Family History

Things at home were currently ok. Money was coming in because my dad had just opened a butcher shop on the corner of Isaac street which was right next to our house.

Unfortunately, the oven had broken so dinner time became a nightmare for my mum. She would have to go into the shop and use the oven.

Then put all of the food down in the street and then open the door, bring the food in, close the door, carry the food upstairs, and then serve it.

The bills, for the time being, were being paid but unfortunately, this would not last as like with all addiction this comes before everything else. I don’t want anyone reading this to think I’m bad-mouthing my dad.

We had some years when we didn’t speak but that’s all ancient history. We were okay with each other and had been for a good while just before he died in 2010.

One thing which I will tell you is that you don’t know the minute. When we didn’t speak I was well within my rights to not talk to him but in reality that was a lot of wasted time.

In my experience time can heal almost all wounds and there is no point in having bad blood. In hindsight, I could have broken the ice sooner but we live and learn.

When you hate anybody it consumes you not them. I’ve found out from people years later that they had a serious issue with me at some point.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not claiming to be an angel but there have been times I’ve had no idea that a person felt this way about me.

I’ve even said to the person in question wow why didn’t you come and talk to me instead of stewing on this. A lot of the time they didn’t have a good answer for me and even realized this themselves.

I’ve then gone to point out that I thought we were ok so all this time you have felt this way who has it affected me or you? A lot of the time they feel so stupid and we have been able to put it to bed.

There have been other times when I’ve done something which has affected someone. Again I didn’t know it affected them and that I had fucked them over unintentionally.

In these cases, I’ve apologized and tried to make it right. A lot of the times its been possible but there are many who would prefer to grind an axe and seemed to be fueled by hatred and resentment.

In my own personal experience resentment was the building blocks for my addiction so I try my best to not bear a grudge.
A very unpopular opinion of mine which will probably get my lynched is that so many women refuse to let anything go.

I’m obviously not generalizing all women here but I’ve seen this first hand so many times to even consider this correlation. So many times I’ve seen girls who are stunning and they age really badly. The thing they have in common is resentment.

They are talking through gritted teeth about an ex from three years ago, a friend who wronged them out of money, the baby’s dad who is the worst scumbag ever.

When I point out that well you met him doing wheelies on a scrambler while smoking skunk and selling lemo its not the best start to a relationship is it? Then suddenly I’m the bad guy?

Having said that I had this flawed system of thinking for many years and I felt for such a long time that everything was someone else’s fault. Also if your logic is flawed then so will everything else in your life will be especially the company that you keep.

There is a famous quote from the Dali Lama and it could not be more true. “When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy.”

Dali Lama

Anyway back onto my father and why he behaved in the way that he did. I know every day we can make choices and change things. Unfortunately, many people don’t have the tools to make things better for themselves.

A lot of people who do have these tools do not know how to use them so they end up stuck in this negative loop.

This has only started to be recognized in the past thirty years so the research that has been doing although groundbreaking is still in its infancy.

They have obviously learned the fundamentals like you can’t beat the shit out of kids and nor can you put them in prison unless absolutely necessary.

They have also learned that fucking kids absolutely destroys them but having said that if it’s not happening to middle-class families then its much easier to sweep under the carpet.

Then the money can be spent more positively elsewhere for example by giving it in foreign aid to a country that hates us.

I remember being at school when I was 9 and childline was just being launched. It was a brand new unheard concept where children could call and speak in confidentiality if they were being hurt or abused.

The fact that this was seen as such a milestone when I was 8 shows me how children had no voice for years.

Now go back another twenty-eight years to when my dad was a kid his cards were really marked. He was born in 1948 and had four brothers my uncles George, Eddie, Keith, Chris. His parents my grandparents were called Jack and Betty.

They were good people but money was scarce and both Jack and Betty were raging alcoholics. Later on, I remember my dad had an obsession with shoes and couldn’t figure out why.

It was explained to me that when he was younger his school shoes would always be in the pawnshop. It was always the same hiding behind the couch from the electricity man or ordering clothes from the catalog and always conveniently being out or hiding when they came to collect the money for the goods every week.

These days that would be impossible as everything is automated and direct debit would be the only option to pay. Back in those days though things were very different.

Once again this was another sad case of addiction coming first. Luckily drugs were not an issue like they are today as both Jack and Betty could have met there demise a lot quicker than they did with the bottle.

My father told me that every day they would walk back from school and they would have to go and search the local pubs to see where they were so they could get the key for the house and get in out the cold. Then after this more often than not they would have to see to themselves with food.

This kind of thing obviously still goes on to this day but it would be recognized a lot quicker these days in theory but in those days it was normal.
Bear in mind World War two had only finished four years previously before John Bailey was born. Rationing was still happening and it wouldn’t end until 4th July 1954.

In those days there was not as much entertainment or things to occupy people as there is now.

You add that that a lot of traumatized young men coming home from four years of hell with absolutely no outlet to talk about this and you will create a generation of alcoholics and in modern days drug addicts.

My dad’s dad Jack did not serve in the war but it was much easier to slip into this alcoholic pattern especially with so many of your friends constantly drinking to forget the horrors they had seen.

It should also be noted that at that time it was normal to go to the pub every night.

What baffles me even to this day is the pubs used to open at lunchtime and then close in time for the schools to finish. Then they would open again so people could go for a drink after work and then people would come in the evening to unwind.

The everyday man and woman were very ignorant when it came to taking care of their health. Nobody would dream of going to the gym.

The only people who would go to the gym would be boxers and professional athletes. The everyday person would see this at ludicrous.

So growing up had a serious effect on my dad and his brothers and he was most definitely a product of his environment. Jack and Betty really wanted to put more time into their drinking so they had this genius idea of putting my dad in school a year early.

There were no government-funded nurseries in or around Scotland road near the city center so Jack and Betty had to plan there day around him and Keith who was the youngest then my dad. So having John go to school a year early was a huge win for them.

They forged the paperwork and put him in school and then he surprised everyone. It turns out that my dad was a very intelligent kid. He found the work really easy and loved going to school.

He had a laugh with his friends, the teachers liked him. Most importantly he loved going to school mostly because he got a meal at lunchtime.

One thing me and him had in common was we both went to school for the food. I was lucky as there was always enough to eat in my house but later on when I could see school was pointless as I could not keep up due to my dyslexia.

My mother to be fair to her understood the struggles I had but said to me you at the least have to go to school. I can’t let you sit home at least this way there is a slim chance you will learn something.

So I would go in every day and the school lunches were amazing to be fair so it was a nice incentive for me.

So things are going really well for John and then towards the end of the school year someone figures out whats going on. They see that he was put into school a year too early and they have an emergency meeting.

They see he’s top of the class, they can also see he’s more than capable to continue the work and he’s reading and writing about at a level of 2 years higher than his age.

They also have statements of his teacher saying sweep this under the carpet he is very capable and a good student. So the school does the least logical thing and makes him repeat the school year from day one.

John was devastated and he found it really hard to function in the class. He would go to school bored to tears and his new teacher wouldn’t give him any different work to do.

I myself came across this rigid stupid linear thinking later on and was also fucked over in similar ways which I will talk about in later blogs.

A few months in he started bunking off school except for his lunch as it was almost certain there would be nothing at home to eat.

As I mentioned earlier there was not a lot of attention paid to children in those days so there was hardly any system in place to check why children are hardly ever in school.

Then the inevitable happened he fell in with a bad crowd. All-day there would be nothing to do and money was so scarce so they began shoplifting, stealing cars, robbing houses anything really that would net them a few quid.

When forced to go back to school on occasions he was now behind with the work and his classmates had advanced academically without him.

So now he didn’t know all the answers and had lost his passion for learning due to the poor treatment by the school system.

You add this to having hardly any guidance or support at home it’s not surprising he went down the path that he did.Then when he had run out of chances with the police and the courts he was sent to Borstal which in turn was a prison for children.

The government had adopted a policy called the short sharp shock. This was a system of building prisons for youths and giving them the name of Borstal. See the amazing propaganda link below i’ve found on youtube

How they sold Borstal to the public
modern short sharp shock

The worst and meanest prison officers from across the country were drafted into these sites to in theory scare the children from committing further crime.

Obviously, like most government programs they don’t ever get to the heart of the problem so nothing is ever fixed.

This in turn just breeds more violence and hatred against the already broken system and results with more children being failed and thrown by the wayside.

Borstals were officially abolished under the 1982 Criminal Justice Act and replaced by institutions called youth custody centers.
There were a lot of changes but as you can see by the picture its still a prison for children.

youth custody centre 1
exterior of centre

Ive enclosed two very poweful and disturbing links about the short sharp shock below.

My dad told me the first time he went he was terrified. He was lucky because he knew some of the lads in there but like in the article links above some of the things he saw haunted him forever.

I am a firm believer this is what started him like it did many others on his journey with Heroin. When I briefly volunteered as a drug worker I must have met over a hundred Heroin addicts. Out of all of them, I met two who I didn’t like.

They were all really good people but deeply flawed. Every one of them had a horrendous story to tell which in many cases was a result of child abuse, rape, or something as equally disturbing. This attracted them to the worst possible drugs and well you know what happens next when it comes to the brown.

I mention in an earlier blog when you take Heroin you are summoning a demon but there are way more people with pain then there is education so this evil carousel keeps on turning.

A good movie to watch if you want to know what Borstal was really like is a movie called Scum. Its stars Ray Winstone and its before he was famous. There are so many British actors who play small parts as well before they are famous.

This is one of those movies I will describe as old but gold. I’ve met many people who went to the borstals who told me its not a hundred percent but yeah it’s pretty accurate. Luckily I’ve found the full movie on youtube so feel free to watch it below.

Made in 1977 but still on point

When my dad went into Borstal he ended up having a few fights but came out on top and with having friends already there he was lucky not to be a target like some of the more younger vulnerable prisoners.

The screws then put together a boxing program all under the illusion of teaching the children discipline. The theory of this was sound but most of the screws just wanted to watch the kids punch fuck out of each other for their own amusement and also make some money with betting amongst each other.

I’m not saying all prison officers are like this but it is a very negative job also I know from people who have done heavy jail both young offenders and real jail back in those days the screws did what they wanted.

They had even gone as far as thrown prisoners down flights of stairs and try to cover it up as a suicide.

I also know at present five serving prison officers. These are all good people and are not a patch on what I’m describing in this article.

They all agree as well that the system now is more broken than ever and the job is twice as hard due to underfunding and so many people quitting due to constant stress.

The screws could see that my dad could fight so he and few others were allowed to go to other borstals to fight there fighters in competitions.

He told me I would wake up in the night and I would hear some of the younger prisoners screaming from either being badly beaten or sexually assaulted.

This didn’t happen every night but often enough so I just trained as hard as I could because I never wanted that to happen to me. He said I would have wished that on my worst enemy and the screws knew what was going on but really couldn’t care less.

He also said I just wanted to cry because you knew exactly what was happening but was scared if he drew attention to himself he would become a target.

Whoever the genius was who put together this fucked up system thought that it was appropriate to put seventeen-year-olds in with twelve-year-olds.

The same dickhead was most likely under the illusion that if the child felt that he was in danger he could just report it to one of the screws.

John and the rest of the boxers didn’t have to do as much of the work assigned for prisoners such as gardening and various other hard labor. The schooling was nonexistent so they were trained more in the gym and were given extra food.

Extra food in itself was seen as a luxury and with nobody coming up to see him on visitation day as Jack and Betty were busy all the time with there drinking he needed something to focus on to get him through the day.

He used to say as fucked up as it was I was definitely one of the lucky ones. What messed him up the most is the fact the guards just let all of this happen and at times even encouraged it.

Unfortunately, my dad could have been a promising boxer if even in the Borstal he would have had the right guidance. He was sent down to Wales to fight the Welsh champion.

That day they were short-staffed and he was sent down alone with a driver who had to stay with the car.

The champion cornered him with his four mates and got in his head just before the fight telling him he was a dead man and other various insults.

He went on to fight the Welsh Champion with cornermen who he had never met, away from home in a hall full of Welsh Supporters and was beaten badly. As you can imagine this seriously affected his confidence.

He carried on boxing in his Borstal but had no intention of traveling to other prisons now. When he got out he tried his hand at the boing again but couldn’t commit to it as his true passion was, unfortunately, drugs and alcohol.

He got out and was sent back multiple times and I was when he was eighteen his mate Jimmy Downey introduced him to Heroin. They both went into the toilets at Central station in Liverpool and he was injected.

Normally addicts will smoke Heroin first but not this time I think this gave John the escape he needed from all his pain.

He didn’t turn into an addict overnight this happened gradually over the years. He functioned well and even though he was a known criminal he managed to have some decent jobs and like mentioned earlier got himself a butcher shop.

Just like all addictions it just keeps taking from you until you have nothing left. So this was the beginning of the end between him and my mum.

He obviously hid this well and he wasn’t shooting up at the dinner table. Now I had been born she caught him at it times but it was a case of what to do next and how to fix this mess.

Most addicts are really charming people so it’s not like she met him in a shop doorway he was and still was when he died the life and soul of the party. He still had the odd slip in later life but his death was a complete surprise.

So much so that there was an inquest about it. It turns out his heart valve had torn unexpectedly and he died almost instantly. This was totally out of the blue but I’m so glad we were ok at the time of his death in 2010.

Isaac Street

Now you all have an idea of the history of the area and the state of Liverpool at the time I can now begin to tell my story. When I say my story I mean the beginning and each day things seem to get a little stranger.

I honestly think I have a form of a second sight and I will explain. Since quitting drugs many years ago you start to see what the world is really like. Even the most functional addict will not be firing on all cylinders when under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

In regards to the second sight, Even years of being drug-free I can spot someone who is doing drugs a mile away. I also seem to be able to pick up on things a lot quicker than everyone like a change in atmosphere and mood.

Another change i’ve noticed is when something or someone is really negative it literally drains all of the energy out of me. I was aware of this before but it didn’t affect me like this not even close.

I think everyone is capable of this, but with everyone each weekend on a mission to escape their reality and not knowing how to make that change then drugs and alcohol provide this escape.

When you are in this loop everything is always so blurry and just to function like a normal human can be challenging on the best of days.

Then you add smartphones into the mix and you have your own ready-made zombie. When you get clean of everything and when I went to rehab I didn’t drink for almost three years you start to see things a lot differently and I’m way more perceptive overall.

My only weakness is when I do decide to drink I now get hangovers from hell. It honestly feels like I’ve been filled in big time.I’m not even talking being drunk but you can see how many people are so reliant on these things.

My trick was to replace it with another obsession which was the gym.

Alcohol to me is a bit of a minefield. I still love to drink once in a while but when I drink I don’t mess about. It’s more than likely if I get myself into drama there will be alcohol involved.

I know with my past drug use that I should not be drinking at all but as I tell many people Rome wasn’t built in a day.

A girl I know once said to me you don’t need alcohol to have a good time. I replied with well you don’t need running shoes to run but it fucking help. She laughed and realized it was pointless to play this game with me.

I remember in the summer before I started school my mum and dad had both got jobs in the Liverpool International garden festival.This was one of the initiatives the government gave Liverpool after the riots in a bid to bring in more tourism and give the local population some much-needed employment.

This was a big deal for Liverpool at the time and the queen even came to Liverpool to open the site and there was a huge celebration which was all over the television and radio.

The government had spent an absolute fortune on this project. There was everything from authentic Japanese gardens to a huge play dome for the children.

Unfortunately as quickly as the festival made money it was also hemorrhaging money. After a few years, it fell into a state of disrepair and it was closed down as it was no longer financially viable.

It later went on to become Pleasure Island which I used to climb over the fence and hang out as a teenager and now its a wasteland in the middle of a beautiful area which is a shame.

The council bought the land a few years ago with the view to built a lot of homes but it is was more expensive than they thought and a much bigger job than anyone anticipated.

Now in true council style, everyone will sit around holding their dicks until they can figure something out in the next few years all being well. Having said that I’m not holding my breath.

The benefit of having my mum and dad work at the festival is that I got to go to work with them every day in the summer holidays. To go here as a kid every day with your parents as a customer would have cost an absolute fortune.

The government quite rightly wanted a return on its money but didn’t really plan what to do next which was one of the contributing factors to its downfall.

My dad had a job on security and my mum was a stewardess. We would get to work and I would be taken to the huge dome which was full of climbing frames, kids toys, indoor plastic tube mazes, and most importantly a really shit version of legoland.

To be fair it wasn’t shit for a 4-year-old but when you see legoland videos online it’s the equivalent of comparing Blackpool to Las Vegas. Some genius in the Blackpool council had that idea a few years ago about making Blackpool exactly like Vegas.

Yeah, it didn’t turn out too well that one. It was likely the same joker who had the idea of bringing trams to Liverpool and decide to abandon the project after all of the roads had been dug up.

So I would be left to my own devices with a mountain of lego and enough toys to sink a battleship. There were always other kids there who I could play with and both my mum and dad at regular intervals could come back and check on me.

Obviously, it’s a parent’s instinct to check on their kids but at the same time, it was not needed. CCTV hadn’t been invented yet and everyone seemed to know everyone in the dome.

Another contributing factor to the kids’ safety was the fact there was no internet either.

When I was young there was always a house where some weirdo would live and all the kids knew to stay away from that house. He may have a mate who came over once in a while just like him. They both knew they were weird and kept to themselves.

Unfortunately in modern times, these people all talk to each other online and this in their minds makes their behavior a lot more rational. I’m a firm believer this is the reason people have to watch their kids like hawks in modern times.

Even with all the cameras, you hear of new sick bastards every day. It’s worrying that it’s got to this level.

My father’s job was to patrol the grounds and to check backstage for people trying to steal equipment and anything which could be hazardous for the performers.

Security was not regulated whatsoever back then so he was easily able to get a job even with an extensive criminal record.

He and a group of his mates were all on the job together and instead of taking advantage of this, they abused it. They were always sneaking off to get fucked up whether it be a few spliffs or even at times much harder drugs.

He told me later on that they would all do coke together in the portacabins. This could well be true but cocaine hadn’t exploded in the UK yet so it was harder to get. Also, I know that his drug of choice was Heroin.

He and his friends were able to do this as it was such a huge site and there were so many places you could easily go missing. This is also before the use of mobile phones and not everyone had access to a radio.

The ones who did had radios most of the time could not reach people due to the size of the site due to the poor technology of the day.

Everyone would cover for each other and after a while, it just became a party. When people get away with things for so long they stop hiding it and that’s how they get caught.

As well this was a brand new site so there were no fixed systems in place so, in turn, it was like they had been dealt with all best the cards.

A funny story before it all came to an end is one day my dad was doing his normal patrols and he is backstage doing his checks. The entertainer Bobby Davro was on stage doing a stand-up comedy set.

There were about 200 hundred people in the audience and he started doing his specialty which was impressions.

He started doing his Basil Fawlty impression when the Germans come to the hotel. Just to give some background to the story my father is the absolute ringer of John Cleese, the actor who plays Basil Fawlty in the show Fawlty Towers.

 Bobby Davro is right in the middle of the set everyone’s laughing and he does a double-take and sees my dad who is also named John. He drags him onto the stage and the whole audience is screaming laughing.

Bobby carries on his set as normal. John Bailey told me about this years later and in his words, there was nothing I could do. I just went bright red and stood there with my head down. In a situation like that, you have to be a good sport.    (John Cleese Or possibly my Father haha)

It was easily a mile to get back from dome to the car park to go home because the site was so huge everything was spread out. So on the way out I would always on play in the big yellow submarine.

It was a tribute to The Beatles and for a kid it was amazing. There was also this huge slide in the shape of a dragon that took the edge off the mile to the car. When your 5 a mile feels like ten miles.

I went back to the festival years later when it had become Pleasure Island and the slide was tiny it was so disappointing.

The slide is still in one piece to this day. God only knows what they made it out of because the rest of the site has been decimated and is full of rot.

Another interesting day at the festival is the day I decided I was hungry and couldn’t find either my mum or dad. Normally you would ask someone with a radio and within five minutes they would talk to you or tell you there were coming back so just wait a little while.

This was the one day where nobody had a radio. Also, it must have been fuckwitt day as nobody had any idea who my parents were but then to be fair there were hundreds who worked on the site.

I walked all around the dome and outside and couldn’t find anyone. Then asked a few more people and they also didn’t have radios.

I got back to the dome and shit myself as none of the kids were there. It was like something out of a movie.  My mum and dad had come back and were panicking as they couldn’t find me and yes it was fuckwitt day which didnt help.

They were checking under every rock and stone shitting themselves thinking I had been kidnapped. Obviously, there were no phones so basic communication was almost impossible.

They were just about to give up and call the police when my dad had the idea to check the car park and they found me next to the car. I was given a massive bollocking by both my mum and dad.

My mum stopped to ask me hang on how did you find your way to the car? It’s not exactly a straight run and its also a huge car park.

Did anyone help you? No, I just figured it out because I was hungry. What do you mean you were hungry? Why didn’t you just sit and wait for us to come back? Mum, why would I sit there hungry when I can just go and find my own food?

This is the same attitude I have to this day if you want something you go out and get it. If it’s not that simple make a plan and get after it.

There is always another job and you can always negotiate yourself a better deal. Most importantly if your good at something don’t ever do it for free.

My mum calmed down and explained the dangers of me going off by myself and how not everyone is nice and friendly. I apologized and definitely learned my lesson.

Just at the end of the summer, the inevitable happened and my father was fired. Due to it being a sensitive drug issue with multiple staff members involved it was a case of just go and we will sweep it under the carpet.

Unfortunately, because it was so serious my mum ended up getting fired as well even though it had nothing to do with her.

The tabloids especially The Sun would have had an absolute field day if this had got out. Bear in mind most of the country was very anti-Liverpool.

This would be all over the papers especially with the Queen visiting Liverpool especially and the site being so high profile at the time.

It definitely didn’t help that Liverpool football club was winning all of the time. It raised the spirits of the locals and fans but many other fans from other parts of the country would hate us with a passion.

A lot of this was absolutely nothing to do with football but the bad press that the city had got for years and years.

 I’ve included a thread from Reddit in the link which will explain this in more detail at the bottom. So the Liverpool International Garden Festival had to be seen as this beacon of hope and positivity and not to be dragged through the mud.

It was close to school starting at luckily my primary school was just across the road from where we lived in Isaac Street. My dad saw an opportunity and opened a shop on the corner of Isaac street next to our house.

This is where he got the name John the butcher. That didn’t stop the rumor mill going into overdrive but he had a butcher shop for a while that was it absolutely nothing sinister about the origin of his name.

I was sad because I had to stop going to see Maya at nursery but was really interested and curious about this new thing I had heard about called school.

Considerable changes in Toxteth

The aftermath of the riots in Toxteth was considerable.As the violence was so bad and this was broadcast all over the country on the news people were finally taking notice of all the struggles which were endured daily by the black community.

Not long before the riots in Liverpool, there were riots in Brixton over very similar issues faced by the blacks due to a very racist police force and extremely outdated policies which made Brixton a ticking time bomb.

The Scarman report although primarily directed at the Brixton riot recognized that the riots did represent the results of social problems such as poverty and deprivation. The government responded by appointing Michael Heseltine to set up a Merseyside task force which launched a series of initiatives including the Liverpool International garden festival,

As I mentioned in my last post I was lucky to have not seen any of the violence I only heard it as it was so close to my home. I also remember the devastation of the area afterward.

Toxteth now is a very vibrant and multicultural area. The holy land where I lived was considered a white area. When I say it that way it sounds extremely racist but it honestly wasn’t like that. However, there seemed to be a huge divide between Catholics and protestants.

On a Saturday morning, the orange lodge would always march down our street and then onto Mill Street. The divide was not a patch on the divide in Northern Ireland but there was considerable hostility.

Having said that the church had a lot more influence in those days and there were not any kid fucking scandals doing the rounds. Well, to be fair there probably was but they had it under wraps. So as a result in those days, it was much easier to control the masses.

What better way to do this than religion. It’s a win-win for everyone involved especially when it comes to money. There was also a lot more people who still went to church especially the older generation.

Unfortunately when there is so much poverty in an area like this for so long people are always looking for a form of escape. Now, most people are happy to go work for their money but Liverpool at the time had very few opportunities.

There wasn’t a lot of money or many jobs so a lot of people moved to the south of England. A lot of my cousins on my dad’s side moved to Torquay and Bournemouth. So even though a lot of initiatives were set up it was too little too late.

It was not just the black community there was a whole generation of disillusioned people. The whole time Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister she left Liverpool to rot.This saw an explosion in crime even after the riots. Liverpool overnight had huge spikes in Heroin addiction and there was considerably more dealers openly selling in the area.

Unfortunately there was no shortage of people wanting to sell this as they had so few opportunities. In a city with no jobs and having little prospects unless moving away more and more people gravitated towards this type of life.

Liverpool has its own docks and this aided the criminal gangs so much. Due to the huge numbers of unemployed and the widespread poverty this made way for a new breed of criminals. The irony of this is these young kids were showing so much initiative and were literally making money hand over fist.

If they had been given an opportunity to have a good job or the same access to further education as the rest of the country then this issue would not have exploded in the same ferocity and the police would have been better equipped to deal with it.

There are many names that came out of Liverpool for all the wrong reasons such as Michael Showers, Delroy Showers, and Curtis Warren. What did everyone expect? So many pissed off people in one place they will just do their own thing if they think nobody cares and the sad reality is that nobody did. v

One of the main theories which many people seem to think is true is the government-aided all of this. It was literally straight after the riots when the drug scene exploded. There was no time when the city started to repair itself it just suddenly appeared.

Also, another question that kept getting asked is where were the drugs coming from? The drugs were all so pure. Normally when drugs are sold they are stepped on but now there is a huge supply with no complications with very high purity.

A lot of people don’t believe this but this happened in America. A former cop Michael Ruppert exposed the CIA for there involvement in drug dealing. He was told quickly to drop it by his bosses in the police and he quit the force and spent some years exposing the truth before his apparent suicide.

If you read about Ruppert and an investigative journalist called Gary Webb you will see that this is very possible.

In an interview on the Joe Rogan podcast, Ruppert explains this in full, and I’ve included the link below. He also tells how the CIA changed the whole drug game to pay for their illegal wars. They went from bringing in ten metric tons a year to one hundred metric tons. Its nice work if you can get away with it.

A story that haunts me to this day is a story I heard when I went to cocaine anonymous to deal with my own addictions years later. Luckily for me, my addiction was cocaine which is a psychological addiction. When you withdraw from Heroin you become physically sick and to the point where you think you are dying. The withdrawal has been described as worse than death by addicts.

The story I was told by this guy was about him and his three friends all sat off in a car in Toxteth. Three of them were all smoking heroin and trying to get him to have some. He told me even then I knew it was bad news and luckily said no. My next question to him which I wished I hadn’t asked was what happened to your three mates? He replied sadly they are all dead now. Drugs I asked? yes well one of them killed himself but that was related to drugs.

Luckily for me, I always knew how much I would enjoy crack and heroin so I was always scared of them even in my craziest drug-taking days.A little known fact about this pathway is that now in modern-day the past to heroin can get people in other ways.

Normally people are doing way too much cocaine and have built up a serious tolerance so they move onto Crack. I asked my pal from CA what crack was like? He told me like the most intense line of coke you have ever had. Unfortunately, instead of lasting about twenty minutes before you need more, you need more in about two minutes and the comedown is ten times as bad as coke. So because of this a lot of people are on the worst comedown of their lives and have a little bit of brown.

Next thing they can’t function without it and are a full-blown addict. I asked the same friend whats heroin like? He told me it just numbs away all the pain and nothing else matters. He then told me there isn’t one person doing heroin who is happy with themselves when you do heroin you are summoning a demon. Its evil pure and simple even the nicknames for it are horrible skag, junk, nasty.

With so much chaos and destruction happening in an area a lot of the people begin to lose hope. The area before the drugs was crumbling and now even with the new initiatives, it’s not nearly enough. You could compare it to trying to fix a burst pipe with just towels.

Now my theory with a burst pipe is you can keep putting towels down on the floor and this will keep absorbing the water. If you don’t get to the route of the burst pipe and what’s causing the water to leak then the problem is never really fixed. This is exactly what the Conservative government was doing with Liverpool.

When people lose hope they turn to drugs and alcohol. Then the after-effects from this are ten times worse. Women would be selling themselves to buy more drugs, a huge rise in burglary and car theft, muggings would increase as well as violent crime. The police were petrified to go back into the area and be heavy-handed over what happened last time and the millions it cost to repair the damage.

Not only that because even though the riots are stopped it was going to take considerable time to repair the relationship between the community and the police. Now the white community had also turned on them. No matter how you try to justify your actions nobody likes living in a warzone.

The streets in the daytime were very safe especially when all of the mums would sit out on the steps. As children, we were very insulated from the trouble. Even at home, my father was having his issues with drugs but it wasn’t until years later I figured this out.

I used to play in the street on my bike with Billy and Ian Reily. Their dad Billy was a real character and one of the most naturally funny people I have ever met. There was always someone in his house selling something or he would always be selling something.

I’ve got all this jewelry, I’ve got a van full of TVs. We grew up around this and we just saw it as normal. In other parts of the country, people would be horrified but they were already horrified with Liverpool so should we all starve just to gain back their respect?

Obviously, not everyone can sell drugs but there was always something going on in the area. One of the better-known gangs which operated for many years was called the road runners. They had many scams and one of the best ones my mum told me about.

She was talking to Billy Riley in the street and he told her to watch Mill Street as something is about to go down. A catalog van was driving down at about twenty miles an hour because a lot of cars were almost blocking the road. Next thing someone jumps on the back of the van, breaks the lock, and is inside all within 15 seconds.

He then starts emptying the van onto the road while the rest of the gang appears from the alleyway and starts picking up boxes and loading them into their own van. The whole process was done in less than thirty seconds. The driver was completely unaware and hadn’t even slowed down the entire time.

I’m not sure what happened to this gang but they were famous and did hundreds of jobs before they called it a day. They were famous in the area and they were so creative in the way they stole things.

Another funny story I heard is when my mum was going shopping one day and there was a van parked up on mill street with the driver sat inside. Now bear in mind this was 1982. She gets closer and he asks her hey girl have you got a phone in your house?

Yeah of course I have why? she answers. He tells her look I’ve broken down and I won’t dare leave the truck as I know it will be empty by the time I get back from the phonebox. Will you call my boss and tell him whats going on, here’s the number? Luckily she took pity on him and went home and phoned it. The driver escaped without incident and was recovered in about twenty minutes.

Even though there was a lot of negative stuff about the area there were also so many positives as well. The people in the street like kids I played with to the people I saw every day. Everyone had some sort of money maker happening or if they didn’t their brother did or they were in the same group of people so there was not a lot of judgment.

The flip side to all of this is nobody locally knew the devastation the drugs would bring down on the city and it took a long time before it began to fix itself or even a plan was made to fix it. This was a relatively new problem and there were very few drug treatment centers. It was a huge learning curve for everyone involved and things were changing rapidly.

Early days in Toxteth

Well as the saying goes the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Hopefully, in order to understand me better and understand what made me into the person, I am today it’s probably best to go back to the beginning.

I can promise you as time goes on I will start adding photos to the blog and especially when I get to around 2004 then I have so many memories as I always had a camera in my hand.

If you take anything from this post then take this advice. Take pictures of everything. It is much easier now we all carry around phones everywhere.

When I was younger my saving grace was that I didn’t smoke. So many of my friends did and as a result, they always had a big bulky box in their pocket. Then they had their wallet in the other pocket which left no room for anything else. Even later on this got worse when everyone started to carry phones this meant even less space for personal items such as cameras.

We had not reached the metrosexual stage yet with guys carrying man bags and wearing skinny jeans so as a result many of my friends don’t have any pictures. There will be a few from holidays and special occasions but hardly any from nights out.

Having said that my pal big Ben was seeing this girl years ago. I knew her from being a young lad on the club scene going out for the first time and having a lot of mutual friends.

One day he was helping her have a clearout and he found an old photo album she had put together from back in the day.

He’s flipping through the pictures of all the old nights out and next thing he’s screaming laughing. There was a picture with me and another lad, I’ve got my arm around his shoulder as he’s my mates and I’m pointing down. When you look down I’ve got my knob out. To this day I’ve no recollection of this photo being taken and I figured I must be around eighteen. That’s how he found out me and his girl knew each other. Well, its a small……….. world hahaha.

They were together for years and unfortunately fell apart later on. Big ben will feature a lot in my later posts as he is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. If your lucky enough to have a night out with him I can guarantee no two nights will ever be the same.

Having said that he’s settled down with a kid and happy with a boss bird so fair play to him he’s calmed down a lot. To be fair it was that or some heavy jail or even death. There were no limits with this guy back in the day.

Anyway sorry to go off topic but yeah I have a huge box full of pictures from the army and back in the day. A lot of them I put on the computer but until I get back to the UK I will just have to tell the stories as graphically as possible so you all know what’s up.

Anyway, this is where it all began on November 19th, 1979 My mum Carol power gave birth to the legend that is Arlo Bailey. I was born in Oxford street hospital in Liverpool city center.

The hospital is long gone now and is most likely student accommodation as there is a huge shortage of this in Liverpool.

I first lived in Toxteth with my Dad John Bailey and my mum Carol power.

There is an area within Toxteth called the holy land. It is a collection of streets Issac, David, Moses street.

We lived in Issac street in a huge old house that was falling to pieces but at first, everything was very happy although I remember the house was always freezing.

Unfortunately, like many old buildings, it was impossible to heat and by all accounts, the landlord was a bit of a dickhead. He was about 90 and friends with my grandma Helen.

To be honest I think he had a thing for her but I guess now we will never know. The place was older than time and even had an outside toilet. This served its purpose and the drains always seemed to be blocked and I learned at a young age that a house that stinks of shit is never a good thing.

This was back in the ancient days when children used to play in the street and not have to worry about pedophiles and dirty bastards and there was a real sense of community. It was a poor area even back then but attitudes were very different.

The kids would all play in the street and the mums would watch out the window and sometimes sit on the step. Everyone was in and out of each other’s houses and even though there was not a lot happening in Liverpool at the time people seemed a lot happier. It is probably a lot to do with not staring at a smartphone all day and playing stupid games just trying to distract themselves from what they really need to do.

One bad memory I remember from Living in Toxteth at the time is the Toxteth riots. This happened in 1981 and I was only two years old.—3369242

A lot of the fighting and tension were right at the end of the holy land where we all lived. I can remember very clearly as a kid my mum and dad trying to pretend everything was ok but both being very nervous.

I can also remember the noise and it sounded exactly what hundreds of people fighting with police would sound like. I didn’t really understand what was going on but I knew it was nothing good.

I also remember the aftermath of the riots there was burnt out shops everywhere and the place looked like a bomb had gone off.

Years later I met one of my closest friends Andy Mawe. We met in Iraq and he before coming to Iraq was a police officer for 20 years. The riots got so bad they started to bring in other forces to help deal with the violence which had escalated way out of control.

As crazy as things got according to Andy he hardly had any issues when in Liverpool. The blacks who were rioting were furious with the treatment from the police in Merseyside. Every force in the UK has a slightly different police badge.

Andy told me he would be stood at a checkpoint with a group of his colleagues from Yorkshire and a gang of lads would come around the corner. They were ready for anything as the news coverage was terrifying to watch. As soon as the lads got close and saw they were not Merseyside police their whole demeanor changed.

Look we don’t want any of that with you lot. We’ve got no problem with you. then they would nod and walk past. Andy and his colleagues were made up as their shift would be paperwork free and relatively chilled. Ok on your way lads be safe and for the most part that’s the way it stayed.

Coincidently years later when I was working the doors I worked at a late night club called the magnet. This was right on the edge of Liverpool city center and many people from Toxteth would drink here.

There were loads of regulars who would always come in and one of them called Leroy used to always buy me a Redbull and come over and chat with me.

I honestly had no idea who he was until one day it came out that he was Leeroy Cooper. It was Leeroy’s unjust arrest which was the melting point to which the entire black community had rioted.

For the next few weeks, we talked so much about this and it was so nice to see that he was no bitter about what happened. He was a very intelligent and perceptive guy and speaking to him first hand I learned so much that would never ever make it to the newspapers. He has been an artist and a photographer for years and he still lives in the Toxteth area and is very well respected.

There was so much poverty in the area like mentioned earlier but so many people did their best to help out in the community.

One of my earliest memories was of a lovely lady called Maya. She set up her own nursery in the area. My mum used to pay twelve pence for me to go and there were loads of kids there. Maya could have been making hardly anything but she just wanted to give something back.

 All of us kids used to call her Auntie Maya and she used to give us chocolate buttons. There were toys to play with and she read us stories and gave us milk. We would come home really happy. The parents were happy because back then when there were government-funded nurseries they wouldn’t be in an area like Toxteth so it would have been a case of just go without. Liverpool was pretty much left to rot under Thatcher’s government and this only got worse later on.

Another early memory I have is walking down the road and seeing a dirty syringe in the gutter. I pointed and said mummy what’s that? She dragged me away telling me it was dirty.

Unfortunately, when there is poverty there is a huge spike in drug-taking. Without opportunity or jobs and drugs not having the same services that are available to this day Toxteth was close to being on its knees and the riots where a long time coming.

When you grow up in an area like this you think that it is the same everywhere else. Its only when you move away you realise life can be very different even a few miles away.

Introduction to the blog

Hi everyone and welcome to my first blog post. For those of you who don’t know me, I strongly recommend that you read about the author first.

The reason being is that I have led a very diverse life and it would be a good idea if you have a brief understanding to start with.

Like I mention in the about the author post it says that I will tell the stories in the way that I would talk to my friends to make it as realistic as possible so check out the glossary as well.

If you are not from Liverpool nor served in the military without this it could prove a challenging read.

The reason I’m starting this is that I’ve been to many different places across the world and I have had many different experiences. My experiences have not always been good and I think it’s important to tell my story.

I don’t want this to be just a travel blog as I didn’t set out to live in many different countries its just the way things ended up.

This is the story of what put me on this path and also the extreme highs and the extreme lows which I’ve faced along the way.

It still surprises me that someone with my background managed to get a degree and now is currently an educator of both children and adults.

What I want people to see from my journey is that anything is possible if your willing to put the work in.

Even when nobody believes in you it is important to never listen to the no and most importantly to believe in yourself.

It took me a long time to get to this mindset and I’ve made some horrible mistakes along the way.

I have hit rock bottom multiple times and by the grace of God have managed to pull myself out of the swamp many times.

My story in parts should act as a cautionary tale and you can definitely see in many parts of this tale would be the wrong way to do things.

Luckily I learn from my mistakes and I don’t dwell on the past.

As messed up as some of my stories may be I will always tell them with humor and a lot of time the pain which was inflicted upon me usually by my own mistakes acted as a powerful lesson down the road for me.

One of my biggest regrets was getting mixed up with drink and drugs to the point of it nearly ruining my life. As dark as some of these posts may be I hope people can take something from this and see that its a very slippery slope if left unchecked.

As everyone who parties know it can be the best feeling in the world and personally I’ve had some of the best nights of my life partying.

My story will show all this and the lead up to my downfall and how literally everything became so unmanageable.

My story is far from over after this as I am one of the lucky ones who managed to get himself better and rebuild everything from scratch.

It obviously isn’t easy but it’s possible if your willing to do the work.

My blog is not going to be an anti-drug blog this is purely my own experience and believe me, it wasn’t all horrible. If you are telling someone on a yacht with full crew hanging out with a lot of beautiful women doing coke that he needs to stop taking drugs believe me they are not going to listen and yes this actually happened.

Many people know from personal experience that drugs will take you away from these beautiful settings and people to much darker places.

Moving away from drugs will also tell of my many experiences while serving in the military.

Some of the funniest people I have ever met are soldiers and I will also speak in detail about my experiences in Iraq which I worked for three years after I left the army working for a PMC.

I will talk in detail about the chain of events that led me to go to university as a very mature student. Also feeling like Herbert from Family Guy in both college and university.

I was lucky enough to meet an interesting range of people from the university and I will share some of the techniques I used to help me keep up with everyone being half my age in both the classroom and when out drinking.

A big part of my life which I’ve left and gone back to many times is working in nightclubs as security. I have had some of the funniest craziest nights doing this job. However, I’ve had some horrible nights as well and unfortunately, you are in contact with some of the dregs of society.

Unless I saw some of these things I witnessed first hand then I honestly would not have believed them.

It’s unbelievable how much the industry has changed for the worst and it was these changes and the toxic environment which made me want to change my reality.

After I got my degree I had many difficulties which led me on my current path.

Firstly from not being able to find a job to then finding the job from hell which was packaged up nicely as a dream graduate job. Many times in my life I have learned the hard way that all that glitters is not gold.

This led me to plan an exit strategy from the Uk and so far has landed me in Thailand, China, and currently at the time of writing this Vietnam.

Some of the people I’ve met and some of the situations I have been in are mind-blowing for both good and bad reasons which I will cover in detail as well.

Hopefully, this blog will have something for everyone and you can all relate it in some way.

I hope it to be motivational, uplifting, funny, unbelievable, and most of all entertaining.

There will be many times that I will change the names of the people in the stories as they would not appreciate this getting and in some cases, they will most likely be single again.

I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I have.  Keep getting after it and remember this is your life and its ending one minute at a time. You have one life so live it.