“In December 2009 the national newspapers reportedthe arrest of a “drug baron” with the biggest haul of crystal meth yet seen in this country. The accompanying photo was a mugshot of a scrawny, seedy looking bloke – the archetypal lowlife, a career crook, no doubt. And yet behind the headlines was a story the newspapers never discovered, a story more sensational than they could have wished for. This lowlife, this drug baron was in fact, just a few years before, a meek law-abiding suburban family man…He was my dad.”
James was a normal student – insecure, smelly, geeky and a virgin to boot – at a normal university on his way home to his normal family at the end of a normal term. His father picked James up in his old Cortina – his middle class, middle aged father, a respected Jewish coin dealer – and they travelled back to their suburban house in North West London. Here, James’s teetotal dad liked nothing more than to relax at the end of a long 9-5 by listening to some Taverner or Handel with a nice cup of Earl Grey, musing with delight on the highlight of his day: finding a great parking space near the entrance to Tesco.
Never in his wildest nightmares could James know that in the next few days not only would his parents separate; not only would they both reveal to him they were gay; not only would his fifty-something father ditch Tavener for Trance, Handel for Hard House and hit the gay club scene of London harder than James had ever hit the student union bar in Bournemouth; not only would his father trade in coin dealing for drug dealing to a catalogue of A list celebrities in his new London flat which was transformed to a hangout for addicts of sex and drugs alike; not only would James lose his mother to cancer in the ensuing months; not only would his father develop a debilitating addiction to crystal meth; but James’s dad would eventually be arrested with that biggest haul of crystal meth yet seen in this country.
“It’s embarrassing enough when you stumble across a porn mag in your parents’ bedroom, but what about when you stumble across a S&M leather sex swing hanging from the ceiling and gay porn on the wide screen TV in the corner?”
“It’s awkward enough when your parents nag you about being careful with girls and staying away from drugs, but what about when you end up trying to save your old man from the dangers of sexual promiscuity with drug addicted men; save him from being banged up for being the biggest meth dealer in the country?”
This remarkable black comedy follows James as he tries to negotiate his safe stable world turning upside down and inside out. Like Breaking Bad but even more incredible because it is true, James’s story charts the shocking rise of his father to startling criminal and sexual heights, his tragic decline into addiction and incarceration, and his eventual redemption and reunion with the son who never gave up on him.
***As seen on the BBC Victoria Derbyshire Show***
***As heard on The Jeremy Vine Show***
'An amazing story.' Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2
'Few stories are quite as extraordinary as this.' Robert Elms, BBC Radio London
'Astonishing. A fascinating story.' Stephen Nolan, BBC Radio 5 Live
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