Friday, 28 February 2014


Hi everyone, just thought I would check in to say that I have been working really hard so have had a few days off the blog, I have also had to recover emotionally as I have been so open a few demons have come back to memory.  All going well I will be resuming my life story tonight unless I actually fall asleep....

Keep crafty.... Tom :)

Saturday, 22 February 2014

My brother Sean, Cigarettes and Girls...

Hi all, sorry for the lack of a post yesterday, it was a tough day.

OK so where were we?

Lets talk about the little bundle of joy, Sean my little brother who is pretty big now.  My mother and Neil had a baby boy called Sean.  Apparently he was named after Sean Connery as my Mother and Neil loved the Highlander film.
This is Sean, he wasn't born this size....

I don't remember a lot about my mothers pregnancy or Sean's birth but what I do remember is that it was a difficult one and Sean was a very poorly baby.  The first time I met my brother, he is in an incubator behind a glass window.  I remember feeling sick at the fact I couldn't hold him and he might die at any given moment. Another thing that sticks in my head was the size of his feet.... they were no more than an inch from heel to toe and they had a purple tinge to them.  I remember seeing a junction of pipes, wires and tubes that looked like spaghetti.
Sean in the Green and my cousin Dean in the blue.  Take in the back lane of Stanley Street

When Sean come home I remember being a little disturbed and found that he was getting a lot of attention. This soon past and I loved my little brother very much.  I always found him a little odd, but that was Sean, I know i'm odd!
Me and Sean. Me being obnoxious.. 

I remember making a wooden hammer for Sean in CDT (Craft Design and Technology) in school.  It took me ages to make and I even bled over it.  Putting the head against the large blue metal sanding machine, I slipped and took the skin off my right index finger.  A big blood splodge stained the wood, so I coloured over it with coloured pens with a simple design.

Upon giving Sean my hand crafted hammer, he decided it would be a good idea to hit me over the head with it... Ouch!
This is me around 16 or 17.

It was about 4 years later when I started Jiu Jitsu, after a couple of years when I hit about 16, I started hanging around with some really good mates.  Me and Bruce met up with one of Bruce's friends, Christina who introduced up to Jimmy, Chucky (who I knew from school too), Rab, Joanene, Louise, Ann and another few who I cant really remember.
The height of fashion, what is that on the wall and look at
hat black and orange carpet!

I used to make really good friends with the girls, not because I was a stud or anything, simply because I wasn't like the other lads.  I wasn't tough or into football I was more into listening and talking, that in its self caused me a few problems as I was always the go to friend who helped them sort out the problems with their boyfriends.  I was never the boyfriend.

I really fancied Christina for ages only for her to ask me what would be the best way to go out with Jimmy. Don't get me wrong, this was years ago and I am so happy things turned out the way they did, I now have Susan who I love more than anything.   The funny thing is, I still think Christina and Jimmy are together although I haven't seen them for a few years.

My mother allowed me to take my friends into my room and it seemed like most of the time is was full of girls, it probably was but they were all just friends.  I wasn't experienced with girls and hadn't even kissed a girl (properly).

I remember one day going out to Linda's house and meeting up with a few friends.  There was a girl called Donna who was, lets say, more mature than us.  She had invented a game where each boy had to kiss a girl and the last one got the slap in the face.  Because the boys were only allowed in one at a time, everyone took their turn of getting a surprising CRACK across the face.   I had the slap and another lad came in, I had to kiss Donna, I didn't know what I was doing, as I went to kiss, she must have lost interest and I ended up kissing her ear.  I didn't hear the last of that one for months.

The first time I tried smoking, I was 15 and at school.  I thought about it for weeks.  I put my little plan into action, borrowed a cigarette out of Neil's packet, hid it in my bag along with a couple of matches.  In my break I ran into the burn on my own and lit up the cigarette.  I remember being really excited and new I was doing something really bad.  I inhaled the smoke, coughed a few times and inhaled again.  After smoking about half of the cigarette I realised I didn't like it.  My head was spinning and I felt sick, I remember feeling ill for about two hours.  I was shaking a little for the rest of the day.  I never tried it again until I was 16.

We all used to meet up an hang about behind a factory called "The Monitor".  The factory had a big yard in the back away from the road and it was a perfect place for us to mess about and spend time without getting into trouble.  We all used to drink Thunder Bird Blue and when we had extra money Red.  Looking back, I do not know how I could stomach that garbage.  Anyway, one time we were all getting pickled and Rab decided that he would take a closer look at the gas bottles that were stored at the far end of the yard.  He come back with an eager look on his face.  "They have helium", in his wisdom he decided he was going to inhale some and make his voice go high pitched.... Well this from the outset was a stupid idea, I remember him going over to the 6 foot bottle and attempting to turn it on, all of a sudden we all jumped as a screeching sound like an aircraft started hissing out of the top of the bottle. He had turned it on so much he had no way of turning it off, I don't know if it was the pressure or the shock, but the bottle fell over and with a clanking sound so did a few more.  We all ran and to this day we still don't know if anything exploded.....

I spent a lot of time at home with my Mam, Neil, Sean, my Aunty Jackie and cousins, Emma and Michael and Lauren.  Something that sticks in my head is a lady across the street.  This is a funny story and hopefully will make you laugh to yourself.  I am sniggering while we are talking.  Stanley Street was a number of flats that were terraced.  It was very easy to see into neighbours houses as the windows were not only opposite but it was also a very narrow street.  There was a lady who lived across the street.  I think she was about 20 - 25.  She was of medium to chunky build and she was not the prettiest of ladies.  What I do remember is she had very big boobs.  I know this as she used to get ready in her mirror which was on the windowsill.  She didn't have any nets or curtains and used to male sure I could see her topless.  I was only about 15 or 16.  Me and David used to watch her and she new this.

One day I thought I would get my mother so she could have a laugh too.  Not only did my mother walk in the room but if I remember rightly so did Neil, my Aunty Jackie, and her boyfriend John and also my cousins.  She was continuing to apply her make up in her bra, when she looked up and saw about 9 people in my room of all ages looking at her.  The adults were all shaking their heads.  This didn't even phase her, with a smirk she looked back in her mirror and continued what she was doing  The next night she does exactly the same show for me and David but naked.  She finished her make up, tweaked her nipples and walked out of the room.  We used to call her booby lady.... hahaha

My Mam, Me and my cousin Emma at
Scarborough outdoor pool

Here are a few random pictures.

Me, Johnny and Peter Sutcliffe.... ooops no its my Dad.... sorry Dad :p

Me in the middle on the left, notice how small I was.....

Me and my Granda Tom

Koo Stark who interviewed
me for the documentary.

My report card, notice how my Science results were very poor, this is because
I asked questions that the teacher could not answer... Thanks Mr Parker!!!

Aunty Jackie, Uncle Tommy's wife at the time Dot and Neil.

That's me in the paddling pool very young....
Holly as the Incredible Hulk, she got
bored half way through....
Notice the one eyebrow....

That's me...

That's Holly.... 

OK that's it for tonight i'm really tired.....  Hope you enjoyed it.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

The adventures continue....

Firstly I would like to say, Susan has not proof read this post so there may be some spelling mistakes as spelling is not my strong point. Secondly I would like to thank you for tuning in once again to read about my life.  Thirdly, sorry Mam you probably don't know any of this... hehehe

To start with ill post a few pictures of when I was young....
looking out of the window.

Along time ago where my Dad looks quite evil... Sorry Dad but you do.  And Holly has your eyes!

Did they use a bowl? Thanks Mam and Dad...

Me, my Aunty Barbara and my Amazing Grandma Ann (Dads Mam) who was super clever, like scientist clever.
I will be talking about her on another post.

Drinking a milkshake or a pop and ice-cream shake I cant really remember.
Somebody elbowed me when I was young and knocked my teeth out.

My Mam don't know who she is holding.... It may be my cousin Michael. 

The lads used to play in the the Burn often.  A long, wide path stretched up the middle of the valley like a curving snake with a beck type stream running down the side, this continued from the bottom the the Burn Bank all the way through to the sewer system near the Hall Grounds.  I don't know why it was called the Hall grounds, maybe there was a hall on it at sometime but there wasn't one when I was there.  On the left side of the Burn on the other side of the stream a thousand trees covered the hillside, I used to think they looked like broccoli...  More on broccoli later!
Me at around the age we
hung around the Burn

The opposite side was long steep bank up to a housing estate at the top and the old ruins of a monastery.    I remember one day in my dinner hour, we walked over to the ruins where workmen were digging to make sure it was safe and I hear one shout the the other "Dave, come see mate..."  I cant remember who was with me, but we ran over to the fence and peered through, as we were trying to glimpse what it was we were seeing, the workman pulled out a human skull from the hole he was digging and popped it on the tarpaulin next to him.  We were shocked yet intrigued... It was morbid yet amazing.   We went back the next few days but only spotted the odd bone.

Human Skull similar to the one
we spotted at the ruins...

I remember one day playing with a friend on my dinner break in the burn, we were in the trees which were next to the school.  I heard a cracking noise, more like a snapping noise.  I couldn't work out what it was, snap, then a few seconds later another SNAP.  It sounded like it was getting closer.  We peered through the trees towards the path running down the middle of the burn and spotted a couple of older lads probably about 15 or 16 walking along with an air rifle.  The snapping was the two lads taking pot shots at the younger children as they played in the burn.  They were nasty buggers.  I remember saying to my friend, quick lets go.  As I said that the taller of the two boys, the lad who was holding the rifle turned and made eye contact with me, he lifted up the rifle and took aim, we started running and SNAP.  I suddenly heard my mate shouting.  I've been hit.  I thought he was winding me up, but he wasn't.  He had been hit in the leg, but not with a pellet.... With a dart.  All I could see was the green feathers sticking out of his skin, there wasn't even any blood.  He was taken to hospital and I was asked a few questions.  I know the Police were involved but I heard nothing back.

Identical to the dart my mate was shot with.  Green too!

Talking about playing in the Burn, we found just past the school an old mud mound.  This mound was fun to dig in with sticks.  One day while digging in it we found an old bottle.  We kept digging and digging and must have found about 10 or 12 valuable bottles.  We hid these but my friend Chris had a bit of a big mouth.  I think he to was being bullied so he used to try and make friends with people by telling them cool things.  Sure enough, the bottles were gone at the end of the day.  I was gutted.

Very like the bottles we found....

Talking about Chris, I spend about 7 months of my life hanging around with this lad.  He was OK, but he tended to do really mischievous things.  I was easily let I think due to the fact that I wanted people to like me so I tended to be the passenger and not the driver.  I spent many a day at Chris's, his house was in a rich part of our area and both his parents worked, leaving him in at 14 all hours of the day.  They made it up by buying him pretty much anything he wanted.  I had my Amiga plugged into an old TV and went half blind looking at it.  He had a full colour monitor a hard drive which cost about £500 then! and also a dot matrix printer in COLOUR!!! Hugely expensive.  I only dreamed about owning this hardware.

Chris's Actual Computer

I had an advantage though, I knew how to use mine, so I too great pleasure writing silly little programs to wind him up, for example I wrote a great little program that looked like his loading screen, then it continued to delete everything on his hard drive.  It didn't really it just looked like it was.

One night at Chris's, he asked me if I could get a hold of the infamous Cook Book.  I took pleasure in charging him £3.00 for it which no doubt I spent on sweets. He asked me over a few nights later and we started trying to make some of the recipes.


We mixed a few household chemicals together placed it into a pot and took it out into the middle of nowhere to try and set it off.  I remember that day well as it was a particularly cold winter and we walked miles freezing our buts off to the small lake.  It was completely frozen solid.  The ice was at least 10 inches thick so we walked into the middle and placed down our so called explosive.  Chris pulled out a lighter and was just about to light it when I shouted "STOP! What are you doing??!!" .  Yes Chris in his wisdom was going to light an explosive compound with a lighter.  If it ignited, it would have blown the both of us into small bits.  I told him to grab a few grains and take it to another part of the ice and try lighting it to see what happened first.  He done what I said and lit the tiny pile of mixture.  It sparked a little and went out.  He walked back over to the big pile, I decided to walk off the ice at this point.  He lit his lighter and took it to the mixture... KABBOOOMMMM!!!...........  naaa only kidding, nothing happened apart from a few sparks.  We had made the wrong mixture. But the moral of the story is, NEVER mess with silly things like this as you can easily die.

Chris got it into his head that he wanted to rob the telephone box over the street from his house.  I dont know why, he had everything he wanted, I was from a poor estate and I never wanted to steal anything, however being keen on hacking software, I took it on as a bit of a challenge, I didn't think about the fact I was stealing.  Firstly we tried a hammer, Chris spent so long hammering on this steel box that his dads hammer head fell off and hit him in the shin!  I laughed for days about this and still to this day I snigger....   We tried picking the lock, which failed.  We even mixed up a very low explosive (which worked).  We tested it by throwing it against a hard surface.  It was pressure sensitive and was very much like one of those snapper devil banger type things, just a bit stronger.  We decided we would put the mixture around the metal box and Chris asked how we were to detonate it....  I instantly thought, instead of throwing the mixture on something hard, throw something hard at the mixture.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.....  I pulled out my Black Widow slingshot which every kid had in those days and fired a pebble which I had in my pocket along with other suitable ammo I used to find.  Nothing happened.  I took aim once again and from about 20 foot away, fired again.  Bang!, plumes of white smoke bellowed out of the holes where the windows once were.  The windows didn't even break they were made of plastic, so they simply popped out of the telephone box.

The Indestructible Telephone Box or DOOM!
(Sorry B.T.)

We legged it back to Chris's house and spend a good couple of hours waiting for the police to come and arrest us.  I was in shock to be honest.  Nothing happened, not even a neighbour looked out of the window.  So after about a further 2 hours, when it was getting dusky, we decided to get our booty.  We walked over to the telephone box and examined it.  There was absolutely no damage at all, not even the paint was damaged, it literally just popped the plastic clips off the windows and produced lots of smoke and a sticky substance which was stuck to the case.  We popped the windows back in and wiped off the substance with our coats.  We walked back to his house again!

A bit like Asquiths bike but this is much better condition
and I guess it wasn't Asquiths anyway... 

A few weeks later Chris told me that he was watching a stolen motorbike for the hardest lad in school, Asquith.  Asquith was the school nutter, to be honest I didn't know him much and out of everyone he never really gave me any bother.  Chris decided he wanted to take the petrol out of it to set a fire, I found myself once again doing something illegal that I didn't want to do. We took the petrol tank off and Chris thought it would be a good idea to set fire to it right in the middle of the grass outside his house.    After about 15 minutes, once he had finished being a fire bug, a group of girls from our school came waltzing over, "We are gunna tell Asquith you set fire to his bike, you two are DEAD!"  they continued laughing.  It was like a sledge hammer in Chris's face.  I sort of knew this was the direction it was heading in and although I didn't get involved knew that I was guilty by association.  As we walked back to Chris's house he told me that he was not going in in the morning and he suggest I didn't too...  I had never wagged school in my life.  I wasn't a bad kid and didn't want to hurt people, I did have an over excited imagination and was intrigued by puzzles and I liked to know things I wasn't allowed to know, but deep down, Wagging???  Come on...  that was what bad kids done.

Me and Chris met up with each other as we normally did at 8:00 am.  We decided that we were going to wag school.  We travelled to my dads Chalet which he had in Ovingham.  It was more like a little wooded house that he had on a farmers field, they were there as holiday home, however a few people lived in them permanently.  Of course I didn't have any keys but I had remember my dad was working on the floor and the plan was, that if I crawled under it, I could crawl up through the hole and open the doors from the inside.    I had never been that far away without an adult, I was only 14.  We travelled on train for a good 40 minutes and got off at Prudhoe.  I found the path that led down to the Chalet, it was a good 25 minutes walk.  We eventually arrived at the Chalets and I entered the gate.  I walked up to the Chalet and noticed that My dad had been working on it.  I crawled under the building and edged up to the hole in the floor.  To my amazement, my dad had fixed the hole and it wasn't there any more.  I crawled back out and we decided to do something that every immature adolescent boy does, "Lets have a catapult fight".

We stood about 50 foot apart and took turns firing rocks at each other (Dumb or what).  After my fourth go, not thinking in what I was doing, I zeroed in on Christ and fired a small pebble.  It hit him on the side of the head and for a good 40 minutes, he was sobbing holding his head.  We travelled back about 15 minutes after that.

I managed to persuade my mother I was ill.  I stayed off for another few days then it was the weekend. I handed her a piece of paper and a pencil to write me a note.  I had thought this through, if I handed her a pencil and instructed her what to write as "Daft O Clock" in the morning there was a good chance I could extend the date by rubbing it out and re-writing it.  It worked like a dream and I was never found out for wagging the one and only day I took off!

OK so getting back to living at home with my Mam....  My Dad thought it would be a good idea to buy me a computer, he looked through all of the papers for weeks and bought me a 286 DX 50mhz machine.  This was an amazing machine for its time and was only surpassed by the 66mhz machine but that was way to expensive.  I was a little mischievous at this time and I was pretty confident with computers.  I found that this machine had QBasic which was very similar to the basic I once programmed in on my Amiga.  So I set to work memorising all of the commands and how it worked.  At the time the system was running Windows 3.1.  I managed to get a hold of a disk containing nude images of girls and set one as my background page.  It was in colour!!!  I remember my Mam walking into my bedroom while I was talking to Bruce.  I quickly turned off the monitor, of course she turned it back on and I got told off.  I remember getting a hold of a 14400 kbps modem.  That's was pretty good at the time.  I used to dial a number for a bulletin board that contained text files and articles on computing.  This ran up my mothers bill as it was a national rate number.  I remember her getting a pin code put on her phone to stop me from using it.

I sat down and took turns with my mate in trying every number from 0000 to 9999.  We would write down an X every time we had tried 100 numbers.  Luckily it started with a 2 so we only had to do around 3000 tries.  It is amazing how quickly you can do that when you set your mind at it.  It took us two nights.  Then we had the pin.  I once again ran her bill up.  She changed the code, so instead of manually tying in the numbers one at a time I wrote a small program which instructed the modem to dial tones and listen for a connection.  It dialled 0000, waited for a connection, then tried 0001, waited for a connection and so on. With this little program I managed to crack my mothers phone pin for a further few months until I lost interest.  Looking back I now realise, I must have been a little bugger!

Around about the same time I decided I would see how fast I could get a motor to turn that I had taken out of a broken tape deck.  I scoured the house looking for batteries.  I must have had about 15 or so.  I taped them all together into one big sausage and attached them.  The motor turned really fast, but I wanted faster.  An idea popped into my head.  What if I plug it into the mains?  I spent a good 30 seconds wiring this motor up to a mains lead by simply poking the wires from the motor into the socket on the end of the lead.  I plugged it in and switched it on.  BANG!  The motor proceeded to explode firing bit of metal all over the room. At that time I didn't know the difference between AC and DC.  My mother ran in the room and asked if I was OK and what was the bang.  I said I didn't hear one, I am amazed she didn't suss me due to my pale white face and the smell of soiled underwear.... lol

Looking back I didn't realise how much of a little sod I was.... OMG!

Getting back to Broccoli.... Once when we were staying at my Nana's house (by the way I love my Nana Nan she is lush)  My mother fed me a Chicken and Broccoli bake.  I was up all night vomiting and violently ill, I must have been about 10.  I was told I must have been allergic to Broccoli.  Now I look back it must have been food poisoning.  I spent every day until I was 24 avoiding Broccoli as I thought I couldn't eat it.  Then Susan said she had been feeding me it on the sly for weeks.... lol  Now I love Broccoli and am gutted I didn't eat it for so long... lol

I cant remember how I met David, but David soon become my best friend.  David and I were inseparable.  He was a couple of years younger than me but was pretty mature for his age.  His Granddad was Chinese and if you looked closely enough you could see that some of David's features were like his Granddads.  David was proud of his heritage and liked to talk about his Chinese family.  One thing I remember is David had and Uncle Office.  I found that very amusing.  David and I started Jujitsu at Wallsend Boys Club just down the hill from the Buddle Arts Centre.  We walked over to the doors and went into the passage where we were met by the smell of stale smoke and and old guy with really bad skin and glasses.  "What?" said the guy behind the table.  "We have come for Jujitsu" we replied, "Upstairs" he grunted to us.  We walked through the hall and into the main arena for the 5 a side football tournaments that were held regularly.   I remember seeing the Dads creaming at their sons, "Get the ball, NO get the f'XXXing  ball!".  I was shocked at how they treat their kids.  The boys all dressed in their pristine football strips were trying so hard.  We walked up the open planned stairs and into the room marked HOKTO IRIGUS RYU JIU JITSU - DOJO.  I remember that as we had to learn it.

We were met by a huge fat man covered in tattoos from head to toe.  We must be in the wrong place we both though to ourselves but were to scared to talk.  "Have you come to fight?" the large man aggressively said. "Errm... We have come to learn Jiu Jitsu." we quietly said.  "Good lads, its not about fighting its about discipline, get yourself sat over there on the edge of the mat.".  We sat down where he pointed and were a little intrigued by the black judo suits they wore with the Yin Yang on the lapel.  We ever spotted a good looking girl learning how to spar. However she wasn't  wearing a suit.  A few months went by, grading after grading passed.  I loved it, so did David.  We were both hooked.  The large man was called Geordie, he was an amateur Sumo and even travelled to Japan to fight in the championships.  He was such a nice guy but I wouldn't mess with him as he was a 3rd dan black belt and 37 or so stone to go with it. He always taught us to use controlled aggression within the ring and the ring only.  I started getting good at sparring and although I only weighed 7 stone I found it easy to take on people bigger and heavier than me.  You see....  I was fast, lightening fast.   For every one punch they managed to land on me, I landed 5.

I was hooked on Jiu Jitsu and found it a very good way to keep out of trouble and to get out my aggression.  The thing I liked was if your opponent or yourself had enough, you would submit and shake hands, the odd cuddle was exchanged too in a comrade type of way.  At my peak I trained 8 classes a week one every day and two on a Sunday.  I ate and breathed Jiu Jitsu.

One day Geordie took our class up to the Battlehill community centre to meet another class and spar.  I think he was interested in taking it over.  We met a group of 12 students dressed in lilly white suits all pristine and shiny.  We all had to line up on the mats, our group sanding shoulder to shoulder facing the other group.  It was Winner Stays On.  I always used to psyche myself up before a match and then stair straight into the eyes of my opponent with a really evil look.  I used to practice this look in the mirror at home.  I once read that you can win a fight by just your mind.  It worked most of the time.  We were told "Ajimi" (don't know if its spelled like that) and the sparring match began.  I beat 11 of the 12 in the class and only got beaten by the last one due to being exhausted as I was fighting for about 45 minutes.  I submitted and David took over.  Between me and David we had  defeated the entire Battlehill Jiu Jitsu class in less than an hour.  It was good times......

Well that's it for this time.  Please tune in again for Tom meets girls and cigarettes.....

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Hell at School, Great At Home....

Due to my last post being a little bit upsetting and this one being a bit low too, I thought I would start off my showing you a little bit of artwork I am working on.

I made this with the following steps.

  • I applied some white acrylic through the SplodgeAway Fantail Mask and blasted it with the heat-gun until is blistered.

  • I then added some bright green Dylusion Ink and blasted again.

  • After that I added some Inka Gold with my finger.

  • Then I added some Barn Door Distress Ink from the bottom left to the middle.

  • Once I dried it again I decided to add some Midnight Blue Cosmic Shimmer Glimmer Mist.

  • I didn't feel that the colours worked too well so I tied the whole lot in with Inca Gold. I think it pulled the whole image together and it popped.

OK back to my life story....

I had a few friends at school but some of them still bullied me, which tended to hurt more.  Anth, Keith, Kevin & Magee were the ones I hung around with.  I remember a time when we rode our bikes down to Jesmond Dene and spend the whole day messing about in the river near the waterfall, I remember the day being really hot.  The sun was shining, the trees were still and the water was icy cold.  Surrounded by mates who were treating me like an equal, life couldn't be better. 

Me and Keith in our trendy Shell Suits.. .ha ha ha

I remember having a birthday party at the Buddle in the main theatre.  It was before all of the bullying started and it was brilliant.  My dad had a candy floss machine and was with his new "Friend who he is now married to lol"  Debbie..... 

A few of the lads including Anth, Keith, Kevin and David.... At my birthday party before it got tough.
If my memory serves me correctly, I barricaded myself in the staff only office as the girls said they were going to kiss me, I started to bubble.  God I was a wimp... lol

I remember Emily, Yvonne & Karen sorry to the other girls....

Oh I would like to apologise to Emily as in first school in sewing class I kept stealing her pencil and she kept grabbing it and jumping down on to her seat.  When she went to the teacher I decided to put her sewing on her chair with the needle pointing up, when she came back she saw her pencil and jumped back onto her chair where the needle stuck in her bum!  SORRY...

I always remember Magee being a quiet lad who didn't speak much but he was strongest and the most daring.  We decided to take a ride over to the ruins of what I believe was an old mill.  This was obviously a "No Go" area as signs adorned the walls and the tall prominent dulled iron fence was a bit of a give away.  But we thought what the hell, we wanted to see what's inside.  So Magee was the first one up followed by Anth & I think Keith, my memory doesn't serve me too well.  

Keith and Anth climbed down onto the jagged broken bits of rock and wall below and Magee decided he would climb around the walls to hone his monkey like skills, he was a strong climber and had no fear.  I couldn't see a way down the 20 or so foot of wall so shouted down to the lads for reassurance.  "There's a brick you can put your foot on just below you" shouted Keith just before getting back to exploring.  I decided to go for it so I started to move myself into a position that would allow me to climb down and caught my foot on a loose root, I almost fell of but managed to grab onto some grass which allowed me to get my balance back, my stomach churned a little bit but I managed to calm my nerves as I didn't want to appear a wimp.  

I started hanging over the edge with my feet dangling, holding onto the grass which started to make a clicking/plucking sound as it started to pull out of the soft brown dirt.  I frantically waved my feet around trying to find the foot hold but I was to small.  I couldn't reach it.  I then dawned on me, this grass is going to rip out of the ground and I will fall onto the rocks below right onto my back,  just as I started to pull myself up, the grass come away and I found myself dangling 20 feet up my nothing but my fingertips, I had almost no air in my lungs and could afford to breath as this would have sent me speeding to my demise.  All I could do was shout in a quite almost whisper "Magee".  He had spotted that I was in trouble and was already above me.  He grabbed me by the wrist and easily pulled me up.  I don't know if he realised it at the time, but Magee saved my life.   I never did climb down that wall.

As time went on in School the bullying got worse and worse and was particularly bad from Gavin and his side kick Geoffrey.  Geoffrey was what I would call nowadays as an adult "A little Shit" he was rude to the teachers, nasty to adults out side and a bully.  Its strange as he was almost as small as me, yet he had the name for himself.  

Geoffery made my life hell constantly ridiculing me and belittling me in front of the whole class.  It was relentless, every day I would dread going into school.  To give you an idea of how bad my school was, one time in my English class, a lad who I will not name spent the whole lesson inhaling lighter gas which he had hidden up his sleeve.  Another lad bragged about how he had stolen 5 motorbikes and another one was arrested in class for stealing his dads car, they were all around 14 years old!

Dad and Debs... "We are just friends" that still makes me giggle now... Love you both and Josh!

Geoffery had a run in with my Dad one day, even some adults were afraid of the repercussions of tackling him.  My Dad was a worker at the Buddle Arts Centre and one of his jobs was to look after the Christmas lights, in those days there was no such thing as LED's they were big coloured glass bulbs.  My dad noticed several of them broken so he replaced them, the next day more were broken.  He could not work out why as they were at least 15 foot up in the Cherry Blossom Trees that adorned the front of the building.  

I loved those trees, every time I see a Cherry Blossom Tree I get that warm fuzzy feeling of security, comfort and happiness.  When I eventually manage to buy a house I am planting as many as I can.

He decided to sit in the building early in the morning and watch.  Along come Geoffrey grasping his trusty broom shank. He climbed up onto the wall and started smashing the bulbs one at a time.  My dad took action as he was also a tough bugger from an even worse estate Biker!  Geoffrey spent the rest of the morning gaffa taped to one of the cherry trees with his feet 12 inches off the ground.  He was only let down when he promised he would not smash them again.  He didn't.   Way to go dad!  That still makes me laugh, please understand that the details may be slightly different but I can only go on what I was told at the time.

That bloody Air Gun again.....

One day the lads at school found out that Neil had an Air Pistol.  They went on and on for days relentlessly bullying me into bringing it into school.  I declined but did agree to bring it out one night after school.  I hid it in my coat and sneaked it past my mam (Sorry mam you don't know this).  I met Anth at school a couple of the other lads turned up, I nervously showed them this large gun and put it back in my coat. It was dark and Anth took it off me and said "giviz a go" he shot at the window of the school but it just bounced off.  "Its shit" he said with disgust.  He was biffing away on his cigarette and a thought popped into my head.  He was holding it in his mouth while ignoring me talking to someone else.  Ill teach him, I thought to myself.  I loaded the pistol and being a very good shot, took aim at his cigarette.  I was about 8 foot away  I was aiming at the glowing end.  I knew I had no chance of hitting it but thought I might scare him a little. I slowly squeezed the trigger as Neil told me you never pull it.  It was a shot in a million!  I actually hit the end of the ciggy and it exploded into a fireball of embers which looked like a small firework without the bang. The embers floated through the air for a second or so emphasised by the black of the sky.

I thought I was clever and got a buzz from the attention I got because of my sharp shooting, of course it was total fluke.  I agreed to take Neils gun in to school.  Looking back I know how irresponsible that was and how I should have been punished to the extreme, bullied or not!  It was stolen out of my bag that day. I later found out that Anth and Magee had took it to Newcastle and sold it.  I was upset that I lost Neils air gun but most of all, I broke the golden rule.  Air guns are not toys.  To this day my mother thinks she threw it out, but mother you threw out a realistic looking toy gun.  I'm now in trouble.    Please let me reiterate once more to whoever is reading this. Air guns are not toys, I was silly and irresponsible and I was very lucky nobody got hurt.  I was 14 at the time so should have known better.  

The bullying was getting so bad I started getting hyper stressed and started to loose my mind a little bit, I contemplated climbing up onto the Burn Bridge and jumping off, but I never had the bottle.  It come to a head one day.  It was first class and Geoffrey started his normal routine of calling me nasty names and when I ignored him making turning up the heat. I was cutting something out that day in art with a craft knife.  I wasn't much good at what I call academic art when I was younger but I did enjoy it.  Geoffery was particularly nasty and I could feel my temper growing and growing, my chest was getting tighter and tighter.  

I snapped and went to grab him but he bolted and thought it was funny to run around the table, he didn't realise how close he was to getting seriously hurt,  I lunged over the table and grabbed him by the collar and threw him up against the large white enamel sink (which must of hurt) and suddenly found myself with the craft knife at his jugular.  Just as I realised what I was doing, I suddenly flew back away from him, the teacher had grabbed me by the back of my shirt collar and dragged me out of the class.  I remember the teacher shouting at me and as if in a film I couldn't ever hear her, I was just in contemplation.  I didn't want to be a monster but found myself in a battle with my sanity.  

I remember being told that I was to stay back after school to face the year head.  I had RE next lesson, I had the normal 'we are going to fill you in after school', 'we are going to burn your house down' all that type of thing.  I went into RE where Gavin was.  I used to dread RE as the teacher had no control over the animals in my class.  After 30 minutes of shit I remember Gavin picking up a large bible and smashing it over my head, it really hurt and I swear I felt a crunch in my neck.  This was the last straw.   I got up and started to walk over to the door.  The teacher told me to sit back down, I just ignored her and ran out of school with a sinking feeling in my stomach and a painful neck.  Once I got to the top of the burn I started crying and didn't stop for a good 4 hours, it was like everything came out in one go.  

I never returned to school.  My mother decided she would home school me.  But I had other ideas....

A few months later while driving up the coast road in my Dads car after visiting him we drove past a major accident.  I later found out that Geoffrey had ran over the motorway to avoid some bigger lads that were chasing him and had been hit by a car, the car apparently knocked him into several other cars and vans and he ended up over the 8 foot fence and on the other side of the road.  Obviously he was dead and had no hope of revival.  This hit me hard and for weeks I was sobbing in my room trying not to let people know.  Karma is a bitch!  I'm sorry Geoffrey, I wish you were just injured and maybe we could have had a coffee and put old demons to bed....  I forgive you mate. 

I got a computer a few years before fir Christmas called a ZX Spectrum, remember it?  I used to love to see how it worked and found it interesting to try and attempt to write little games but it had a terrible BASIC language so I couldn't write anything worth keeping.  

Neil brought an Atari ST in from college (he studied music technology and was very talented)  one day, this was state of the art.  I remember him putting on a game which was in full colour, this was unheard of.  I played on it for hours.  I cant remember what it was called but I remember you were an insect and I found it amazing that you could walk on the ceiling.  After a couple of days Neil had to take the machine back to college.  He told me he had talked my Mam into buying me an Amiga 500.  I had never heard of it.  But I was excited as he told me it was a powerful machine.  

Christmas come and I opened the box, my Mam and Neil had went in to debt to get me it.  This was the best this they could have done for me. This was to be my new education.  I didn't want to learn silly stuff like Maths and English.  I wanted to learn programming and how to change programs.  Later I found that this was actually called hacking and I got into a fair bit of trouble doing it.  But we will get to that on another post.  Living in my bedroom, working out how to create boot-able disks using LIB files I developed an array of simple programming skills.  The internet was around in those days but mostly it was bulletin boards.   These were telephone numbers of other computers that would share their files to you. I could only develop my skills by reading the help file and seeing how other people had written their coding.  

I met a lad called Peter who visited my house with his mother who was called Sonia.  Peter was a bit younger than me and seemed pretty nice but after a while I met his older brother Bruce who was about my age.  Bruce was a keep programmer who was confident. I remember he turned on his computer and showed me a green screen.  He typed in a few lines of code and I could see "Connecting to the FBI secure connection"  a load of code popped up on the screen and he typed a couple more lines of code.  Up pops a password cracker and sets to work on the system.  It found the password within 3 or 4 seconds.  The next thing that happened is it opened a file system up......  I remember thinking... It cant be that easy, then I noticed there was no modem.  After that the system crashed and it returned to the programming language.  

Bruce had written a fake program to make it look like he was hacking, however this was enough to get my mind energised by the buzz of breaking and entering into the world of computers. I started honing my skills in programming in Amos Basic then Blitz Basic, I found out how to use a hexadecimal editor to change games and hacked my first game.  Micro machines for the Amiga.  I remember changing the names of the characters to the names of my family.
Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge II.... if i'm not mistaken.... 

Me and Bruce spent more time together and started making contacts within the field of computers.  I could get my hands on almost any software that you needed, from the latest game to topless pictures.  I could get it all.  In fact there was a little shop on Chillingham Road near Newcastle It was called the Public Domain Shop.  Of course it was a front for illegal software copying.  They supplied us anything we needed for £1.50 per disk which was still a fair bit of cash in those days.  The average game was between £6.99 and £8.99 so you still saved a good bit.  
My true education.... That's also The Terminator II game, the first Amiga game with colour full motion video in it!

Once day I had bought a few disks off a friend for 25p per disk.  I was scanning through them and I found my first Adult video disk.  This went into my secret collection.  The funny thing was, the disks didn't hold much data so the videos were in black and white and only lasted about 2 seconds.  So the programmer decided to play it then reverse it on a look, it was hilarious and to be honest you could see much on a video 1" by 2".  Another disk I found was very interesting.  It was the Infamous "Jolly Rogers Cookbook".  

Only actual screenshot I can find... 

No his was not a recipe book, well.... it was sort of.  But it was not cakes you were making it was bad things like bombs and drugs and things to hurt people.  I decided to hide this under my carpet next to my bedroom door as I hid things there from time to time.  I knew it was bad and I should have it but just the excitement of owning it was enough to keep it.  I remember one day it was on John Cravens Newsround stating that this illegal disk was doing its rounds and it was bad .  I remember me saying to my mother "That's terrible"  unbeknownst to her it wasn't more that 20 foot away from her.  

I remember printing some stuff off with my mates Dot Matrix printer. and keeping it for a rainy day.

A few weeks later I was told to come into the front room where my Mam and Neil spent a good hour shouting at me trying to get me to understand how bad it was.  The lecture ended with Neil cracking the disk in half and ripping its insides out.  They didn't know I had another 5 copies. 

Well I am aware its now midnight so I am going to end this post here.  I hope you come back for the next instalment.  Thanks for reading about my life.  

In the mean time I will post some other pictures of when I was young.

The most talented artist I have ever met and my mentor when I was young Reddish!

My Nana, Aunty Jackie and Me all had our appendix out in the same week and were in the paper...

Neil Teaching me Robotix....

My Mam, Uncle Tommy & Aunty Jackie when they were weeee

My Mam and Dad...

Me and my cousin Sara