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London Boy | Johnny Mack | Writing About Demons

This week London Boy film fans are given a totally real and brutally honest insight into Johnny Mack and the man that he is. Johnny talks openly for the first time of his purpose for turning his hand to writing and his continual battle against addiction / alcoholism….

 

The Questions I’m Often Asked & My Journey Of writing So Far

 

Johnny Mack's addictions

The Lows & Fighting Demons

 

Hello guys.

 

Sorry there haven’t been many blogs recently but I’ve been up to my armpits working with our London Boy production team. On top of that there’s been the editing of the script with our director Lee Hutcheon. That on it’s own was truly an inspirational experience!

So all in all it’s been a bit hectic with having little time out for myself let alone the blog.

This week I’m going to try and chat about and hopefully answer the questions I am frequently asked…but then again I’ll probably end up writing about all sorts, so just bear with me guys.

“How and why did you become a writer?” 

Not a strange question to ask any author who is in the process of signing your own personal copy of their latest work.

But the truth is it’s not a question I can answer entirely between signing copies of my work at a book launch. However now I am co-writing the script for “London Boy” with Lee Hutcheon I am now being regularly contacted and asked…

“How and why did you become a scriptwriter?” 

So I thought I would get a grip on this and answer you guys on how and why I decided to do what I am doing today. First of all, I want it known that at no time prior to 2007 did I have any indication, intention, thought or idea that for the next eight years I’d be writing. Unless of course I got myself nicked and started writing letters home. The easiest way to explain the main question is as follows. 

In June 2006 I began my recovery to combat my alcoholism. Part of the process of my recovery program was to write down a brief life story. I was told it would help me unearth things about myself that ultimately made me drink to excess. I’ve since learned that alcoholism is a mental illness that cannot be treated, just by putting the cork back in the bottle. No, far from it, because from my own experience I know there is a lot more to recovery than just staying teetotal. First of all, if I wanted to remain sober, the first thing I had to do was to get honest with my thinking. I heard it said from a guy 30 years sober. “It was never about my drinking, it was always about my thinking.” Those words triggered something within me because my thinking was never entirely honest. Hence, I began writing an honest account of my life, not knowing if what I was doing was going to help me stay sober. Having already tried and failed every known method to remain in sobriety I decided to give it a try. After all I had nothing to lose did I? I was at my rock bottom and so very desperate for the nightmarish life I had been leading for years to come to an end. I want to point out that there are many different levels to addiction/alcoholism. It just depends how far down the scale you’ve gone before seeking help. It is a progressive, powerful, cunning and baffling illness that creeps up on you. It is also the only illness that tells you that you haven’t got it. When you come to realise you have a problem, by and large it’s too late to just stop because you’ve hit rock bottom and it has its grip on you.

It’s a fact that 98% of alcoholics fail to reach 20 years of sobriety. Getting told that when I began my recovery program had an amazing affect on me. I had only been a week without a drink and I was elated. Prior to that I couldn’t imagine going a day without one. Now I was being told only 2% make the 20-year mark, so the odds were not in my favour. When I got sobered up, it wasn’t the case that I thought one morning “Oh I’ll stop and go to a place where I will get support from other alkies.” No, no…far from it, I am one of the few that have had a spiritual experience that took away that nail-biting obsession and craving that only another alcoholic can relate too.

Call it or me what you want, because the experience I felt that early June morning was REAL! Over the years I have taken every drug/drink known to man, yet the buzz I felt that morning was far more superior to any substances I had consumed. It was so powerful that I find it very hard to describe the full affect in detail. If I had to describe what it was like to have a blast on a crack pipe, it would go something like this…”Yeah I felt fucking great, danced all night and everyone around me became my best friends that I gave all my money away.” Or if it had been a meth pipe…”Yeah fucking great, it made the back of my neck numb made me horny as fuck and shrivelled my dick.” What I felt with the experience was nothing other than pure love and believe me if I could bottle it I would.

When it happened I was sitting on the edge of the sofa with only the dog for company. The rest of the family were upstairs asleep, after all it was 4am. I’ve never been a religious geezer, though I’ve always believed in God. Unbeknown to me at that time having that belief became my lifeline to a better life. I would really put a lot of effort into hiding my excessive drinking. At the end of my drinking days I would drink out of the way alone or in the middle of the night. Yet I knew it wasn’t normal to be acting like that, yet I couldn’t stop myself. Previously when trying to stop drinking you’ll probably find me on my hands and knees in an empty Church praying for help. For 15 years usually after a massive bender I’ll sneak into a Church when it was empty and pray for help. Most times I’ll come out of the Church and head for the nearest pub full of self-pity. I put it down to karma, the fact I had a criminal past and had done some awful things that not even God wanted to help me. But God was all I had left to ask for help; doctors, counsellors couldn’t do anything for me, so I turned to my last option… prayer.

My spiritual experience pushed me to floor, then wham I felt it! The room lit up as I felt a presence; the dog flew under the dining table (Pit-bull) and then I felt this amazing sensation of pure love. In the background a soft voice (I couldn’t say if it was male/female) kept repeating ‘It is going to be okay Johnny.’ As soppy as it may sound to some of you, I burst into tears. I am not one for showing my emotions but on this occasion I couldn’t control myself. Tears were running down my cheeks like a leaky tap and in doing so I created a big wet patch on the carpet.

I kept asking for the feeling to remain but it left me after several minutes. Still kneeling I got myself together by wiping away the tears and sat back on the sofa. My first thoughts were…”What the fuck was all that about?” Yet I felt different, unburdened in such a way, that all feelings of anxiety and stress had vanished. I still had a half full bottle right next to me, yet what did I do? I finished it off and went back to bed falling into a deep sleep. A few hours later I was woken by the sound of my wife (Ex now) shouting at the dog for pissing on the carpet. For a moment I had forgot about what had happened only a few hours earlier. My memory quickly returned when I didn’t end up in the toilet for my daily ritual of coughing my lungs up to the point that I would be sick.

Instead I went downstairs to save the dog from getting a boot up the ass by explaining the wet patch to my wife. She couldn’t believe what I was telling her when I explained what had happened. She had heard so many bullshit excuses from me in the past that with this one she thought I had finally lost the plot. I suppose for her it would take a long time to convince her that what I experienced was real. The time that has past since June 2006 I’ve come to call ‘Promoting my wellness period.’ Whenever I share my experience, strength and hope with other sufferers I am always taken back with their reaction on how I got sober. Those that are still struggling with acceptance of their illness are very critical of my story. But to be honest, what others think of me is none of my business. Those that have changed their tune by accepting that they have a problem tell me that I am an inspiration for their recovery because there is still hope for them.

When I began writing my life story, I had to be careful with what I put down on paper. Being too honest could have dire consequences if the law got wind of what I was writing. As I said my life story was never intended for public viewing. It was only to be shared with one other person who was a geezer who I had chosen to be my sponsor. He is a guy I trust, who had led a life that was similar to my own and of course he is a recovering alcoholic. I’m a bit of a perfectionist with most things I undertake, so when I started my life story I got a bit carried away.

When I got to page 200 I had only managed to write the first 28 years of my life. I done another 20 pages before realising that if I continued at this rate, it would take 1000 pages or more to complete. When I showed my sponsor he was shocked, not just with the content but the length of it. But even though I had only managed to get to the age of 28 on paper, there was enough amongst those pages to help me understand what I was about. To be bluntly honest it showed me as a walking character defect. But what strikes me as astonishing was that all my character defects were based on fear. Now I know it were those fears that indirectly led me to drink to excess.

After completing that part of my recovery program my sponsor suggested I burn it for safety reasons. However my daughter had got wind of what I had been doing and asks to read it. She knew of my gangster days but not quite to the extent I went too. She was shocked at some of the stuff her dad had got up to while being active in amongst the criminal fraternity. She then suggested I send it off to a publishing house with the hope that they will publish it. I knew absolutely nothing about the publishing world nor did I know how to submit a manuscript. I thought long and hard about submitting my MS and became aware that there’s a message within it that could help others. So after editing out all the criminating evidence I posted it off to 40 publishing houses. I was so lazy with the layout that I sent it off in the entire wrong format. My thoughts at that time were if it’s to be, then it will be. If it’s not, than at least it has helped me identify things about me that were ruled by ego and fear.

Because of the format, 37 publishing houses wrote back to me to tell me so. Then to add insult to injury I was told that it was unread and ready for the bin. I wasn’t particularly worried about the knock-backs because now when I think on it I had done it for my daughter. It was never my intention to publish my story; I wrote it purely to aid my recovery. There were still three publishers who had not replied so I naturally assumed they had binned my MS.

Within a few days of receiving the last knock back I collected my mail as usual from the box outside. There were three letters inside that I recognised being from publishing houses. My initial thought was, here we go again another knockback and with that I left them on the side unopened. My wife at that time suggested I open them up but because I was in a hurry I told her I’d do it later.

When I eventually returned home it was that late all my family were all tucked up in bed. I ate my oven-warmed dinner and decided to turn in for the night and as I went into the hallway, there on the side were the letters. I thought, I might as well, so I’ll opened the first one…after reading the contents my heart skipped a beat and I let out a few loud yahoo’s! Both my wife and daughter had got up to see what all the racket was about. While reading it I could see their faces change to an expression of elation. We were all chuffed especially my daughter; me, well lets just say I was shocked, shocked that a publisher wanted to publish my story.

I went on to open the other two letters and was gobsmacked that they too wanted to publish my work.

Cut to the chase I checked out all three publishing houses and went with the one that had the best marketing skills.

When ‘Dunpeckham’ was published the reviews from avid readers from all over the world were amazing. It seemed that I had a natural talent at being a good storyteller. So many people said it would make a great movie. Yeah at the time those comments were flattering but to me having a movie production based on my life was nothing more than a dream.

However since then I have been approached by a dozen or more people who called themselves producers etc. I had promise after promise from them telling me that they could get my story on the big screen. All of them accept two were nothing more than time wasters, bullshitters and liars. The last one was the worst of the worst; a washed-up has been with a huge coke habit.

A good pal of mine had introduced me to award winning film director Lee Hutcheon one year after ‘Dunpeckham’ was published. He had read it and thought it would make a great movie or TV drama. Lee pitched it to Sky One TV and low and behold the next thing Lee had a meeting with their production team. They wanted to make a six part crime based TV drama. They loved the concept of Dunpeckham’ and what it represented. They particularly liked the black humour but much more, they loved the raw honesty of the character. Our only problem was the amount of materiel we had. I was only halfway through writing part 2 of my autobiography ‘Landed on the Moon’ But Sky couldn’t wait for that to be finished and to cut a long story short they went with Martina Cole’s ‘The Take’ She went on to do a few series with Sky and earned a fortune…bless her.

But one good thing came out of that which gave me the determination to continue trying to get Dunpeckham’ on to the big screen. Lee explained to me that I should look at the bigger picture. We had come away with the knowledge that professionals’ from the worlds largest media company had considered my work for a TV drama. If I had more materiel at the time, no doubt the deal would have gone through. And finally the Queen of crime fiction Martina Cole nipped me at the post.

When I looked at it from that angle, I believed it would only be a matter of time before someone else would want it.

After that Lee became my mentor especially if I was dealing with people who claimed they could make things happen. I would contact him with a list of questions asking him for advice. He knew I was working my nuts off and at the same time being fucked around by these liars and bullshitters. It was then Lee suggested we both write the script together and since we started we have not looked back.

I have learned so much from Lee because he is a very inspirational geezer who oozes talent. We worked a perfect system to write the screenplay and boy it’s turned out to be the dogs’ bollocks.

Then I was fortunate to have a really good pal of mine Chris Evans who is a wizard with his marketing/promotional abilities. Since Chris come on board he has worked really hard on promoting London Boy. He has managed to spread the word in all the right directions and getting the attention of the right people. Now London Boy is being talked about far and wide. So we owe a lot to Chris and his team and once production starts he’ll be one busy fella.

So from that June morning when I thought life wasn’t worth living, I’ve come a long way. Today my thoughts are that life is worth living and if you stay focussed work hard you can make your dreams come true.

Ta la for now

Johnny

London Boy Movie |Luck Or Divine Intervention |

This week’s London Boy Film blog by Johnny is a real treat and a must read for all followers/fans of the blog and movie project. The story is one which will leave you asking yourself questions by the time you finish. I’ll let Johnny explain….

Luck or divine intervention ? 

London Boy Roulette table

Was Lady Luck on Johnny’s side here, or was some other force at play? You decide…

Hello guys, with a title like this one I’m betting you’re wondering if I’ve lost the plot or gone all God-like. No people, the last time I checked the plot, it was still there which satisfied me I hadn’t lost it. As for the God thing, you bet I’m a bit God like. Putting it frankly, let’s just say I’ve had some amazing experiences happen to me over the years that can’t be explained as a fluke. If I told you guys just a little about what happened to me right now, some of you may well think. “Yep, he’s lost it alright’. But, let’s see how this blog goes down with you guys before you make your mind up on anything. If all goes well and I get enough feed-back, I’ll be sure to write about them in my next blog no matter how hard some of you may find them to believe.

What I can tell you since those experiences happened, is that I don’t believe in coincidences any longer. This little tale happened to me way back when I got a Borstal sentence. I was just seventeen and already I’d been labelled by the powers that be, that I was a menace to society. Even as a kid I believed in God, I had no choice in my house. Both names God and Jesus would come out of my ma’s mouth so often, that as a kid I thought they both lived in my bedroom wardrobe. Even at seventeen the type of life I was leading I thought they wouldn’t want anything to do with me. After all as my ma would keep telling me I was a bad sinner and that God would punish me. But the difference with me was that I bloody liked the life I was leading! After I tell you this little tale, you make your own minds up and tell me what forces you think were at play? Now read on because you’re about to become the first people to learn about this side of me.

Arriving at Wormwood Scrubs at eight o’ clock in the evening is a moment in time I will never forget, it was daunting. You know that feeling of impending doom we sometimes feel; well this felt ten times worse of the worst. My first thoughts as we drove in through the gates were of dread. Back then I was always a bit of a flash bastard, big mouthed with a huge ego? Now this horrific living nightmare that I was now in, made me feel vulnerability and real fear for the first time. It was like having you’re worse nightmare come alive as a play and you’re playing the lead role. That was the time I left my adolescence at the gates of ‘The Scrubs’ I was now stepping into the big man’s world of skulduggery. For me when the shock at my arrival was over, my next thought was that I best learn quickly if I wanted to survive in this Victorian style jungle.

I had just been given a two-year Borstal sentence for terrorizing half of the south of England. Got caught and sentenced at Chichester Crown Court. But because of my age and having a pregnant common- law-wife ready to drop, the judge showed lenience by only giving me a Borstal sentence. That was a right result considering all the trouble I had caused

The after sentencing process meant going into the scrubs to be assessed. After 2-3 weeks I would be assigned to a Borstal that was supposedly suitable for me. If I had been a violent, drug-pushing criminal, I would without question be sent to a closed borstal. I was lucky and wangled it with a bit of ‘’Yes Sir, No Sir, three bags full Sir” that I got sent to an open borstal. Although our little gang had done mainly warehouses and commercial premises. What deserved us all a longer sentence was the length of time we had been at it without getting caught! In the end it required three separate police forces, each of them to work together, just to be able to catch us. Believe it or not, having three forces working smoothly with each other was a very rare thing. All because of the huge ego’s in the ranks of each constabulary. Everyone wanted the credit for bringing our little crew to mark. Which led to each force, not sharing important information with the other two. But before they sorted out their infancy, it took many meetings and debates costing the taxpayer a fortune. So they blamed my pals and me for putting that huge dent in the coffers of the three police forces financial pot. That was a hell of a lot of money wasted, but they had no choice but work with each other if they ever wanted us behind bars. I’ll always remember the old bill’s faces when they actually nicked me. It was one of shock, which quickly turned to violence after realising how young we all were. Three police forces had hired professional profilers who in turn characterised us as a gang of middle-aged professional commercial cat burglars. So you can imagine their reaction when they realised that it was just a bunch of teenagers that had been pulling the wool over their eyes for so long. But at least we kept them on their toes because we were at it seven days per week for months on end. They didn’t let us forget that either. Let’s just say that it was none too pretty when it came down to them dishing out their own version of justice.

After quickly getting over the initial aggro and with me making my mark within the Borstal population. I concentrated all my time on sorting my relationship out.

Prior to my sentencing at Chichester crown court I had been on remand for months in another Victorian shithole a juvenile centre called ford. The day after I was sentenced my first daughter Lynsey-Ann was born and boy was I proud to be a dad. It also gave me the jolt I needed to get out as quick as possible and work legally to look after them. But that jolt was short-lived because a bombshell was about to hit home, in the shape of a letter in my mail containing a ‘Dear John’. For those of you who don’t know what a DJ is? – It’s when the love of your life tells you she doesn’t want anything to do with you anymore and you’re never to see your kid again. Worse still, you’re fucked because you’re not able to do anything about it. I was devastated even more because it wasn’t just a normal girl/boy split up. I now had a family for the very first time, so that Dear John letter really hit the spot.

I suppose my thoughts on love back then were more manlike and responsible than that of a seventeen year old today. I had been brought up as an only child in an Irish run house. Up to the time I met my wife my experience about love was that it was lust in disguise. That consisted of me having regular one-night stands from when I lost my virginity aged eleven. But when I met my wife lust went out the window and for the first time ever I experienced true love. As for my upbringing there was love in my family but it was more sheltered and sensitive emotions were less shared. From the age of five I longed for a family with my own brothers and sisters. Bless her, my Ma lost her first and third child, all she ever wanted was to give me a bro or sis. The doctors warned her she was risking her own life if she got pregnant a third time. She nearly did die as well, I remember the priest giving her the lasts rights. But she was a tough little bird, all 4’ 10’’ of her, a Dublin born no nonsense type of women who just happened to have a blinding left hook.

While emotionally hurting your mind can play all sorts of tricks on you when you are powerless to do anything. This day and age, it must be similar to getting dumped by text. Anyone who does their dirty work by texting you has done you a favour because their actions say it all; they’re nothing but arseholes. There’s a fine line separating love and hate and I wandered down both paths during the first few months.

At the same time I was fast-tracking my adjustment into Borstal life. When I arrived at the Borstal the first thing I noticed there were no fences. Not that I was thinking of doing a bunk at that time, but later on into my sentence I certainly did give it a thought. Having no fences made it seem easy for me to have it away on my toes. But the borstal staff were clever and used tactics to put us off the thought of escaping. They would at least once or twice a week parade a captured inmate in front of us at reveille time. He would look dishevelled, beaten, cold, and hungry. The month in solitary confinement he was about to receive, for him would feel like heaven sent. The stunt was designed to let us know that there was nowhere to go if we ran. In fact I was on an Island with a fast flowing estuary two thirds around it with the North Sea connecting each side. That just left a small bridge to the mainland that was adjoined to a USAF Base that housed dozens of silos with a nuke in each. We at the Borstal all got a free trip around that Air base. They went out of their way to scare the shit out of us. A little show was especially put on by the Military Police. They showed us what would happen if we got caught using their base as an escape route. It was plain and simple that we’d be shot on the spot! Even though it was an open borstal it was situated in a very dangerous area and the cold war was still in progress. The quickest way off the place was to get a job on the outside farm party, then slope off during the day to a waiting car to pick you up. But I had my daughter to consider and being on the run wasn’t going to help my situation.

Normally I would only be allowed to write one letter home every fortnight. But now that I had a daughter, that entitled me to one more specifically for her. But I would use both to write to my Mrs, I would write anything I thought she needed to hear to convince her to take me back. She became my first love after meeting her when I was just fifteen. She was slightly older than me and had been married for around six months before her husband upped and left her for another bird. We got together six weeks after he had left and I became smitten almost overnight.

Basically I only started out thieving on a regular basis because I wanted the best for my soon to-be family. I was too young to collect welfare and too in love to work away up north and earn good money with my old man. After that I dismissed, or more like ignored all other alternatives that could support my family to be. Not that I realised it back then but… I was becoming one self-centred egotistical twat.

I was able to justify to myself, then my wife that it was cool for me to go out each night, clearing out a warehouse or two and living off the proceeds. I would talk bullshit to her for hours that what I was doing was the right thing to do. I now realise I was co-dependent on her, especially if I got banged-up. If I got captured I needed to know she would still be there once I got out. So getting a DJ set free all those subdued emotions I had lurking around. Unbeknown to my wife I’d been brought up in a crime-ridden society and was always on the wrong side of the fence. But all that is another self-centred story and maybe I‘ll write about it in another blog.

I couldn’t show the other inmates that my emotions were affecting me. They would have homed in on me like sharks at a feeding frenzy. But there were plenty of times when I needed to be on my own. I realise now that it was normal to cry in private, it sometimes felt better to let it all out. Similar to someone grieving a newly departed loved one. I’ve felt both at the same time many years later and I’m not ashamed to have shed a tear or two then either. What I learnt about myself is that there was a decent side to me, compassionate, loving, and understanding. I just found it hard to express it and when I did it was usually too late.

In Borstal each of the four units housing around a hundred or more inmates had what we called a Matron. To describe ours would be to say she looked like everyone’s chubby, frumpy, cuddly grandmother including a big hairy mole on her cheek. She’ll be the one that you went to when things like you’ve copped for a Dear John or had bereavement in the family. We could wail on about how sorry we felt for ourselves and how we were going to change for the better once free. Us lot change? Do me a favour, most of what we told her was complete bullshit because she was one of those that assessed us when it came to us being considered for our date of release. The Vicar was another easy touch, but only to the selected few. He’ll have about five born again Christians come through his door every week claiming to have seen the light after hearing one of his sermons. From my point of view, God didn’t favour me and Borstal just made me a better-hardened criminal. But anyway apart from his or her usage to us, we still needed someone to unload on to. But for me I couldn’t’ even try it on to become a born again Christian, all because I was a Catholic. Yes, our vicar was biased to the point of being a racist when it came down to other beliefs and religions. In his tiny self-centred egotistic mind you could only become born again if you were baptised in a Church of England (Protestant) and had listened to one of his sermons. We would take the piss some days when passing him; we’d say something like “Loved you’re semen yesterday Vicar, we all got smothered in it” He was so stupid that he thought the miss-pronunciation of the word sermon was down to our dialects.

He lived at the vicarage adjoining the Church and was married with a couple of brats. I say that lightly because his kids looked down their noses at us inmates and openly say to their father, as they toddled along with their fat arses sticking out, dressed like fucking choir boys ‘Are these the ones that are all going to hell father?’ And the fucker in most cases would agree with them by calling us the dammed! This little trumped up prick had to be related to the first vicar at Botany-bay, the Australian convict settlement. One of his daily chores was to escort the Governor through the block (Solitary) to check on the inmates to make sure they were okay. You know the usual, ‘‘what do you mean you’re getting buggered in the middle of the night by two nonce screws?” or “How on earth did you get all those bruises? Seeing that you’re not allowed to see anyone but our officers? Are you expecting the Governor and I to believe our officers are responsible for your condition?’ There was no point in complaining because it went against you as being a troublemaker. With this vicar, he was a very sick bunny mentally, but more about him later.

I was determined not to give up trying to woo my wife back. She hadn’t climbed into the sack with another geezer. I know now she was teaching me a lesson on getting my priorities right by remembering to put my family first before I thought about going out on the rampage again.

We all had a Personal Officer who would deal with the progress of our borstal training on a daily basis. If you had a problem and didn’t want too much sympathy he was the one to see. Mine was a screw called Mr Shelcock, who was just happening to be studying criminology at the time of us meeting. While being banged up in the block for breaking another inmates jaw in three places. Mr. Shelcock paid me an unannounced visit and asked me if I’d like to join him and take part in an experiment he was involved in. To start with, my first task was to write down my life story. The carrot was if I co-operated he might be able to help me obtain my dates of release earlier. I knew I was going to get a month or three loss of remission for the violence I inflicted on the other inmate. Worse still I could be transferred to a closed Borstal, so I was willing to try anything. Bearing in mind I was only seventeen I thought there wasn’t that much interesting going on in my life that deserved analyzing.

However he took me on as one of his first test case, but to the other screws it was more like head cases.

In Borstal your sentence was 6 months to 2 years, meaning you could get out after 6 months. But to be able to get that you’d had to be a Saint and there weren’t too many of those in there. The average time to earn your date of release was between 8-10 months. How the screws in each unit achieved giving you you’re dates was by keeping a close eye on you and assessing each one of us. I remember going on my first assessment with a screw called Mr. Boyton. He was the trainer of the borstal’s rugby team of which I was the captain. He was a fair geezer and not a racial bastard like the majority of the screws. He called me into his office and tells me that he has just completed my first quarterly assessment of me and that I could read it before he submitted it. In there they gave us freedom of speech to a point and if I didn’t agree with what he said about me, I had the option to air my views and opinions at a tribunal.

I passed all the major questions such as, did I have work waiting for me on my release? They wanted to find out if I was a caring person who would look after his new family. Not be one of those geezers who would piss off as soon as he was released. Would I stay straight, had I been rehabilitated? But then he puts the knife in, that my chosen occupation would be that of an armed bank robber. Then adds, “He is level enough mentally to feel emotion that would most certainly give him the ability to look after his family, no matter the cost.”

With reports like that going in about me it was looking more like I might be doing the full 2 years before getting out. So was it a Godsend to have a PO Officer who just happened to want me as his guinea pig in an experiment.

That experiment could help prove the others wrong and get me out sooner…well? We’ll say no more about that at this moment.

Being the daddy of my unit came with it tips and earners. I was on such a nice earner that I could support my family. Visiting time was very laid back, so it was extremely easy for me to pass money and jewellery out. Even though I had a ‘Dear John’ I still wanted to support my wife and daughter… and I did.

Anyway getting back to this ‘Dear John’ and my mixed emotions. Mr. Shelcock wanted to understand what made me tick with all this crap going on. Because one minute I’ll be acting normally, the next minute I’m in a massive tear-up with someone. My temper was triggered like a broken on and off switch, sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.

As I’ve said if anyone finds out about a weakness you have, the others would home in on it and test you’re patience. I would have two one hour sessions with him, five days per week. I never had a clue what he was trying to achieve. On some occasions the sessions felt almost primitive in nature. Questions like, would I kill a duck to feed my family, fucking hell I’d rob the nearest HSBC if required. Joking aside I told him that I wasn’t a compulsive thief and all that I did was planned to a tee. Without giving him names I told him a lot of stuff that had bothered me over the years. Being an only child you gather a lot of unanswered questions while having no one to answer them for you. So I only spoke about stuff that would have no repercussions, I was very careful with what I shared. He wasn’t there to change me but to understand the criminal mind from a kid in adolescence right up to the old style gangster hood. He had watched me make my mark in the borstal ranks and then seeing me crying my eyes out at night. The fucker must have stalked a few of us before choosing the right subject to conduct his experiment.

He would sometimes bend the rules slightly especially when we were talking about personal stuff probably to gain my trust, he’d give me the odd brandy to relax me. Anyway after writing my life story, all 50 pages he noticed there was a lot in it about my anger issues. Also realised my devotion to my family was paramount over anything else. He also saw I was in a volatile situation that could go bang at anytime. My feelings were hurting even more as my wife started to be really obstinate. She wouldn’t come and visit with my daughter and she wouldn’t let my ma and dad bring her up either.

Unbeknown to me Mr. Shelcock wrote to my local probation officer. He had asked him to go round and speak with my wife about what was happening to me the longer I didn’t see my daughter. They offered her to arrange a visit for her and my daughter to see me. She knew what my temper was like and knew it could get me into a lot of trouble. So it was left to her whether she would come or not. Shelcock kept quiet about all of this until he had an answer from her. I continued with my letter writing expressing how much I loved and missed her and our baby. I would fill in every spot on those sheets of paper when writing home. I managed to get eight letters into one by writing extra small.

Being the daddy meant you never had to sort things out for yourself, you always got others to use the muscle. But I was getting angry and started to dish it out myself regardless of the comebacks. Anyway it got back to Mr. Shelcock who was none too pleased with me and gave me an order to tone it down.

A few days later I got a visit from my local Catholic priest. His parish included our borstal but he could only manage to do a service every two-weeks. That was because we only had the one Church and our self-righteous C of E vicar needed it every Sunday for a service as well as choir practice. Seeing there was only a handful of Catholics it was decided we had a Friday service once a fortnight. There was no loved lost between their vicar and our priest. What I remember the most was Father O’Brian saying in his southern Irish accent that the vicar was an unhelpful fecking ejiot.

When we spoke he gave me the opportunity to do confession, I hadn’t done one in years, so you can imagine there was a lot to be forgiven for. But one thing that did stay with me and that was when he told me to try and pray for a resolution between my wife and I. Well as far as I knew I had nothing else to try, so why not give it a go and see if God would help this sinner out. As I said earlier I would have done anything to get her back and see my daughter again.

While everyone else was in the TV and snooker rooms that night I went to bed early. I was a confirmed catholic, so I knew the routine on how to pray. Kneel, make the sign of the cross and away I went. I found that I was at it for nearly an hour because the other inmates were now making their way back to their cells. My first thought was where did all that time go? Second, where the fuck did these tears come from that were running down my face? Thirdly I felt a lot better and went on to sleep like a log for the first time in months.

Yet I still had this feeling that what I was going through was my own karma for all the wrongs I had done. Imagine that, being only seventeen and already feeling that God has given up on you. However I had nothing to lose, I had another chat with my priest, told him the outcome and he suggested I gave it another go. The same thing happened again, my knees were killing me but the time just flew by while I said my prayers.

I don’t want you guys out there to think I went all soft but let the first one of you come clean and tell me that none of you have ever prayed for something in your lifetime. After all the Mafia are all God fearing people even though they go round whacking people… I wasn’t that bad so why couldn’t I pray?

I kept it up every night until I had it down to a tee, yet nothing was happening. My letters home were being returned to me unopened. But I owed it to my little girl for me to keep trying and I did.

Then one day I got called into Mr. Shelcocks office. “I have some good news for you Mack, You’re wife has agreed to come and visit and she’s bringing your daughter. I was stunned to say the least because what I prayed for had come true. But hey’ it was probably a coincidence that Shelcock managed to work it out with my wife.

As the days got closer to her visit I prayed asking that we could sort out our differences and be given another chance to have the family I always dreamed of. On the day of the visit I hadn’t realised that Shelcock had driven from the borstal down to London and picked her up. I couldn’t believe a screw would do something such as that for an inmate. I will always be indebted to him for everything he done for me. My wife and I managed to patch things up and seeing my daughter who was now 11 months old was fantastic. Even though the visit was a closed one we only had three hours together. It felt wonderful just to hold my daughter for the first time in months.

My attitude changed so much that reports coming in about me were more positive than they ever had been. I continued to pray for my wife and kids and in one particular prayer I asked to be with them both as soon as possible. It was a tall order to pray for because I still had not been given my date of release. The following lunchtime I was in line to collect my grub from the canteen when a screw walks up to me. “Mack here’s a chitty, go to reception first thing in the morning and draw three pounds from you’re personal savings. I had no idea what it was all about nor was I going to ask. There’s one thing you learn when you are doing a Borstal sentence, don’t ever question an order, just do as you’re told.

The next morning after breakfast I got my mail in a shape of a post card. My wife’s parents had taken them both and the rest of her family on holiday to Great Yarmouth. Enclosed was the address of the caravan park so I cold write to them while they were holidaying. Anyway I finished my breakfast and a loud voice booms across the canteen area. “Mack, why are you not at reception as instructed?’’ I’m full of apologises as I run to the reception area where I hand over my chitty. I’m counted out the money then given a box that contained my civilian clothing and told to get changed. My first thoughts were that they had made a mistake and were going to release me by mistake. They’re another seven geezers all getting changed into their civilian clothing. They all seemed to know what was going on, but I felt it safer to say fuck all and just went along with it.

There I am sitting on a long bench with a bunch of geezers I didn’t really recognise apart from one who sang in the choir. About twenty minutes went by before a white mini-bus backed up to the reception area. I could see two figures inside moving around, when the back doors opened. There in front of me was a young girl with a rainbow coloured-striped jumper wearing a pair of dungarees and odd coloured shoes. The other who was the driver looked like a hippy, with bell-bottom jeans and wearing an old ‘Ban the Bomb’ tee shirt. I think if one of my daughters had brought someone like him home and introduced him as her boyfriend. I think he would have seen the front door from a different angle with the toe of my boot wedged up his arse. But they looked pretty good to me on this particular day. The screws disappeared leaving just these two to sort us out so we all climbed into the back of the mini-bus.

We are about 10 minutes into our journey when the young girl turns to face us with her guitar in hand. “Shall we all sing a song?” I said fuck all, then she starts singing that well known song ‘American pie” So there we were hurtling down the motorway singing ‘Bye bye miss American pie’ After the fourth verse I couldn’t contain myself any longer and asked the black geezer next to me ‘’Where the fuck were we going?” He looked at me with surprise in his eyes. “You mean to tell me that you don’t know where we are actually going?” abruptly I said. “Well are you going to tell me or not?” What he said next left me gobsmacked…we’ll we are all going on Christian week! Still looking none the wiser I ask him what was Christian week?

He explained that we were to meet up with Christians from all over the world at a holiday centre at a place call North Swatham. Now I knew my way about the UK like the back of my hand and I knew Swatham was very near to Great Yarmouth…and guess who was on holiday there?

I warned the black geezer to keep quiet about me not knowing about this Christian week. After all I was about to go on a holiday and I didn’t want anything or anyone messing it up for me. A few hours later we arrive at a beautiful holiday centre, we were housed in a villa with four bedrooms. There were no blankets just duvet covers and for me that would be a first for me to sleep under one. We all had supper in the main dining room where we were introduced to all sorts of people. They were all Christian folk from all over the place. We were the only inmates present and the welcome we received was amazing, especially the supper. About eight in the evening we were asked if we wanted to go to the pub. Well I was loaded wasn’t I, what with the few quid I was allowed to take, I managed to add another fifty to that. By 10pm I was half pissed and got talking to Lady Rainbow (The woman who picked us up) She sensed I wasn’t feeling right and asks me if it was the drink? I remember saying to her if she wanted to hear a story…over the next two hours I told her everything I’ve just told you guys. Including that my wife and daughter were just 12 mile down the road.

Thinking no more of it I went to bed and slept in a bed fit for a King. The following morning I was woken by the smell of bacon and eggs and made my way to the dining room. The other lads were still flat out, probably overwhelmed with their beds. Lady Rainbow comes and joins me for breakfast and suggests we go and look for my wife’s family. I was for once lost for words but managed to ask her to repeat the question. She just smiled and said, “You heard John” I explained that I had the address and knew the area so it shouldn’t take us that long to get there. She drove at twenty miles per hour all the way. I must have left a dent in the floor where I imagined it was the accelerator. Being a getaway driver I usually got out of cars going that fast. After a while we found the caravan park and amongst hundreds of caravans we found theirs. But it was too late; they had already left for the beach. It was then my Rainbow Angel suggested we take a look down on the beach. We got to the base of the pier with the beach being either side. Fuck me! It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I thought we had blown it because I couldn’t see her doing another trip down here to the coast. As we are standing there with people milling everywhere she says to me ‘’John, let’s pray” Whooo! I thought, pray yes, but only in my cell alone at night, not here on the pier. What would people think of me, what about my reputation? Then it dawned on me, this was about my wife and daughter, not my pride. We joined hands and she prayed that we’d find them. We then made our way back to the car and I suggested we leave a note on the caravan door. As we got to the camp there was a hump-back bridge and just as we went over it there were about five people walking, one pushing a babies buggy. Where they had there backs to us something told me to turn around as we passed them. My Rainbow Angel doing her usual mandatorily 20 MPH helped a great deal because I was able to focus on the group of people as I leaned out of the window. Startling her I roared STOP! STOP! JESUS CHRIST! I DON’T J Fruitfully J BELIVE IT! Yeah it’s them all right. While my Angel was doing her usual speed, I was out of that car, rolled like a paratrooper and was upright running back to my wife’s family before she could stop.

My sister-in-law screamed when she set eyes on me, “He’s escaped!” My father-in-law agreed and my wife just smiled. A smile that said how the fuck did he manage this? But the most rewarding part of out meeting was seeing my little girl in her buggy eating an ice pop.

I introduced my Angel to them all, but my family were too stunned to greet her appropriately. Angel broke the ice by telling me we only had 30 minutes before she’ll have to take me back. She could see I was gutted because we had searched and prayed for so long. She saved the day by suggesting we could come back the following morning. Thanks to her that 30 minutes was the best I ever spent with my wife. When we got back into the car, I couldn’t thank my angel enough, she was in every sense of the word a Godsend. She not only brought me back the following day, but she done it every day for the rest of that week. She would drop me off around nine in the morning and pick me up at eight in the evening. Here I was in Borstal, yet I’m on holiday in Great Yarmouth up at the bar having a few pints and making up for lost love with my wife…how the hell did that happen?

The day before we left to go back to the Borstal I asked to her check after me once I got back. She was a bit bewildered at my request, but I said she’d understand if what I was thinking was correct. She said to me, it seems you are expecting troubles when you get back John? Will it be from the other boys, perhaps them getting jealous? I’ll always remember saying to her “ No, no, not from that direction that you’re thinking of Angel”

I never told the others anything of what went on, but they smelt booze on me when I got back each night. Plus they saw me drive in and out everyday with my Angel. As per usual they put two and two together and came up with seven. They put it about that I was having a fling with her and before long the whispers got worse, even before I got back to the Borstal. But that was just hearsay and what with her being a Christian no one at the borstal would believe it anyway.

On our return to the borstal the mini-bus backed into the reception area. The biased vicar was standing there with a couple of screws to greet us with a false smile. My Angel never had a clue what was about to happen. The vicar quickly greeted her then got rid of her just as quick by giving a stupid excuse. As soon as they were out of sight the vicar points at me and tells the screws “Take it’ down to solitary” Not him or even by name, but it! How can a so-called man of God be so biased by calling me a human being a fucking it’ You don’t even call your dog it’ let alone a person? What made it worse was this fucker who was calling me an it’ was a fucking vicar, a Christian, a man who preaches the gospel and is meant to be all-forgiving. But the big question was, why? Why was I being sent down to solitary? Well I’ll find out soon enough probably the next day. So off I went to solitary and the two screws even said the vicar was out of order because there were no charges against me.

My Angel knew something was not right even with what I had told her. She had met the vicar on several occasions but she he had never seen him being so obtuse. She had a feeling that he wasn’t what he was made out to be.

Apparently the whole trip was organised by a Christian group which the vicar was part of. Each year the vicar would pick only Church of England followers, not Jews, Muslims or Catholics. In fact he hated the Catholic faith and was constantly at loggerheads with our priest. Prior to this situation when I had been in solitary it was his duty to come round with the Governor each day. This was to ask us if we were being treated okay and the vicar was there if we needed someone else to talk to that was not a screw. I had asked him on several occasions if I could talk with him, but all the bastard done was say he’ll come back later…which he never did.

Anyway getting back to the story in hand, I never slept at all on my horsehair mattress. I thought to myself, well Johnny boy just tell the truth about what happened. My Angel never said not to say anything and as far as I was concerned she helped me with my relationship. I was sure the Governor would understand because he was a devout Christian. Plus liked me a lot because of my rugby skills of which I was the captain of the borstal team and he was a fanatic.

The following lunchtime I heard the doors of the block unlock and the screws welcoming the governor and that prick of a vicar. I was in the end cell and heard every word that was said between them and each inmate.

Then the moment of truth was about to happen as the key to my cell slid into the lock and turned. I had all my kit laid out for inspection and was standing to attention waiting to be addressed by the governor. He looks at his sheet board, which shows what charge I am on. I could see the confusion on his face when he says to the screw “What is he in here for?” The screw explained that he was under direction of the vicar to bang me up. He then looks at the vicar for an explanation. The vicar started ranting and raving that I had somehow managed to put my name on the list for the trip. Then he tells him that I spent time with my wife and that I organised it all for my family to be there at the time of Christian week. He said I hoodwinked Angel into driving me to the holiday centre and that I came back each night smelling of booze.

Then the slimly shit bag says I should never have been allowed on the trip because I was nothing but a Catholic. I could see the governor was getting annoyed with the vicar because he went off on tantrum.

The governor said he would contact my angel and find out if there was any truth in what has been said. Until then I was to stay banged up unless I had something to say. I said yes sir’ I do have plenty to say and told him the whole story right from being given a chitty to collect my money right up to my angel and I praying on the pier to help find my wife. The vicar burst out and shouted “Blasphemy, you pray, how dare you say you prayed you’re a Catholic!” The vicar was off his fucking head and the governor could see the hatred within him. However he said to me he would back to see me as soon as he gets to the bottom of this situation.

It had been 24 hours since the governor paid me a visit and seeing it was a Sunday the borstal was quiet. There I was sitting on my chair having read bits of the bible (In solitary the only literature you could read was the bible.) After the beautiful week I just had I was beginning to believe a lot more than I did before I went. I wasn’t fearful of my situation because the vicar had showed his true colours by losing the plot. However I was a bit concerned about my Angel because I did ask her to check on me. Maybe I had got her in trouble or the borstal was not going to except what she had to say. It was about 6pm when I heard the main door open and the sound of a familiar female voice…yes you got it, my Angel had come to visit me with one of the other Christians from her church. She also brought her guitar along and the screws allowed them into my cell. I thanked her for checking on me but she told me the vicar had been having a go at her. He wouldn’t allow her to talk with the governor, so she drove down and knocked on his door. The funny thing was she ended up staying for dinner and then he allowed her to pop over and se me.

She told him everything about what she had done while we were away. But no one could understand how my name appeared on the list. He told her the vicar reckons I got into his office and found the list and re-typed it out including the chitty and off I went. She told the governor my version and that was that I prayed to see my wife and little girl. After all I knew nothing of their Christian week let alone get into the vicars office and find a sheet of paper and forge another with my name on it.

So there you have it, was it just a bit of luck or was it a bit of Divine intervention?

How was it I got my name on a list that only the vicar had control of, how was it this just happened when my wife and kid was on holiday. How on earth did we manage to find them after searching all day on the beach? Was it my prayers being answered or was it all a coincidence? How did so much happen in such a short time, I’ll leave you to your own opinion? I have my own ideas how this all happened and my thoughts since those days have dramatically changed. It didn’t stop me going off and becoming a well known criminal, but I suppose that was all part of God’s plan for me.

Ta la for now

Johnny

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London Boy | Johnny Mack | The Assassin Part 2

London Boy, Johnny Mack is back with the highly anticipated second part to his Assassin, true crime story. Johnny talks of how he and his “Firm” go on a “Piece of Work” abroad, but things don’t always go to plan !

Assassin | Part 2 

London Boy Johnny Mack talks of a firm of villains in the 1980's and a resulting assasination

The Assassin Part 2

 

Billy was one of our team I mentioned that was doing the odd line of gear. Not that he thought I knew about his antics. When Billy was under the influence his whole persona changed. That natural aggressive look he carried around with him disappeared, as did his grunting and growling. When he had a toot he would start talking a lot, mainly bullshit to the point where no one could get a word in. As soon as the gear started to wear off he’d be back to his usual miserable self. Tony who was the other user was a really clever guy when on a bit of work. He knew electrics, especially alarms like the back of his hand. He was also an excellent getaway driver, due to his participation in the sport of rally racing.
During the years I had known them, Billy and Tony never ever seemed to get on with one another. They had worked together as a team before because of their abilities. On this job I had to be careful where I placed them within the team. The last thing we needed was Billy going OTT because no doubt there would be blood.
 
The work we were about to do was for us to crash in on a dodgy artefact deal. The story behind the artefacts was interesting yet a sad one. During World War II the Nazis had looted anything of value from the Jewish community. This was the period after they invaded Poland and began rounding up the Jews who were then shipped off to the death camps. The sad part was that it wasn’t just adults, who were sent to these camps, but women and children as well. Without going in to too much detail these particular goods found there way to Argentina after the war when the Nazi officer escaped the clutches of the allies. They had been sitting in his mountain retreat located outside the main city. When the pig knew he was on his way out through illness he instructed his son to sell them on so his offspring would be looked after from the proceeds. Though the artefacts were not officially noted as stolen; they were not the kind of things you could take down to Christies to auction off. With anything like this a legit seller like Christies or Sotheby’s would do meticulous checks on the merchandise. If by chance something came up about them, then the whole lot could be seized. Proof of ownership was a definite must on this stuff otherwise no auction house in the world would touch them.
 
Our job seemed really simple; crash in while the deal was in motion, taking both the artefacts and cash. For me, this piece of work was like taking candy from a kid. There were to be seven people in all present, three were the seller and his henchman. The other four were the buyers including a dodgy art dealer to confirm the goods were genuine. My instructions were to get in and out as quick as possible without causing too much of a commotion. Sounds easy don’t it, but from experience I’d learned that nothing is ever that easy.
 
Our contact Fred was to be on the inside representing both, the seller and the buy team. He was also going to give us the nod via a pager signal when to gatecrash the deal. His part in this deal was being the middleman, so he wasn’t allied with either the buyers or the sellers.  With a deal of this scale it would be obvious that everyone would be nervous especially the seller. So Fred had to be sure that the cash and artefacts were inside the room before we came crashing through the door. Our job was to take complete control of everybody in that room then take the lot. It would be clear that both parties especially the henchmen would be armed and professional. No doubt they were hired help who were probably ex servicemen, so we couldn’t take any chances. Billy would be with me on the inside with my other guys except for Tony; he was to be outside in the van. Like I said Billy was a nasty piece of work when it came to the crunch and I know he would stand his ground if the going got tough. He and Tony still didn’t know the score yet, so I spoke to the pair of them separately a couple of hours before the work was to happen. I also let them both know that I knew they were using and if they used while on this job, their lives wouldn’t be worth bottling. Tony was easy to talk to, but Billy was an effort because he kept insisting he wasn’t using. I just made my point and reminded him of the consequences if he used and left it at that. Billy was insistent on using the Uzi machine pistol. Having Bill in a small room with an Uzi and lets say for some reason it kicked off…I doubt anyone would come out of there alive. It took all my patience to convince him that I wanted him to have one of the 45’s. I told him I needed him at the doorway and not to shoot anyone unless it was 100% necessary. I really had to drum it into him that I wanted this job to go off smoothly without having to shoot anyone. Our advantage was to surprise them before they could go for their weapons. Apart from that it was imperative none of the goods got damaged, another reason why Billy should not have the Uzi.
 
Fred paid us a visit to make sure we had understood everything that was going down. He also reminded us that if any shooting happened, not to shoot him. When he said that all eyes were on Billy, there was a brief silence before Bill says “Why the fuck is everyone looking at me?” Fred had noticed our eye contact with Billy and said “He-does-understand-yes?’’ Fuck me; Bill was all up for shooting Fred on the spot because he thought he was belittling him. I had to roar at Billy and told him to fuck off outside or I would put a bullet in his thick skull if he carried on kicking off. Like a naughty schoolboy he sulks out of the door shuffling his feet and slamming the door behind him. Fred was not English, so now you know why we thought the name he used was amusing. After Billy left the room Fred says “Is-he-the-crazy-one-you-spoke-of?” It was then that Tony says “Only on a full moon” From the bottom of the stairs we heard Billy shout “I fucking heard that you cunt, I don’t need a full moon for you Tony.” I told Fred not to worry and explained the two didn’t see eye-to-eye and again reassured him they wouldn’t be in the same room when it kicked off.
 
Fred told me that I had to bell our firm back in London, so I drove a few miles and found a public payphone. The first thing I was asked was if Billy was behaving himself. They did not know about Billy and Tony having the odd line, but knew there was conflict between them. If they had known then they would have been booted straight off the team or worse still taken for a one-way trip. As I’ve already said these geezers were brought up on old school principles and that included not tolerating drug users.
When I arrived back after making my call the lads were getting ready for the off. We were to wear overalls and clown masks when we went in. Our personal belongings were left in our safe cars that were parked up a few miles away. Our escape route was planned to the tee and we were to split up into two groups, each using different forms of transport. At least that way if it came on top, one group would make it home. The artefacts and cash were to take another route home. Even those details I had no idea of, probably to make sure they got back okay. I suppose the less people knowing the route, increased the chance of the goods getting to their destination. And for us it was imperative the goods got back because they were paying our fee.
 
Tony set off first and parked the van up in a designated spot just up the road from the job. He to had a pager and on signal he would bring the van up to the outside once we were ready to leave the building. The remainder of us sat in the van, which was parked up in the courtyard while waiting for Fred’s signal. While we were sitting outside in our van the cleaners turned up to give the inside of the building a thoroughgoing over. This showed how professional the two firms we were working for.
Billy was playing with his gun while sitting next to me mumbling and growling. He was one aggravating bastard who could wind anybody up, especially when he starts twirling his gun on his forefinger like a gun slinger. One of the lads in the back of van snatched the gun off him and removed the magazine and the bullet in the chamber. Billy starts to complain when my pal says to him “You never even had the safety on you mad bastard” That done it for me and I went berserk by smashing Bill in the side of the head with the butt of my gun. Roaring at him I said you could have killed any one of us in the van all because you can’t sit still for half an hour. Billy surprisingly didn’t react; he just sat there nursing his head sulking like a two year old. I knew then at that moment that I should not have brought him on this bit of work.
 
It was an hour before my pager went off; a simple message telling us it was time. I started the van and made the short drive to the hotel complex where the deal was going down. As we drove in we done a 360% drive around the car parking area to make sure there was no one lurking outside. The weather was awful with rain coming down like a monsoon, which for us was perfect. The rain kept everyone off the concrete complex and the noise of it hitting the tin roofs made a deafening sound. There was to be no pausing from here on, it was straight out of the van then the ten-yard walk to the entrance of the room. Weapons drawn one of my pals and me both kicked the door in at exactly the same time. The force used to kick open the door was so fierce that it hit the inside wall and bounced straight back at us. If it hadn’t been for the fact that the door frame was busted I’m sure the door would have shut itself when it bounced back off the wall. I was the first one into the room with my two pals in tow. Billy stood just outside the now busted door keeping an eye out for police, staff etc. Now this is where this story gets weird because once we are in the room the first things I noticed was the amount of blood everywhere. There were trails of it leading into the bathroom also coats and briefcases were hanging over chairs. I heard Fred talking to someone who sounded petrified in a foreign language. Making my way to the bathroom entrance I noticed a half open briefcase full of cash and three boxes with what seemed like statues and small velvet sacks. I called out to Fred, who in turn asked me to come through into the bathroom. Now, my pals and I were totally confused. My pal says “No Fred you come out here to us” The three of us were now pointing our weapons at the bathroom doorway cocked and ready to fire. I heard clunking of metal along with a ratchet sound. My assumption was that the sound I was hearing were handcuffs being attached to a metal pipe. Fred pipes up and tells us he is coming out and is unarmed. I warned him to come out of the room backwards, arms raised. The door opens slowly and the three of us crouch down still pointing our weapons in the direction of the door. Fred emerges from the bathroom with his arms raised where I tell him to kneel keeping his hands up. My pals make a grab for Fred and push him face down on to the bed while I enter the bathroom. The sight in the bathroom made me vomit down the toilet.
Everyone was dead except for the geezer who was chained to the pipe. The dead were piled on top of each other in the bathtub and at the side lying amongst puddles of blood were an Uzi complete with silencer.
At that moment Billy comes in and sees all the carnage and is asking what the fuck has gone on. My pal says, “It seems our Fred had his own plan on dealing with this work” Bill goes into the bathroom and all we hear is him saying “Fucking hell, nice one Fred”
 
I pulled Fred up off the bed and told him to start explaining himself and what he tells us is unbelievable.
 
To find out the conclusion of this amazing story, check in next week where I’ll tell you how this story panned out.
 
Ta La for now
 
Johnny
london-boy-assassin

A Revolver never Jams !

An Opening Word From Johnny Mack

If you want to follow the making of this movie, than… Read This! Here Johnny  Mack talks of his life, his work thus far and his hopes for this movie. He does so in his own unique way, The subject matter is often dark, but his honesty is so brave, I challenge you not to like this man. His humanity seeps from each word and it is THIS YOU WILL RELATE TO……

 

The autobiographical book of the film London Boy

The best selling book that London Boy the feature film is based. Buy it and see why

Johnny Mack on London Boy & Life

When I look back over my life and how it has panned out. I still find it hard to comprehend that it
was what others have said, ’A roller coaster ride; destination, self-destruction.” Sure, I agree it has been exciting, wild, hectic with lots of fun. Yet there has also been a lot of pain, sadness and suffering…a high price had to be paid to be where I am today. I have never thought of my life as being self-destructive. As crazy as it sounds, up to the age of ten, I thought getting the shit kicked  out of me was normal. Up to the age of 10 my thoughts were more in line with a pacifist’s way of thought. I did my best to avoid getting involved with violence, arguments and confrontation. But for reasons which I did not understand at that age, I became a target for racist bullies and gangs.

I am an only child to an Irish mother and an English father. Being a Catholic our family was the
odd one out because most Catholic families consisted of seven or more children.

Because of mums’ stature, all 4’ 11’’ of her, she had serious problems when she became pregnant. I had no  idea of the dangers that mum faced when she tried to give me a brother or sister. She knew I  was lonely and desperate for company because I would ask her why was it I never had siblings?

Mum miscarried twice and on the last occasion she actually died for a few minutes while on
the operating table.

I can remember it being a Sunday morning when I entered the living room to find mum flat
out on the sofa looking really unwell. I had no idea that she was pregnant and she fobbed
me off with a line that she had a bad case of the flu. I suppose she kept it from me this
time because she had made the mistake of telling me of her previous pregnancy. Sadly I remember my hopes and dreams being dashed in an instance when she lost it. Her trying to explain to me that God had decided to take my unborn brother to heaven to become an angel was hard to understand. I suppose she decided to keep her second pregnancy quiet from me because she did not want a repeat performance of me getting hurt again.

So I grew up as an only child and where my mother had now lost two kids she became very
protective and controlling. Looking back I can see that she was only trying to do her best to
protect me from the dangers of the outside world. It got so bad that I couldn’t even take a piss
without her asking me what I was doing. She sent me to schools that were out of the way from the  area I lived. She thought by doing this I would not be able to associate with the local kids who  she thought were a bad influence on me.

My father who always worked away from home, would only come home once a month and that was just for the weekend. So I never got to have a lot of “me” time with him. When he was home he would take mum out in the evening and go to the pub at lunchtime for a session. Which meant I had little contact with him throughout my childhood.

Though I had good parents, my upbringing was a very strict one, mainly influenced by my
domineering mother. Because she was Irish, she and I had more than our fair share of racial abuse back then. She got it in the work place and I got it at the schools and from the local gangs on the housing estate we lived on. But mum was a tough cookie and never stood for it and on many occasions I’d see her kicking the shit out of her racial abusers. There was one occasion that sticks with me and that was when I saw her knock out a large, frumpy, obnoxious racist of a woman with a tin of carrots and beat seven bells out her husband with a leg of lamb. But it was different for me because as I said I was a weak meek kid and could not defend myself. I was scared of fireworks, the dark and even my own shadow. This weakness was picked up on by the local kids and I would get beatings on a daily basis, both at school and on the housing estate. Each time I’d come home with a black eye, bloodied nose or worse still my clothes all ripped up, she’d go berserk. Just as my father did, my mother would send me back out to fight the bullies. No matter how scared I was, my choices were limited. Either I got a beating indoors for being a wimp, or sent out to get another kicking from the gang. The whole situation made me feel I was in a catch 22 situation, either way I lost.

That was until I was ten years of age, when my neighbour Tony Bainbridge stepped in to help stop what was happening to me. Tony was an all time gangster; he was married to South London crime boss Charlie Richardson’s daughter. On many occasions’ he’d witness me come home after getting the shit kicked out of me. Then watch me being pushed out of the door to go back out to face my attackers…and yes, get another kicking. He showed me the way of overcoming my problems by introducing me to a length of 4×2 timber. His instructions were quite simple really…plot up and wait for the gang leader, then jump out from behind and give the fucker a good hiding. I can remember being petrified waiting for this much older kid to pass by my hiding place. Because I hated violence, I found that what I was about to do was wrong and unforgiving. But what choice did I have? The violence I endured daily year after year had to stop; I wanted my mum and dad’s respect, instead of them being embarrassed of me. Before this bully was due to walk by my hiding place all these thoughts were whizzing through me. I felt for the first time, that adrenalin rush we go through when we face our demons. Then I felt for the first time pure rage, it was a manic feeling of being totally out of control. Within seconds of this bully passing me, I saw my life flash before my eyes. The beatings, the racial abuse in fact every negative thing I had been through flashed before my eyes in an instance.

I can’t really remember what happened when I jumped out of my hiding place and attacked the gang leader. What I do remember clearly, is me standing over this kid with the 4×2 broken in two, with him lying unconscious smothered in blood.  From that day on my life changed to a level that I did not quite understand.

Tony, who was now my mentor, told me that what I was feeling was the receiver of respect. Even at that age those words made a lot of sense to me. It became a fact that after that incident with the gang leader all the other kid’s attitudes changed towards me. The shoe was now on the other foot because there were no more beatings, no more racial abuse; everything stopped all at once. Within a year I was leader of more than one gang and the word respect became my controller. My attitude changed, not for the better, but for the worse and I became worse than my bullies.

Aged thirteen my apprenticeship began in the criminal fraternity and my teacher was Tony Bainbridge. I started off as a bookies runner and then upped in the ranks to do more important stuff. At fourteen I got involved in the theft of a load of uncut diamonds, today they would be worth millions. That little escapade put me right up the top in the respect ranks.

That’s how my life as a gangster started; it wasn’t long before it became a way of life. The keyword to my introduction into the criminal fraternity was the all-familiar word I first heard from Tony…respect!

It became like a drug to me and no matter what, I had to do to keep it. I could not afford to lose it.  Respect was my master now and if I lost it, well, I might as well be dead.

For those of you who have read my work, you know the rest of my roller coaster ride through life. I had no idea when I wrote the first part of my autobiography that it would get worldwide attention. My life today is totally different than what it was like back in the early eighties. It was then that I finally woke up and smelt the bacon. I lost so much during that transition period, that at times I believed I deserved it because it was my karma.

Going straight has not been a bowl of cherries either; again I lost everything, including my 33 year marriage to the love of my life. The house went shortly after, so did the construction company I had built up over the years. If that wasn’t enough payback, I then got cancer and was given 6 months to live. But hey, I’m a stubborn bastard and I am still here today.

Slowly my life has begun to improve and I now know that this improvement of life is all down to me  writing my first book “Dunpeckham”. Honesty was the key to making “Dunpeckham” a hit. There has never been a book written where the author has written a no holds barred account of life as a gangster. I wrote about the low times as well as the high times. But believe me when I say that the low times outweighed the high times by ten fold. What gangster says he became addicted to  heroin, cocaine and alcohol? What gangster leaves his ego at the door before sitting down to write about his life? And what gangster tells you that he was a failure as a husband and father? Yes, I came clean and told the truth, because ego no longer had a place in my life.

In 2009 I got in contact with award winning director Lee Hutcheon to ask him some advice about a possible film being made. My long standing best pal John Pettigrew recommended Lee to me. John and I grew up together and mixed with each other on the streets of Peckham, so I trusted him. When he told me about Lee, what I liked was the fact that Lee was very streetwise and understood where I came from. That meant he understood every word I put down on paper and above all he respected my honesty. By then Lee was at the height of his career as a world acclaimed award-winning director. He really took to “Dunpeckham” in a big way, so we discussed ways of getting it adapted on to the big screen.

This was at the height of the recession, which affected the movie business in a big way. Money was shortcoming from investors and the like, so Lee came up with a brilliant idea. Lee put together a proposal and approached Sky One TV, they were dead keen to make a six part TV drama series. What we did not take into account was that Sky wanted to do a string of crime dramas. I was only halfway through writing ‘’Landed on the Moon’’ part two of my autobiography and it would take another 2 -3 months to complete. However, Sky really needed a crime writer who had more work to offer and with me only having one and half books to date, they reluctantly declined. They went with Martina Cole the Queen of crime writers, who had accumulated a number of already published novels. Sky said that our genres were very similar but the difference between us was that my work was non-fiction and her work was fiction. They had set out to use a true-life story line, but they soon realised that would be an impossible task. Martina went on to make a mint with her adaptation of ‘The Take.’ For me just getting my work on the table of Sky One gave me just enough encouragement, which I desperately needed
to keep on writing. Lee reminded me that there is a market out there for my work and told me to keep going. He also said that getting the attention of Sky was on its own a great achievement.

Since then I finished ‘Landed on the Moon’ and wrote ‘Memoirs of a Hitman.’ However, I wanted to write Memoirs with a double plot to give it an explosive storyline. But I had been just diagnosed with cancer and had no choice but to condense it down and get it published before I snuffed it. But as I’ve already mentioned I’m a stubborn sod and refused to lay down, curl up and die. Memoirs’ is a brilliant crime novel based on experiences I had been through during my life as a gangster. The good thing is, I have left it open for the return of the characters and now my intention is to write a trilogy. But before that can happen, I have to finish ‘My Eldorado’ which is a fact based crime story. This novel will be the make or break for me in the literary world. I have now created a unique genre, which has been a massive challenge. I had to get out of writing the Johnny Mack way, if my work was to appeal to a larger audience of avid readers of crime fiction. By writing ‘My Eldorado’ I believe I have done just that.

Since the Sky episode, I would soon learn that there were more crooks in the movie business than there are in the criminal fraternity. I remember Lee warning me of such people way back in 2009. But when someone comes along and promises you the world, because they say your work is great and it has the potential to get on the big screen, you tend to believe them. I have had loads of tossers’ come by my way, all with false promises of a movie deal. The last one sounded so convincing that I contacted Lee who I wanted to direct my life story. Right up to five days before all three of us were to meet up things looked rosy. She told me that she had acquired a few million from investors and now we were ready to fly up to Scotland to meet
up with Lee to discuss the movie. The last I heard from the lying bitch (sorry it still angers me) was that she was getting the plane tickets. Can you imagine, I now had to tell Lee I had a shitzer as a partner and I wouldn’t be coming? However, Lee was not letting some lying, trumped up has been put us off making this movie.

During the interim years I had been to the US to do a bit of script work and it was while I was there I met a few investors. As they say in this business, acquire as many telephone contacts as possible, especially if the connection is involved in investment. I flew to the states and had meetings with a few of these investors and after I had explained the concept of “Dunpeckham” and what potential it would have as a movie, I got their attention.

I came away from that meeting dancing like Fred Astaire with promises of $5000,000 from three solid investors.

That was when Lee and I really got to grips with this fantastic project. He suggested we write the
script together, which for me was a mega challenge. I had only ever written bit parts in a pilot TV series and a feature film. Now thanks to Lee, I have this fantastic opportunity to be present at the start and be involved all the way through the process of making a movie.

This for me has been long in the coming, but I have always known that “Dunpeckham” would make a great British gangster movie. It may be filmed in London, England, but its potential warrants global viewing. London Boy will not just be the standard run of the mill gangster movie. It goes far deeper than ‘bang, bang give us the money?’ This one goes much deeper,
it examines the affects my life as a gangster had on my family and others. It will show the viewer the aftermath of what a gangster’s life can leave behind. It tells a story which highlights the shit times more so than the good times. There is a message in amongst this story that will definitely help others who are thinking of taking up a life of crime, stop and think again.

So London Boy will hit the screens and adjust the standard just like ‘Lock Stock’ did. A new and never tried before action film, that will dazzle the film world and delight audiences, with that “something new”, difference that they are anxiously waiting for.

I’ll keep you posted

Johnny Mack

 

Memoirs of a Hitman. The murderous story of a lone hitman caught up in London's gangland while it feuds with each other. Another great book by Johnny Mack

Memoirs of a Hitman. The murderous story of a lone hit man caught up in London’s gangland while it feuds with each other. Another great book by Johnny Mack