Recently I had some reminders of various issues through bullying from my early life. So, I have decided to write about those that can still bother me. Trying to keep them in order and short, it can also illustrate why I have a fear of water and confined spaces, trust and love, potentially I am dyslexic – I should get checked out? I got checked out, and yes I am.
Shipley C of E first School. Hmmm, memories are a little blurred here, but it was the teaching staff that bothered me. Although I was brilliant at art, in reading I was usually asked to start the class, I struggled to read, I still struggle to read, then the maths, I seemed to be the one that got asked for the answers when I obviously didn’t know. The laughing embarrassed me something silly. My frustrations took a positive turn when I blocked the school sinks and turned all the taps on, a brand new school carpets and tiles ruined, loved that they never knew it was me…
Wycliffe Middle School, Shipley. This was some of the worse experiences of my life, and still is. At nine years old I was in year one and Mrs Bennetts class, she seemed ok. In that year the school sent us on swimming lessons at the old Shipley swimming baths. Feeling very apprehensive at the first swimming lesson, we got into the shallow end of the pool. Having walked around a few times we were told to hold onto the side and put our heads under the water, not a chance in hell was I putting my head in water, the swimming teacher came up and pushed my head under, fucking hell, I couldn’t breath. I got out of the ‘pool and never attended a swimming lesson again.
Year two and in Mrs Whitaker’s class, she was sound, but again I seemed to constantly be asked to start the reading and to answer maths questions when for both I didn’t have a clue. Must say, we were a bad class as she could not control us and left the school at the end of the year. One morning as we were getting ready to enter the school, the caretaker – Mr Denton, well he was in line for some shouting at and as I went by him he grabbed my hair, picked me up swung me around and let go, you bastard. Everyone went quiet and I decided to go home, upon the school coming to take me back I had to apologise to them, Denton, you scared the shit out of me.
Year three and Mr Froud’s class, this geezer had control and was really funny, I got on great with him. The problem was the French teacher, but I can not remember her name. She would ask me time and again to read and write in French when I couldn’t even read and right in English! One day she came over to me, grabbed my hair and dragged me around the class telling me to get on with the French writing, I said no and by my hair got thrown out, again I went home, school picked me up and again I had to apologise. it was about this time when the school noticed something wasn’t right with me so put me in extra reading, writing and maths lessons.
The problem with having to have extra lessons causes some of the ‘bigger’ school kids to start saying some pretty nasty stuff to me, sometimes I would cry on the way home, and sometimes I broke down in tears at home but would never tell my parents why. So, this takes me to Andrew Gould. Known him all my life but he was a big tall lad and had ‘followers’ as these types usually do. Gould, yes all other years he had been fine but I am now having extra lesson’s due to my problems. A constant mental barrage of insults came from him. One day I was in the dinnertime chess class lesson that Mr Williams used to do, surely Gould and his clones came in to find me, stood behind me and off he went with the insults, I grabbed a wooden box and planted it straight into his face, carrying on until he fell over into the waste paper bin, it took some others to stop me but I was never bothered in school again, that includes until I officially left school at the age of 15, I took the school bullying matter into my own hands and put a stop to it. I often wonder if Adrian Wood? is OK, he was terribly bullied. I can still hear him when he had his spectacles knocked off and struggled to see. I should have put a stop to it rather than watch, dreadful times.
Although he lived local I never had any more problems from Gould, in fact we ended up being pals for a few years, into the late teens I would say, but he still had those clones who seemed to look up to him. In our late teens I helped him in various situations of trouble, yet when I once got caught out he ran away, knob.
Yes, out of school and at 13 years old I had joined the East Bradford Cycling Club, I absolutely loved this, some fantastic folks there and it kept me focused. The school bullying had been stopped, I had found a great release through cycling, and feeling quite happy. I best mention that I was with a group of lads who were brilliant (got into music through some of them), we all give each other some stick but it was in great humour, but a few of the lads thought that taking some serious? ‘piss’ out of me was quite funny, esp when on pretty much the night of joining I was conned into putting my arms and legs over 5-a-side goals, and then this twat swung on me below, yes G R, it was you.
I was once managed into a sleeping bag the wrong way round and then it was fastened (my hands are shaking and tingling at the memory), that fear of confined spaces would stay with me all my life, this was by G R. I had some kind of ‘episode’ in that sleeping bag. We still remained friends for a while. Another geezer use to give me stick on the bike, I took it all in my stride until he once knocked me off and started to punch me, this was D H (RIP), simply because this ex pro could not ride me off his wheel. The next day I took a good piece of wood to the Peel Park crit series, I was going to put this into his front wheel and kick him. A good friend (Dave Rayner, RIP my great friend), he knew my plan and talked me out of it. After the event, D H actually apologised, it never happened again. Many times when we were having a laugh, one or two lads struggled to know when to stop, this happened to a few of us, we used to talk about this and why carry on when enough was enough, sometimes worse than others.
One of the worse moments: While visiting the toilets, my bike was once placed into a lake. For anyone who has a fear of anything, especially water and confined space’s, then you will know how I felt when I finally found it, it sent me into a little bit of a panic attack, therefore my memory is somewhat blurred. I think the fantastic and magical ‘Robbo’ (RIP friend) got the bike out. Once we set off he could see how disturbed I was, he had a chat with me at the back, would not say who put the bike in but did say he felt sorry it upset me so much, apology accepted. No one would say who put my bike into the lake, I never found out.
It might not seem a big issue, but this other lad (D M), he always seemed to grab my cycling hats and throw them at the side of the road. One dark night he did this and I couldn’t find the hat, this hat was very special and would have been even more special today. I rode home in tears and decided that (for a while) I had finished with cycling and eventually joined the RAF.
The RAF, this was fantastic. On a massive positive note during trade training at RAF St Athan in Wales, we had to have a twice weekly swimming session, ah ha, J821….Briggs couldn’t swim. Hmmm, the officer who took the lessons was brilliant. Myself and Hughes couldn’t swim. Lets cut this short, once I had learned to float the instructor asked me if I dare jump off the top board, no problems, I’m a Briggs from Shipley! My three best pals were from Scotland, they got in the pool, I jumped, floated and they pushed me to the side, absolute trust in those three, they were a fantastic bunch, the armed forces have some of the best friends and comradeship you could imaging, when we got into fights the Scots were always impressed how I would come out on top, was this due to the bullying?
After a couple of years I came out of the RAF, got into bands, re-joined the cycling club. No insults, or bullying or anything messed with my head again. On nights out fights still occurred but nothing really ever bothered me, I had also met some very good friends, who happened to be quite ‘ard. But why write about this now? Like most adults who suffered childhood bullying, when young you can leave it buried, but as you get older things happen that jog memories, and then it all makes sense as to who we are, what we are scared of, what causes us problems, and through counselling and medication, how best to deal with those problems.
Maybe it was my experience – come paranoia from the school ‘shit’ that may well have caused me to be overly sensitive in the cycling club? Everything mentioned in this article are true. I could guess for a youngster with certain issues, certain ‘fun’ has a much deeper impact than can be imagined otherwise? I really don’t know. Forgiveness can happen, certainly within the cycling club as it changed my life for the better.
I have edited and removed some content. For some reason, and since I wrote this article, I have felt somewhat unsure if I should have mentioned names and or even wrote the article? I am far from perfect, and felt some guilt…
Update today, 3rd August 2015, and problematic for me. I’m accused of ‘things’ that aren’t true, that can still cause me problems. Oh, so, recently I had some old cycling pal’s, I thought were pal’s. These have pretty much accused me of being a lefty cunt, a scrounger, that I should get on, well guess what brother’s, I do try. Good luck to A and R H. I’m so surprised, shocked, annoyed, and now content to name you both as ex friends.
For some reason J R has blocked me on Facebook. I know FB is shit, but it make’s you wonder what other shite is being mentioned about me. I don’t need this, and unfortunately I will never attend another Dave Rayner dinner, Dave will fully understand.
All fact’s, that no one should ever need to go through, or even continuing to go through…
You know, some other’s will still be named. I have no intention to meet any of you again, but when chance’s arise, some of you can get fucked.
Wrote a few years ago, this deep song now makes total sense to many aspects to my life.
01 DGU 1