Jimmy Skelly X
The son of a merchant seaman I was later in life to find that I had an inherent wanderlust and I cut my teeth reading books written by the likes of Frederick Marryat, H. Ryder Haggard, Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad. My desire to go to sea was never encouraged by my father who’d spent his life, from the age of fourteen, shovelling coal into the bellies of boats crossing three oceans while avoiding torpedoes during the war years and between the wars, the U.S. Coast Guard when smuggling liquor into the States during prohibition. He would however allow me to travel, as he had, if I was to study to become a radio officer, which was the only rank apart from able bodied seaman that a lad from my background was likely to aspire to in the merchant navy. As a consequence of breathing in the black dust he died before I came anywhere near close and I left home shortly after his death, but not to go to sea. I read two novels ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and ‘In Dubious Battle’ which had been written by John Steinbeck and later listening to the emotive lyrics of Woody Guthrie, then Bob Dylan, I developed a social conscience. It seemed by no coincidence that the city in which I was formatively developing was being similarly influenced. Music brought in by returning seamen and novels by Kerouac, Burroughs and poems from the beat generation was to have an effect on not only my way thinking, but that of many at the time. Mind expanding drugs affected the perception of those seeking a greater awareness until it all crashed. As part of the drifting flotsam I found myself in Stockport and once the cravings had left, I soon realised that having shed the mantle of a previous reality, I was left to confront my demons alone. Stockport library provided me with books on psychology and I began to understand more of what I was going through after reading books by Sigmund Freud. But the words of encouragement to start the return of my self-esteem I found in ‘Steppenwolf’ and ‘Siddhartha’ by Hermann Hesse. I returned to London with fire in my belly and became politically active, going to Paris after the student unrest of sixty eight and then travelled though America during the seventies to return with my wife. I was given the opportunity to follow my desire to travel because of the technical skills I’d developed during my endeavours to become a radio officer. I now have two daughters and since retiring I have taken to writing, but while I am still capable, travelling will always be on my agenda.
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Where to buy in print
Two Slugs and a Satsuma
by Jimmy Skelly X
A humorous and sarcastic account of social events reflecting back from recent times to the late sixties.Recalling the passion of his rebellious youth it is written with the anger and frustration of someone coming to terms with his mortality while witnessing the passing of the only person he could recount events with.
by Jimmy Skelly X
‘Malone’s Resurrection’ is a fast paced short and gritty novel about heartbreak, despair and ultimately hope; often humorous in depicting events which affect the story.
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