When I was a kid I lived in St James Gardens, Nelson Street, just down the road from the Blackie. We would always ride our bikes around the inner yard of the building. It was like an obstacle course as we would all meet outside The Nook pub in Chinatown. It was a regular routine before we made our way towards the docks.
I attended the ‘under 11’ kids club at the Blackie. They would have the air bed out, tie dye and paper mache. It always seemed we had to leave early to make way for the adults disco, usually when we were having fun. We would spend the rest of the time plotting how to sneak back in, in a cat and mouse game between us and the Blackie staff.
My more recent experiences of the Blackie have revolved around me attending live performances and exhibitions. I vividly recall the visit of the acclaimed American rappers the ‘Last Poets’. Their workshop was enlightening as they demonstrated how they formed their lyrics, tracing their life experiences and expressing it through lyrics.
I am still active in the amateur football scene, I am with Kent FC, and I have always played for local teams. I have three sons who are also football fanatics. I opened a carpet shop in the local area after a long association with the carpet industry. The shop was open for a number of years hence the name ‘Jay the carpet fitter’.
I am very proud of my work with the Central Liverpool Victim Support Team in the 1980s. I was Co-ordinator with responsibility for projects in the Grove Street, Picton and Park Road areas. During this period I qualified as a joiner, via my City &amp; Guilds course. Little did I know at the time but the course would determine my future career.
I was employed as a woodwork Instructor in the Toxteth Activities Group furniture workshop. I worked with the long-term unemployed up to City &amp; Guilds level. The workshop renovated old furniture to sell at affordable prices to local families. We created a bit of history when we were visited by the Minister for the Environment, Michael Heseltine.