Ok so to add to my entry I decided to tell you about my early years. these will be some of my memorable moments in my life, some of which I am not proud about, some I am proud of. I am going to start of with something that I am not proud of because I want to get it out of the way first and I can remember it as if it yesterday. I truly hate myself for somethings I have done in those early years.
Born in East London, Stoke Newington to be precise, I was born to a poor east london family. My mother was just a machinist in a factory, she was my idol, she worked hard and my father, I dont know what he did, but nothing good if I remember, he was an abusive drunk, mainly to my mother but also to me and my brother. I can recall playing in the streets of London in the 70's and getting in to lots of trouble with the police. When I say lost of trouble, it was ranging from fighting to stealing, nothing i am proud of thats for sure, and some things I hate myself for.
I was 10, the gang I hung around with were aged anything from 10-16 and there was around 15 of us. We caused havoc, not only with the police but also other gangs. A couple of the older members were good at stealing things especially cars. Anyhow, 1 day we were hanging around a housing estate (nice place called broadwater farm, look up Tottenham riots broad water farm for more look here). 1 of our guys came back to our hideout (an abandoned garage which stunk of piss and alcohol) and said he found a car which was unlocked, so the leader (cant remember his name, but he was a fearsome kid, not a bully, just a complete lunatic) tasked me with getting it, or should I say stealing it. Desperate to show my loyalty to the gang, I was chuffed (happy) that he told me to do this. How misguided I was in them days. Anyhow, myself and another went to scope out the car, and true enough there it was, a mini. Perfect, we knew they were easy to hotwire. So we approached the car, no one was around and yes the doors were unlocked. I jumped in the drivers seat and my friend in the passenger seat, he knew exactly what he was doing with the hot wire and managed to get it started.
We were off, initially slow to get the hang of it. So there were driving around the streets of North London in our newly acquired wheels, looking to get back to the gang and show off our prize. However, anyone that knows, London can be difficult to navigate, easy on foot, but not in a car as we found out. After about 10 minutes or so of driving around we found ourselves stopped at a junction trying to pull out into traffic. To our surprise a police car allowed us to pull out in front of them and into traffic, OMG, what do we do now. My friend was continously looking behind to see what they were doing and he could see them talking on the radio and next thing we knew was a loud siren and blue lights going of behind us.
Argh, now at this time, all I could say was "what is my mum going to say", so rather than stop we decided to try and make a run for it. I wasn't a tall kid, so I had trouble with the pedals but we managed to keep it going. I turned the car down a lane, not knowing it was a dead end. Not only that, there was no way of escape through alleyways or over walls. So we just drove the car to the end of the lane and stopped. the police were right there behind us. 1 of the coppers got out and started to make his way to my side, and that time my friend got out his side and ran back up the alley (everyone for themsleves I guess), as the copper (slang for policeman) tried to open my door to get to me, I realised I must of locked it at some point, So with out hesitation and the fear of getting caught i launched myself out of the passenger side and tried to run for it too, but the other copper had got out and was blocking my way. Now I was a nimble kid, I was in the school football team, rugby team and I and I did gymnastics, I was quite quick in them days. The coppers on the other hand, were not so spritely, 1 (the first copper) was clearly overweight and young and the other was an older guy who looked as if he was suffering from something as he was thin, if you have ever watched laurel and hardy, well you get the picture.
So there I was, 2 coppers and me. I was on 1 side of the car and the 2 of them on the other side, with out thinking about it, I ran easily past the pair of them up the alley and didnt look back. I could them shouting at me to stop, and the car they were in was screeching its tyres to turn around. I could also hear in the distance other sirens (oh was I in trouble). I quickly looked behind me, and saw the thin copper giving chase on foot. Now, in appearance you would say this guy looked half dead, but he was already gaining on me, this guy was quick. I reached the end of the alley way, and just as I got there another cop car appeared out of no where, screeching to a halt in front of me, they nearly ran me over. Somehow I managed to run straight past them and into an alleyway across the main road. this was a foot alleyway not large enough for cars, I could see another cop had got out of the other car and he too was giving chase. If I remember rightly, they were around 30 yards behind me. I had a possible slight advantage, as I new the streets and alleyways very well, I had been running around them long enough on foot. I knew this alleyway had a wall at the end which was could easily be jumped over using the large bin it had next to it. I also knew on the other side was a small factory which we had broken into sometime before. So as I reached the wall, I looked for the large bin, Nooo it was gone, and there was no way I could get over it, so I looked for something else.
I found a very small alleyway which was the access to peoples gardens. I was running as hard as I could, I could hear the coppers behind me, shouting for me to stop I looked around and saw 1 of them slip over on dog poop probably. No way was i stopping, I found an open gate and ran in to the garden, and though an alley way between the houses. Luckily for me the gate at the end was open and I found myself back out onto the high street. Knowing exactly where I was I ran down the high street back towards Broadwater farm estate, looking for refuge some where. As I approached the estate, I could see 4 members of the gang sat on a wall, they saw me and the coppers chasing me and quickly dispersed. Now broadwater farm estate, is like a maze, it full of twists and turns and someone can quickly get themsleves lost if they dont know where they are going, I knew where I was going, my aunts place.
What had turned in to chase by 2 coppers and now grown not too 4, but by all accounts I was now number 1 enemy of the state, because the place was now flooded with cops. they were everywhere. I just kept on running and running, I turned a corner and could see my aunts front door across the open area. She lived on the 3rd floor and here flat/apartment was easy to get to. I knew she hated the police as well, and would hide me or at least thats what I thought. So after navigating my way to her floor and ran towards her door to find it locked, normally its open. Poop, she must be out. Then the door opened, but on a security chain. I tried to get in but she wouldnt let me. I asked why? she said this to me "you need to own up to your actions and stop expecting people to cover up for you" then shut the door. I started crying and could hear the coppers running up the stairs towards me. As they approached me, 1 of them said "please stop running". I did, they handcuffed me and took me back to the cop car. put me in the back and then took me to the station. Because of my age at the time I couldnt go to court or worse juvenile jail and got away with a caution. I couldnt stop crying, I was devistated, not for me, but for my mother. I knew i was going to get a beating from my father, but that didnt bother me as he used to give me a beating all the time, I was more upset that i had caused my mother so much trouble again.
I am so glad my aunt did what she did, yes she helped me, but not in a way I was expecting at the time. Yes, i got a beating and yes my mother was really upset, but after that episode, i started to change my ways, I stopped hanging around with that gang, because of the trouble I was getting into we moved out of London to a place called Harlow in Essex (at that time the place to live). I needed to change for everyones sake, mainly for my mother, she really had a bad time with not just me but also my father. I guess the new chapter started from that point onwards, yes I got into trouble after that, Yes I found myself back involved with gangs mainly football hooligans(for anyone who doesnt know, look up ICF and West Ham football club, especially in the 1980's). But when I look back, I was mending, ok not straight away as I think its hard to change someone quickly, but over time I was leaving trouble behind me.
Like I said I am not proud of my early years. the above story is true, but its the 1 I wanted to share as its the 1 that I believe started the process of turning someone who was bad in so many ways, to a person who learned discipline, respect and what is right and wrong. My family helped me in those days and like I said that day was the turning point and I have my aunt to thank for that.
I hope this hasnt been too boring for anyone who reads, but I wanted to start in the early days as best as I could remember.
As always, be safe