The good go to heaven. The dad can go to hell

Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to put my thoughts in order. My book ‘Nothing Important Happened Today’ is starting to sell. My second novel ‘England’s Mean And Unpleasant Land’ is at the publishers and my third ‘God Save Us From The USA’ is well on its way.

Then this idea for a book about my dad wormed its way into my consciousness and my happiness has severely diminished. There is a direct correlation between the increase in my bad mood and the time I spend writing about my recollections of his behaviour.

In a way, I’m lucky, he only tried to strangle me once. I can’t remember the number of times he was screaming in my face apoplectic with rage over some small thing.

He occasionally talks with pride about an incident where a friend of his came up to him and said ‘Those two kids of yours are the best behaved kids I have ever seen”.

There’s a reason. I can’t speak for my brother but I was so terrified of dad’s rage I daren’t put a foot wrong.

And it wasn’t just my screw-ups I was afraid of. His road rage seemed to erupt every time we were in the car. Someone would cut him off and he was out the car rolling up his shirt sleeves shouting ready to beat the crap out of everyone. He was, and remains, such an angry man.

When I met my friends’ fathers I was surprised by how tolerant they were. How easily they didn’t fly into a rage when something went skew-whiff.

Or were they just like my dad who was all sweetness and light when his friends were around but a complete arsehole when they weren’t?

Writing all this down is probably good therapy for me, but at the moment it’s a fucking nightmare. It explains a lot about my behaviour and probably more about my lack of feeling today for the man who terrified me.

One good thing that has come of this is, I now recognise the ‘bullies’. I see my father’s face in every one. And I make sure they don’t get away with doing it to other people.

Continue reading The good go to heaven. The dad can go to hell

‘Never speak ill of the dad’

Me and my big brother have put up with a great deal over the years from Davies Senior. And the really annoying thing is, we seem to be the only ones who see what he is really like – like the little boy in the Emperor’s new clothes we’re pointing and shouting but this time no one is taking any notice.

Other people over the decades have said ‘your dad is all right’. ¬†Or ‘he’s a good laugh’. Little do they know the full extent of dad’s behaviour. Or misbehaviour. It’s become the subject of a little back and forth between me and big brother because we are so exasperated by things he has said and done.

Of course I won’t air all our family’s dirty linen in public. Let’s just say that we’re in constant contact because what he says to one son doesn’t quite tally with what he says to the other.

In recent years he has become unsteady on his feet and is prone to a fall or two. Once he was pinned under the fridge/freezer for two days because he pulled the thing down on himself and we had to get the ambulance and fire brigade to break in and rescue him.

Of course, we insisted he carry his mobile with him at all times in case of such a problem but no, dad knows best. He insists he can get to the phone.

We’ve talked to social services about getting people to go round and visit. Maybe help him tidy up, make him a cup of tea, have a chin wag. Every time he has fired whoever has turned up or hidden from them.

A key-safe was installed so that if the worst should happen an ambulance driver could get to him in an emergency. Dad, in his infinite wisdom, removed the keys from the safe because ‘too many people know the number’.

(One time he fell I had to order him quite harshly to crawl to the door and unlock it so that the ambulance crew could get in.)

He moans that no one comes to visit him. There is a reason. He has alienated all his friends and most of his family. He refuses to speak to them.

For the last few years he has been in and out of hospital more times than the doctors and refuses to see there is a problem.

His last visit was to a halfway house where he stayed for two and a half weeks. He complained that it was full of old people and no one talked to him. (I talked to the nurse and she told me that he refused to talk to anyone else or even get involved in any of the activities that were taking place.)

Once again dad signed himself out and wanted to go home, explaining that he could look after himself and would walk home if they didn’t let him out.

All well and good, but me and big brother know that in a few days the phone calls would start again. And they did.

Since I live in London and my brother lives near dad, he bears the brunt of all this. I get the phone calls at stupid o’clock while my brother has to constantly put his life on hold because dad needs some shopping or can’t charge his phone or needs someone to help him off the settee or accuse us of stealing something.

I’m not mentioning half the stuff he does because no one believes that ‘such a sweet old man’ could be so Jekyll and Hyde. We’ve seen both. (It was terrifying to behold as a kid.)

Then we have the sad days when he says he wishes he was dead. My brother and I have both confided that at times we both wish he was dead. But we can’t say it to anyone else because they think we’re being unkind and uncaring.

We’ve both done everything in our power to try and make his life a little easier and he has spat it back in our faces. So now we save our criticisms of dad’s antics for one another.

My brother suggested I write a book about dad telling the full, unexpurgated version of his treatment of us, our mother, and other people.

I said I couldn’t do it while he was alive. He said you’ve got to do it at some point, it might help other people who have gone through the same thing.

That’s when I came up with the title ‘Never speak ill of the dad.’

And we both laughed. Because we both knew everyone else would say ‘You can’t say that about such a lovely fellow’.

We can. We know him. You don’t.



*Spoiler alert* They spoiled it for me

Recently, I’ve been watching the Walking Dead on my Kindle Fire mainly because I love the ‘x-ray’ function. Tap the side and all manner of trivia springs up to inform and delight.

Another great thing about it is, if you hear a music track you like, tap the side and it tells you the artist and the title. It’s brilliant. It’s like having a genius sitting next to you.

The problem with this genius is that the bastard knows too much. So, you’re always in danger of finding out something that destroys the ‘suspension of reality’ that the story demands.

(If, like me, you love the Walking Dead stop reading now. )

As I watched, this x-ray function casually informed me that petrol goes ‘off’. It loses its flammable properties. So all these cars driving around after the ‘zombie apocalypse’ wouldn’t happen.

I tried to ignore that fact and continue watching but there was that voice in my head muttering ‘It really wouldn’t happen that way, you know?’

Forget the implausible premise about the dead coming back to life and eating everyone else, the petrol factoid destroyed my enjoyment. And I’m sorry to share it. But it was nagging at me.

It was like watching one episode of the Big Bang Theory where Sheldon Cooper informs everyone that Raiders of The Lost Ark didn’t need Indiana Jones.

The Nazis would have opened the Ark of the Covenant and been reduced to dust with Indiana Jones not having to lift a whip, a revolver or a finger.

He could have just followed them and taken it when the Germans had been liquefied, dehydrated and desiccated.

Another of my favourite films destroyed by cold, hard logic. And don’t get me started on Lord of the Rings. apparently three tomes of legendary writing could have been reduced to a pamphlet if the logicians had their way.

Or you could go to the cinema with Dave Parsons: his ‘ Is it me, or does Wolverine look like Alvin Stardust? ruined the whole franchise.

I want to see the latest offering with Hugh Jackman as ‘Logan’. But I know I’ll have Alvin Stardust’s greatest hits going through the back of my mind.

Damn you, x-ray! And double-damn you, Parsons!


Mark Davies is the author of ‘Nothing Important Happened Today’ and the upcoming novel ‘England’s Mean And Unpleasant Land’.

“So, what do you do? Really!”

It’s a bit of a delicate subject. Talk to anyone in a pub and you really can’t believe a word. Some people will lie so badly that they would have you believe that they won the Falklands War, singlehandedly.

How can you refute their claims? Where is the evidence to dispute what they did, in what situation, and at what time?

Over the last few months, I have heard so many stories.

Much as I love a good revelation, and the possibility that I drink in the presence of a hero, there are too many people who claim too much.

What I have always found is, the people who don’t talk about what they do, and what they did, are the people who you really should talk to.