Thailand, the Comfort of Strangers and Friends

Thailand, the Comfort of Strangers and Friends

The lovely, warm and smiley anesthesiologist talked calmly and put the mask over my face asking me to breathe deeply. I dreamed but woke to a circle of concerned faces looking down on me calling my name. ‘Dawid, Dawid, are you alright?’ I couldn’t breathe, try as I might, my lungs didn’t work, when I tried to suck in air, nothing happened.

American Football, the LA Experience

American Football, the LA Experience

It's been a lot of years but the memories are still vivid although they are abstract sounds and colours of flashing tangents and collisions at high speed. I did not enter football as an ex-rugby player but as an ex-soldier and athlete. I began helping with the...

Soldier X | Part 10, Walking Tall

Soldier X | Part 10, Walking Tall

    Walking Tall     It is hard now to remember what life was like back then I believed them when they told me I was alone in the world and that this place and time were invincible. They left us to walk those troubled streets as strangers But the...

Soldier X | Part 9, Berlin

Soldier X | Part 9, Berlin

  Berlin     He adjusts his jacket, sits and adjusts his trouser legs, tics, opens his book, pause. Stillness for a few moments. Speaks After the war, I was in Berlin and an extra duty we had was train guard. This meant going to Magdeburg in the Russian...

Soldier X | Part 8, Belfast

Soldier X | Part 8, Belfast

  Belfast   I was sitting there watching Smithy smoke a joint as he lay on his pit. I got the dope from a girl back home. She sent me dope and my father sent me the local newspaper. ‘Leisure centre hosts flower arranging debacle’ that kind of thing. We even...

Soldier X | Part 7, Germany 1945

Germany 1945   He is in an armchair and takes off his reading glasses, tics, lays his book in his lap; Bronowski’s, ‘The Ascent of Man’, and tells me about Germany 1945. There sit I, his luckless double, and listen again to the silence between his nonchalance. I...

Soldier X | Part Six, Normandy

Soldier X | Part Six, Normandy

Normandy This is where I began; after my father died. It’s a beautiful part of France and the beaches that stretch along the coastline as you pass through the towns of Ouistreham, Luc-sur-Mer, Lyon-sur-Mer, Arromanches, Colleville, Veirville and Le Madeleine are clean...

Soldier X | Part Five, Meat Wagons & Memorials

Soldier X | Part Five, Meat Wagons & Memorials

  Meat Wagons & Memorials   Because we were involved in covert soldiering in Northern Ireland we were transported from Aldergrove Airport, Belfast to the Special Forces Training centre, Ballykinla, a journey of several hours, in an articulated lorry normally...

Soldier X | Part Four, Cadiz

Soldier X | Part Four, Cadiz

Cadiz   Auntie Elsie married Uncle Charlie; they had a son Arthur and a daughter Monica. Arthur was about my age. Charlie was a lovely man and a solicitor so they were “posh” and lived in Wandsworth by Wimbledon common. He had been a prisoner of war during the...

Soldier X | Part Three, Munich

Soldier X | Part Three, Munich

  Munich   There were dances almost every night in village halls, church halls, the Palais. Another pal was a bit like your Uncle Ken; quiet and nervous. He was keen on building himself up and was doing a Charles Atlas Body Building course. The rest used to...

Soldier X | Part Two, London

Soldier X | Part Two, London

      London   I went into a public-house to get a pint o' beer, The publican 'e up an' says, "We serve no red-coats here." The girls behind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die, I out’s into the street again an' to myself says I: O its...

Soldier X | Part One, Home

Soldier X | Part One, Home

      Home   I am Soldier X. I am the backbone, the spine upon which the flabby meat of civilisation hangs. There absolutely is evil in the world and soldiers stand at the border where civilisation meets savagery Because I do this, you don't have...