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Slippery Slope

  1. Parents. I didn't see my Mum and Dad for what they were, or what their ‘job’ as parents was supposed to be. You start to question them. 'Hello' what’s he going on about? Parents are there to look after me, to give me what I want and to argue with when they're in my face. Now I'm a parent and have been for 25 years and can see where my parents went wrong with me and where I've gone wrong with my children, i.e. the break up of the family unit due to a lack of education and guidance.

  2. Teachers. Blimey. Who the hell are they? I'm in their class and I don't really understand what's being said so it’s far easier to talk to my mates or try and disrupt the lesson. I might even ‘give it large’ to the teacher. What are they going to do? All they seem to do is talk rubbish and shout at me when they're not getting their own way. Hell to them and what do they know anyway!?

  3. Know it all. I was 10 minutes into a presentation a few years ago saying to the young people that you sit there looking at me as if I was born an adult and I know nothing; then a lad put his hand up and asked if he could question me. "Ask away", I said. "What makes you think you know more than me?" he asked. I replied: "How old are you?". "15", he said. "Well I'm 50, so work it out for yourself." That was my trouble, you couldn't tell me anything because ‘I knew it all.’

  4. Being Hard. The kids love the interaction between teacher and student. I tell the kids that I want a volunteer up on the stage because we're going to have a fight: right here, right now and in front of everyone. I explain that if you think you can kick the hell out of me then come up and give it a try. I always ask for the lad who walks round the school giving it large to step forward, but they never do. So a volunteer is called for. I make them think it’s going be a real fight between us, but I then pull up a small table and two chairs and ask them for an arm wrestle. It’s great fun! Not to mention the snooker balls, the plastic cup and the rubber glove.

  5. Listen to your friends. Growing up as a kid was very difficult for me. I had no confidence in myself and was easily led. What life was about wasn't explained to me, so who ever my friends were at the time I did things to please them, believing they would like me for it rather than believing in myself. Maybe that's not such a bad thing, but it just means you become a late developer and you slowly learn about life and people and how they can be towards each other. It takes a lifetime to learn.

  6. Monies Coming. As a young man, I was brought up in care homes as well as at home with my mum and dad. To others and to me, that’s known as a 'broken home,' or at least that's what I now know it to be. All sorts of problems to work through: rejection, total confusion, emotional scars, left to think for myself, poor education and I started stealing. Why? No idea. But it seemed like a good idea at the time. A few sweets from classmates’ pockets or the shop - this is easy. I thought I could make a living from this, but with a long criminal history I ended up having no life.

  7. Passing time. When you try to explain to a student the benefit of an education, someone like me doesn't really listen. The last points will tell you that. Being 'street' is seen as being cool. That's where the action is. The wheeling and dealing, the ducking and diving and you feel safe in your own little world. Dealing in a bit of ‘green’ or something a little bit more, such as Crack or Smack. It's quick and easy money and best of all, you are your own boss. What a fantastic life I'm going to have, or so you think. You won't. Even if you avoid prison for a bit, you'll become paranoid, reclusive and always looking over your shoulder - This is not a good life!

  8. Making changes. How do you make changes? First, and crucially the most important thing of all: You have to want to change. Wanting to change gives you the courage to move forward and address your life in a different way: a challenging way and the right way. Please remember that I have 20 years in prison and 40 previous convictions and you might question how far someone like me can go with a positive attitude and self belief.