had to go to other schools away from all their friends. Some children were also told they had to go to terrible schools which I won’t mention but those who know, know. I was proud of the parents as they stood their ground and said no.

This protest went on for almost two weeks with the parents keeping the children off school. This made the local newspapers and was mentioned a lot on the radio. Finally, the council was willing to negotiate and about 80 percent of the kids were allowed to attend our school.

The way the school worked was in the first and second year you had to do the set subjects given to you and when you went into the third year you could choose what you wanted to do except maths English and science which were all compulsory.

If you were one of the clever kids or you had a good memory from working in one rigid way then science would be three separate GCSEs. However, if you were one of the stupid kids as we were labelled you would do a dual award which meant you got one GCSE instead of three.

This was a rigged game as if you did a lower tier exam paper you needed a much higher grade to pass and many were not able to get eighty percent in a paper. This was not the school’s concern though as long as they had completed their tick in the box exercise and said every child has had the option of education then the conveyor belt kept moving.

The work became a lot harder quickly and I just acted up. It was a whole new environment with new people so everyone was trying to make a mark in their own way. I was told that I would never get a job repeatedly in juniors and would never amount to anything and even though I knew it wasn’t true I certainly wasn’t going to play their game and fall in line.

I figured out quickly that the game was rigged and for someone like me further education at the time wasn’t possible. I knew I was no idiot as I did know the answers but putting this onto paper it looked like a drunk five-year-old had written it.

I’m the first to admit I did myself no favours even though my cards were already marked so most of the teachers spent a total of thirty seconds marking my work and at times gave me the big tick to show how much of a good boy that I was.

Even at 11, I could see how fake and pathetic many of these people were. It became apparent in both the first and second year that I was having difficulties with the work. The only two teachers who made the connection to me acting up were Steve Harvey and Janine Kitchen.I started seeing a special needs teacher called Mr. Mckeen.

Mckeen was a great teacher but his resources were limited. He was an excellent teacher but he was responsible for all of the children who had learning difficulties and there were a lot of us.

Unfortunately, there was no actual curriculum that followed what my classmates were doing in school and they adopted a one size fits all for all of us which as you can imagine was a waste of time.

We would have discussions and do group work and I would excel and that.Then in the afternoon, we were told we are going to colour in pictures.

I didn’t act up in his lesson as he was a nice guy who cared but even he saw quickly that I had no place in his class and I went there less and less. It was unfortunate that Mckeen was not more equipped as there was absolutely no help available for me and many others.

I’m writing this in a good place as I managed to do OK for myself but there were many just like me who fell through the cracks and were failed a lot worse by the broken system.It was also a lot harder to study back then as there was no internet.

There were not many suitable books in the school library either so you would have to go to a normal library and hope they had what you needed and that it was not outdated. Nobody did this and it wasn’t encouraged at all. I remember finding out at the end of the first year that in the second year we would be in sets for maths and English. We had exams and we were told to study for them.

In schools now they teach study skills and different ways to learn but back then this was non-existent. I remember thinking to myself ill read through all my workbooks that will help me.

Spoiler alert it didn’t help at all and I failed all of my exams badly which reinforced to many teachers that I was stupid. It was years later in the City of Liverpool College I was taught about learning styles and study skills which found out what works best for you.

I found I was a visual learner so in college, I took pictures of everything and I made YouTube my best friend. This got me into university and then got me a degree.

It baffles me why things like this were not taught and we were assumed to know so much and if we didn’t we were the ones at fault. We would have to carry a homework diary around with us at all times. Once a week our parents would have to sign it to say they had seen it.

If they didn’t sign it you got detention and if you got two bad comments you also got detention.Year detention was an hour long and it was just people from your year which was held on a Tuesday after school.

School detention was ninety minutes long and it was everyone in the school in the one hall

It was set in stone that I would end up on both of them and then I would usually end up in an argument in the detention because whoever was running the detention would kick-off. You would try and do your homework and they wanted you to copy out of a book.

Many of the teachers running the detention didn’t want to be there and would just let you do work as long as there was no talking this was fair enough in my eyes as it was a punishment after all.

To be honest, If I wasn’t allowed to do homework in detention then it wouldn’t get done, and then I would be in more trouble. Looking back it baffles me how nobody stepped up and said why is Arlo in this continuous negative loop?

Let’s figure out how to help him after all it would have made their lives so much easier if they didn’t have to watch me like a hawk. I’m not going to lie I was a little insecure about my future but I knew that I wasn’t the person that many of these teachers were making me out to be.

I also figured out that if these people had their shit together would they be singling out children and belittling them in front of a crowd for their amusement and would they be trying to intimidate 11-year-olds and make them cry?

One of the things I learned from being bullied by my old teacher Francesca is never back down.These teachers who would try to take liberty with you and single you out what’s to stop them taking things further and hitting you?

Many teachers did this but not with me except for a few close class which ill explain in later blogs. I remember I was quite good at drawing and I thought to myself it’s OK that I cant do the work that was given to me I can do some art-based A levels.

That idea was drummed out of me very quickly by my art teacher Mrs. Marr and then next year Miss. Adams. I remember telling Adams that I love to draw and I was a big fan of comic books.

Why are you telling me this Arlo?

Because its art and that’s what I want to do

What do you mean to do?

I want to work for Marvel or DC and draw their comics for them.

Don’t be ridiculous as if they would hire the likes of you

What do you mean the likes of me?

You haven’t got a chance now sit down and be quiet 

Then the same teacher would be sat in her chair gobsmacked that I would fuck about in her lesson. Miss Marr wasn’t a bad person but she could not think outside the box. She never said anything like that but she would not entertain my idea of art whatsoever.

Joker from Batman

It was all about drawing fruit in a bowl in something equally boring and dull.I would always get decimated as well and told I was not trying and I wasn’t bothered.I was fuming about this as it’s what I wanted to do and I felt I was being held back by these clowns.

Marr ended up digging her own grave she tried to reinvent herself with our class and make out she was a very strict teacher and that simply wasn’t the case. This is typical with insecure people they try and force their will upon you and if you don’t know the person then this will sometimes work.

I wasn’t the only one who was bored to tears and quite quickly her lesson became a free for all. Most of the class would just fuck about and we gave her so much grief.The fucked up thing was if she had just been OK with us from the start we wouldn’t have done this even with the boring lessons.

This seemed to happen in many of her classes as word spreads like wildfire amongst the kids and if I remember rightly Chris Famakis was banned from her lessons in the first year. This only got worse as the years went on and one lesson she completely lost control.

Bobby Sing who is three years younger than me told me his lesson just completely broke down and every time she tried to shout he kept blowing a football whistle full blast.

That class went way overboard but she had sowed the seeds of her own destruction and she disappeared from school not long after that. I saw her a month later in the supermarket and stopped to chat with her.

I hadn’t been her student for years and compared to other classes she took I was a choirboy. She told me she was having a break from teaching and would maybe go back next year. It was sad as she looked like she had been through the mill.

Even though she could not think outside the box she wasn’t a bad woman and I felt for her. She never returned to Gateacte and I’m not sure what happened to her. I’ve just jumped into the future about Marr in the last paragraph so ill do the same with Adams. She was quite similar to Mar but she did have control of the class. 

I thought I would give art another try but I learned quickly that it was more of the same nonsense. We didn’t act up nearly as badly as we did with Mar but we made her life hard as she wasn’t particularly nice to us.

She was always sucking up to the head of art Miss. Prishlack We would all be working and she would disappear and return with Prishlack

Look at all the amazing work that my class is doing Miss. Prishlack.

They are working ever so hard today Miss Prishlack

Miss Prishlack that’s a lovely dress it makes you look so pretty

I remember even at 12 years old I was embarrassed for her. She was always trying to crawl up Prishlacks arse and it was painful to watch. I think Prishlack probably thought the same but entertained her for a quiet life. If one of us acted up while Prishlack was in the room then Prishlack would shout at us with Adams stood behind her nodding. After the bollocking then Adams would step in

You heard Miss Prishlack back to work all of you.

One day we had homework to do and it was to find a leaf in our back garden and draw it. I did the homework and I spent about an hour doing it as well. Adams checked our homework and went ballistic on me. She was calling me a liar and telling me that I had done the homework in five minutes on the way up to class.

What was funny about this is Billy Collins had done that and she told him well done and he had got away with it. She was going all guns blazing at me and I screamed back at her and she scurried off out of the class.

This is going to be interesting I thought and within a minute Adams had come in with Prishlack. I got about a 5/10 bollocking from Prishlack as Adams stood behind her with her head down. Now the gloves were off she had completely lost my respect. 

She had questioned my integrity, screamed at me, spoken down to me like I was a mug, then when I stood up to her she ran away. I could see exactly what she was about and so could the rest of the class. When this happens the teacher starts to lose control and it never ends well.

Prishlack got the worst of it as Adams would run into her room when things got bad and get her to rescue her from us monsters. One day Prishlack had enough and lost it with Adams.

Miss Adams, you need to take control of your class and stop bothering me every 5 minutes.

She stormed out leaving a defeated Miss Adams not knowing what to do next.

Thinking back all of the art teachers were a little flawed. I was talking to my friend Paul in the year above me and he told me of an art teacher who was having sex with a pupil.His car would be parked outside her house all the time sometimes all night.

Then Paul started with the comments calling him a dirty dick and asking if he had fun last night because he was out late. Paul lived three doors down from him and he made it clear that he knew what he was doing.

This teacher has never been convicted so unfortunately, I can’t name him but when Paul used to call him some shocking stuff usually paedophile based he would go the colour of beetroot and walk away with his head down.Next thing this teacher’s car suddenly started to get damaged.

Little things at first and they kept getting worse and worse. One day this teacher kept Paul behind and went ballistic on him. He told him straight

Look I know it’s you who keeps damaging my car so you might as well admit it because I’ve phoned the police

Paul laughed in his face

No, you haven’t and you won’t call them either

I have called them stammered the teacher like a spastic

You haven’t Sir because if you did you would have to explain why your car was parked in my road all of those times until 4 am

The teacher sat down with his head in his hands and Paul laughed at him and left the classroom. Nothing ever happened to Paul I mean who could the teacher tell and this went on for a year until either he stopped seeing the girl or he found a new place to park.

Either way, one thing was for sure I was not going to be working for Marvel anytime soon and the more negative things were the worse my drawing became.

I’m a little sad I never picked it up again in the future but you never know what’s around the corner.It should be noted that I was never taught by Miss. Prishlack but I know others who were.

They said she was a strict old school teacher who didn’t take any shit but was a good teacher and a nice woman.You cant ask for more than that.

E40 Starting High School

Before I continue with my story I want to thank everyone who is still reading and following this blog.
I’ve now been writing this for ten months and still haven’t scratched the surface of my life and my story so far.

Each day I’m making new memories so if all goes to plan this blog will never end.
My life hasn’t always been chaos and as I said in the first episode there have been serious highs as well as lows and I feel it’s important to tell everything in the story even if that means the odd week could be a little dull.

I do believe writing is a lot like comedy and it’s all in the delivery but if every week sounded like a John Woo movie or I end up the hero in every story most of you would just put it down to bullshit or call me an attention seeker.

I think it should be noted as well that everyone wants to hear a success story but they also want to hear the fucked up dark twisted stuff as well.
This shows the people reading this who are possibly in a bad place that we are all capable of making poor choices especially when you put drugs and alcohol into the mix.

A good friend of mine Phil Taylor asked me a few months ago when I would be posting in my blog about all the travel I have done especially in Asia.
I told him the truth that I could start that now but it would then just be another travel blog amongst thousands.

I plan to have a much more established audience first and then I can begin that stage of the blog.
Having said that I didn’t plan to still be at the childhood stage of the story 40 weeks in so its anyone guesses where the writing will take me.

For all of you though thank you its greatly appreciated especially the people who have messaged me privately.
If you know anyone who would appreciate this blog please tell them about it and don’t forget to subscribe to the site.

If you scroll down the homepage it will give you the option to add your email to the list so you will see the content before anyone else.
Your email address won’t be passed onto any third party and you won’t be asked for money.
You will just be the first to see the work and give your honest opinion if you wanted to.

Well then back to the story the school holidays had finished at what seemed like lightning speed and we were all starting at our new school
Gateace Community Comprehensive School.

The school was old and falling apart and that was in 1991. It was purpose-built in the 50s and even when mum went there the place was still a dump.
Spoiler alert it never got any better and it was slowly falling apart when we were there.

These are some pictures of the main building which I’ve posted below.
There was a lower building as well which looked a lot like the main building but smaller.

Gateacre comp
Main building and second school yard
Sports feild and main building

Later on, when Speke comp and a couple of other schools closed down they built another modern building but with the sheer volume of children, all fighting for the smallest space the conditions were still pretty bad.

Luckily none of that happened when I was there so we just made the best out of the place and as the saying goes it’s amazing what you can get used to.

Gatecacre Comprehensive as I know it has been dead for years.
They built a brand new school which is close to Belle Vale shopping centre and the old school was left to rot.

I think it was used to house refugees for a while as there was a lot of activity in the building but the people inside never left the school grounds and the gates were always locked.

New Gateacre Comp

The old school was eventually demolished a few years ago and property developers bought the land.
It’s in a nice area and 200 homes were built on the site where the school used to be.

I think most of the homes were sold quickly as it’s been a sought-after location for many years and you won’t get much change from half a million quid if you buy one of the houses.
Some of the houses are even more expensive which baffles me.

I understand how prices have got higher over the years but if your going to spend that kind of money on a property why would you buy something this modern?
They are not built to last and are usually thrown together in the quickest possible time.

My friend Danielle bought a house built similarly and two weeks after moving in her glass patio doors fell inside along with the doorway into pieces.
Granted the developers came and fixed it right away but to me, I can think of many other places I would much rather buy.

We were all packed into the main hall and we were given a welcome talk by the headmaster Mr. Barnes.
Barnes was a lovely guy who genuinely cared about the welfare of his pupils and overall was a nice likeable guy.

The only problem was that he thought he was John Barnes who at the time played for Liverpool FC.
Any time he gave a speech he would bring whatever the topic was back round to football.
He was a nice guy but it became predictable after a while.

This isn’t a criticism whatsoever and in hindsight, it was genius that he managed this.
You could be talking about your grandma, the stock exchange, global warming, he would somehow steer the conversation back to football.

Barnes retired about 15 years ago and I used to always see him in my old gym which was the David Lloyd.
It was always nice to see him and like in school he always had a smile on his face and was always wanting to have a chat.

When I stopped going to that gym I saw him less and less but I know people who I went to school with who are now teachers and are in contact with him.

They tell me he’s doing fine and is the same person as he was in school.
I hope he reads this as I had a lot of time for him even though I’m taking the piss a bit here.

We also had two teachers who went on to become famous. They were married to each other as well.
Leon and June Bernicoff would go on to star in the hit TV show Gogglebox.

It’s not something I would normally watch but since it had Leon and June on it I watched the odd episode.
They never taught me full time but they covered my classes on numerous occasions.

At first, I never got on with June with was probably my fault.
I was very guarded and very anti-school after my horrible past experiences which I’ve spoken about in earlier blogs.

A lot of this came from my dyslexia and the lack of understanding and empathy which came from so many of my teachers.
At first, she thought I was a bad kid but when we got to know each other as time went on we got on very well.

June and Leon on the show Gogglebox
Leon and June from the show
June and Leon on BBC breakfast

Leon retired a couple of years before June did and when we were new to the school he was on his way out.
He had been there for years and he had the respect of his peers.
I think each year he was doing less and because the school was short-staffed he was happy to help out.

He used to wear his trousers up over his belly and he could shout when needed.
He would go nuts if we pushed him too far and he would come at us with

If my two daughters in New Zealand spoke to me like that they would be black and blue.

He and June were old-school-style teachers but they were also very professional.
Granted they would shout at you if you deserved it but the next day it was forgotten about.

They would always say hello to me or stop for a chat they were good people.
I was constantly in trouble in high school but she saw past that and as a result, I always showed them my utmost respect.

Unfortunately, Leon died in 2017 he was 83 and June decided not to return to the show after that. She said it wouldn’t be the same without him and she was right
June died in 2020 after a short illness even though I hadn’t seen her in years I was sad to hear this.

I don’t mean this in a nasty way but both of them were dinosaurs in the mindset and way of thinking but at the same time, they made a positive impact on many children.

Leon would tell us stories from when he was a boy and the harsh treatment he received as a Jew growing up during WW2.
He never told these stories as a victim he was trying to make us more accepting of people who were different.

We didn’t realise it at the time but he was passing on serious peals of wisdom but when you are kids you don’t notice this until many years later.
I just found from a quick google search that they also wrote a book about their lives together.

What a lovely couple and I’m glad that I got to know them and be a part of their lives no matter if it was very small.

Leon and June early days

So after our thirty-minute induction speech about the school well twenty minutes of this was about football we were introduced to our year head who then took over as Barnes hadn’t watched any football in at least an hour and had to go quickly before he imploded.

Janine Kitchen took over the stage and give us her welcome speech and
then laid down the law about our new school.
I didn’t like Janine at first and you didn’t want to mess with her.

You would never get shouted at for no reason but if you got sent to her you knew you were going to get your arse chewed out big time.
She was another teacher who warmed to me when she realised I wasn’t a bad kid.

I would always be in trouble and most of the time it was because I had acted out.
It was never without reason and many teachers are not evolved enough to go to the source of the problem.
They won’t think why is this child acting like this it’s just quicker and easier to give detention or to scream at them in the corridor.

A few would pick their mark and hit students but luckily that never happened to me in Gateace school.
It was close a couple of times but these teachers soon backed off when they saw how I could get extremely angry in a matter of seconds.

Teachers who even consider hitting a child are the worst cowards of all and when they see you ready to leave it all out on the line they will quickly back off.
This is for many reasons usually its sheer cowardice.

There are a lot more reasons for this for example what if they lose?
How could they live it down if they got their head smashed in by a pupil?
What if they got fired and worst of all what if they went to prison?

Issues like this are a rarity these days and there are a lot more safeguards in place but back then if a teacher thought they could get away with it they would punch you without giving it a second thought.

I need to make it clear that not all teachers were like that.
I mean the bad apples but due to safeguarding being nonexistent there were a lot more of them in the barrel.

A prime example of this was a teacher we had who was nicknamed psycho Evans.
He used to flip out on the students and sometimes throw stools across the lab.

He made the newspapers towards the end of our first year as he was being fired for racism.
A black student had joined his class and he couldn’t pronounce her name so expecting a laugh from the class he said

Oh it’s ok ill just call you golliwog

As you can imagine the whole class was silent and the girl in question reported him.
He was fired and it made the national papers it was clear that teachers could not behave how they wanted anymore.

Fifteen years later Evans claimed he was dismissed unfairly and Barnes and coached a lot of the students.
I don’t know if there was any truth in the matter but I think what was most likely is that Barnes wanted him gone.

I remember how quickly Mr. Moore was fired in primary school but then he did have some serious red flags against his name.
I’m unsure what happened next as Barnes had been retired for years as had Evans but no doubt he would have got some compensation as this made the papers again years later.

Back to Janine one of the reasons she liked me is because I always told the truth.
Whenever I was sent to her office in trouble with a teacher or I had been fighting I just told her what I had done and why I had done it.

I would still be punished and I would still get a bollocking but it wasn’t personal she was just doing her job.
When we spoke outside of her office she could see that I wasn’t arsed about school.

She was in a tight spot as she knew I had difficulties but the help was not available at the time so she was quite supportive of me throughout the years.
I would get away with a lot of minor stuff as well as she knew there wasn’t much more they could do except kick me out.

The deterrent of being kicked out didn’t phase me either so she did the right thing and tried her best to work with me.
I remember in the third year of high school she told me to see her after assembly.

I want a word with you

Ok

Did you miss Geography class yesterday?

Yes miss

What really? Why didn’t you go?

I didn’t feel like it miss.

Miss Kitchen didn’t know what to say to this as she wasn’t expecting me to come out and admit it straight away and this caught her off guard.

That’s not the right attitude is it Arlo?

Its nothing to do with attitude miss. I wasn’t feeling too good I felt a bit stressed and I couldn’t be bothered going to a class which would probably lead to me having murder with the teacher.

I understand where your coming from, to be honest.

Besides miss, I have never done it before

I had done it before but she had never caught me as I didn’t take the piss and only did it once in a while.

She thought about this for a second then said to me

Fair enough Arlo my door is always open if you want to talk but you can’t miss any more classes or ill have to punish you ok?

Fair enough, I’m sorry miss

It’s ok lad run along now

Just like that I had got away with it. You could end up in serious trouble for stuff like that but honestly saved the day and to be fair I didn’t bunk off lessons anymore as I knew I would be under the spotlight more.

I’ve tried to look for Janine on Facebook and online but I can’t find anything about her.
I heard she retired a few years ago but that’s it after that she is a ghost.
Whatever she doing I wish her well she was a hard but fair woman who didn’t take shit off anyone and I respected her for that.

After the speech, we were broken off into groups and we learned this would be our form class for the next five years.
Our form tutor was a guy called Steve Harvey.
A fantastic teacher who was very similar to Janine Kitchen.

He took no shit but you could have a laugh with him and like Janine, if you got took outside the class you knew you were in for a serious arse chewing.
On the flip side though once it was over then it was forgotten about.

Steve Harvey was the absolute ringer of Rene from the tv series Allo Allo which was airing at the time.
I called him this one day and he flipped out he didn’t like it one bit.
I don’t know why he was so bothered as you can see from the picture below.

Rene from Allo Allo

Later on, he got himself in great shape and you would see him running around the running track at lunchtime.
He lost a lot of weight and he looked amazing.
I’m not sure what happened to Steve and it’s impossible to find him online as there is a comedian called Steve Harvey and like Janine, he’s a ghost.

I know he had some personal problems and he left Gateacre a few years after we left but that’s the extent of the information that I have.
He had a little lad who sometimes would come into school with him.

You could see as well as being a great teacher he was a good loving father and his boy on the occasions we met his son he seemed happy.
It would be nice if the people I’ve mentioned see this at some point and make contact.

I have so much disdain for many teachers but who I’ve spoken about today were all so good to me.
They figured out early if you talk to Arlo like he’s a person you can usually get to the route of the problem.

So we all followed Steve Harvey to our new form room in the lower building.
We stopped at room La5 and he unlocked the door for us.
We didn’t know what to expect and the only person I recognized from Woolton was Ian Black.
It was going to be a very interesting few years that’s for sure.

E39 The End of Juniors

It was great to be back in school with my friends and even though I had been gone for less than ten days it felt a lot longer.
I think when it comes to time it’s all about perception.
When your a kid and you have only been alive for ten years then two weeks would seem like a long time.

When your 41 which I am as I’m currently writing this blog then time seems to go much faster as you have spent a lot longer being alive.
When I reminisce about certain things like being in the military it seems like yesterday when in reality I left the Army in 2002.

So it was business as usual in class but the tables had turned slightly.
I think Paul Casey our teacher must have been close to a heart attack as he was no longer shouting at us individually.

Now he used to bring the entire class onto the matt where he taught us music and he would scream at us all in a group.
Like I mentioned in earlier blogs Casey was losing all his leverage as he had nothing to threaten us with any more.

Things had eased up a little and we were getting a break time once in a while but what concerns me more than anything is nobody like the headmaster stepped in.
I’m a firm believer that children need to be punished when they do wrong but our class was very seldom allowed to go into the schoolyard.

We would have lost our lunchtime as well but Casey needed to eat and I can imagine that it’s exhausting screaming at kids all day.
Still, though no red flags were raised regarding his teaching and the fact that we were not mixing with any of the other kids.

Then again in hindsight why would the powers that be care?
Anyone who has read this blog from the start will know both Owen and Phil the deputy head have a lot to answer for.

I hope that Phil is exposed one day as then I can go back and reveal his identity and put the newspaper articles about the investigations against him.

Until then those who were there they know and I’ve received many messages regarding his appalling conduct as a teacher.
so hopefully it’s a matter of time before he’s brought into the light.

Then one day in class everything changed. Casey was screaming at us and I heard giggling next to me.
Both fear and laughter can spread very quickly especially with children and all of us were on the matt trying not to laugh.

We seemed to be getting shouted at now daily as Casey must have felt he was losing the battle.
Absolutely nothing had changed the more he got mad and the more breaks that he kept us in the less we cared.

He even started displaying this on the board so we could see how many breaks we owed him I think the record at 1 time was 16 breaks that we owed him.
The breaks would get taken off if we were quiet but we were past that.

This method he used also hurt our schooling.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that we would be giving extremely fast dictation or very fast very hard maths on our break.
Most of the students by this stage had twigged that he never marked this.

As a result, of this many students figured that he probably didn’t check our school work as well.
Once in a while, he would pull students up if the work was terrible but I think he had no fight left in him so a lot of the time he let bad work slide.

You have to understand that we were ten and we were burnt out from not having a break.
Even the well-behaved students who he left alone at the beginning had developed the attitude of if we just let him scream at us for a while then we can go back to what we were doing.

Casey didn’t know how good he had it with us if he had gone to an inner-city school with a lot less funding and much more unruly kids then he would have been finished.
We were not bad kids but each lesson he demonised us all due to his deep-rooted insecurity.

We were summoned over to the matt again and for some reason, I was watching Peter Rowe.
I don’t know what it was but I could see he was up to something so I followed him wanting to be involved in whatever he had planned.
Well, it turned out Peter was a genius he sat at the back of the class by the bookcase.

He was half sitting in the bookcase with the top covering his head and like myself, he was sat there laughing at Casey’s rant.
Casey was stood up so he could not see us and his eyes kept darting around the room trying to give everyone the full impact of his rant.

I was glad I followed Peter and the rest of the year nobody had figured this out so I never got caught out laughing like other students.
If Casey caught you laughing he went ballistic on the person which was even funnier we were fighting a losing battle.

Just in case I’m not painting a clear enough picture I’ve included two pictures of Adam Woodyatt Below. Adam is famous for playing Ian Beale in the TV show Eastenders.

Ian Beale

Casey had also dug himself into such a hole that he could not go to the headmaster for help.
As there was nothing else he could do to us then the only thing that taking it further would do is put the spotlight onto himself.

He was a new teacher so there was a chance he could be let go or worse he could be investigated as we were not allowed to play with the other children 90 percent of the time as we were kept in.

Casey is like many teachers I’ve encountered over the years they seem to think that if you shout the loudest and beat your chest like a gorilla then people will respect you.
This could not be further from the truth and this is many teachers’ downfall.

The strongest leaders are usually very quiet. They don’t need to shout or beat their chest.
It’s a known fact that empty vessels make the most noise.
I don’t claim to be the best teacher in the world but I know I’m good at what I do.

I’ve never had to shout at the kids and they all followed my lead and had fun at the same time.
Having said that I’ve seen so many appalling teachers.

They actually have the balls to call themselves teachers when they are essentially smart board operators.
I will go deeper into this in later blogs but the point I’m making is that unfortunately even now this profession attracts the worst suited people still.

This one day when I won’t forget is because Casey completely lost it with all of us.
Peter and I were inside the bookcase which he still hadn’t twigged what we were doing.
He was going ballistic over going knows what and he screams at the class

YOUR ALL GOING TO BE GETTING SHOUTED AT A LOT MORE IF YOU DONT BEHAVE

Trevor Steel lost it and started laughing then Casey flipped

YOU WILL BE GETTING SHOUTED AT THE MOST

We all lost it and Casey didn’t know what to do we had all lost control and we were all screaming laughing nobody could hide it now and I remember having tears in my eyes.

Outside now Casey screamed at Trevor and we all continued to laugh.
As we had been suppressing this for so long the laughter came thick and fast.

We could hear Trev outside getting a huge bollocking and this just added more fuel to the fire.
After a minute Trev came back in smiling but he was alone.
God only knows where Casey went but we didn’t see him for another 20 minutes.

This level of laughter like from the movie Goodfellas

When Casey came back in we had managed to compose ourselves and he looked like the undertaker from WWE.
He told us in a very stiff voice to take our seats.
We all left the music mat not knowing what to expect.

Paul Bearer left with Mark Calway The Undertaker

He scanned the room looking at us all with eyes of hatred and you could cut the atmosphere with a knife.
You could honestly hear a pin drop and then Casey added 6 breaks to the list. So now the blackboard read breaks in 20.

I looked at Chris Farmakis and Peter Rowe who were sat next to me and shook my head.
Surly Casey could see that this wasn’t working and we continued to work in silence.

Casey had to regain some power somehow as this world he had created in his mind that we were all out to get him was falling apart.
How is being nice such an alien concept for so many teachers?
I honestly feel that the true definition of a psychopath is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results

We were all in assembly the next morning and we had to sing hymns in those days.
There would usually be a speech from Owen the headmaster or Phil the deputy head would tell us stories about fairies at the bottom of his garden.

Even for us ten-year-olds, it was incredibly dull and we all sat there bored out of our minds.
Once in a while, someone would fart and everyone would lose their minds like it was the funniest thing in the world.

So whoever was doing the assembly would ask us what song we wanted to sing.
We would always pick one called autumn days.
One of the last lines of the song was I win for my home team and everyone used to shout this really loud and spend the next thirty seconds smiling to ourselves.

We had done this for years and then we tried it with Casey and he went nuts and kept making us sing the verse again.
On about the 7th time the entire school sang it normally and at the end of the assembly Casey walked out the hall like it was WW2 and he had just invaded Poland.

Quick as a flash he wanted to build on his victory and he got the chance later that day.
We were doing PE class and he was playing music which we had to act out in time with the song.
He was playing the time warp song from the Rocky Horror Picture show.

Time warp movie 1975
Time warp song

When the song says put your hands on your hips we all put our hands on our chests and shouted put your hands on your tits as we always did and he went mental.
The second time we did it we all said hips then tits under our breath and Casey felt like he was slowly winning this personal war.

The victory was short-lived as that weekend we had a Halloween disco.
I went dressed as the joker from the 1989 movie of Batman.
I wish I had a picture of this as mum managed to put together an amazing costume for me with clothes she borrowed.

Not content with that two of her friends did my make-up for me like I was in the movie and I went to the disco feeling like I was the joker.
It was even more of a buzz when one of the teachers who was the DJ saw me and played the song party man from the movie.

Joker
Famous joker art gallery scene from the 1989 version of Batman

I was throwing myself around the school hall just like the art gallery scene in the movie shown below
We were all having a ball and when you add Coca-Cola and sweets into the mix we were all going crazy.

Then the time warp came on and we all went crazy as this was the ultimate party song especially with us kids.
We were singing and dancing along and the magic moment came and without speaking a word and in tune with each other we all shouted put your hands on your tits.

The teachers who were acting as chaperones were all laughing but not Casey he stormed out with a proper scowl on his face.
I remember saying to Chris Farmakis I wonder how many breaks we will have to say in for this and he laughed.

It turns out none as Casey seemed to stop holding a grudge so much after this night.
He was still very strict but we were getting shouted at less and less and he was trying to work with us for the sake of his mental health.

We also had a nice surprise coming up as we were going to spend a week adventure training in a place called PGL.
I don’t know what it stood for but everyone said it was parents get lost.
I was a little worried at first as I was expecting another Colomendy but it was not like that at all.

It was well organized with youth workers and equipment and we did so many cool things such as abseiling and canoeing.
The teachers were all nice to us and we ended up having the best time.

We had a group leader who called herself psycho which was nice as she didn’t try to murder any of us not once.
She would get us all singing as we would go orienteering and it was like she was born to work with kids.

In the night we all had a laugh in the dorms and nobody came in and shouted at us we were left to our own devices.
When the time came to go home we were all exhausted but happy as we had just been on an adventure.

There was only a couple of weeks left and we had our school picture was taken which I’ve shown in a previous blog but ill show again see below.
I remember initially Casey was not going to be in the picture and he told us that he realised there may be elements of pupils that didn’t like him and he didn’t want them to remember him in years to come.

We managed to convince him to be in the picture and to this day I believe it was the right decision.
He did have a nice side he was just not cut out to be a teacher and thinking back now his confidence must have been seriously low to have said that.

The author second from the back

We had a relatively chilled out last few weeks and I believe we started to get out at break time well and it felt like we had been given parole.
We were also so excited to be finishing junior school and having a new beginning in a new school.

We spent a week rehearsing for a special leavers assembly we had put on for the parents and then the final day was upon us.
We did the assembly for the parents and we were presented with a leaving gift which was a dictionary.

I still have my dictionary at home in Liverpool it’s never been opened.
It wasn’t going to be much of a change for me as most of my mates were going to Gateacre comp so I would not be leaving many behind.

Unfortunately, we would lose a few to other schools. Jay Quilty went to a senior school in Chester, AJ Farrell and Glyn Roberts had got into Bluecoat.
I’m not sure where Stuart Williams went to but it wasn’t Gateace.

This was before the days of social media so saying goodbye was a lot more permanent.
All of the names I mentioned above I have on Facebook except for AJ but I used to have him until he came off it.

All of us came into school that day with a spare school shirt and we all signed each other’s shirts as a memory of what we had been through together.
Everyone was happy yet a little sad at the same time as we didn’t know what to expect.

I still have this shirt back in my mum’s house in a box in my old bedroom and I remember looking at it a couple of years ago with fond memories of my old classmates.
We all ran over to the school gate together and tied our ties to it.

All of our mums were there as they had just been in to see the assembly and they seemed sadder than us.
We didn’t realise at the time as we were kids how important this moment was we were just thinking of right now.

Mum and I went home and I didn’t pick up on it because I was a kid but she was really sad.
Obviously, now I’m older it’s much easier to understand that no matter how old we get we will always be that baby in the pram saying hiya to everyone walking past in the street.