E13 Out of The Frying Pan Into the Fire

Things were going well in Aigburth a little too well, to be honest so fate decided to intervene.

I had settled in well at Saint Michael’s school and had made some great friends.
John Bailey had been released from prison and in his letters to Carol, he had been understandably pissed off that she had left but he had been very amicable about everything.

I think in hindsight Carol should have seen it as a huge red flag because whatever she was saying he was just agreeing with without argument.
I know all of you are thinking about what’s the problem with that but if you knew John he always had to be right and he always had to have it his way.

His ego and his refusal to listen to others is what made so many people stop working with him when it came out Mo was a police informer.

Like an idiot, he defended Mo for so long and wouldn’t even consider this to be true. Some would say his loyalty was impressive but he was loyal to all the wrong people at the worst possible times.

So he began to come to see me and pick me up and we would go and sit in our old house in Isac street.

It was nice to be back in touch and I feel in his own way he liked it as well but it was all fueled by hatred and his ego was fucking with him big time.
He couldn’t let anything go like most addicts and the more drugs he took the more twisted he became.

It should be noted now he had an empty house he did not have to hide his Heroin addiction or act like he wasn’t fucked up so he spent many a night chasing that dragon.


An addict smoking Heroin
Most Heroin addicts graduate to the needle and its apparently a much better high see below link for more information


So John has been out of jail ten minutes he’s back using drugs and back to his old tricks to get money.
while he was away had made a lot of new contacts so he started to get involved with some nasty people.

John was lucky to get locked up because back in the early 80s drugs was not as rampant in the prison system.
You could still get anything you wanted but a lot of people just used to smoke weed and relax.

There are many ways how drugs get into the prison which I will talk about in later blogs.
However in 1996 disaster unwittingly hit the prison system.
Some genius in parliament decided to introduce mandatory drug testing into the penal system.

Now, in theory, this is a good idea but in reality, it made everything so much worse. The reason it was worse is most people started testing positive for Cannabis which can be detected in your urine up to 28 days after smoking it.

Heroin is out of your system in a day and cocaine roughly three days depending on your metabolism. So many prisoners started taking Heroin when these new measures were introduced and this sent many people into a cycle of addiction and crime.

See the below links for further information regarding the system in place and many of the issues faced.



It all came to a head a couple of weeks later when I was at my dad’s. He had got himself a new girlfriend and she was looking after me so I heard about this incident some years later.

John was walking down Mill street and walking opposite to him be chance is Carol.
God only knows what triggered him that day or what had happened earlier but he saw her and flipped out.

He starts screaming at her chasing her up the road she runs into one of the shops terrified and runs behind the counter.
He’s screaming that he’s going to kill her and she’s fucking dead and all other lovely stuff in the middle of a crowded shop.

The shop owner managed to keep John from coming behind the counter but still, he won’t calm down. The police arrive to try to defuse the situation and make it ten times worse.

It should be noted what happened next really would never happen in today’s world but this is the mid-eighties it was a world apart from the modern-day.

The police calm John down and he starts pointing the finger at Carol and blaming her for all his shortcomings.
He argued that Carol had left him with bare floorboards and absolutely no furniture.

Police in England during the 80s

He had come home to nothing, not even a note.
Now we know this is all bullshit but the police are believing everything he says without question.
So he tells the police straight Carol can fuck off she’s not getting her son back he’s staying with me.

Now the police wherein a mixture of three emotions firstly didn’t want to be in Toxteth as even years after the riots they were not welcomed by the community.

Secondly, they couldn’t be arsed with all of this nor the paperwork they would have to do, and third and most important they wanted to get back to the station quickly so they could have a cup of tea.

If this had happened now social services would have been involved a lot quicker but back then the system was a lot more broken than it is today.
The officers were telling Carol that there was nothing they could do as apparently the law was on his side.

John not content with this and not wanting the responsibility of his son only wanted to inflict his poison and spread his hatred because if everyone would just listen to him things would be ok.

So the police are trying to find a middle ground and then they came up with an amazing plan. They would escort John Bailey back to Parkfield Road and he would come into our home and take whatever furniture he wanted because after all, it was only fair.

Carol was devastated as she had hardly taken anything from Isac street and she was already struggling big time and bringing me up without any financial support but he was adamant he had nothing and she had everything.

Considering that John lived one hundred meters away you would think that these clowns in uniform would have the common sense to go and check his house to see if what he was saying was true.

That’s impossible without a warrant one of the police answered.
So the police take John inside and he starts picking up chairs, tables, and other bits of furniture.

Then he starts asking the police to help him carry stuff downstairs. They won’t help him with it and he flips out because he thinks he’s the wronged party.

He honestly could care less that I lived there it was all about at this moment and to prove a point. So he’s walking out of the house pointing at things saying I’m coming back for that and that and that and that make sure it’s ready for me or there will be fucking murder.

Both of the police conveniently didn’t hear any of the threats even though they were stood opposite him so he left pleased with himself and returned an hour later smug as fuck as he dropped him off at my mum’s.

I remember coming home and Carol had a story about how it was the landlord’s furniture and we were getting new better stuff sent to us.
I was a kid and didn’t know any better and just believed it without question.

Life went on and Carol did a good job of hiding it from me and she somehow slowly but surely started to get little bits of people.

Gorden helped with a couple of things and so did a few of her friends its times like this you find out who your friends are. Quite quickly most of the stuff was replaced.
A few days later there was a call from John Bailey all pleased with himself talking about the electricity meter.

When Carol had moved out she didn’t have the money to pay it so she just left. Now bear in mind this was the eighties and this happened all the time.

All John had to say is it was my ex and she has left I’ve no idea where she has gone and they would have wiped it clean.

Obviously, in modern times it’s a lot harder to do this but back then it happened all the time.
To do this to anyone is probably the lowest you can go but for him to do this is ten times worse.

He’s spent his life breaking the law and nobody knows better than him that a grass is the worst scumbag of all.
None of what had happened with Mo even registered it was all about winning the fight.

Carol pointed out to him well you have not just hurt me you’ve hurt Arlo.

No, I haven’t I done this to fuck you over you fucking rat.

How can you not see the bigger picture here John?

I have done this to hurt you nothing to do with our son.

But John you have not given us a penny towards food or his clothes and now I have to find this money as well as buy new furniture to which John thought this was hilarious and put the phone down.

Carol at this stage must have been at breaking point and she realized it was not going to get better anytime soon.
The John she knew and once loved had died years ago he had been consumed by the that almighty heroin dragon and it seems he was lost forever.

He couldn’t be reasoned with he could not see more than ten seconds into the future and it was all about the next high or the next lot of money or the next job.

Due to growing up in such a destructive environment, he didn’t realize just how out of control his life had become.
He was on a runaway train with no brakes heading down shit street at 100 miles per hour.

He lost interest for a while as he had no more dirt on Carol he still hated her with a passion but he had no other cards up his sleeve yet.

I found out that he went and told the same lies to the local council about having no furniture and he was given a 400-pound grant which he didn’t have to pay back so he could buy more furniture as he claimed he was on bare floorboards.

He got the money band went on a bender then did a few other jobs and decided he wanted to be back in my life again.
He got some paperwork sent through the family court which said that Carol had to let him see me.

The court did take Carol’s side but if she didn’t allow him access she would be in serious trouble. So he started picking me up again.
I had started to dread going to see him because he would always cause a huge argument in front of the house and it was horrible to see that as a kid.

I was too young to know it was all drug-fueled but I know that man was not my dad anymore it’s like he had been possessed.

I didn’t realize until years later how obvious this was and ill explain it to you now.
I would come home and always be bored because we would never go anywhere as John would just fall asleep in front of the TV.

He would always say he was broke and didn’t have a penny to his name then we would usually go to a huge derelict block of flats where he would give a guy a load of money and then back to his so he could get fucked up.

There were blocks of flats like this all over Liverpool as the rampant drug use will not go away by itself and with funding being very scarce the problem continued to fester.

Run down derelict crack flats

See the two links below which show both the landscape of Liverpool during the early 80s and the damage done by Heroin to the city in more detail



It may sound obvious to the reader that he was buying drugs but it’s not so obvious when it’s your dad and it’s right in front of you.
There is no excuse for his behavior but he must had have so much pain to behave in this way.

I started seeing him and soon enough the fun and games started again he would right Carol and tell her to fuck off that Arlo is staying with me and she would have to call the police.

There were many times when I was at my dad’s at the street would fill with blue lights and police.
He would say to me come on son your mum is making you go home.

I would go into the street with all the neighbors watching and then I would disappear into the night in a police car.

Carol would then have to make food for me as he would never have anything in. A lot of heroin addicts have no appetite and he didn’t think about anyone except himself.

He knew he was losing the game and he had to figure out a way to get back in the game and spread some hurt. So he disappeared off the scene for a little while.

He sold Isac street and the shop and then he was solvent again and started to rent a flat off Ullet road which was even closer to me.
The fun had only just begun and it got worse before it got better.

E12 Mums History

I have spoken about the rest of the family so it’s only fair I mention my mum Carol Power and her history.
She took back her maiden name after she and John had divorced or maybe that’s all a lie and I’m secretly adopted haha.

We know all about her parents Helen and Tom from previous blogs but mum was born and grew up around Gateacre village and Lee park which is practically next to the village.

Now it became apparent from a young age that Carol was a very talented dancer.
So much so my grandma Helen put carol into dance classes.
She studied many different forms from ballet to street dance.

There would always be something she was training for and she was constantly pushing herself to the limit.

Now, this was good because she kept pushing herself and she was well known in the stage community. Obviously, that is a very big community but for the performers, it can be a very small world as well.

She did competitions abroad and went on cruises as a result of this and had even danced on the BBC numerous times.
To be on television in the early sixties was a very big deal. Don’t forget there were only a couple of channels back then so air time was extremely limited.

People didn’t have anywhere near the amount of entertainment of today’s standards so every night most of the country would be sat in front of the TV waiting for the next show.

This also made things incredibly hard at home because Helen my grandma was extremely jealous and resentful towards her.
Any chance she had there would be little put-downs or comments about mum’s weight or skill set.

This at the time would be destroying Carol’s confidence and she was always questioning her self-worth as she would put all she had into every performance.
Everyone could see this and she was on the cusp of becoming famous especially my Grandmother.

Now for Helen, this was the gift that kept on giving not only could she constantly get into Carol’s head and score little victories for herself she could also play the emotional blackmail card to the max.

Anytime Helen wanted her own way she would into a huge monologue of how much the family had to sacrifice so she could go to dancing lessons.
According to Helen, they were all close to eating gruel for every meal but we do everything for you.

Helen always got her way and also had found more ways to control Carol and that to her was like winning the lottery.

Its mentioned in earlier blogs about my grandma Helen being a total fantasist and telling lies about her origins.
A lot of this was due to her being ashamed of her past.

Now with a daughter whos about to hit the big time she was in her element and I think my mum’s fame was more important to Helen than it was to my Carol
There were numerous things Helen did to my mum which today would be classed as child abuse.

Taking away her food, wrapping her stomach with bandaged to make it look flatter and in her mind trying to change her natural shape.
The list went on and on but Helen justified it all to herself.

It’s not like my grandma had a background in professional dance it was all made up as she went along.
Because starving a teenage girl is really the way to do things right?

This went on for years and then when Mum was 17 disaster struck. She was thrown from a horse that injured her badly.
She broke her coccyx which in normal language is her bum bone and she was never the same again.

Her professional dancing career was over and for years she suffered horribly with her back.


Diagram of the spine and see the Coccyx at the bottom

For many years she has been unable to work and it’s heartbreaking that everything she had worked so hard for was gone and that had to be one hell of a rude awakening.

The only positive outcome from all this is she didn’t end up like the actor Christopher Reeve.

Christopher Reeve as Superman

Christopher Reeve who played Superman in the 1980s movie series was a keen showjumper. He was thrown from his horse and was paralyzed from the neck down.

He was making a lot of progress and was determined to walk again but sadly died in 2004 from heart failure.


(Christopher Reeve after his accident)

The recovery must have been worse than the accident as Helen had no empathy nor could she ever show any sympathy unless the same thing was happening to her.

I can also imagine as well as the constant pain that Helen would be giving mum a dog’s life. All of Helen’s big ideas were gone and she was back to being normal.
Marion her sister knew the Helen dance all to well and had already left home many years ago.

Marion didn’t have it nearly as bad as Carol as there was no pressure for Marion to become famous, make millions, and change everyone’s lives.
Granted Helen my grandma was extremely damaged and suffered seriously with her mental health but she isn’t a patch on some Hollywood parents.

A prime example of this is Gary Coleman from the popular 80s TV show different strokes. He sued his parents and won and after his 18th birthday had nothing to do with them.

They were stealing from him for years there was physical and mental abuse and his parents played a key part in him losing his entire fortune.

Gary coleman young
Gary Coleman a year before his death

He led a very interesting life before his sudden death and an entire generation myself included will miss him. I’ve enclosed an interesting article about him and his parents legal battle below.


Many say the TV was cursed and they are probably not wrong. If you remember the show from back in the day check out the link below as a lot of bad stuff happened to all of the actors.


Incredibly dated but years ahead of its time. Episode 2 of different strokes

Many would say that my mum had a lucky escape not making it big in showbusiness. This was the era of Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris, Gary Glitter, Jonathan King.

Not only that let’s just say she was lucky enough to dodge all of that I cannot being to imagine how Helen would turn with money, power, and status.

Its no surprise at the earliest opportunity mum moved out of Helens and got a job in an office.
This is where she first met, Nicky Jones. I mentioned Nicky in my last blog who was absolutely stunning but battered the booze.

When Nicky was downing the shots of vodka in the Parkfield she was ranting about everyone including mum. I spoke to my mum about this the next day and Carol was truly upset.

It was all something and nothing and she was sad that her former best friend had all this inner pain.
Nicky went over to the jukebox and put on Zombie by The Cranberries. See the video below.

Zombie by The Cranberries sung really badly by Nicky Jones

She was screaming at the top of her voice singing along to it alone with about 6 old fellas watching her shaking there heads.

I sent a video to mum of her singing as I wanted her to see what state she was in. I love Nicky she was always really good to me and I’m gutted that she is in such a bad place with the booze.

Having Nicky as a best friend meant that she and Carol were always going out a lot. When you’re young you can get away with this and luckily mum knows when to say no and have a night in.

My mum met Gary her first husband and was with him a couple of years before she met my dad.
Mum, Gary had some good times but they married too young.

A lot of her marrying at such a young age was to get away from Helen and all of the negative fucked up shit which she laid on daily.

They ended up good friends years later and Gary for years had his own successful printing business which then went on to make the tide time tables and supplied most of the country with this.

Gary inherited the printing business from his dad which he continued to maintain for many years which made him a very good living.

As the technology evolved and the computer age was born people were using printing companies less and less. Gary kept downsizing for many years until he became a one-man-band.

He still made a very comfortable living working out of his garage. This suited him well he was his own boss and he had done this for years and he could do it with his eyes closed.

Many of his clients he had done business with for years so he very seldomly had any issues with them it was money for old rope.
As easy as it was he had less work to every year due to the internet taking away a lot of his business.

Gary was a really good friend to me for many years. Not just as a kid but as an adult as well. He was there for me through some serious highs and lows.

He was big into the party and alternative scene and even when I had my multiple rock bottoms and stopped drinking as well as taking cocaine we still had the same relationship.

To be fair he was more like my dad than my real dad and if he and Carol would have stayed together then it could have been possible.

Gary G at festival

When my mum and Gary split up a few years later he married a woman called Pam.
Pam was always nice to me through the years but me and Gary were much closer.
They split up after many years but still shared the same house.

This is what brought Gary more into the fetish scene. He always had his hand in this and always was the life and soul of the party. The difference between me and him is he knew when to stop and when to say no.

Gary had a son with Pam called Charles who is the closet thing I have to a brother. We don’t speak as much as id like but at the same time, we both have very busy lives and are doing our own thing.

Charlie practiced martial arts for many years and got his black belt in ninjutsu. He had a falling out with his Sensi and this led to the school closing.

He still trains hard but now is into his powerlifting. He became a firefighter last year and he continues to run his dad’s old business.
I have a lot of time for Charlie even though we hardly don’t talk to each other a lot.

Charlie left
Charlie far left last year when he qualified as a fire fighter
Charlie right training hard

Gary contracted Hepatitis C in the 1980s and he suffered from this his entire life. He had some bad days but was usually smiling.


Having said that I was never married to him so I’ve not spent 24 hours a day in his company.

He managed to beat the disease with a new alternative treatment and then a few months later he was diagnosed with Cancer.
He was doing well with his Chemotherapy and was making a huge recovery and suddenly he took a dive. He was not responding to treatment and he was moved into hospice.

I went in to see him and sat there trying to look like I wasn’t arsed but inside I was heartbroken. He was skin and bones and he could hardly talk.
He could sit up and we could communicate but it hurt him a lot. I stayed for about 40 minutes which seemed like three hours when we could not speak.

I walked out of the hospice and smiled at him and said ill see you tomorrow mate and he said goodbye. I hated this because he wasn’t stupid we both knew that was the last time we would ever see each other.

I cant explain how but I just knew I left and I knew he was watching me so I had to act as normal as possible and got back to my car and sat with my head in my hands for about ten minutes.

I’ve suffered a lot more loss and seen way more death than most people due to my background which ill speak about in later blogs but Gary’s death really hit me hard.
Like most men, I put on a brave face but even know writing this has upset me.

The flip side to the coin is I got to be his close friend and confidant for many years and I will never forget him. He left a huge impact on the world from his music and his work with record labels in the 80s.

Gary at Jazz and Jokes in the Metro around 2003

Old School Gary
If you know Gary you would understand this picture

One of my fondest memories is going to his flat to watch his music video in the early 80s. Please remember this was the early 80s so to have a music video was a big deal.

Unfortunately I can’t find any stuff from the band online but it lives on in my memory.

When Gary and my mum Carol got together My mum soon quit her job and started to use her entrepreneurial skills. She had set up a business selling cruelty-free beauty products.

She was doing these years before any of the department stores.
She made nice money from the store for a long time. This was a new concept and it really could have gone either way back in those days.

Typically Carol got no support from her mother Helen and was constantly ridiculed for her stupid idea and concept.
Helen was not so secretly jealous and couldn’t fathom why Carol would not want to spend time with her.

It was mind-blowing because Helen knew what she was doing was cruel, was doing it to score points and make herself feel better, had already lost one daughter but continued down this path.

Then would be on the phone in tears with more emotional blackmail because Carol would hardly see her.
Let’s not forget it all fell on Carol as Marion’s husband Reg wouldn’t allow her to visit Helen.

A few years later when Mum and Gary split up things got ugly between them.
There is a very fine line between love and hate. As a result of the fallout, my mum ended up giving up the store.

She missed the boat on this as a year later many of the department stores started selling these specialist products.
She tells me to this day she’s so pissed off about that but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

A few years later my mum met my dad John Bailey.
At the time he was very charming and was making money and like Gary the life and soul of the party.

Its very fitting that she ended up in such a toxic relationship with him which has been spoken about in my previous blogs already.
You the reader is now up to date where Carol fits into the story and she will feature a lot more later in the story.

The author right with Carol left

The author left at his pass out parade with Carol in 1997. Gary took this picture

I’ve been blogging now for three months if you’re still with me from day one then thank you it means a lot.
I will keep writing if you all keep reading goodnight everyone.

E11 Back on the path

We can now get back to my story. We came a little off-topic with the rest of the family but like mentioned in previous blogs once you start writing this you have no idea where it’s going to take you.

Me and my mum had left my dad when he had been locked up again.
I was very young so I didn’t fully grasp what was going on and to be fair to mum she played it down well so well, in fact, I just thought it was all normal.

I think what helped and didn’t raise any red flags was that I was so used to my dad John not being around. he was locked up a lot or he would be going out of the city to do some sort of job or to make some money and not by working for it either.

There would always be a guy down south who needed a load of weed or something stronger and he and one of his mates would go down there. Then he would disappear for a couple of days on a bender as he had just been paid.

This as well as the prolonged absence when locked up and the constant drug-taking then it was time for us to go.
We ended up in this nice flat on Parkfield Road which is in the Aigburth area of Liverpool.

The flat was really warm and I remember that so well because the house in Isaac street was always freezing.
The house in Isaac street reminded me of the movie The money pit.

This is a comedy from the 80s starring Tom Hanks who moves into an old house and everything that can go wrong does go wrong.

Now if the hit comedy had drugs, domestic violence, drugs, addiction, incarceration we probably could have got a few quid from Hollywood for the rights of the story.

We were on the third floor of this block of flats and had central heating. Being high up hot air rises so it was a welcome change to not walk around the flat with my coat on.

It was also a welcome change being able to take a dump indoors.
People take that for granted but the plumbing was so bad in Isaac street that more often than not the house stunk of shit.

I can’t stress enough my mum kept the place spotless but she isn’t a plumber so frequently even in winter we would shit in the outside toilet.
It’s amazing what you get used to and by today’s standards that sounds like something from the Victorian age.

So we are unpacking all our stuff in our new home and I was pretty pleased with my new bedroom.
It had a lot of natural light and it was a lot bigger than back in Toxteth.

It also felt strange to sleep under a single duvet instead of a mountain of bedclothes.
It would also take a bit of getting used to not being able to see my breath in the morning as well.

I’m a firm believer that starting my life in that house as well as being in some of the coldest most miserable places is probably why I hardly feel the cold to this day.

If its raining ill obviously wear a coat but back in Liverpool especially when I got older I spent a lot of time in my car. So a lot of the time I would just have a t-shirt on or on an exceptionally cold day I would be wearing a hoodie.

I would be getting proper strange looks off what looked like mummy Eskimo with her Eskimo kids. What the fuck is wrong with that guy? Then they would shuffle past with there multiple layers of clothing.

Eskimo family or possibly a Liverpool family in November

So I’m unpacking all my toys and my favorites were He-man and the transformers. and everything seems so normal.

Next thing my mum went sick and is paralyzed with fear. She hears this voice what she can only describe as that sounded like the devil.

The voice is growling saying you will die, your dead than more growling.
She is terrified thinking there is a demon in the house and literally frozen to the same spot in her bedroom.

This demonic voice continues for another three minutes ha hahaha. You’re a dead man. I will get you haha hahaha. Then she hears something totally out of place He-man your no match for me and then she gets the courage to look in my room.

I’m sat playing with snake mountain totally oblivious to mums fear and having the time of my life and then she breaks down laughing which I think was more out of relief.

Ok for those who don’t know the He-man story he is the good guy and he lives in a place called Castle Grayskull. His enemy Skeletor lives in a place called snake mountain.

Just before we moved she bought me the Snake Mountain toy and unknown to both her and me it came with a microphone which slightly distorts your voice and now it all made sense.

Snake Mountain (microphone is the grey head top right

It was me playing He-man and not the devil so she kicked off.
What the hell are you doing?
I honestly had no idea and when she explained it to me I thought it was the funniest thing in the world.

Skeletor left He man right

I really shouldn’t have laughed as hard as I did but you could see the sheer genuine terror in her face when she was explaining to me.

I’m laughing more now retelling the story because I can’t imagine of scared I would be. You’re going to die, I will kill you slowly, haha hahaha. I will kill you when you are sleeping all sounding like Linda Blair from the exorcist.

Linda Blair from the movie The Exorcist

So slowly but surely we started to settle in at first Mum had to cook everything on two stoves but she always managed to make really nice meals. We then after a couple of weeks had a cooker delivered so normality was returning to our lives.

I had settled right in and now I had a routine. One thing kids need from an early age is a routine and order.
If their timings for everything are all over the place you find that they have a hard time in later life being organized.

We can always reprogram ourselves with the right tools and thinking but like mentioned in previous blogs not everyone knows how to use these tools. Luckily I managed to teach myself but many are not so fortunate.

Money was tight as we had just moved and my mum had some terrible jobs just to pay the bills.
The worst job she had was delivering dry cleaning for a pound an hour Granted this was the 80s but that still didn’t go far.

She was not scared of work though and she was determined to give me and her a new beginning away from the toxic wasteland that we had just escaped.

Then one day we had a huge win. I was sat watching TV and there was a big ring on the doorbell.
We were not expecting anyone so my mum opened the door to see a delivery man stood there.

Hiya Love so where do you want it?
Want what my mum asked?
Your new cooker it’s here. I ran over to the front door and mum put her hand over my mouth.

I was about to be really helpful and tell the nice man that we had a cooker delivered 3 days ago.
Luckily my mum knew and shut me right up. She managed to convince him to put the cooker in the garage as a family friend would take care of it later that night.

The delivery men were so happy as they didn’t have to carry a cooker up three flights of stairs so they dropped off the cooker and left.

This really was a gift from God as mum was broke and she ended up getting two hundred quid for it. Two hundred quid went a lot further back then and it could not have come at a better time.

We lived very close to Lark Lane which at the time was a really nice place. Don’t get me wrong it’s still nice and the prices for rent of both businesses and accommodation are very high.

Unfortunately, now it is full of bars and as a result full of cocaine.
In most major cities especially Liverpool with its access to the docks bars and cocaine go together like peas and carrots.

Cocaine was always in the city center but as the problem got worse it slowly crept into the residential areas leaving scores of casualties in its path.

There were so many independent little shops on the lane and had a lovely atmosphere as well. It was very multicultural which was not so common back then and it seemed to be a more relaxed group of people than in Toxteth.

Lark lane 1980
Lark Lane modern day

People seemed to take pride in the area as well and used to do crazy stuff like put litter in the bin. They also used to plant flowers and have hanging baskets.

When you have come from a place with so much poverty and many people really struggling to survive it absolutely blew my mind to see how different things were less than a mile away.

As much as any kid hates to move away I think this helped me a lot in later life.
Even if you don’t factor in all the horrible stuff if I had stayed in Toxteth I would have grown up to think all this was normal.

Toxteth now is a very vibrant community. A lot of money was put into its regeneration when Liverpool won the capital of culture.
A lot of people bought houses here as a result of this and because this was a poor area in the past its helped so many working-class people get on the property ladder.

It’s amazing how quickly an area can change when fresh blood comes in. Also when people have jobs and enough money to enjoy themselves they soon quickly get out of the criminal mindset.

Like many areas, Toxteth still has its rough element but luckily there are far more opportunities and people will still go down a bad path but at least now there are more choices.

I met some really great people in the Aigburth area and at the weekend we would usually go to Keith’s wine bar for food.
Keiths is still going strong to this day and I’m convinced he still has the same furniture in there from when I was a kid.

Keith is a really nice guy and he should be a millionaire ten times over but he could not stay out of the bookies. I saw him a few years ago and had a drink with him and he’s still exactly the same. He’s really cool and we all have our vices so I don’t judge.

I met a friend of my mums called Derrick. He had a fireplace shop and when I saw him for the first time I felt compelled to tell him my story.

Derrick, you’re black
Yes that’s right Arlo
Then I told him about the black kid in my old school and I said to him don’t worry I know there is more than one black person in the world as I saw it in the library.

Derrick thought this was hilarious and we always used to call into the shop to say hello.

I’m not sure what he’s doing these days but I’ve heard he’s still about and he’s doing ok.
Then there was Gordon who used to be married to my mum’s best mate Jill. He had an antique shop and was always wheeling and dealing.

He was always lovely to me as a kid and he still has the same shop 35 years later.
Before I left for Vietnam if I was around that area I would call in and say hello to him. He is a really nice guy who genuinely would do anything for you.

One day Carol my mum was in the bath and she came out and saw me playing with this Star Wars walker toy.
Where did you get that asked Carol?
Gordon gave it to me mum.
But Arlo Gordon hasn’t been here?

I explained while she was in the bath he knocked on the door and when I answered he told me I know you like star wars so I found this in an antique fair and handed me this huge walker.

I was so happy with this cool new toy and asked him if he wanted to come in.
Typical Gordon said I have to get back to the shop and just left like that. It was a really nice touch and I played with that walker for years and years.

Star wars walker

This is when I also met my mum’s friends Terry Canning and Nicky Jones. They were together for years and they always drank and socialized on the lane.
Terry and Nicky both always had really good well-paid jobs and they lived very well for years.

They both loved to drink but then it was a case of well I work hard so I play hard.
Both of them were always nice to me as a kid and I never forgot that.

Every year they would have grand national parties and there would always be plenty of food and a barbeque laid on.


These parties were always amazing and there was always a load of kids there so it was never boring.
Terry and Nicky finally split up due to Nicky’s drinking and Terry being unhappy with a lot of things.

Nicky is a lovely person but she couldn’t just have one drink and she was constantly getting herself into serious trouble and booze was always the common denominator.

I still see Terry from time to time and he retired from his advertising executive job a few years ago.

He’s doing well and by chance my mum Carol ran into him recently.
I was made up to find out that he had been reading my blog through a third party.

It’s happening more and more now I’m writing a lot of people just drop it on me oh yeah I love your writing.
Obviously, everyone loves to hear this but it’s coming from very unexpected places.
As long as people keep reading it then I’m happy to keep writing.

Nicky unfortunately was not as lucky as Terry.
For years she has not looked after her health and is currently living in an assisted living facility.

I saw her when I worked behind the bar in the Parkfield pub on lark lane and she was telling me that she won’t make it until 70 while downing shots of vodka.

It’s such a shame because Nicky was always so strikingly attractive and used to have men falling at her feet.

To see her keep hitting rock bottom and to lose her looks and her money and see her hanging out with winos and losers just hits home how powerful addiction really is.

People should not be so quick to judge as it can really happen to any of us. I’m so lucky that when I went to rehab I was at a point where I was willing to try anything.

The problem with recovery is that people overcomplicate it and let their ego get in the way.
If they can listen and do the work they will be successful.

I don’t want to talk in detail about this now as I will explain it properly in later blogs and it will fit in better with my own story.
I had also changed schools since moving to Parkfield road I now started to attend St Michaels school.

I really enjoyed it here and my dyslexia had not begun to hold me back so I used to love going to school.

St Michaels had some really weird food policy though. I remember opening my packed lunch and this teacher/sniper was right on my oh no you’re not allowed drinks.

Ok why not I asked and she couldn’t give me a straight answer so no more drinks.
A couple of days later the same sniper came over oh no your not allowed yogurt.

Oh come on this is just silly I said. The sniper was furious and I was sent to the headmaster for my drink and yogurt infractions as well as questioning the Fuhrer.

From that day on I was banned from packed lunch as I couldn’t be trusted to eat the right foods. The school felt like a safer place almost instantly.

When my mum was called and informed I don’t think it had the desired shock effect as she couldn’t see the issue either.

I lost contact with most people from this school but I spoke to Joel Devine for a while.
We haven’t spoken in years but I know he works on the oil rigs and is doing well.

A girl i’ve kept in constant contact with due to mutual friends is called Angie Spear.
I used to see and speak to her regularly before I moved away.
Angie has had a very interesting life she was cabin crew for years and also lived in Dubai.

She had a kid a couple of years ago and is currently just finishing college so she can go to university and do a degree.
It’s great to see her doing so well and I’ve always had a lot of time for Angie.

One night by chance again in the Parkfield pub Angie came in with her mum and then her mum’s fella came in.
It turns out Her mum’s fella is my mate David French’s dad also called David French.

Now, what makes this even more of a small world was a few years before this meeting I was training in Next Generation MMA where I met David junior and we started to hang out.

One day he introduced me to his dad who I knew from when I worked on the door on The Magnet way before I had met David junior.

Things were going a little too great so things can’t stay the same forever. My mum had been in regular contact with John Bailey since he had been locked up.

This was primarily because she wanted me to have a relationship with him. Also, it would have backfired on her years later if she hadn’t given me the choice of seeing him.

He was getting out of prison soon and things were about to become really interesting.

E10 Revelations, Reflection, and corrections

There is an old saying amongst police officers follow the money.
This is regarding the war against drugs. They say if you want to get to the heart of the problem with any scope of trying to fix it you have to follow the money.

This is exactly what I’m doing and it’s taken me to some strange places. The more I dig the more I find out and to be brutally honest a lot of it isn’t positive.

From the famous tv show The Wire

I’m not exactly the Dali Lama and I’m far from perfect but the stuff I’ve found out about both sides of the family makes my skin crawl.
I’m not a religious man but I’m a big believer in Karma and I believe we have to pay for everything we do.

To me it’s as simple as ordering food in a restaurant, yeah you can have 6 courses but you have to pay for it.
I don’t believe for a second what the bible says but I do believe there is a god of some description and I believe there is a good place and a bad place.

Now all of us have enough dirt to go to that bad place but as long as you even the scales or at least try to be a better person then you will be ok.

What I can abide by is passing the book, no action or effort or blindly following the crowd.

During the Nuremberg trials, most of the nazis on trial kept saying in their defense but I was just following orders. Really and you thought that was ok I’m sorry that is just as bad as actually pulling the trigger.


Obviously, for my circumstances, I’m not talking about anything as horrific as genocide but bear with me on this, and ill explain. It’s one thing to have horrendous childhood filled with abuse, neglect, and trauma and nothing can change the past.

Unfortunately and quite rightly it’s so hard to let go of that due to us being given broken programming however everyday we make a choice. Every day we make several choices.

So yeah ok horrible shit happened to you as a kid and you maybe don’t have the tools to change your broken thinking but you can still see the effect you have on the rest of the world.

If every time your daughter is coming to see you and is leaving in tears then I’m sorry but you are a piece of shit.

We all do things we are not proud of and we can all end up in a shouting match.
To find the things that are the most upsetting and use them in your arsenal is the worst kind of behavior.

Especially when you’re just doing this to score some minor victory over something that does not matter.
It’s true what they say you can’t choose your family but every passing moment is a chance to turn it all around.

Its never too late to start again and even though some rifts cant be healed most can with time and if your willing to admit the nature of your wrongs.

Even when you feel that you are the wronged party a lot of the time you have played a part in the breakdown of a friendship. Many people can’t see that and ego stops things from being resolved.

Since digging and trying to find the origin of everything I’ve encountered many surprises. Now when I say surprises its not the type of surprise where our buddy takes you out for ice cream nothing like that just so we’re clear. If this was ice cream it would be shit flavor.

My mum told me that I honestly don’t know the half of it and I believe her. She has never given me any grounds not to trust her and all of her information over the years and especially recently has been on point.

I also now have enough background info and don’t want to know anymore.
I’ve forgiven these people who are allegedly my blood but if I go even further down the rabbit hole then I fear I won’t be able to find my way back.

I don’t have it in me to carry around all that hatred as I know how damaging it is.
It’s a wonder that many of the family are still alive and they seem to thrive on this negative energy.

One of the revelations which is very surprising is that Betty my dad’s mum didn’t like my mum one bit.

She thought my dad John could do no wrong and also saw it as a badge of honor that he had spent so much time in jail.
That unfortunately hasn’t changed and it seems to be very fashionable even in modern-day.

To be fair to Betty she had a really hard life and she probably saw John Bailey as a Robin Hood type character.

She did not see his addiction at its worst she only saw her son traveling all over Europe, robbing jewelry stores, breaking into safes, taking cash boxes. He would then come home with great presents and make a big fuss of her.

John like all the brothers was always seeking their approval and now he was able to provide for himself and splash the cash. In a house where money was so scarce and every day was a struggle, this was better than John being a doctor.

Jack and Betty were not bad people they were just not educated and their minds were poisoned from alcoholism.
When things got really bad with my Carol and John my mum was suicidal and at her wits end.

Betty was not having any of this nonsense and decided to put my mum in her place.
She came into her bedroom guns blazing telling her she should be grateful for her life and to have a fella like John Bailey in her life.

She then told her that she wasn’t getting black eyes every week and that she had a washing machine and a tumble dryer so what’s your fucking problem.
I’ve been at my wit’s end tormented with depression in the past and I can’t begin to imagine how you would even process that especially at such a low point.

It ain’t no secret my mum Carol is a warrior. She may not be strong physically but mentally she can run rings around most people. This most likely did not help her when being introduced to my dad’s side of the family.

Especially my dad he felt very threatened by her otherwise why to go to such extremes with cruelty over the years?
A correction ill make here but not in the past blogs is the age of my dad’s brothers. Eddie was the oldest, then john, George, Keith, and Chris is the youngest.

This is the fucked up part I’ve asked my dad this a couple of times over the years and he gave me the order I originally printed. How the fuck would you forget that?
Or to rephrase how fucked up on drugs must you be to get that wrong? That’s why I won’t correct it in the original post.

A correction I do need to make is regarding my grandma Helen. I said she had electric shock treatment when she was a child. This happened when she was an adult.

Electric shock treatments in the 1950s

She had lived on a farm her whole life in the countryside. When she got together with Tom my grandad moved up to Liverpool together.

Like many women of her generation, she was stuck in the house cleaning all day. He was working hard and had a manager’s job in the post office where he worked with his best mate Alf who became my grandad when Tom died.

At home in a tiny flat in Speke all alone with no friends really took its toll on her.
She became more and more withdrawn and one day could not take it anymore. She burst into the doctor’s office in floods of tears and he sedated her.

He decided the best course of action was ECT and in those days nobody would dream to question a doctor or his course of treatment.
This was all many years before I was born and I’m not a doctor but the ECT really could not have helped her at all.


This and to then go back to exactly what triggered her was probably very damaging. I do feel so sorry for her but still, a lot of her behavior was disgusting later on.
She was an awful mother and she wasn’t much better at being a grandmother.

Trauma messes with people in many ways and she had had years of abuse at home and what made her so unhappy is she would not address any of nor would she let anything go.

She died when she was 88 and she spent the last twenty years of her life wishing she was dead. What an absolute waste of time and energy its heartbreaking in fact.

Another revelation was my grandmother’s history before she met my grandad Tom. She was married to a man named Charlie Polhill.
Like everyone else, he was sent to fight the Germans, WW2 lasted for 4 years so many relationships felt a huge strain.

The only comfort in this was everyone was suffering in the same way. She met my granddad Tom who was stationed near Yorkshire helping to train the first military dogs to go overseas.

They started having an affair and when things got serious between them both she of course ended it with Charlie.

Charlie was away at war fighting the Germans and had no idea when he would be coming home or when the war would end. This at the time was considered despicable behavior and she was shamed by her whole village.

Nobody wanted to know her anymore and she was quite often shouted at in the street and people she grew up with wanted nothing to do with her. Then things got ten times worse she got pregnant to Tom.

In those days it took years to get a divorce but it didn’t matter in the eyes of the village she was the devil.

So now she was still married, living with another man, and she had a baby out of wedlock. All of these factors played a huge part in her coming to Liverpool.

The little boy Tom and Helen had together, unfortunately, died as a baby. I don’t have any information about that as Helen would never talk about it. Let’s face it though you never get over something like that.

You would, however, think after her awful treatment she would develop some empathy and compassion but not in Helen’s case.

Years later I thought Marion my mum’s sister had run away from home at 18 but that was a lie. Marion had got pregnant to Reg and Helen kicked her out of the house for being a dirty slut.

Before moving to Wigan Marion and Reg lived in Speke and Helen had disowned Marion telling all of her neighbors she only had one daughter. Helen also refused to go to Marion and Regs wedding as she felt so disgusted with her daughter.

My mum Carol was forbidden to go either in case she got pregnant at the wedding or something equally as stupid.
Tom my grandad went and it caused murder he probably had to sleep on the couch for about a month after that but then it was all drama that Helen could use.

Helen really couldn’t put herself in Marion’s shoes nor empathize with her one bit the hypocrisy was awful.
Just to make matter worse Marion had no idea about Helen’s past and her having a baby out of wedlock.

When Marion found out she hit the roof and it caused more heartbreak and arguments.
Helen gave Marion a very watered-down version of the truth and quite rightly Marion was having none of it.

She had suffered for years at the hands of my nan and this just pushed her even further away from her mother. Helen then had more things to feel sorry for herself and still managed to justify her behavior and play the victim through this.

I really don’t understand what was going on in Helen’s mind its like she just deleted the files and it never happened.
On top of that, she created new memories of things that never happened she was a complete fantasist.

The fantasist comment is a little judgemental I know and once again I should point out that I’m not a doctor.
Trauma affects us all in different ways. I really hope she got some inner peace in death as she really did not get it in life.

This caused a huge rift and my grandad Tom was given a dog’s life by Helen. A lot of the time he could avoid her and he was always busy or he would be working and she would stew on stuff and ambush him as soon as he got home.

They had a lot of happy times but also a lot of unhappy ones as well.
Later on my mum, Carol would become the new whipping boy as Marion was well and truly never coming back.

At no point did Helen ever reflect on her behavior or own choices it was all just a game to prove she was right. She was a poor tortured soul and wanted everyone to know her pain no matter the cost.

If this meant tearing apart her family then so be it. My auntie Dot who also lives in Yorkshire was very similar. She will feature even less in this blog as she really wasn’t interested in getting to know me.

I can count on two hands the number of times I’ve seen her. She would always have a lot of judgemental shit for my mum though and not ever offer to help her just to make her feel that little bit more worthless.

Carol would inevitably follow in Marion’s footsteps and leave home at an early age and get married way too young.

She married Gary and this fell apart a few years later. She was separated from Gary and living with my dad John. Helen started again calling Carol a whore for living with another man while still married.

Carol said to her quick as a flash well it takes one to know one. Also, I must have learned from the best then yeah?

How dare she answer Helen back and how dare she not follow her do as I say not as I do mantra and this began one of the numerous falling outs between the family.
Now all the background information is in place I am absolutely gobsmacked. I thought when writing this my dad’s side of the family would make me angrier.

Like I mentioned though once you start opening these doors you don’t know what will come out. Betty at the very least put on a good show and was always nice to the grandkids. She may of hated Carol but she would always make us kids feel welcome.

There would always be plenty of food as well. So many times with my mum’s side of the family I felt like I didn’t belong. They for the most part did not have the time of day for me.

I’ve known this for years but I want the reader to know the extent of it all as well as all of the factors in play.

I really can’t understand how Marion would justify her behavior towards my mum after all of the pain and suffering she endured from Helen.
However, she did get her thirty pieces of silver in the form of a house.

All I can say about that is I hope that its worth it. Granted I’m fucking angry writing this but thirty minutes after I finish writing I will let it go.I’m a firm believer when people carry all of this stuff around with them for years it’s what makes them sick. Its this type of stuff that gives you cancer.

I’m surprised more studies have not been done on this but they say cancer will affect 1 in 3 of us. I don’t think its a coincidence that so many people have a very similar toxic mindset.

I’m also more surprised how my mum Carol ended up such a really nice person. She has been through some seriously dark days and a lot of it I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

She has also got me through some seriously dark days and every day I try my best to be a better person. In the midst of this chaos, she managed to teach me values and compassion.

Granted I have seriously come off the path multiple times but that’s fuck all to do with her its all to do with my own poor choices. Unlike the rest of the family, I don’t dwell on stuff and all I can do is change what I’m going to do tomorrow.

So many people need to realise this

E9 Mums side of the family

Thank you everyone who is still here reading the story so far.
I had originally planned to post twice a week. If I posted this much religiously up to this moment in my life right now I could easily have two years’ worth of blog material.

Two things which I hadn’t factored in the time it takes to write and make it sound entertaining for the reader. Secondly is all of the old doors that it’s opening.

Its probably going to save me a fortune on therapy but it is proving very tiring especially now that this is all out in the open. I know when I get past this difficult stage of my story then it will become more free-flowing and more material will be released.

On a positive note, the messages and support I have had since I’ve started writing are overwhelming. Also, many people who have had similar difficulties have shown their support.

I’ve also heard from people I have not spoken to in over 30 years who somehow have started reading it. It can only grow and this makes me very happy.

It’s only fair that now after the last post I mention mum’s side of the family. Very similar to Dad’s side they play a very little part of the story later so its only fair to introduce them now or their story will be lost forever.

Helen my grandmother I touched on in an earlier blog. She was given electric shock treatment as a child and by today’s standards what she endured at the hands of her mother would be considered child abuse.

I have no bad feelings towards my grandma and there were some happy memories but they were few and far between.

I think in hindsight she did not have any idea how to show or express love and that’s what fucked my mother up so much. The horrible treatment by my grandmother set off a chain reaction in the family home.

Firstly Marion my múms older sister left home when she was 18 and got as far away as possible. She ran away with her boyfriend Reg and they later married and had four kids.

They got all the way up to Wigan and Helen wouldn’t talk to her for years as she dared to defy her.
Then my mum in a desperate attempt to leave home married way too young to a guy called Gary.

Gary was cool but they were both ways too young then afterward my mum Carol met John Bailey. As charming, as he could be I don’t think she would have stayed with him.

Unfortunately for Carol a lot of the toxic behavior she had grown up with she began to see this as normal which led her down her path.

I think the only difference between her and my dad is my dad was exposed to extreme violence from such an early age.

The abuse Carol suffered was all mental abuse which in my opinion is ten times worse. I personally have suffered physical abuse from older kids and from teachers but you can deal with that.

You can use and channel the hatred inside you and you can physically hit back. This really isn’t good for your mental health but what is the alternative to stand there and cry while someone tries to make a name for themselves?

Some people never break away from that and they spend their whole lives being victims. This then follows them into the world of work and they never ever release their true potential.

I remember being in school and I was always a target because I was one of the bigger kids so I was always having to fight with older kids and at first I was terrified.
I hated going to school and you could not tell the teacher or you would then have to fight every day.

I quickly discovered boxing and learned how to fight and then anyone who wanted to fight they got hit so bad they never bothered me again.
This provided an outlet for my shitty situation and short term it helped but I was always looking for an excuse to fight.

Out of all the fights I had probably half of them could have been avoided.
I felt a lot of fear firstly that if I didn’t fight that I would become a bully victim and secondly because I had no positive male role model so I knew I pretty much had to teach myself a lot of stuff.

My mum is great but she hasn’t got the first idea of being a young lad. She is not stupid she knew telling the teacher would not help and she knew I would never tell her the full story but what could she do?

On top of that, she was busy enough spinning multiple plates to put food on the table and to pay the bills.

Back to Helen my Grandma she was also a complete fantasist. She would make up memories that didn’t happen which I will touch on in later blogs. She grew up on a farm but told everyone she used to be a teacher.

She did work as a teaching assistant very briefly in a nursery but if anyone asked that was her career.

Considering she came from a very humble beginning she was also a terrible snob. Ok, the men she married had had good jobs but it’s not like she married Bill gates or anything like that.

I think she hated were she came from so much and the abuse she endured that it was easier to claim it didn’t happen. This was also the time when people didn’t talk openly about there feelings. so she and many other women didn’t have a voice.

What was tragic to see and even I noticed this when I was very young is her attitude. If someone knocked on the door wearing a suit or she met someone who sounded important her whole demeanor would change.

Suddenly her voice would be more well-spoken and the stories would come thick and fast about things which had never happened. All to make herself sound a lot better.
She could be very charming and she married to a man named Tom who was my grandad.

Everyone who knew Tom told me he was an amazing man and such a lovely guy. I unfortunately never got to meet him.

He fought in world war 2 and was part of the veterinary core. He worked with dogs and this at the time was quite a new concept as horses were used a lot more on the battlefield before WW2.

This new system of using dogs was brought into service in 1942 with incredible results.
Please check the link below for a brief history of his regiment and what he did in the war.


Like many soldiers coming back from that period of history, he would never talk about what he did. I personally through my own struggles know that does more harm than good.

I think the only saving grace for these men is that everyone was going through the same thing so there was some comfort amongst old soldiers.

Veterinary core during WW2 when they first started their work with dogs
Modern day explosive seeking dog in Afghanistan

Funnily enough, there had been a big family feud and Helen my grandma had refused to speak to my mum for well over a year.
As a result of this Tom, my grandad was forbidden to talk to Carol as well nor was Carol allowed in the family home.

A lot of this usually came from Helen’s mental health problems. She had serious delusions of grandeur.

If anyone dared to question her or correct her then she would fly off the handle. I feel so sorry for her in hindsight as for her to behave this way tells me she must have had some serious pain.

She was not interested in letting that pain go as it was a huge part of her and I honestly don’t think she knew how to be happy.
Helen had decided she was going to forgive my mother for whatever she had done and now it was time for my grandad Tom to meet me.

On the way down the motorway to meet me, Tom was suddenly feeling sick and pulled over onto the hard shoulder. He was feeling sick because he was having a heart attack.

He died almost instantly and with no access to a phone for miles, there was nothing that could be done. He was 75 years old at his time of passing.

Now that’s actually what happened but the story Helen told everyone was that he died at the wheel at high speed and she had to figure out how to stop the car and pull it over to the side of the road. Well as they say there is no such thing as bad publicity.

A few years later Helen married a man called Alf. Alf was a lovely man. Even though I called him Alf he was my grandad. He worked in the post office with Tom and they had been best mates for many years. He had also seen action in world war 2.

He was a regimental sergeant major in the royal core of signals. This was a very interesting time to be a part of the unit as they evolved from working with carrier pigeons to developing phone lines in the heat of battle.

Modern-day signalers don’t have to spend a lot of time on the front line but during the WW2, things were very different. There were also units set up whose sole mission was to break the German coded messages.


Alf lived until he was about 85. He later developed Alzheimer’s disease.
It started off with him forgetting simple stuff and then it progressed very rapidly.


He was a very fit man and every day we would walk a mile to the pub, have a pint of bitter then walk back. He would also later walk a mile to the shop and back. Now for a man in his eighties, that’s pretty good.

He started to forget his way home and would go out leaving the front door open.
It got to the stage where he could not remember to go to the toilet nor did he know who anyone was.

Two years before his death I had to stop going to see him in the home. It broke my heart to see such a fine man in such pain.

If his brain was ok I would have forced myself to keep seeing him but I justified it because he honestly had no idea who I was anymore.To this day I feel I made the right decision and I have some great memories of us both together. A very funny and charismatic man who is still fondly remembered and missed.

Marion went to Wigan and had 4 children who are Jeff, Debbie, Janice, and Tony. Reg who she married was a huge control freak. He used to have the kids in bed for 6 pm.
Anything Marion left the room for more than a minute he would shout her or follow her into the next room.

He was always sick in my memories of him and always had to take many tablets.
He did absolutely nothing to look after his heath and his diet was awful.

A memory I have of him was when he went into hospital to have twelve inches of bowel removed. On the way back from the hospital they stopped to buy cream cakes and pork pies.

He was sat there talking with his mouthful of cake telling me that he was a medical mystery. People were a lot more ignorant when it came to health back then but even Stevie Wonder could see he was heading for a heart attack.

He died in 1999 of guess what? yeah, a heart attack. Marion never remarried and still holds a torch for him.
Jeff is married to a girl called Lorraine who I have on Facebook. They have three kids together who I’ve never met but they look like they are happy enough.

Jeff is a good guy and all of my memories with him are good. He was always nice to me when we went to their house at Christmas. I’m not sure what he’s doing now but he’s always had factory jobs and I don’t see that changing.

Jeff and Lorraine

Debbie and Janice left home really early and got married. Is anyone seeing the pattern here?
Debbie owns a coach company with her husband. She recently looked at my profile on linked in so I messaged her to reach out but she ignored it.

I’m not too sure what Janice is up to. She was always very happy and positive. I had her on Facebook for a while and suddenly she deleted me. I asked her why she didn’t answer.

As sad as it is they are not interested in talking to me I’ve got to this age without needing them so I think I’m going to be ok.

Tony who is Marion’s youngest son is about 45 now. He has learning difficulties which have held him back his entire life. They made a huge mistake instead of sending him to school they took him to work with them.

They had the cleaning contract for at the time the biggest nightclub in Wigan called Maxims. They took him to work every day and then all went home.

Maximes back in the day
Maximes now

As a result, he did not learn how to interact with other kids or socialize with others.

To be fair to Marion and Reg it must have been a tough decision as there were no special schools in wigan so potentially he could be walking into a world of shit. So they had to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea.

I remember Tony would always have a new friend he had made but it would come out that the friend would be using him and borrowing money which he would never payback.
It would be that or coming over to play computer games than not bothering with him until he wanted to play again.

The more this happened the more withdrawn Tony become. He still lives in Wigan at home with Marion and very seldomly leaves the house.
I hear from Lorraine on Facebook on my birthday but that’s about it. like my dad’s side of the family, I literally have no relationship with any of them.

Jeff had a daughter called Lisa who I met during Regs funeral. She said she would write to me in the army but never did.

To be fair to Lisa nobody really wrote letters back then and if you moved to a foreign country then you were never heard of again. She reached out to me on Facebook while I’ve been in Vietnam and it’s nice to be in touch.

I also learned that Jeff and Tony have not spoken for years over god knows what but I don’t pry as I’ve got my own problems.I have no time for feuds or bad blood.
That to this day seems to run rampant on both sides of my family and as a result its all so very toxic.

I could probably reconnect with them all but the only way this is possible is if I made all the effort, arranged it all, and went to Wigan when it was convenient for everyone else.
I’m sorry but it’s a two-way thing so I’m not grinding an axe but I’m not in any hurry for any tearful reunion selfies from Wigan

To be fair I would make the effort with Lisa as she has taken the time out for me so it goes both ways.

Lisa last year

The reason why the family is so estranged is because of Reg and Marion. When I was younger my mum Carol was always trying to get me to stay with them. Marion always had an excuse no its impossible or Reg won’t allow it. It’s understandable as it’s not like I’m part of the family is it?

I could count on one hand how many times I’ve stayed there. Marion seemed ok with this and had an answer for every time mum asked so I basically got fucked off at every opportunity.

Later on, she and my mum fell out and they haven’t spoken in twenty years. It should be made clear the bad blood is coming from Marion.
She has a very jaded view on things and she can’t be told anything nor can she see reason.

I will talk about this later on but to summarise for twenty years Carol my mum had to take care of my grandma.Now included in that package was the emotional blackmail, resentment, making mum worthless at every opportunity.

As awful as it sounds it’s like she took pleasure in this because nobody could possibly understand how hard it was for Helen.

Quite frequently mum would come home in tears and it affected her deeply. How can someone who supposedly loves you show you such cruelty and hatred all to make herself feel better?

Marion could never help out with the care as Reg wouldn’t allow it so Helen could fuck right off. After twenty years my mum was broken by it and walked out she could not take anymore.

Reg had since died so then it fell on Marion to take care of Helen. It should be noted when Reg died him and Marion were mortgage-free. Reg had also worked in insurance his whole life so his wife was well looked after when he expired.

As well as all this she continued to clean full time. So Marion swoops in for the last five years and Helen leaves the house to Marion. This is ten times worse and my mum Carol has got fuck all.

She has struggled her whole life and this was a final fuck you from her mum and she wanted the rift as she loved the drama.

The week before she died my grandma rang up my mum and gave her the terms and conditions telling her she loved her the most and if she would start taking care of her again she could have the house.

Helen got another win as she managed to have Carol in tears one last time before she died so everyone wins right? So Marion sold the house and put the money with the rest. She showed how benevolent she was a year later when she sent mum a cheque for 5 grand.

At the time I was doing ok for money for a few years later when I had to move home it would have been quite handy if there was a house I could have used but never mind its much more fitting to have this shit storm in play.

I’ve seen Marion a couple of times since then and its always the same speech your always welcome in Wigan but your mum isn’t and then exactly how much of a cunt she is.

Obviously, I would be loyal to my mum but shes really wrong here and it’s not like Marion was flying the Arlo flag when I was younger.

Unfortunately, this taught me to detach at a very young age. This has both positives and negatives mainly its negative and a kid should not have to do this at such a young age.

If your blood clearly doesn’t give a shit about you then why show any emotion in return its a waste of energy. They can sit there with their feuds, resentment, and hatred while I’m busy making something of myself.

It feels great to get all this out in the open and you never know maybe there will be some tearful Wigan reunion selfies down the road.

I doubt it the last time I saw everyone was 2006 and even then I’m surprised the whole family didn’t gang up on Carol.
Well, credit is given where credits due at least they have respect for the dead.

E8 Family History Continued

When I first started writing this blog around two months ago I had no idea where it was going to take me. I didn’t think I was still be writing about my childhood at this stage of the game.

It’s true what they say when you start to open old doors the memories start to come flooding back. Now that can be a double-edged weapon but I believe that anything that I may have buried needs to come out now.

Not only that when you only tell half the story then the audience without realizing it can then form an opinion which unknown to them will be biased.

So before I continue my story I feel it important to talk about the rest of the family on my dad’s side as later on many of them play very little part in my journey.

I promise you this isn’t me being shitty or having a dig at anyone its mealy the facts. If I do not include them now it will be really hard to introduce them down the road.

My dad’s side of the family all lived in Skelmersdale. I speak about this in earlier blogs.

They were originally from Scotland Road in the heart of Liverpool but moved to new subsidized housing on the outskirts of Liverpool with at the time plenty of job opportunities.

I have very little memories of Jack and Betty who were my dad’s parents. I remember they both battered their bodies until their dying days with alcohol and cigarettes.

To be fair to them everyone smoked like this from their generation which was the lesser evil most people were carrying from the horrors of World War 2.

Betty died of cancer when I was about 3. I remember all of us going into her bedroom to see her.

Obviously, I didn’t totally understand what was going on but suddenly she wasn’t there anymore which was sad.

For their faults, Jack and Betty were always lovely to me and the other grandkids. There would always be plenty of food and her and Jack would come and play in the garden with us with the dogs and my toys.

Jack suffered the same fate with cancer years later although when he died I had not seen him for years due to the family split and the power struggle between my parents.

The week before he died I went to see him in the hospice with my dad and he was functional but heavily dosed up on some powerful pain killers.
As sad as I was to see him go I hadn’t seen him for years but it was good that I got to say goodbye.

John Bailey left the year before I was born 1978

The main reason we all didn’t keep in touch was technology. Back in 1983, there was no Facebook and the internet didn’t even exist yet.

I suppose if I was looking for an axe to grind I could blame this on my father. However, this serves absolutely no purpose as the past is in the past.

The only thing you can change is what your going to do tomorrow and every passing moment is a chance to turn it all around.

I remember when I was around 26 and John Bailey was trying to sell me the Skelmersdale dream.
Come on son lets go down and see all your cousins they will be so happy to see you.

Maybe they would but I’m not really interested, John. What do you mean your not interested son, you can’t say that about your family?

Ok ill rephrase it then sorry, it’s not that I’m not interested I haven’t seen or heard from any of them in over twenty years.
I know so think of what a reunion it will be it will be amazing.

Maybe it will dad but your not hearing me. I have absolutely no relationship with them.
Now don’t get me wrong I have no bad feelings towards them at all but I’m in no hurry to drive all the way to Skem for a huge reunion.

He would then keep pushing and pushing to which I replied well whose fault is it that we have no relationship?
He would then react in one of two ways he would either shut up or play its all your mother’s fault card.

Now another 16 years on me my cousins or uncles still haven’t seen each other.
Luckily with the invention of Facebook, we do keep in touch and it’s nice to see family pictures but that’s pretty much as far as it goes.

It would be great if we did meet up at some point but that really remains to be seen.
In regards to my uncles, George was the oldest out of my dad’s brothers.

The last time I saw him I was about 9 and he lived in Scotland. I know he and John Bailey had not spoken for years but I have no idea why.

I know my dad called him a snake in the grass but there are always two sides to a story.

When I was in Kosovo in 1999 I got a letter off George wishing me well and telling me if I needed anything to let him know. To this day I’ve no idea how he got the address as he did not contact the rest of the family.

I’m assuming he saw me being interviewed on the news or he saw me in Liverpool Echo but they would not have access to my address so its one of life’s mysteries.

The author Arlo Bailey far left in the article

I wrote him back but he never replied. If he’s still alive he must be 80 by now. I hope he’s well as he never did me any harm and bad blood will only fester.

Next, there was Eddie who was hilarious but crazy. He was the absolute life and soul of the party.

Everyone who knows him says the same thing that he could have easily become a millionaire about ten times over. His mind was always racing in so many different directions.

If you imagine the most random story in your mind you could probably get a feel for Eddie. If he was born 50 years later he would easily have his own reality show.

He was an entertainer and played in many bands going up and down the country. There would always be a hilarious story which unless you knew him you would never believe it.

It would be something along the lines of Eddie riding through Skem on a horse and meeting Lenny Kravitz outside the shopping center then turning up at Betty’s house for a cup of tea.

Ok, that didn’t happen but I will get some hilarious Eddie stories for future blogs. I think if I went down the Eddie Bailey blog route I can have at least 2 months of material.

Eddie Bailey roughly around 1977

Unfortunately for Eddie this was all very short-lived and fate had other ideas. His son Jason died and it destroyed him. He always still had a smile on his face but he was never the same.

He was always signing himself into secure units in the hospital as a lot of the time he couldn’t cope. He couldn’t make sense of his son’s death no matter what he did so he spent many years heavily medicated in and out of the asylum.

The last time I saw him he was in the hospital and I was about 9.
Everyone in the unit was heavily medicated and it was like watching the walking dead.

Poor Eddie died in 2013 he is missed by many and even though I hadn’t seen him for years I know I will always miss him.

Eddie Bailey a few months before his death in 2013

I’m in touch with Maxine one of his daughters on Facebook. She is currently living and working in Torquay. She’s doing well and has a good life there. It’s nice to chat with her once in a while even if it’s only online.

Chris went down a similar path as my dad although not with addiction. He had his fingers in a few pies and he was always looking for ways to make a few quid.
I remember Chris playing with me as a little kid and he was always nice to me.

Like John Bailey, He ended up getting locked up a few times over the years but he always bounced back and was always planning something new.
He also was into his music and played in a few bands over the years and loved being an entertainer.

Unfortunately, he and John had not spoken for years and as much as I hate to say it John Bailey loved to bear a grudge. Just like with his brother George I have no idea why they had fallen out but I knew they were both as stubborn as each other.

Its also difficult to say what went down as a lot of people refused to work with John after it revealed that Mo was a police informer. Not only that his drug-taking was out of control.

The last time I saw Chris was at John Bailey’s funeral. He was sobbing and devastated that they had not made things right with each other. Seeing him broken over his brother’s death taught me a huge lesson.

I try my best to not have bad blood with anyone. I understand I can’t be friends with everyone but to have that hatred and resentment inside you just poisons everything around you.

Chris Bailey last year with one of his grandkids

It may only be a little at first but this will grow and fester. This then will creep into other areas of your life and sooner or later it will consume you.

I didn’t get to this level of understanding overnight.
Unfortunately, it really consumed me and resentment played a huge part in my addiction.

I am not alone in this as most addicts are in such a toxic wasteland as they are tortured by ghosts of the past.

Some of those ghosts will take years of therapy or self-reflection but they can be dealt with. It’s just a case of how long do you want to hate yourself?

Chris currently lives in Torquay and works as a Chef. He and Maxine see each other a few times a week and I speak to him regularly on Facebook.

Uncle Chris left with my cousin James Bailey on the right

My cousin James I was really close to when we were kids. We used to play together a lot and he really looked out for me. He was a few years older than me and I remember being in a pub in Skem in the day time.

This older kid was trying to be a bully to me and James wasn’t having any of that. I remember James dived on him and properly battered him and the kid was in tears.

This taught me an important lesson at a young age to not back down to anyone and to always stand up to bullies.

I was really scared of this lad and a few minutes later the kid was wailing and screaming. To be fair to the kid he had just had the beating of his life.

Seeing him wailing made me realize the bully was human as well and even though James had done all the heavy lifting it stuck with me that nobody is invincible.

James went on to box when he was older but unfortunately never pursued it. This is a shame as he really could have a scrap.

I’ve encountered many people who know him over the years and they all said the same thing that he wasn’t shy when it came down to it.

I haven’t seen James since we were kids which is almost 35 years but he’s on my Facebook and he’s doing ok by the looks of it. He lived in Torquay for a short time but now he’s back living in Skelmersdale.

James how I remember him

Unfortunately, his son also called James was locked up in 2019 for nine years. Granted he had done wrong but he got a much more severe sentence as it was a county lines drug case.


There has been a lot of pressure by the public for thee penalties as there have been numerous cases of children being exploited or vulnerable people being bullied into letting their homes get used by drug gangs.

Either way, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he’s really paying for it now. I would not wish this on my worst enemy but as the saying goes if you play stupid games you win stupid prizes.

With so many Scousers getting caught taking drugs up to places like Scotland they brought in this new law. This makes the penalties much more severe if you are caught.

Unfortunately with the profits involved this does not act as much of a deterrent for dealers and it has done little to stem the flow of drugs. I’ve put a link to the newspaper article below.


As Liverpool has access to docks this makes it a lot easier for smugglers to bring in their drugs. This is mentioned in earlier blogs on how the drug market exploded in Liverpool in the 80s.

The problem is making something illegal doesn’t make it go away and I think the war on drugs is the most ill-fitting title ever because wars end.

As a result of this and widespread poverty in the history of Liverpool, this is why there are so many drug gangs operating all over the united kingdom whose origin is Merseyside.


The youngest of my uncles is Keith. He was always really nice to me as a kid. He’s very quiet and has played in a band called the worriers for years.

He’s still in Skem and once in a while, I get a text off him asking if I’m ok.
I always reply and ask how he is then I don’t hear from him again for a while.

He came to Liverpool not long after my dad’s funeral and we had dinner together. He still loves his music like when he was a young man and I think he’s doing ok.

You would never know with Keith he was always very quiet and not exactly outspoken. If he’s reading this which is very unlikely I really hope he’s doing as well as can be.

Writing this has put a lot of things in perspective time is so precious. If I was in the UK now I would make time to see everyone. We always find an excuse to do this but when time runs out then it’s too late.

I’ve seen this so many times in my family and through working in hostile environments over the years.

Im so thankful for social media though. I know it isn’t perfect but its a lot better than them being complete strangers to me. If all this had happened twenty years later then I’m sure we would have all kept in touch.

Im from the era where you could leave your wife and move twenty miles up the road and start a whole new life. More than likely nobody would find you.

Now I can face to face with my mother from Vietnam and send picture messages instantly to my pal in Australia it’s crazy.

I will write the family history for my mum’s side of the family and my dad’s new family after my mum in later blogs but for tonight that’s is all I’ve got.
Thanks for sticking with me on this journey so far.

E7 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.


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?


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.


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.


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.

E6 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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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.

E5 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.

E4 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.

inside the festival dome back in the 80s
I used to love the dragon slide which is still standing

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 dad

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.

yellow submarine slide and climbing frame

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.