IT’S A REAL SHAME WHEN THOSE YOU THINK ARE HONEST, NICE, UPRIGHT
PEOPLE THEN DON’T TURN OUT THE WAY YOU EXPECT THEM TOO.
Tracy’s were a family I admired tremendously. All of them went
out of their way to help people. Mind you they very well off and
had the time to help, but they all went out of their way to do
actually had their own island. The head of the family was a guy
called Jeff, and he and his five sons all had the latest in
technology and gadgets you could think of including fast cars,
jets and even their own space station.
they helped total strangers overcome major disasters.
things turned sour when the eldest son Scott, killed his brother
Virgil in a drug crazed attack while in an illegal high stakes
poker tournament. The rest of the family, Alan, Gordon and John
took their revenge forcing Scott to take an overdose of some
dodgy smack from a friend and drug dealer they called Lady
were called and the brothers were sent down. Many years later,
Jeff, a broken man, was arrested for attempting to sell nuclear
arms to North Korea.
After hearing about the
breakup of this family I went on to investigate other boyhood
heroes of mine -
Captain Troy Tempest - 60 years imprisonment for multiple
Lieutenant George Lee "Phones" Sheridan - 46 years
imprisonment for manslaughter, murder, & robbery of a green
(friend of Troy and Phones) - deported as an illegal
immigrant after attacking a chip shop owner
Captain Scarlet - went to prison for 30 year drug smuggling
- arrested for sheep worrying
Tags: Puppets, Drugs,
nuclear weapons, Murder, Sheep Worrying, Chip Shop
IMPRESS ME SO MUCH. I THINK THEY WERE SOME KIND OF ANCIENT FOLK
FESTIVAL WHERE PREHISTORIC FOLKIES WOULD ENTERTAIN EACH OTHER.
Louise and I
recently visited Avebury henge in Wiltshire, which must be one
Britain's truly wonderful sites.
If you haven't
been to Avebury please consider going. I think it is more impressive
than Stonehenge because you can actually walk around the stones and
touch them. Some of the stones weigh about 40 tons and they cover
over 28 acres. Originally there was about 100 stones but now there
are only 27 stones left standing but it is still wonderfully
No one knows
the reason the stones were erected but if you walk inside the circle
you get a great desire to burst into song. This leads me to believe that the
stones were once a giant folk club where ancient folkies would get
up and perform their act within the circle. Each year they would invite other ancient
folkies to come and visit and they would put on a great festival for all to
have a great time, get drunk, meet all their mates that they
hadn't seen for ages because they had been out gigging and some
would bring a bodhran.
Next time you visit some standing stones I suggest that you take
instrument with you and perform to anyone watching - you will see
what I mean!
Tags: Stonehenge, Avebury, folk
clubs, gigs, ancient Britain
AS I FELL OFF MY ROOF, I REMEMBER THINKING... "LOUISE IS
GOING TO KILL ME". AFTER MY FALL I DEVELOPED A FEAR OF DOCTORS. MY HYPNOTHERAPIST
SAID I SHOULD THINK OF THEM AS GIRAFFES.
Every now and again
I visit an Hypnotherapist. Her name is Bridgette and she helps me with "Issues" I occasionally have. I have to
admit I am in two minds about Bridgette. Is she lovely? Or, has she actually hypnotised me to
think that she is lovely? Maybe my subconscious mind
is in a constant battle with my conscious mind and therefore causing new
"Issues" on top of the issues that I had originally had before I
started going to see her? Bridgette could end up rich just from my
I first went to see
Bridgette when I fell off my roof. (It was actually more of a Lean-Two.
About 9 feet high and 50 feet wide - but it was high enough). It was
a busy old day. I had to get the roof sorted out, it was Louise's birthday, and Matthew was
playing in a football cup
I had been screwing
all morning. Hundreds and hundreds and the damn things.
It was hot, I ached, I needed a drink, but at last, I had to put
in "JUST ONE MORE SCREW" and I was
finished. The only problem is that the "ONE MORE SCREW" was
not in easy reach. I could just about lean across and struggle
to put the screw in... or,.... I would need to climb down
the ladder, move the ladder about a foot to the right, secure
the ladder, and then climb
back up and screw it in. All for "ONE MORE SCREW".
I decided to chance
it and leant across. I felt the ladder slip and I began to fall.
downwards through the air I remember thinking 3 things.
1. If this fall don't kill me - Louise is going to kill me
2. Matthew is going to be very upset with me because falling
will make him late for his Cup Final and if he is late for the
start of the game he might have to be a substitute and if it was
0-0 near the end of the game it was highly likely that Matthew
wouldn't even get on the pitch at all.
3. "Sarah, is lovely".
I don't know why I thought "Sarah is lovely". But I did.
Sarah is our daughter, and sure enough she is lovely. Maybe it
was one of those "life flashing before my eyes" moments
you read about. Sarah
and I had been chatting moments before I fell and she had made
me laugh. Sarah always
makes me laugh. Which is why as I was falling I was still
I don't remember
hitting the ground, and I don't remember stopping breathing. I
do remember the air ambulance flying over the house and Matthew
standing in the garden waving to them as he had been instructed
to. I don't remember the convulsions and the mess. I partially remember Louise chatting to the
air ambulance man while they looked down over me. I remember my
leg hurt like hell as they untwisted me from the ladder. The
neck brace because they thought my neck may have been broken. My
kids look of horror. The tears. Matt looking at his watch.....
The Doctors at the hospital were not bothered about my broken
leg. They were more interested in a suspected broken back, brain
haemorrhage and some other problem that I hadn't even thought
of. I suppose they are more interesting than broken legs which
are ten a penny. It was awful in the hospital and my leg wasn't looked
at for days. When they discovered that my back and brain were
fine they seemed to loose interest.
I suppose my
experience at the hospital gave me the fear I have of Doctors. I had what
vaso-vagal syncope. My body
would close down and I would collapse in a heap and have what
can be best describe as a fit.
I had to go to see
a head doctor who explained to me that my problem was actually
Psychosomatic. My problem was in my head and he suggested I went
to see a hypnotherapist.
Bridgette sorted me
out in one sitting. My fear of Doctors came from me feeling that
I was not in
control. I am not a control freak or anything. But some stuff had happened
to me years
before had effected me and I don't like putting myself in any
danger. Bridgette suggested I thought of Doctors as people with
the head of a Giraffes (I kid you not) which worked a treat.
Another way of
solving my problem is
a) I don't get ill
b) I don't go
anywhere near a hospital
Which is why I
haven't been to visit my mate Mick in hospital.
Get better soon
mate. I am thinking of you.
Aura, Singing, Stage presence, Giraffes,
WHO WAS PARANOID. I INTRODUCED HIM TO SOMEONE WHO USED TO BE A
An old friend of mine called Bob used to tell me he was being
followed. He could never quite catch them doing it, it was more
of feeling he got. Bob worried me when he started behaving
erratically, like doubling back while walking to the pub, or
changing the route he took to work, which was difficult when you
only live up the road from your office. Bob changed his
telephone number and ultimately he moved home, only to tell me
that he was still being watched.
Paranoia is a terrible thing, it ate him away from inside his head.
The Internet had to go of course, and the TV too. But he would throw
away perfectly good items, thinking there was a camera inside
watching him. Satellites, CCTV cameras, Shop security radios,
Reality TV programmes, all added to his idea that he was being
watched. Eventually Bob became totally irrational and I began to
doubt his sanity.
got better after I introduced him to Lucy who was once had been a
Stalker. Lucy was a bit odd too. She laughed Stalking off calling it
"People Watching". Both the Police and Magistrate called it Stalking
after one of her old boy friends had complained. Shortly after Lucy
got her ASBO I introduced her to my mate Bob the Stalker.
hit it off immediately and their lives, and careers, turned around.
They needed each other, The Ying and the Yang, or whatever it is,
their chemistry was right together.
in a relationship like that. It just seems that we were meant for
each other. Since the day we met.
Paranoia, Stalking, Relationships, Ying and Yang,
THE SHOW MUST GO ON. TRUE OR UNTRUE? WHEN EXACTLY SHOULD YOU
CANCEL A GIG?
I once was offered a gig in Bosnia. The money was good, the
audience was some nice Bosnian people who wanted to listen to
some UK folk music. The venue was a medium sized folk club with
a nice stage and the P.A. was supplied. The only problem I had
was after accepting the booking a war had begun and the folk
club was now in the middle of a war zone. Now, should I have
cancelled the gig or not? Yes, of course I should have cancelled
the gig! (I did and I lived to tell the tale. The folk club by
the way was bombed to bits.)
reason I mention it is because my mate has recently cancelled a
gig for the first time in 15 years. I was gutted for him. He has
performed with a variety of diseases including the flu, a broken
arm, a head ache (which, after being dragged to the doctors by
his wife, turned out to be a fractured skull) and a nasty dose
I haven't cancelled many gigs over the years but I have to
admit I have cancelled one or two. I have struggled through more
than one gig with a broken leg (after falling off a roof). But I
did have to cancel one gig after having peritonitis. My appendix
decided to burst one Monday morning but my GP insisted that I
had a bit of a tummy bug. After my appendix exploded I was
rushed to hospital and I lay on my death bed while the proper
doctors tried to find out what was wrong with me. While laying
in my hospital bed, and not at all well, with around 7 drips
going into various parts of my body, I distinctly remember
apologising to someone on the Entertainments Committee of the
Bishops Itchington Social Club and him saying to me, "Well can
you just do a bit after the bingo"?
The show must go on. It is a pity the Bosnian folk club was
Tags: folk, Bosnian
folk, appendix, peritonitis, cancelled gigs, roof
MY UNCLE STILL GOES
OUT TO AMERICA TO VISIT HIS NATIVE AMERICAN FRIENDS.
of my Uncles was brought up by
a native American Indian family on a traditional native American
Indian reservation in Wyoming, USA. The reservation is still there
and I have recently received a letter from him inviting me to stay
for a few weeks.
How my Uncle got to be raised by traditional
American Indians is an odd tale, beginning in 1875.
It all started when my Great-Grandfather
Vernon travelled from Leamington Spa to Montana, USA as a travelling
salesman, selling a new cure for various ailments. This consisted of a drink which, when chilled, would cure any
headache. It was also “guaranteed” to cure hemorrhoids,
Gut-Rot, Acne, Hearing Loss, Albinism, Anal Warts, Athlete's Foot,
Bad Breath, Baldness, Bed Wetting, Bladder Infection, Boils, Bowel
Gas, Bulimia, Bunion, Cold Sores, Constipation, Corns, Crabs,
Cross-Eyes, Dandruff, Excess Farting, Fungal Nails, Gum Disease,
Head Lice, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Lazy Eye, Moles, Mouth Ulcers,
Obesity, Piles, Shaky Hands, Stress, Syphilis, Warts and Zits, plus
a few hundred illnesses which never actually existed but sounded
horrible to catch.
The journey from Leamington Spa to Montana was
an arduous but Vernon and his Associates were determined to concur this new country.
However, despite all
their best efforts, sales were almost none existent and they
knew they would have to go and search for new markets and new
loaded up his horses and
wagons and left town, venturing out into the unknown to sell their
goods to the natives.
days into their journey they came across a band of Sioux Indians and
after a nice meal they traded
some of their bottles of “Bates Miracle Cures” for some buffalo meat.
Amazingly, the Sioux Indians absolutely loved the product.
Coincidently, they had also brought along with them 500 of the very latest
automatic rifles and they traded those too.
This time for gold, silver, jewels and lots and lots of buffalo
For many years their
business relationships blossomed and over the generations we
have kept in touch with
One year Louise and I
visit Montana in the Indian reservation
which sits by a small river called the Little Big Horn.
It is nice to think
that my family played a small part in one of USA's most historic
Tags: Battle of the Little Big Horn, American Indians, Sioux, Gun
running, Bates Miracle Cure,
SEARCHING YOUR FAMILY TREE? SOMETIMES IT IS LIKE SEARCHING IN A
FOREST, IN THE DARK, AT NIGHT, WITHOUT A TORCH, WEARING A
conversation with my mum went something like this.....
"Mum, would you mind if I searched our family tree? We don't
talk about family much and I wondered if you would be prepared
to help me?"
was about it. Silence. A tumbleweed rolled past mums coffee
table. The wind blew and mum sat there watching a contestant on
"I'm a celebrity get me out of here" eating a kangaroos
didn't push it. It was the answer I had expected.
I knew a bit
about the family tree. Although to be honest it was more like a
family Bush. I knew snippets of mums and dads past. For
example I knew that mum, Brenda Gallagovich, at the age of 15
ran away from her home in the Russian City of Stalingrad and
joined the Moscow State Circus which was on route to a tour near
to Leamington Spa.
Dads camper van, which was actually a mobile Russian
Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launcher
Mum joined the circus and soon became popular. Her stage
name was Bolshevik Brenda and her act consisted of crawling
around the circus floor with a woolly fleece on her back
while the Circus Master declared that she was a "Half Women
& Half Sheep". Crude as it sounds in today's cable
television, multi-channel digital world, mums act became
very popular and she became quite a celebrity around town.
She was often in the national press and photographed with
the celebrities of the day including famous footballers,
film stars and politicians. She had been destined for
stardom if it wasn't for her being caught in bed with the
then Head of the Ministry of Defence surrounded by national
My dad was also a circus performer but he had poor hand eye
co-ordination and tended to drop things, which is
particularly unfortunate while working as a trapeze artist.
However dad had lots of other acts under his belt, which he
had slowly introduced to the Ring Master. Unfortunately bad luck hit dad one Sunday afternoon when, in
the middle of a matinee performance performing as Colin
Cramer the lion tamer, one of the lions bit off one of his
legs. (My dads leg, not one of his own) However, "The show must go on", and
Colin when performing as Colin the Comb (the human bee
hive). He was rushed to hospital after having this photo taken
with multiple stings to the head.
dad carried on
performing pretending it was all part of the act. Even
though a few of the audience fainted, dad hopped around the
ring like the true pro he was. Apparently, he even got the
offending lion, complete with his severed leg in its mouth,
to sit up and dance to the tune of The Red
Flag. Once the curtain came down dad collapsed and was
rushed to the local Warnford Hospital where they attempted
to stitch the leg back on but it was never the same again
and he limped the rest of his life.
dads accident he changed his name from Colin Cramer the Lion
Tamer to Colin Peace and his Killer Geese. Basically
the act consisted of releasing specially bred "killer
geese" from their cages and his partner, the infamous cowboy
gunslinger known as Sure Shot Shaun the Shoreham
Sharpshooter shot them before they could attack members of
the audience. Unfortunately, one of the geese escaped and
ran into the audience, causing havoc. Sure Shot Shaun the
Shoreham Sharp Shooter began shooting but instead of killing
the geese he killed a visiting member of the Russian Royal
Family and three members of the audience. All charges were
dropped after the Public Inquiry and Police investigation
but dads life long friend Sure Shot Shaun found it difficult
to find work.
changed his act to Colin Figs and his Death Defying Pigs but
for some reason this failed to bring him fame and fortune.
Dad did get his name in the newspapers a year later when he
was arrested and imprisoned for taking photographs of
various British RAF bases at a particularly sensitive time
in the Cold War.
After prison dad married
the only women he had ever loved. After one month she left
without explanation and so, in desperation, he moved in with
my mums trailer. Three weeks later
Brenda announced that she was pregnant and although dad
suspected that the baby couldn’t have been his, he agreed to
stand by his pregnant girlfriend. Little did he know at the
time, but mum had been selling her body to a local test tube
baby research clinic to earn extra cash. Mum had become
pregnant as a result of these early test tube baby
experiments. Amazingly, I discovered many years later, that
dad was in fact donating his sperm to the very same clinic!
Chances are that mum and dad really were mum and dad after
This is a poster advertising my dads circus act "Colin
and has amazing killer Geese" The act didn't catch on.
after mum had been impregnated in the clinic I was born -
one of the first successful test tube babies in the UK. It
was a happy time for all the family with dad being
marginally successful with an act called "Colin the
Cosmonaut". His performance consisted of him being fired
from a rocket to land in a net on the other side of the
circus tent while dressed in a Russian space suit (it was
the time of the space race and the Russians had put the
first man into space.) Unfortunately, the act finished
because it had been difficult to measure the exact flight
path Colin had to travel with him putting on so much weight
he flu through the air and
Sure Shot Shaun the Shoreham Sharp Shooter. This photo was
taken after shooting one of the Russian Royal family by
mistake. Shaun is now a sound engineer.
landed 6 foot short which
resulted in a broken arm, a fractured wrist, two broken ribs
and a damaged collar bone. Dad was therefore home and in
traction throughout most of my early years resulting in a
strong bond between us.
Many years later dad admitted that his van (above) was in
fact a genuine mobile Russian Intercontinental Ballistic
Missile launcher, and not a camper van at all. He had
converted it to make it look like a 1926 Volvo Camper Van
complete with kitchenette. The van was one of the first to
have a "pull down dining table" which is common these days
but it was a new feature at the time. Dads van did not have
any heating for fear of exploding the missiles which had
been carefully hidden under the beds. I can still remember
the cold winters nights and wondering why our calor gas fire
always seemed to have an empty gas bottle. The van is now in
the KGB Moscow automotive museum.
continue to look up my family tree but I wont hold my breath.
tree, folk music. circus, MI5, camper vans, Intercontinental
Ballistic Missile launcher, Pigs
of dad (courtesy of KGB archives)
I FOUND A 78 RECORD
IN MY LOFT - IT WAS RECORDED BY MY GREAT GREAT GRANDDAD. HE WAS
A RUBBISH SINGER!
I have just come down
from my loft and discovered loads if old records and newspapers
relating to my my Great-Granddad, Corporal Arthur Bates.
Arthur was a musician
and performed various concerts to soldiers in the First World
War. He was a sort of comedy folk singer songwriter and
he entertained the troops with his own witty songs. I have
found about 20 such 78's in my loft.*
* (for younger
readers, 78's came before 45's which came before 8-track, which
came before tapes which
were before mini-disks which were before CD's which were before ipods)
Great-Granddads songs were quite risky for
the times. Titles include "Hey
Tommy, that's a big gun in your hand", and "Is that a 5 pounder
shell in your trousers or are you just pleased to see me".
Granddad didn't do subtle.
According to the newspapers I found;
one of Great-Grampy's concert tours was in France at the time of the
of the Somme. Here he sang his songs to soldiers in
the trenches. His make-shift P.A. system was rigged up along the
front and was even louder than the incoming bombs. His
entertainment was supposed to lighten the mood while being shelled at.
to diaries found in the loft, The Germans would deliberately shell him whenever he was performing. Apparently one German
General complained to the Allied top brass that his singing
should have been banned according to the codes of the Geneva convention.
Great-Granddad swore that his own artillery shelled him on more
than one occasion.
He admitted in his diary that he was
a rubbish singer and troops often went away from his concerts
more depressed, which was quite an achievement considering the
squalor in the trenches. He said
soldiers from his own side often threw things at him including the odd live grenade.
volunteered to join up in 1914 but was never cut out to be a
soldier. One problem was that his right leg was much shorter
than his left, which made marching particularly difficult,
unless the route had a slight right hand curve. He caused ciaos
on the parade ground and in route-marches he often ended up
miles (to the right) from where he was supposed to be heading.
The top brass then began to send him
out on various suicide missions but, as luck would have it, he
kept returning, often as the lone survivor. In 1917 he was
captured and held in Stulag XXI where he started his own Folk
Club that was based on an open mike night. (obviously without
The club was not a success and the only regular visitors
were those who were drove mad by the gas and 2 French soldiers
who had gone deaf because of the shelling. He escaped one Sunday
afternoon in broad day light when the Germans left the gates
open and he walked back to his lines without a shot being fired.
Great-Granddad was eventually allowed to leave the army when
a tank went out of control in the middle of a concert and it almost ran over
him. Despite having 120 men
at the concert there were no witnesses.
Great Granddad eventually agreed never again to sing in public.
Tags: WWI, Somme, family tree, folk music