Introduction to Sea
A woman asked me questions about my new book Sea
Change. I informed her it was a sequel
to Lost Lad in which, back in 2003, I had
withheld significant details. The principal
character, Guzzly Granddad, appeared in previous
titles where Simeon Hogg (my character) was in his
late teens. Acquainted with the old obesity
with a taste for teenage boys, she expressed
abhorrence at such ‘disgusting behaviour’.
Granddad was not popular with some readers.
This was a typical reaction. However, she
exploded with outrage when told I was procured by
a school bully and initiated into the old man’s
secret circle of urchins at the tender age of 12.
His Dickensian kitchen was conveniently near Mundy
Street Boys School in 1957. Eyes blazing,
mouth spitting fire -
‘I’d take a knife to that lump of lard and
castrate him! I’d do it myself. I
would. I would. I mean it. I
Shocked by this barbaric hatred, I tried to
explain the aim of this novel – don’t cut off
goolies – cut off the supply of boys. Sea
Change will not condone men who incite boys
into sexual activity. Readers are asked to
take a step back and consider the big picture.
The aim of this book is to slay mythology
surrounding paedophilia. The second aim is
to explore the folklore of Derbyshire through the
eyes of an isolated runaway fleeing an intolerable
situation. The third aim (up close and
personal) was summed up by Helen Meynell in a Derby
Telegraph feature about Secret Summer,
September 24th 2010 -
‘His books and campaigns are Narvel’s way of
assuaging the guilt he feels for keeping quiet for
so long. Writing has been cathartic and
therapeutic helping him through a lot of
Make no mistake – men having sex with children is
always wrong – full stop. Notwithstanding,
there is much hysteria and nonsense regarding
paedophilia. It is said boys fondled by
adults are permanently damaged. We are told
they grow up unable to enjoy relationships.
I am living proof this is not the case.
However – I am damaged.
In the culture of cruelty at Mundy Street Boys
School in Heanor, Derbyshire; you were esteemed by
your ability to inflict humiliation, pain and
suffering on others. As the following
extract from Sea Change will show, in such
a brutal regime, my status was rock bottom.
‘Piggy was too frightened to use the school
toilet. Mortifying incidents had made Mundy
Street lavatory a no-go area for a boy who grew up
to be a badly constipated man. Word went
around the playground – ‘Hog’s on t’ bog’. A
crowd gathered to enjoy the sport.
Alarmingly, several times, unknown assailants
kicked the door causing panic! Violent kicks
- loud bangs - terrifying bangs!
Within that small cubicle, distressing percussion
reverberated with no escape. A quick bolt
would result in certain capture by a crazed mob
thirsty for blood. Objects were thrown over
the top. Taunting abuse through the gap
below complemented a monstrous act of torture.’
On several occasions I arrived home with soiled
underpants. My mother, unsympathetic, could
not cope. In sad resignation, she slowly
shook her head. I can hear her now –
‘You make work for me.’
I planned an act of self-destruction, yet words
like ‘immoral’ and ‘abhorrent’ are used to
describe the man who warned against such an act.
He saved my life. It is subjective. In
that old coalminer’s primitive kitchen, after
initial coercion, I became a willing party to
erotic play organised by an adult. At Mundy
Street Boys School, effectively, I was a sex slave
with no choice. A miserable child was
pressed into service pleasuring powerful pupils.
The more culpable villain is the sadistic
schoolmaster. He choreographed classroom
situations in which I suffered excruciating
humiliations. They wreaked emotional damage
which will follow me to the grave. To this
day, I endure vivid flashbacks, intrusive thoughts
causing distress which still disturbs my sleep.
If not branded into my flesh with a hot iron, the
traumas inflicted by that ruthless Church of
England regime are burnt into my psyche.
Cruelty has a cost. Approaching my 70s, I am
now paying the bill.
Hardly to be recommended - yet it was not the
gentle touches of an old man who drove me to wish
for death. It was the relentless emotional
brutality which will forever be associated with a
pious, scripture-obsessed ayatollah of a
headmaster. He presided over a bleak
midwinter of daily torment where the greatest sin
was to ‘tell tales’. Result – I bottled up
my stress for more than half a century until the
emotional problems became deeply ingrained. Until
the start of this book in 2010, these highly toxic
Mundy Street traumas have never been discussed
with anybody or treated by any professional.
Remove that academy of atrocities, and you would
have removed the steady supply of frightened
children to the nearby scullery of a child
molester. Sea Change invites you to
examine the big picture. Don’t string
up my old Granddad who was kind; sack the
headmaster and his monstrous teacher who was so
skilfully grooming the barbarous school thugs.
That is the ‘grooming’ to be concerned
about. Here in the 21st century -
children kill themselves to escape bullying.
In December 1957, I had nowhere to go.
My unfeeling parents took the view that I deserved unhappiness,
pain and all the opprobrium I had brought down on
my own head due to my own perverse nature.
It must be said, in the material sense, Narvel was
always well cared for. However, in December
1957, I discerned the beginnings of character
assassination originating from disappointed
parents and two older sisters. As Sea
Change will show - bad press, disinformation,
lies and a merciless machinery of denigration was
spreading like osmosis, like a virus remorselessly
through family channels infecting ignorant family
friends with a strong predisposition to rabid
homophobia. It was an uncompromising mindset
towards the most negative view of an
unsatisfactory son. They trashed my life.
They always said – ‘Hit them back!’ I’m
fighting now. I’m fighting with pen and
keyboard - but I couldn’t fight then. Male
Annables were fighters giving a good account of
themselves with bare knuckles in the school
playground. I dishonoured the family.
I was the boy who didn’t like football. In
working-class, coal-mining Heanor, this was
unheard of! Unacceptable – sissy - mardy -
I couldn’t spell, do sums and sank to the bottom
of the class in most other subjects. That might have
been forgiven had I displayed any practicable
ability – of which there was none. Rough
Heanor lads were supposed to make things. I
made nothing. Tortured children tend to do
badly in school. And I do mean
tortured! The Narvel of December 1957 was
broken, scarred, and will take his injuries to the
This despised lover of boys, this mysterious
Heanorian of no name who hid his face in the
shadows; he was the only person to show
compassion and offer practical help during that
dire period of late 1957. Hearing of my plan
to commit suicide, he was horrified.
‘Nay, lad! Ya moant [must not] do that.
Life’s precious. A dead boy can do nought.
A live boy can do something. Why don’t you
Kind words spoken by a man reviled and detested by
the majority. Thinking about the grubby
harem which dominated my little world 57 years
ago, I recall the equally detested Good Samaritan
who was the only passer-by to aid a man who had
been beaten and robbed. It should also be
remembered that unloved children desperate for
affection and respect will respond to kindness
offered from anyone outside the immediate family.
At my Church of England School, I developed a
hatred for all things religious and, at that
tender age, was unlikely to receive grooming from
any paedophilic cleric. That said, I believe
the sexual scandals which have come to light in
recent years were initiated by untold numbers of
miserable children, like me, seeking sympathy and
understanding from a compassionate man of the
Reader be warned! Some passages in this book
are harrowing. Publication in 2014 means
this novel has been under construction since 2010
when Secret Summer was published. If
harrowing to read, you can be sure it has been
painful to write over these past five years.
A 12-year-old reduced to a mindset of
self-annihilation is terrible thing. You
have to be there to know what it’s really like
when death is the only escape from an intolerable
situation. Actual suicide was halted by fear
of failure. The second floor window over 4
Red Lion Square in Heanor was judged not high
enough to assure oblivion. Years later, I
heard about gay boys snuffing their lives by means
of a gun in the mouth. If Sam Annable had
owned such a weapon, with its guarantee of certain
success, this book would not exist.
I have revisited Lost Lad to make a more
detailed description of the horrific events in
December 1957 at Mundy Street Boys School.
In the eleven years since the publication of Lost
Lad, hopefully, I have become a better writer
and able to do justice to an account of the
darkest days of my life.
In the book, I explore a possible link between
carnal activities in Granddad’s kitchen and the
sexual atmosphere which pervaded the classroom and
playground of that nearby homoerotic school.
I was never quite sure which other boys had
knowledge of the secret sect. The older boys
were more than usually infused with titillating
interest often masked by high spirits, mock combat
and frisky fun. In rough packs, I often saw
the style and method of that rude old man who was
there in spirit – if not in the flesh.
One of the most feared toughs was a frequent
visitor to Granddad’s gatherings. I suspect
he was instructed to ‘go easy’ on me and use his
network of terror to subdue the mob. This
would explain the small improvement in January
1958 – a situation which could be described as
less agonizing, less traumatic.
I fully understand the arguments against sexual
exploitation. There are real dangers arising
from an imbalance of power and control between a
child and a man. Those same dangers exist
between any child and any guardian irrespective of
carnal desire. For example, the perverted
schoolmaster with his non-sexual vicious streak
was the very person who was supposed to protect
me! Without mercy, he was the sadist who
inspired in the rabble a frisson of sadistic
We must get away from appalling hysteria
characterised by ignorant mediaeval-minded people
calling for sudden surgery on a man who – however
undesirable - became my friend and saviour.
This friend gave me a ‘road map’ to a future which
did not include cruel bullies, a monstrous
schoolmaster and frosty parents who did not want
me anyway. Before Christmas 1957, I had
something new. I had hope. For the
first time, I had tasted happiness in a
clandestine community where, for the most part, I
was valued and treated well.
In the humble terraced home of Guzzly Granddad, I
never considered myself a victim of sexual
abuse. At the Boys School I was certainly a
victim of cruel conduct, abuse from a heartless
master who should never have been allowed near
children. Whilst taking care not to portray
this Dickensian kitchen as an ideal environment
for young boys, my book challenges language which
supports and reinforces common prejudices.
Over the last 38 years, I have enjoyed a loving
relationship with a man, Terry Durand, now my
Civil Partner. However distasteful to some
readers, I held a genuine affection for my
‘Granddad’. At the same time, I was able to
concede the reality of that old man’s erotic
predation. I was not fooled, but, in my
opinion, I was more used than abused.
My child-like love and loyalty was freely given as
a vulnerable rejected child rescued from
desperation, very nearly an act of
self-destruction. Initial barriers of
revulsion from the touch of an ugly, ancient pile
of flesh had been overcome by a network of
camaraderie and fellowship from other boys, some
of them feral, in the child-sex secret cell.
As with previous titles, nearly all names in Sea
Change (even nick-names) have been changed.
Like previous titles, it is autobiographic, a
blend of fact and fiction – essentially telling a
true story. The following events took place
in real places peopled by a fictitious cast.
The following caricatured composites were inspired
by a selection of the characters I met nearly 60
years ago. However real flesh and blood the
original model, who ends up on these pages (after
being processed through my brain) is far from
being a real person – alive or dead.
Lost Lad mentioned
nothing of this covert club. Why? In
deciding to expose this grim chapter of my life,
this bleak mid-winter of 1957; I needed to examine
reasons for a half century of silence. In
many ways it was much to do with a familiar
journey made by many who share same-sex
I hid in a dark well locked closet in fear of
being exposed, embarrassed and humiliated.
Born into a macho, football crazy, working class,
coal mining culture; homophobia was not just
endemic, it was almost a badge of honour with some
people. A thief, thug or murderer would be
afforded more respect than a gentle, honest
homosexual. After suffering painful
incidents, I learned to exist in isolation and
stay deeply hidden inside myself.
In the dying years of the 20th century
and early years of the 21st century,
gay progress in the form of a better press and
slow decline in homophobia made it possible to be
a little more open about the reasons for being a
bachelor. Little-by-little, constantly
testing the water, I was always ready to make a
It was one thing to be homosexual, another
thing to tell people about it – and worse,
much worse, to write about it! In the
same way, it could be said - it was one thing
admitting sexual contact with boys my own age -
another thing to reveal sexual activity with a man
old enough to be my grandfather. Such an
admission would attract a higher level of
embarrassment and disapproval.
As with the heterosexual majority, the gay
community tended to disdain carnal relationships
with old men, especially those who were seen as a
‘danger to boys’.
These were the reasons for the long silence.
In addition there were reasons for breaking that
silence. For the record, I wanted to place
the responsibility for prepubescent misery and
near death firmly at the door of Mundy Street Boys
School with its entrenched callousness. I
wanted to challenge unreasoned panic associated
with the taboo subject of paedophilia. The
activities of Guzzly Granddad represented a taboo
within a taboo. He and his friends were
an underclass of boy hunters leading a furtive
existence subsumed underneath the already
clandestine underclass of mainstream homosexuals.
Granddad’s regular visitors used familiar shouts
and whistling in the dark to inform that all’s
well, a device probably borrowed from his colliery
experience. Paedophilia and coal mining
shared a common danger. Safety–first, team
work, trust and eternal vigilance were essential
to ward off potential disaster. His very
name was an inspired choice for security. In
the classroom and playground, I often heard
references to Granddad. But then, didn’t we
all have a granddad?
Across three previous titles biographically
exploring my personal encounters in the 1960s,
three groups of homosexuals are identified.
On top - the professional men, the sneering snobs
of stately demeanour affecting upper-class accents
enforcing a safe social distance from the ‘lower
The lower orders included bizarre types inhabiting
a sleazy underworld of public lavatories such as
Toby Jug, Nobby the Gnome, Mr Toad, the
Gutter-Gobbler and the Belper Goblin. Yet
this assortment of crude characters were united in
carnal desire to taste the flesh of young men who
were certainly men – well into their teens
and well past the stage of adolescence.
The third group, such as Guzzly Granddad and his
‘bum chums’, was a minority occupying a highly
secretive, covert invisible space below more
conventional members of the gay community.
For perspective, it should not be forgotten that
before 1967, at any age, all homosexuality was
illegal in the UK. Transgressors risked more
than a jail sentence. Violent inmates with a
homophobic disposition inflicted their own
unspeakable punishments on men whose only crime
was to share same-sex attraction.
The paedophile circle into which I entered, as a
traumatised child, was enjoyable and supportive.
Accordingly, as in previous novels the
autobiographic text will include erotic episodes.
It will be honest, frank and graphic - but will
not stray into the sordid or prurient. It is
not intended to be a bawdy book. It will
gain strength from between the lines, from
the unspoken and the subtle. Those lines are
not intended to titillate readers disposed to
exploit children. This book is the true
story of my experience – how I was procured
for Guzzly Granddad, advised to abandon a plan of
suicide and run away – get away from
unsympathetic, ignorant homophobic parents who, in
1957, could not stand the sight of me. This
flight was followed by adventures composited from
encounters with a child trafficking network.
Mab was inspired by a real woman. Fairytale
Castle was a real place somewhere in Britain by
the sea and Edward was inspired by a real man.
This is my story, a story only partly told in Lost
As in Lost Lad, Mary McLening and Doris
Cook are specially honoured by appearing under
their own names. Their compassion and
kindness is recorded in these pages for posterity.
It has been suggested to me that Granddad and his
pals might not have been so gentle and
understanding. Pederasts are like everybody
else. They come in categories of good, bad
and all gradations in between. For me,
fortunately it was good. It could easily
have been otherwise. Rape is an act of
violence - humiliating violence at that.
Nothing of that kind has ever happened to me.
Accordingly, I am disinclined to condemn people
who delivered me safely back to the world of the
Arthur C Clarke made an important point about the
link between child sex and emotional damage. I
kept my mouth shut and was spared the fuss made by
irate parents who discover their boy has been, as
is often put, ‘touched up’ by a man. In my
case, no questions were asked because Mr and Mrs
Annable did not want answers from a son who was
unsatisfactory in the first place. At least
in that, I did not suffer further abuse and more
psychological devastation fromrespectable heterosexuals
who would have put my friends in prison and smugly
nod satisfaction when they were beaten to a pulp
by queer-bashing inmates.
If you seek enlightenment, read my book - but
don’t expect me to name names. In a hidden
world of extreme secrecy, in the thick smog laden
days of December 1957; everybody had nicknames.
Guzzly Granddad and Edward were survivors.
To the best of my knowledge, they died in their
beds. I remember them with affection.