Tony Schumacher: from Law to Order

Posted: May 4, 2012 in Friday Guest
Tags: , , , , , ,

About six years ago my life was going swimmingly. I had the lot. I had the wife, the son, the house, the career, the car and even the trendy dog.

Today? Well I haven’t got the house, the car, the job, the son, or the career. I’ve still got the dog mind, although sometimes, I wonder if he has me.

Let me explain; I was a Policeman. I wasn’t an ordinary policeman, I was the type who did a bit of stand up comedy on the side. My life was filled basically with moments of fear, fighting, arguing and adrenaline, and that was just the comedy.

In the police I was a response officer, I basically used to drive around Liverpool with blue lights flashing answering 999 calls. I’ve kicked in more doors than Jack Regan and turned over more bodies than Quincy. It was messy, bloody, dangerous and at times, desperate. And I loved it.

I loved my colleagues, I loved the charging around shouting, I loved the challenge and I loved the thrills. I loved my life.

I honestly used to pull up at my house of a night, in my quiet cul-de-sac, and sit for moment and think about how lucky I was. I know that sounds crazy when you say it out loud, but I did. I was that happy.

Or at least I thought I was.

Six years later, sitting here writing this, it seems like someone else’s life I’m writing about, I’m not sure of I’d recognise the bloke who used sit smugly in his car looking at his house with his gorgeous wife waving through the window. To be honest, if I met him, I’d probably think he was a bit of a kn*b.

That bloke’s life finally fell apart when he found out his son wasn’t his. In fairness, although he’d not noticed it, his life had been in trouble for a while but, like a carrier bag that splits at the bottom and drops your spuds on the floor all at once, I/he just hadn’t noticed it going.

I’ll not bore you with the details, that’s another story for another day but, six months after my carrier bag split, I found myself without a job (never write a resignation letter when you are crying) and sitting in a rented house I couldn’t afford with a designer dog that was, quite frankly, disappointed in me.

I had to do something, so when a mate suggested getting a cab drivers licence to “tide you over till you get your head straight” I decided to do that, if only to get out of the house that had become a prison, and to start talking to people again.

It was the best thing I’ve ever done. Because amongst the drunks, the drug addicts, the lager, the lovers, the lost and the lonely… I found myself.

It happened at about four am, sitting in a park, eating a lonely service station sandwich and staring at a cat getting beat up by a bird, that I decided to write.

And that cat, and that bird, led to my book Rear View Mirror being released about two weeks ago for the Amazon Kindle and if I ever meet them again I’ll shake them by the paw/claw.

I’d never written anything before, so I was surprised at how good I felt when I wrote that first story. I didn’t just feel happy, I felt different, like something had happened in my head and my heart, like a place had been found and that I’d come home. I remember reading it a few times and smiling to myself. I even printed it off and stuck it by my bed to read when I woke up, just in case in the morning, after the shine had worn off, I found it was rubbish. I’ve still got that original story upstairs, and I still don’t think it’s rubbish. I created a blog, and posted the story up there, and told what remained of my friends on facebook. Some of them read it, a few of them commented, and I felt good for the first time in years, so I wrote another one, and another one, and another one.

And I felt better; little by little, I felt better.

A few months later a lady got in the cab and we chatted and she told me she edited a local magazine. I told her I wrote a blog about the cab and she promised to read it. I didn’t believe her. A few weeks later I got an email, and she said some nice things and offered me a column in the magazine and said she would pay me for the stories.

I still didn’t believe her, but it turned out she was telling the truth. I’d become a writer, and I was happier than I’d been in years, and it wasn’t money, it wasn’t a house and it wasn’t a car that was making me happy… it was my heart.

Which was finally fixed.

***

Tony Schumacher is a writer, author, broadcaster, and stand-up comedian. His regular column for the Liverpool and Manchester Confidential magazines “Rear View Mirror” has recently been compiled into a book and is available on Amazon.

Tony has written for The Guardian newspaper and recently worked on their Reading the Riots project to investigate the causes of the 2011 disturbances in the UK. As a former Police officer, Tony can often be found wandering the lanes near his home, with his dog Boo, pretending to give out parking tickets and direct traffic. And at other times, he spends his time as a regular guest on Liverpool’s City Talk FM radio station, and has also presented several pieces on the BBC TV’s Politics Show.

Read more on Tony’s website.

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Comments
  1. Cathy says:

    What’s a trendy dog?

  2. He wears flares and has a perm.

  3. Have added this to my Amazon wish list 😉

    Xx

  4. This made me smile, Tony. The way you described how writing makes you feel – I can totally relate to that. I’ve already got my copy of your book and am looking forward to reading it.

  5. Thanks Rebecca, I wish I’d been able to “really” describe how writing makes me feel, alas, I’m not that good of a writer…

  6. mrsmarsa says:

    Oh Mr S that’s so sad. I never knew this about you but what an awakening! I remember reading that bird story and you’re right it’s not rubbish-it’s damn good! Still love your writing and yes I got kindle for my laptop so I could buy RVM. It’s excellent, as always! Thank you x

  7. That moved me.. a lot. I am off to search you out now. You should hook up with Danny Kemp – a London cabbie who got the urge to write and goodness me can he write..xx

  8. dannykemp says:

    A great uplifting story Sir. Good luck to you.

  9. Just remembered this and thought i would add that the paper version of the book has finally come out and you can buy it here:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rear-View-Mirror-Stories-streets/dp/1484159624

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