Jobe The Beginning of a Liverpool Legend, the story of one boy’s journey through the sectarianism, poverty and industrial strife of 1890’s Liverpool. Eight-year-old Jobe, born on the sloping hills is oblivious to the slums where, Kitty, his Catholic mother was born and bred or the rolling pastures of the Wirral where his Protestant father, Albert, grew up!
To win a free signed copy of John's excellent new novel, 'Jobe The Beginning of a Liverpool Legend' see the section in red at the bottom of this review article!
''Legend, what d’you mean by Legend, i’ve never heard of you.'' ''Haha sorry mate, it’s not me, i’m definitely not a legend it’s Jobe who is.'' ''Well i’ve never heard of him, probably no-one else has either.'' ''D’you know what mate i’d be ready to bet me life you haven’t, he’s a fictional character you see, they usually live in books, you know them things with loads of words in!”
The response to my pretentiousness was a well-warranted paragraph of expletives and insults. Even so i couldn’t help myself. I simply replied with the following; “Well all Legends have to begin somewhere mate.” I can’t recall the exact exchange. I’d only recently joined Facebook with the aim of accruing a few friends and garnering some support/exposure for my debut novel, Jobe The Beginning of a Liverpool Legend, the story of one boy’s journey through the sectarianism, poverty and industrial strife of 1890’s Liverpool. I very tentatively ‘posted’ my first post, a link to the first chapter of Jobe, and waited for a response to my first foray into the democratisation of communication that (allegedly) is Facebook.
The implications of being dragged into a war of words related to Jobe, played out in full view of legions of Facebook voyeurs, terrified me and i immediately deleted the exchange. Now that i’ve discovered a virtual thick skin i wished i’d have left it. It would have been worth at least one all-important sale. Which is, unashamedly, one of the reason's i wrote the book. I was Born in Liverpool in 1976. The year recently voted Britain’s happiest and according to the abysmal propaganda of the recent Tory election campaign, the era Jeremy Corbyn is intent on dragging us, kicking and screaming back to. For me personally being born during the summer heat wave of ‘76 was an indicator of things to come. I’ve always retained that uncanny skill of arriving at the party just as everyone else is getting their coats! I grew up around the famous Scottie Road, Vauxhall to be precise, the same inner-city area of Liverpool as Jobe and just like him i was surrounded by a large extended family, luckily for me, mine were a bit more accommodating and, as was the way back then we lived in each others houses.
I’ve loved books and reading them for as long as i can remember but none of my aunties, uncles, cousins or other ambiguous relations were big readers so after going through my nan’s few dog-eared copies of Mills and Boon for the tenth time i decided to try and write a story of my own. That path, following a few detours, finally led me to Ruskin College in Oxford where I studied Creative Writing. Through no fault of the tutors, one being the much missed 'Alistair Wisker', a man who found time to encourage those who had not previously received encouragement, writing became like mathematics to me, full of rules and formulae. That coupled with the glorious by-products of student life led me to forgo my studies and writing altogether but after years of working on the railways and in factories, in schools and more recently children’s homes i've decided to revisit my love of writing and with the unconditional and unwavering support of my wife, Natalie and my three kids, Joseph, John and Evie i’ve finally managed to turn out my first novel.
Hopefully it’ll be the first of many and help to keep me off the tracks and out of the classroom. Jobe The Beginning of a Liverpool Legend is not just a nostalgic jaunt into Liverpool’s history and its socio-economic past but a social commentary that, with a few tweaks to dates and geography, could be as contemporary as Ken Loach’s excellent 'I Daniel Blake'. Jobe is born on the affluent hills of Everton that look down on the River Mersey and the thriving port that brings so much wealth to the city. But the confusion of black roofed tenements, courts and slums stretching as far as the eye can see reveal that amongst the gilded prosperity there lies a neglect of any pursuit beyond the merest means of existence.
Eight-year-old Jobe, born on the sloping hills is oblivious to the slums where, Kitty, his Catholic mother was born and bred or the rolling pastures of the Wirral where his Protestant father, Albert, grew up. His parents, ostracised from their respective families because of their sectarian splitting love, live only for each other and their son. Until an unforeseen circumstance imposes the disease of desperation and deprivation onto his parents lives and Jobe finds himself discarded to the slums of Scotland Road by his once doting father.
From that point on his journey spans from prosperity to poverty, from the Liverpool Collegiate to the Floating Reformatory Ship Akbar, the dock stand to delinquency to Hull and back… Ignore the architectural advances, cue screams of derision from opponents of Mayor ‘Fat Joe’ Anderson, (he warrants an article all to himself) and remove the trappings of technology and the similarities between our streets and those that Jobe traversed over a hundred years ago are not so different, more salubrious, arguably, but different, unfortunately not. It is true that today Jobe wouldn’t have to be up before dawn, navigate the cold dark streets and wait at the dock stand to see if there’ll be a day’s employment, granted at the whim of a supervisor.
Today he’d simply have to listen out for the cold bleep of a text message like the other million workers on zero hour contracts that’ve just had that day’s shift cancelled, that’s if the supervisor can be bothered to send a text of course. Neither, in 2017, would Jobe find himself at the mercy of members of the league of welldoers or endure the prayers and hymns of zealots in exchange for a hot meal. On finding himself in the depths of despair with nowhere else to turn he could now endure the scrutiny and inferred ignominy of a jobcentre interview that would ascertain if he was worthy of a foodbank chit. In short social injustice continues to rule supreme and those of us not lucky enough to belong to the one percent still spend countless hours worrying about the ‘trivial’ things in life like the NHS or crime or earning enough to pay the rent and feed and clothe our children, and we’re the lucky ones.
Those that fate has dictated shall never be warmed by even a modicum of comfort or contentment subsist on the peripheries of mainstream society branded as the new enemy within by their Daily Mail reading peers and neighbours. While those in positions of elected power, whose very existence should be to strive and ensure on a daily basis that the needs of the sick and impoverished are met, chip away and asset strip the machinery of the Welfare State and anything else that even closely resembles advancement under the guise of an ideological austerity program bent on returning us all not to Corbyn’s sunny seventies but Jobe’s dark 1890’s when giants of the day such as Kier Hardy, Tom Mann and Jim Larkin galvanised the workers to organise and unionise against casualisation and exploitation winning concessions and rights from employers and the establishment through blood, sweat and tears one battle at a time.
Those rights have slowly been eradicated over the decades by subsequent governments and although the recent election result seems to indicate that a huge swathe of the country have finally woken up to the fact and are no longer prepared to facilitate it, either through apathy or from the ballot box, Teresa May has illustrated that her desperation and determination to cling onto her perceived power knows no bounds. Prepared even to pawn the uneasy peace in Northern Ireland engineered by the Good Friday Agreement and reigniting the scourge of sectarianism on the mainland.
The same sectarianism that not only defrauded Jobe of his birthright and legacy but also forced everybody but the most enlightened of his day to wear their religion on their sleeves. Have we travelled far enough to ensure that even the contentious advancement of ten DUP MP’s and their willingness to pay the price of said advancement, namely propping up a defunct Prime Minister and her government, will not remind us that deep down we remain the 'Filthy Fenians' or 'dirty stinking O’s' of Jobe’s bigoted and blighted day? Looking around, it would appear we have not travelled very far at all, that going backwards is the new forwards.
Jobe The Beginning of a Liverpool Legend is available on Amazon and Kindle bit.ly/JobeLegend or by visiting here; https://www.jobeliverpoollegend.co.uk/
John Thompson for Political Provocateur
WIN A SIGNED COPY OF 'JOBE THE BEGINNING OF A LIVERPOOL LEGEND'
Simpy leave a comment below. Be in the first 59 comments, where you will be given a number between 1 and 59. Then simply wait for the first LOTTO number drawn on 'Saturday 12 August' main LOTTO draw. If the first number drawn is the number you were allocated by a Provocateur mod, you win a signed copy of John Thompson's incredible new book. Winners should send their postal address and details to PoliticalProvocateur@mail.com. A free signed copy will be posted out at our earliest convenience. Competition is open from Friday 11th August - Saturday 12th August 8pm. If you aren't lucky enough, or can't wait to grab a copy of John's new novel, you could always click here and reserve your copy direct https://www.jobeliverpoollegend.co.uk/product-page/jobe-the-beginning-of-a-liverpool-legend If you prefer to pay cash or have a dislike of the postal service and would prefer to purchase a copy from a book store, please message John personally for advice on available stockists. John's website is above in blue itallics. Political Provocateur does not hold any information or will ever pass information concerning readers of our website. You will never find your email inbox saturated with junk as a result of this competition or from mailing us whatsoever. We respect the privacy of our readers at all times! This competition is for UK resident's only.