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Arts & Culture

It’s not what you know but who you know

Photo by Ryan Holloway on Unsplash



Part 5

Education Assessment was, as I suspected, fairly straight forward, although the spelling errors in the test paper were palpable. I passed with level two English and Maths, and was asked to choose what I would like to study. The options were fairly limited, and I chose Media studies, and Peer Mentoring. The most common options were Barbering, English and Maths. Within a couple of days I received a slip through the door to advise that I would be starting the peer mentoring course the following Monday.

Meanwhile, I had a new cell-mate. Wayne was a mixed race guy, very funny, and what one might term a career criminal. He had been in and out of prison for his entire life, and most recently been arrested for art theft. He stopped short of claiming innocence, but quickly asserted that the Police had no evidence! He was also friends with, or knew a number of people in the same social circle as me, particularly those within the fashion and media industries. We spent a good few hours exchanging stories about the different ones we both knew.

Within half a day of his arrival, he had disappeared and arrived half and hour later sporting a three foot long piece of wire, which he managed to jam into the aerial socket on the wall,and connect to the points on the television, giving us the full compliment of 8 TV channels. This was luxury compared to what I had coped with so far, and very soon we were comparing ideas over the current political situation with David Cameron’s negotiation with the EU in order to get a better deal for Britain. He was a staunch labour supporter and we had many a heated discussion from opposing sides of the fence. At least it made the time go a little quicker!

He also knew his way around the prison so could advise me on where everything was, and how to get access to the things I needed, which was huge help because to date the staff had been less than forthcoming about anything at all. They seemed to think you just automatically knew about everything, but this was completely new to me, and I was literally like a fish out of water! He took me out to the Exercise yard, which was just an area about the size of two tennis courts, with a path around the outside of it, and a cluster of steel outdoor exercise bars in one corner. Frankly it was as boring as being stuck inside the cell, and colder, with no option but to walk aimlessly around and around the track in an anticlockwise direction, like ants on a pavement crack. There was also a gym, somewhere hidden amongst the bowels of the buildings, but I had yet to work out how to organise the induction necessary to access it.

Back in our cell, and talk turned to ‘Jubilee wing’. Wayne was adamant he was going to get a transfer there, so it looked like we would be going together. A couple of days earlier, A young woman from Phoenix Futures had come to visit me, to discuss my drug addiction issues and talk about how they could help me. As far as I was concerned, I didn’t have any drug addiction issues, but I had since learned that Jubilee Wing was a special wing specifically for those who did, so fuck it, if they were telling me I had addiction issues, and it meant getting better quality accommodation and preferential treatment because of it, I would bloody well accept that I had drug addiction issues,and take whatever I could get. She also suggested I should fill out some work sheets on various drug related issues, intimating that it would help my case if I had done them before I went to court. Lets face it, I didn’t have anything better to do, so I agreed and had spent the past few days working through them all. In return she said that she could see that I was serious about addressing my addiction problems, and would make sure I got priority on the list to be transferred to the sainted Jubilee Wing.

Apparently, according to Wayne, we would be unlocked for most of the day, and would have access to a kitchen where we could cook our own food, and in return all we had to do was submit to a piss test every now and then, and attend chat sessions about our drug problems. What, I asked, were his addiction problems? ‘Oh, I don’t have any, but I know one of the guards over there, We went to High School together,and he’s said he can get me over there. He’s coming to get me in the next couple of days.’ It seemed it was not what you knew, but who you knew in prison too!

Double Bubble

Double Bubble is the third book in The Chemsex Trilogy — a series of books written by Cameron Yorke about his experience with Chemsex, addiction, and imprisonment in the UK.

We are serialising Double Bubble on Mainly Male. This is the fifth instalment in the serialisation.

A cautionary tale about Chemsex

The Chemsex Trilogy

Visit Cameron Yorke’s website

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Arts & Culture

Hoxton Street

London. Life.



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“Why are you limping?” asked Hamish, as he met Charlie for drink after work. They met in Howl At The Moon – it was busy with the after-work crowd.

“It’s a bit embarrassing…” mumbled Charlie, taking the pint of Guinness that Hamish had bought for him.

“A fisting accident?” asked Hamish.

“Nothing like that…” dismissed Charlie. “I’ve got a new job.”

“That’s great news!” said Hamish. “Why is that embarrassing? How is this related to you limping?”

“Um… well, I’ve taken a job with Sweatbox…” explained Charlie.

“Sweatbox?” repeated Hamish. “Sweatbox in Soho? Sweatbox the sauna?”

“Yes, exactly…” nodded Charlie. “They’re renovating at the moment. They called me in for what I thought was some training before they re-opened, but it turned out that the place is still a total building site so I spent the day lugging heavy boxes up and down stairs. Obviously, I’m not really used to manual labour, so now everything hurts. Everything.”

“Back it up…” said Hamish. “What do you mean you’ve taken a job with Sweatbox? What sort of job?”

“Um, just a general kind of team-member job…” shrugged Charlie.

“What the fuck?” laughed Hamish. “Why would you take a job like that? Are you that desperate for money?”

“Pretty much…” nodded Charlie, taking a long drink from his pint of Guinness. “It’s not just that – I thought it would be good for my writing and stuff, but mostly it’s for the money.”

“You are full of surprises…” grinned Hamish. “Wait, isn’t that going to be kind of awkward if I go to Sweatbox and I see you working there?”

“Why would that be awkward?” asked Charlie.

“Because I’m going to be in a towel, about to get my rocks off, and you’re going to be swishing around with a mop and bucket!” exclaimed Hamish. “It’s going to kind of kill the vibe a bit if I know that it’s you who’s going to have to wipe up my cum.”

“When you put it like that, it is a bit awkward…” agreed Charlie. “How often do you go to Sweatbox?”

“Not that often…” shrugged Hamish. “But probably more than you might expect. When do you start?”

“Not sure, to be honest…” replied Charlie. “I think they’re hoping to have it all open by the start of February. Anyway, how was your day?”

“Not bad…” said Hamish. “I spent most of my time working on Brexit-related stuff. Then, this afternoon, I had a meeting – I guess he’s technically my client, but he feels more like my boss. Without the money I get from him, I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills.”

“He’s definitely your boss…” decided Charlie. “How did the meeting go?”


“I don’t know, it was weird…” shrugged Hamish. “He just kept saying how tired he was. How stressed he was. I’d gone in there thinking that I was pitching for more work and more money, but he just spent 30 minutes talking at me, telling me things that I already knew. After 30 minutes, he stopped, like he’d run out of things to say. So I said, is there anything else that you need from me today? And he said no. Total waste of time.”

“That’s probably how Theresa May feels…” said Charlie.

“Do not compare me to Theresa May!” declared Hamish, slapping the palm of his hand down onto the bar to emphasise the point. “Are you going to be able to get me a friends and family discount at Sweatbox?”

“I don’t know, to be honest…” shrugged Charlie. “I guess so. They give free entry if you’re under 25.”

“Are you suggesting that I could possibly pass for being younger than 25?” laughed Hamish. “You’re as delusional as Theresa May!”

This is the latest episode of the serial, Hoxton Street.

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