The Great Escape

The past couple of days before deciding to write the piece I had to get clarification on a couple of things. It was then I realized that by finally writing my story it was going to open a lot of doors inside me that have been shut for many years.


This may not be a bad thing but then without me realizing this could also be very damaging. The way the mind processes things especially traumatic experiences can show up unexpectedly many years later.


I also figured that I cant tell the whole story without pieces missing no matter how fucked up they may be. My story may not be normal but a lot of the issues I’ve faced are very common.


Granted I faced many difficulties but overall I did ok. So many children just as capable as I were completely failed by the system and ended up fucking there lives up and in many cases continuing the cycle.


If I show the good with the bad then it shows there is a way out no matter your background and how hopeless things can seem.


There have been some groundbreaking discoveries regarding psychology during the past thirty years but I honestly feel that this is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Another factor which also needs to be strongly considered is many of these discoveries are happening too late due to the government refusing to spend the money where it’s needed most.


A prime example of this is soldiers coming back from war. So many veterans are being failed by the system and have serious mental health issues which are being left untreated.


The American government started to do research on PTSD straight after the Vietnam war. This in itself is a scary thought as that conflict ended in 1975.

There have been numerous wars since then with very little thought regarding the after-effects and mental health.

https://www.verywellmind.com/ptsd-from-the-vietnam-war-2797449

The last Chopper out of Vietnam in 1975
The author on the roof of the embassy in Saigon 2019

The author on the other side of the roof. The embassy has been left exactly the way it was during the war


The same principals can be applied to almost anything with regard to mental health. I’ve spoken in detail in previous posts about the widespread drug issue which exploded onto Liverpool.

Also the extreme poverty and injustice in certain poorer areas of the city. The worst of all would be putting children into prisons. What kind of moron didn’t see that coming back to haunt them?

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/oct/08/thousands-british-military-veterans-let-down-medical-discharge-failures


Its amazing that so many of these widespread issues are still continuing to be ignored even now. It’s no secret that the government really doesn’t care but even from a financial standpoint would you rather pay out ten million or one hundred million.


It really doesn’t make sense especially when the Conservative party has always been all about the money.

https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/news/more-than-3500-homeless-veterans-are-slipping-through-the-net-each-year-new-campaign-claims-63401


I need to make it clear that I’m not against locking children up but it should only be done as a last resort. If a child has committed murder or rape then at the very least they need to spend time in some sort of a secure facility.


Obviously, every case is different and accidents can happen but let’s be honest if your killing or raping as a child then you really need round the clock specialist care and supervision. There has been many examples of this including the Mary Bell case.

Her case was far from normal but after years away from her environment she was released and since then has been a model citizen but under a new identity.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/kids-who-kill-shootings-stranglings-8753436


The flip side to that coin really doesn’t bear thinking about. Locking up kids who have had absolutely no guidance who are born into poverty is not rehabilitation. This only keeps them in a constant state of reoffending.


Granted there is more opportunity now to break that cycle but still if all you have known is a life of crime and you have very little education its difficult to actually walk through that door.


The persons environment is also a huge factor in all of this. If you’re surrounded by poverty and very little options for a well-paid job then to avoid disappointment which is already a daily thing you will look elsewhere no matter the cost.


A similar thing happened with the town of Skelmersdale which is just outside Liverpool. Many families were enticed to move there as many government programs were initiated there.

A lot of factories and warehouses were opened there and many Liverpool families left in droves as the opportunities in Liverpool were so few.


The thought of subsidized housing and plenty of well paid stable jobs was exactly the push that many needed to up sticks and go.The inevitable happened after a few years the funding was cut and most of the community was suddenly out of work.

The knock-on effect of this was many businesses would move out of the area as there was no money.In about a year the place had transformed drastically which was a huge contributing factor to the spike in crime.


In true government fashion instead of actually addressing the problems brought on by these cuts decided was just easier to lock people up including children which were the birth of the borstals. This was seen as the cheaper option but the long term effect was far from it.


I often wonder if the same help which is available now was made available to my dad would he have got better. I know deep down the answer is most likely no. He could never take responsibility for anything and it was always somebody else’s fault.


If a person could not be blamed then it would be the place. For many years all he would talk about is Torquay.

It was like the Dick Whittington story as in his mind in Torquay the streets were paved with gold. Every meal was a banquet and every paycheck a fortune.


One thing he did get right was every paycheck was a fortune and it had to be as a newspaper is about thirty quid down there.

Spoiler alert John Bailey ended up getting there years later and none of the issues he had run away from were solved. He ended up coming back to Liverpool back up to his usual tricks.


Things were really deteriorating at home and it wasn’t getting better whatsoever. My mum was in an impossible position and she had absolutely no idea of my father’s addiction when they got together.

John Bailey 3 years before his death


For years like many addicts, he managed to hide it well. However, Heroin is just like any other drug and it will just keep taking and taking from you until you have nothing left.


The final straw is when she came home one day and found him fast asleep on the couch with a needle hanging out of his arm and it was time to go.


What amazed me the most is that a lot of this was hidden pretty well from me. I knew things were not right at times. I didn’t understand what was happening as I was a kid but knew things were not normal.


At the same time, there were some really good memories as well. I remember the first Mcdonalds opening in Liverpool City Centre. I was really excited as My mum and dad and I went to meet Ronald Mcdonald who was doing the grand opening.


It sounds weird to me to tell this story now as Mcdonalds is everywhere. In 1984 we would have to drive into the city center and go for burgers.

As this was a new thing it really was a special treat and it was so exciting to go for a burger. Wow, I’m old ha hahaha.


The only burgers you could get before Mcdonalds was Wimpy. The wimpy restaurants are still around but you mainly see them in service stations now.

When there was not so much competition they thrived especially in Liverpool and Manchester.


I remember driving back from London and stopping in the services and to my surprise seeing a Wimpy. I started having some serious nostalgia and went over and ordered my food. I remember being all excited and couldn’t wait for my meal.


Ok, I’m being as nice as possible now when I’m describing the food. It basically tasted like disappointment and failure.

There have been occasions I have seen Wimpy again in other remote locations but the same wave of nostalgia did not return.

I simply opted for the 4-pound cheese sandwich on stale bread deal from WH Smiths.


Also when you go to wimpy you don’t get to have the thrilling argument with the service station staff member who is trying her hardest to sell you a ten-foot Toblerone and an out of date dairy milk the size of my head for half price as it’s just gone out of date.


Anyway, I remember us all going and queuing up outside as most of Liverpool had come while Ronald ran up and down giving us toys. Then Mr Wimpy made an appearance. Both stores were clearly trying to outdo each other but as a little kid, we really saw the benefit of it.

Mr Wimpy before he fell by the wayside


There was also a lot of pictures circulating from this time of us as a family and we look really happy. Things were initially hard for me when we left John Bailey but as the years went on I saw this was the only viable option.


I could not understand for the life of me why my mum Carol would end up with someone like this. It wasn’t just the fact that John was extremely charming and was doing very well.

when they met I honestly think they were both dealing with some serious issues.


Especially my mum she had the worst relationship with my grandmother, Helen.
I will talk extensively about her in later blogs and unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of positive stuff to say about her either.

I don’t have any bad feelings towards her but when she died I really wasn’t bothered as harsh as that sounds.


It probably affected me a lot more than I realized when I was younger but it was simple in my mind. I thought well she really couldn’t care less about me so why should I be upset now shes dead.

I didn’t wish it on her and she lasted until she was 88 so she didn’t do too badly all in. Considering she wished herself dead for about 18 years as well.


She also had a horrendous childhood and was beaten whenever she did something wrong by her mother.

I remember hearing a tale of when she broke her leg and she was beaten for not taking care and then as normal she had to wash all the pots, pans, and dishes with her leg in a cast resting on a stool.


She was also given electric shock treatment by doctors when she was a child when it was not needed but way back when nobody would dare challenge a doctor’s opinion.


We will touch a lot on her later but the point I’m trying to make is that my grandma had a terrible childhood and had no idea how to express or show love. This was very damaging to my mother who in turn gravitated towards my father.


He had been part of a very destructive cycle and did not have the tools to change. The only difference being my father was exposed to serious violence from such a young age so he was constantly in survival mode. The drugs made this go away even if only for a short time.


So then together they had me and like there own parents had the best intentions to do the right thing. There is a saying which rings so true which is the road to hell is paved with good intentions.


I’m one of the lucky ones who managed to break this cycle. It didn’t happen overnight and as a result, I’ve made some horrible decisions that have impacted me greatly.


Luckily I learn from my mistakes and I can take ownership of my actions which is unfortunately not very common these days as so-called experts seem to have a name for every condition.


So after Carol found the needle in John Bailey’s arm she started planning how to escape. As you can imagine it would be impossible to talk about this with John so she had to do all of this in secret.


Some people would argue that she was wrong to separate a child from his father. However, is this really an environment that a child needs to think is normal. Having a role model like John Bailey would not have helped me whatsoever.


I don’t think I would have gone down the Heroin route but I certainly went down the horrible path of addiction with cocaine.

I’ve come close to jail before but I know its not a normal part of life. It really burns my head out when people wear jail like a badge of honor but then I think its a serious sign of the times.


So Carol was seriously biding her time and at the same time trying her utmost to make everything all seem so normal.

This was for two reasons firstly for my sake and secondly, so John Bailey would not suspect anything. If he had smelt a rat there was no way he would let her leave.


As well as doing absolutely everything from taking care of me, cooking, cleaning, and paying the bills at the end then he could not function without her.

Not only that he could cause arguments and give himself a reason to use drugs again and again. So all in it was a win-win situation for John.


Like I mentioned earlier on as well having someone else there would mean he would never have to look at himself in the mirror as everything could be her fault. It must have been a living hell and so pulled it off well managing to leave when she did.


Then a gift from the gods came to her my dad was in trouble again and it was looking certain that he was going back to prison. He was caught with a van full of stolen televisions and once again he had got himself into trouble with his mate Mo.


As well as drugs ruining him his so-called friend Mo fucked him big time. My dad had gone from robbing jewelry stores to stealing TVs from schools and old people’s homes.


The scam was simple as people were a lot more trusting back then. He and Mo would pull up in a van and go into a pace such as a school or a private old people’s home wearing coveralls.


They would say they were here to fix the broken TV and 99 percent of the time were not challenged. They would walk in unplug the TV walkout normally and drive off.


He was doing this for months and suddenly he was caught with an anonymous tip which dropped him right in the shit.


John Bailey was famous for his misguided loyalty and he was told by numerous people that Mo was a police informer. My dad and him went way back and he was having none of it.

He fell out with a lot of people and even ended up in some vicious fistfights over his so-called friend.


Mo was never a fighter and let John do all the fighting and assured him it was all lies. As a result of this so many people would not work with John Bailey anymore because he was associated with Mo.


You add that to his scrambled brains from constant drug-taking that’s why he ended up doing such low-level crime.

There was always a big job around the corner and things would always be better like with the Torquay paradox he had created in his own mind.


If I remember rightly John found out the truth about Mo just before he was due to go to court as he managed to get a look at some classified documents.

As you can imagine his world fell apart from being betrayed by his close mate like that.


I’m pretty sure Mo was just interested in covering his own back and he had a lot of fingers in a lot of pies so in his mind he could keep earning with impunity as long as he kept supplying the intelligence to the police.


The last time I saw Mo was at my Dad’s funeral which was roughly ten years ago and he looked really well.

He must have been about 70 but he was impeccably dressed and you can tell he had money. I haven’t heard or seen anything from him since that day. I will be very surprised if he’s still around now as he must be 80.


So John Bailey got six months and the day he left we started to pack up what we needed so we could leave.Carol made it into a game and I honestly didn’t suspect a thing as I was used to John being away all the time.


The house and shop which was now empty were owned by John Bailey from when he was making nice money so it was a case of just leaving.

John Coombes a friend of my mums came with a van and we left in the middle of the night so none of the neighbors would see and let John know in a letter.


I remember the last day in school before I left it was Carl Johnson’s birthday who was my best friend. I had no idea I would never see him again.

This was before the days of the internet so tracing him would be nearly impossible.

It would have been a lot easier if his name was not so common. I often wonder what happened to him as we were the best of friends.

The author left Carl Johnson on the right


Its probably for the best that I didn’t suspect anything and if I thought things were just temporary then it would be easier to process.

I also have to think of my mum she really didn’t have a lot of options and I can’t think of a way she could have done it any differently.


So in the middle of the night, we went and stayed in John Coomes House and made a fort out of cushions in his living room and slept on the couch.


The next day we pulled up to our new flat Number 2 Parkfield Road in Aigburth. This was going to be a fresh start or so we thought.

The Beginning of the end

The last blog post ended up going down the rabbit hole of a messed up broken prison system. This is relevant to the story as it provides a lot of back information regarding our circumstances.


Understandably, my father had this mindset. I mean with everything that had gone on and with his background he wasn’t going to start selling insurance or patio furniture.


Granted this is no excuse for a lot of the fucked up shit he did at home at this by no means gives him a free pass but it would be much more likely to happen in this way to someone like him than from someone born into a loving family.


Another thing which I am trying to point out is the effect of drugs. This is not just about the user but of the people around them.

This is how drugs are given their classification system. This is also taken into consideration the damage it will do to the community.


So for example I’m selling Heroin in Toxteth and I have twenty regular customers. That’s twenty people who are becoming physically sick and will do whatever it takes to get money for their next fix.

It’s a huge spike in crimes such as theft and burglary and also prostitution. This also puts a huge strain on hospitals, health care, and protective services.

So clearly this is why Heroin would be a class A as it’s not exactly uncommon to rob off your family to continue this expensive hobby.


If you refer to my earlier posts as well there was suddenly a lot of Heroin in Toxteth after the riots so it quickly became just like the TV show The Walking Dead only with a lot more extras taking their roles very seriously.


The same with cocaine even though its a psychological addiction it still has its fair share of casualties myself included. This will always be a class A drug as well.


Don’t be fooled by Cocaine it looks so glamorous but it still wrecks families especially when made into Crack.


Class B would be things such as Speed, Ecstasy, and Ketamine. This would not wreck a community but could easily wreck a person’s health so it gets this classification.
Class C is things such as prescription medication and steroids.

Steroids are a bit of a grey area as its legal to have them and use them but illegal to sell them. If it’s for personal use then you will not get into trouble.

I have experienced this first-hand many years ago when stopped and searched and they gave me and my friend back our bag of gear untouched then let us go.

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/drugs-and-crime


There is a well known saying that crime does not pay and, to be honest, that’s not true. Granted it’s getting harder and harder to get away with things in modern times but at the time the money was coming in thick and fast.


My dad had bought our house and had bought the butcher shop as he was always involved in something.


He told me many stories from before he met my mum and he had been locked up in numerous European countries.

He told me Sweden was the best place to get locked up and he was sad to leave when he had finished his sentence.

I don’t know what’s worse in comparison Sweden offers no deterrent for offenders or that my dad was so used to living such a chaotic life that jail was just seen as the norm?


He told me though this was a different world and in these other countries, people were a lot more trusting.

This was also way before the days of CCTV and agencies and police actually talking to each other so for years he was literally doing his own thing.


There was not such widespread poverty in these places either so the people were not nearly as streetwise which played a huge part in his success.


He would tell me unbelievable stories of turning up to a department or a jewelry store in a suit with a story that he had to fix something or needed access to the back of the place.

They would let him in and next thing he would have the safe open and be gone.


I’ve said numerous times if he hadn’t of found drugs he would probably have been a millionaire easily but he always ended up back at square one due to his broken programming because of his environment.


As creative as he got the more risks he took and the more money he made. The more money he made then the more drugs and alcohol would rear their ugly head then sooner or later he was back in Jail.


The last place he was locked up before he came home was Switzerland. His friend was in there already and they ended up with a nice assignment in the tailor’s shop inside the prison.


My dad told him the truth that he had no idea about being a tailor. His pal told him don’t worry you will pick it up and its the best job here. That was so typical of John Bailey he was in prison a day and got the best job without even trying.


He told me the security fences were pathetic and a far cry from Walton prison. He managed to get a suitcase out of the property store, got himself a few made-up changes of clothes, and then fucked off in the middle of the night after serving a year of his sentence.


The prison was right next to a group of mountains and he spent the next three days walking across the mountains with a suitcase and managed to sneak himself back into the UK without incident or alerting the authorities.


If he had kept his nose clean he would have been ok. Years later after my mum left him he decided to give his friend Mo a lift. Unknown to John, Mo had an outstanding warrant for a job he did years back.


The police swooped on them in John’s car and they both got arrested. It was a sheer fluke they found out about Switzerland so John had to finish his sentence back in the UK. As the saying goes let no good deed go unpunished.


So the shop is running smoothly and I started at infant’s school. Right across the road on Mill street, there was my school called St Cleopas.

I remember every day my mum taking me to school and she was trying to install manners into me and teach me things such as not to drop litter.


As she’s trying to teach me this there are mothers opening chocolate bars, throwing the wrapper on the floor, and giving it to kids all in front of me.


She was pushing water uphill but still, she persisted and as a result, this was the start of me learning core values. If you learn this stuff early on it becomes second nature.

Someone once told me and it’s so true manners cost nothing but you cant buy them.
This was also unfortunately when things started to seriously break down between my mum and dad.

I don’t remember this but there were times when I was a baby and he had been locked up and that put a huge strain on things.


Now he was out of jail and making money but still the drugs will always come first. That’s not a personal thing and no addict sets out for it to be this way but believe me it’s always the case.


I remember when I first started going to Cocaine Anonymous and there was a new guy in the room and he was sharing. This is when you decide to speak to the group. He was telling his story and also asking for advice.


The chair of the meeting said to him if you had to choose right now between your kids and Cocaine what would you choose?


The guy answers my kids of course don’t be stupid. Well, he replied I’ve known you an hour and you have already told me multiple incidents when you have chosen Cocaine first every time.


The addict sat back gobsmacked as he hadn’t seen it this way. I’m sorry I’m a little vague on this story but it has to stay anonymous for a reason or people will not get better. Believe it or not but miracles do happen in those meetings.


Another huge strain on the relationship was that my mum had to do absolutely everything as my dad was always sick. Now it’s obvious why he was always sick but back then drug knowledge was very limited at best.

We thought that he was sick but the comedown from Heroin is fucking awful. Not to mention that it makes you sick when you try to withdraw off the drug itself.


So mum would have to get up at the crack of dawn to get to the slaughterhouse to pick up the meat.

Then she had to get back and get me ready for school. Then she would have to make breakfast for dad.
He would not surface until about midday.


He would help out in the shop but mum knew having him near the til was a bad idea and they wouldn’t have a penny unless she took charge of this as well.

Looking back it’s such a waste to see someone with so much potential pulling off crazy jobs all over Europe getting locked up for really stupid stuff.


The worst one he got caught for was shoplifting in Leos. Leos was a huge supermarket in Toxteth where the big Tesco is built now.

At the time the area of Toxteth was still a white area and I had never seen a black person before.


I never forget this black lad joined our class and he sat opposite me.
I don’t mean this to sound ignorant as there was no hatred or malice towards him.


Me and my best mate Carl Johnson started talking to him as we were fascinated and he had never seen a black person before. Carl was my best mate in that school and we did everything together.


I’ve tried to look for Carl on Facebook but it turns out there is a lot of people with that name and I haven’t seen him for 35 years.
Wherever he is I hope he is doing well as we used to have a scream together and play in each other’s houses.


He taught me this genius game where we would run into my mum and dad and shout poo. Then we would laugh and run away.

I don’t know why that game didn’t get old quickly but we seemed to have hours of fun with that and playing with He-Man figures together.


So me and Carl are eating lunch with the black lad and I had a genius idea and asked him to pass me the salt. He did and I touched his hand to see if any of his black had gone onto me. It hadn’t and luckily he never saw what I was doing.
I ran out of school mum mum mum.


She calmed me down and I told her all about this kid. She told me it was normal and I didn’t believe her.

She took me to the library and shown me some encyclopedias and I asked quite innocently so there is more than one black person mum?
Trying not to laugh she explained there were a few as close as a mile up the road.


He became good mates with me and Karl and for the life me I don’t remember his name. Once again I hope he is well and he’s reading this laughing at my stupidity.


Later on, in the year and Indian boy joined and he started hanging out with us as well. I was a lot more prepared for this now and I figured there would be more than one Indian in the world.


You are all probably gobsmacked reading this but remember this was 1984. So many places in the north of England were even worse. Multiculturalism wasn’t a thing and Liverpool was one of the first cities to embrace this.


A good example of this is in the book Cocky which is a biography of Curtis Warren and his rise to being one of the biggest drug dealers in the world to his downfall where he is still locked up at the time of writing.


Curtis born and bred in Liverpool obviously had a huge network of people working for him. When conducting surveillance none of the other police forces at first could figure out why the black lads were working together with the white lads.


when it was explained that they all grew up together this was normal this left many of the detectives speechless as this wouldn’t happen where they were from. This is the mid-90s which is not a million years ago either.

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


I remember me and the Indian boy came out of school with Carl and again mum mum mum this is my brown friend. This wasn’t seen as racist back then but my mum pointed out that’s great but you don’t have to point out that he’s brown.

But mum he is brown look. Yes, I can see that son you don’t need to tell me. I can’t remember this guy’s name but if you’re reading this I hope you’re well.


There was another kid I was mates with called John Cassell. His dad also called John was mates with my dad and we used to play in each other’s houses.

John How I remember him


I knew his dad John had died about ten years ago but by chance one night when working behind the bar in the Parkfield in Lark Lane we got chatting.

Old picture of John and Winnie

He added me on Facebook and I asked him is your dad called John and your mum Winnie. How the hell do you know that he asked?


I told him we were best mates when we were kids and at first, he couldn’t remember. He rings his mum and she confirms his story so we become mates again.

Not like when we were kids but you have to admit it’s a small world and everything happens for a reason.


I said to him please don’t think I’m speaking out of turn but can I have your mum’s number and ended up talking to Winnie that night.

We were on the phone for about two hours and I was made up to speak to her. Big John and her were always lovely to me as a kid and you don’t forget things like that.


We had covered pretty much everything in our long conversation before we said goodbye.
Im so glad I took the time out to do this because just over a year later she died.

John and Winnie a year before her death

Even though I hadn’t seen her for years I was gutted for John. He took it as well as expected and he has his own family now and is doing well.


We don’t speak often but we are ok with each other and I’m so glad me and Winnie got to speak one last time. In case you’ve missed it in any of my previous posts time is precious.


Things were getting considerably worse at home and mum tried her best to hide it from me. To be fair she did a really good job.

I could never understand why when I sat on my dad’s knee or lay next to him watching TV he couldn’t even keep his eyes open or string together a sentence.


In hindsight I know now he was fucked up on Heroin but as a kid, it was just put down as one of life’s mysteries.


When he was functional he was nice to me and used to give me money for ice cream. He would throw it down from the top window into the street.


I honestly don’t think he wanted to be this person but he didn’t have the tools to change.


The more he hated himself the more drugs he took and the more he poisoned his environment.

It had got to the point where he could hide it anymore so my mum started making plans to move us both away.She felt like she had no other option and this was no place for a child.


A couple of months before the butcher’s shop had gone under and we were not making any money.


You add that to my dad not being able to string a sentence together let alone plan any jobs or get involved in anything money got tight fast and mum began to seriously worry for all of us.

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.


https://www.historyextra.com/period/second-world-war/when-food-rationing-begin-end-ww2/


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.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/youth-detention-centres-abuse-victims-margaret-thatcher-brutal-treatment-eighties-short-sharp-shock-a8166861.html

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/detention-centre-torture-boys-youth-sexual-physical-abuse-inquiry-kirklevington-medomsley-a8142456.html


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.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/story-festival-gardens-wasteland-international-17133347

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.

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

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.

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskUK/comments/1634ar/what_are_scousers_what_is_so_bad_about_them_and/

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,

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

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. https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/delroy-michael-showers-toxteth-brothers-11493964 v https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/life-crimes-curtis-warren-gangster-17557144

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 https://oneoffthebeatentrack.com/glossary/ 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. https://www.theverge.com/2014/7/22/5881501/the-unbelievable-life-and-death-of-michael-c-ruppert

If you read about Ruppert and an investigative journalist called Gary Webb you will see that this is very possible. https://theintercept.com/2014/09/25/managing-nightmare-cia-media-destruction-gary-webb/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Webb

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. https://youtu.be/Hj8a6vs5lM8

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.https://oneoffthebeatentrack.com/glossary/

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. https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/toxteth-riots-1981-background—3369242 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_Toxteth_riots

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. https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/man-whose-arrest-triggered-toxteth-17092910

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. https://wordpress.com/block-editor/page/oneoffthebeatentrack.com/8

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.https://oneoffthebeatentrack.com/glossary/

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.