Bodybuilding Builds Character

From 0-18 years old I was what my mam called a ‘skinnymalink’ terribly thin. I weighed about 9st 10lbs at age 18.

At about 18 I decided to study karate and after a couple of years was put into ‘combat’ with another student. He was MASSIVE (in my eyes). At the end of the session in the changing room and <ahem> admiring his physique I asked him what the his secret was…

Long story short..,I ordered a Weider Bench and a weights set from my mam’s catalogue

And got to work.

I’d train every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, relentlessly in my home gym..

Home gym

Eventually the home gym became limited (and at the time I was too insecure to join a public gym) however, I decided to start training at a gym in Concorde, Washington, Tyne & Wear.

I started to see a real difference.

I’d never been a big hit with the opposite sex on account of being short, skinny and ugly…

Then…ever so slowly..,things started to change.

As my chest, shoulders and legs started filling out, girls started showing an interest and…

Guys who may have been irreverent or disrespectful in the past (was great bumping into old school colleagues – you could visibly see their eyebrows raise) changed their attitude.

Then…for love and work (long story) I moved to Bolton, near Manchester.

I started training at a gym initially called ‘Physiques’ but after a few ownership changes became known as ‘J.R.’s Fitness Centre.

This was no jacuzzi / yoga / new age fitness centre. This was old school..,

After years and years of consistent training and clean eating (150g Protein every day, minimal junk) my stubborn physique began to change…

I used to go into the gym and immediately play Rocky music on a tape I had created…and eventually after about 2 years of that earned the nickname ‘Rocky’ which is ironic…I couldn’t fight my way out of a wet paper bag…

Anyway I trained and trained and trained for years and my luck with the ladies slowly changed…

The red head was my partner for a while

Anyway…I trained at that gym for years and years. My intensity slowed down after my forties.

The gym closed down early 2020. I’d trained there for over 30 years. Great memories. Great friends. It was a touchstone.

And here I am…

late fifties…reminiscing…wishing I could do it all again.

Oh…and I still love Rocky!

Might just be me

2019 get up – shower – get your breakfast – set off for work. Might get cut up, might see another pretty other human, might listen to Nick Robinson – point is – there was differentiation between one day and another.

2020-2021 – get up. Walk into home office. Available from 0800 hrs. until whenever. No breaks (lunch etc.) are respected. Log out. People on a different preferred working schedule still contacting you…might just be me..,


I’m clumsy with words. I always have been and always will be, I’m no Shakespeare, JD Salinger or Virginia Woolf. That said my motives and intentions are pure…

We said goodbye to a much loved colleague this week. The grief comes in waves. It’s very very hard to imagine that if we ever get back into the office there’ll be an empty chair. He was only 37.

I watched his funeral on CCTV through pursed lips. Short small intakes and exhales – willing the whole thing to be over soon. That might sound a bit disingenuous but I hate funerals. I always have…although I accept my pain was magnified a million times for the family and friends.

He was a great guy. Funny. Friendly. The most inoffensive person you’d ever likely to meet. He’ll be missed. Greatly. He was probably physically about 5’9” but his character was 17’10”.

And..,you know how it is with IT. You’d have a problem and you’d just receive an answer of technobollocks. Basically people showing off their technical proficiency. That was never ever Mark. He’d sort you out. No muss. No fuss. Just got on with it. With humour…

My colleagues miss him ever so much. They’d all go out on a burger/kebab/pizza lunch once a week. I used to look forward to hear what food ‘contraption’ they’d come up with (as they all knew I’m quite conservative in my food choices).

He had an interest in photography which we shared. It was fantastic sharing ideas with him.

We’ll all miss you buddy. Ever so much. We’re all devastated.

Want to know why I hate the police…?

Ok. Let’s go back to about 1980. I had a Suzuki GT250. I used to meet up with other bikers at Washington services – about 20-30 of us. One night Northumbria Police goons rocked up and issued a dispersal order. As I was moving my bike a goon (sorry police officer) ‘backed into me’ knocking me over my bike. Damaging it. When my mates tried to help he drew his batton ordering them to get back and that I’d have to sort my my bike on my own. Total bully (there’s a theme here)

Let’s move forward…About 2005 – was meant to picking up a work colleague to travel to John Lennon airport as we had a seminar to attend in London…I took a wrong turning and ended up in a cul de sac – my exit was blocked by a GMP Police van. Some 18st caveman with his little blonde apprentice interrogated me…after 5-6 minutes of me explaining my situation and his hard on rescinding he ‘let me go this time’…

I was a victim of theft from Total Fitness. Despite CCTV. Credit card transaction trail etc. I was notified by @GMPPolice that they won’t be investigating the crime. I’m guessing because there was a bit of work to do, no girls to impress, and their tea was getting cold.

A gym colleague who’ll I’ll refer to as BW – in fairness was a decent bloke. Worked for GMP Traffic. I told him to get down Ulleswater Road in Bolton and that he’ll get his Ticket ratio in about 5 minutes. He said he’d be up to his neck in racist accusation paperwork for weeks. Two tier system?

The point I’m making. These people are not interested in ‘serving’. It’s about power, intimidation, getting off on wearing a uniform.

I met a girl in the 90’s in Bolton town centre. Turns out she was a divorcee. And…you’ve guessed it. A GMP Traffic Range Rover used to turn up at my house every night. Blues on…then he’d follow me to work, sometimes tailgating, sometimes on my left..,just looking into my car. I just used to give him the finger as it was clear the specky little prick wasn’t about to do anything useful…anyway, another gym colleague who’ll I’ll refer to as MD was in the TAG team of GMPolice. He warned him off.

My now wife works for a mental health charity. One day she was alerted that a care worker was barricaded into a bathroom by a client who had a knife. She alerted the cowardly, incompetent lazy GMP. Basically she was told she’d need to try and sort it out herself. I went with her to the project. She had to ring me, keep comms open so that I could intervene if things turned south. No girls to impress. Danger. They’re not interested folks.

A work colleague joined the Derbyshire force as a special constable and took no greater pleasure than sending in photos of him with his batton raised – he was a total lunatic. That’s how low the bar is folks.

Hired lunatic muscle. IQ of sloths and the manner of banshees…

Thank God for AC/DC and Amazon Prime

Well, what a year…I’ve been working from home since March 12th 2020. My car (company vehicle) is currently doing 8 months to the gallon. Apart from a holiday in the summer in Applethwaite near Keswick (where I never left that house) I’ve not been anywhere apart from local 1km doggy walks.

If it wasn’t for Bells whisky (other whiskies are available) and AC/DC (other bands are available)


I might have gone insane!!!

P.s do Amazon Prime do liver transplants? Asking for a friend…

The Smiths

I’m sure it was about 1984. Maybe on the John Peel show, I first heard The Smiths. I rushed to The Eldon Centre and HMV to buy the album the next day.

I was a naive not very well travelled Mackem. Fit meant you could run the 100 metres in less than 11 seconds. Wally Range was an estate that thickos lived.,,

I saw The Smiths twice at Newcastle Mayfair, well, once really, punk hadn’t ‘officially’ finished so spitting was the order of the day…On my second concert someone spat at Morrissey . He said if anyone spits again he’ll leave the stage. 0.002 seconds later. Yep…you’ve guessed it…

I then moved to Bolton and worked in Manchester in 1988. I eventually got my head around the vocabulary – fit had nothing to do with your bench pressing ability.

The poetry of Morrissey sings to me. I know it’s not for everyone.

I’ll never stop admiring and liking him…


Stick to your principles

Many years ago a person that reported to me said that she was being sexually harassed by my Manager. I reported that fact, completely objectively to HR. Unsurprisingly, given his ‘power’ I was made redundant 4 weeks later. I immediately submitted an ET1. Luckily my wife is an HR Director so guided me through the process. I wouldn’t retract my statements therefore that was that particular ‘career’ over…I lost my job, my report kept her dignity. Eventually after 18 months and a lot of stress, a settlement was reached. Don’t trust any HR (I know, I live with one) – it’s all subterfuge, lies, propaganda and ‘Smiling Assassins’. I stuck to my principles. I always will. You sometimes lose in the material world, however in your moral world. You win. And you can’t buy that.