The Story of Jason Tune
By Raymond Brown & Jason Tune
Key Themes: drug abuse, recovery, depression, activism, music
“Jason’s story will be an inspiration to all those that have plumbed the depths of despair that we know as mental illness. With great personal honesty and pulling no punches, he describes his struggle to get back to a balanced life. He now works to help other people do the same.” – Prof. Malcolm Peet, Consultant Psychologist
“Jason’s autobiography touches the heart of anyone experiencing negative periods in their life – the emotional rollercoaster and triumph from reaching out from the dark side and learning to laugh at adversity.” – Julie E Sloane, Care Coordinator, Rotherham Early Intervention in Psychosis Team
This book ‘Sex, Drugs and Northern Soul’ is a testimony to Jason Tune and his determination to overcome the demons that threaten, on many occasions, to overwhelm him. This is a strong and positive book which should inspire all the read it to grab life by the horns!
About the Author
Jason Tune was born in Rotherham, Yorkshire, in 1964. At 14 years of age he became a ‘social outcast’ finding himself part of the Rotherham drug scene. Whether this had any bearing on his mental well-being is open to debate but one would imagine, at the very least, it is partly responsible. But once he recognised his problems, it is to his own credit and his strength of character that he fought the demons that were about to destroy his life. Jason is now inspirational in his work helping other service users in Yorkshire in his day job.
I first met Jason through an ex-student of mine whilst bench pressing more weight than was good for my age. Out of the friendship that was formed came the idea to write the story of Jason’s journey through life.
In order to join the Army cadets a new entrant had to be one year older than I was at the time. So I backed dated my date of birth to make sure that I was old enough to join. After six weeks of extensive drilling I eventually earned my uniform. We were known as the Kimberworth Hallamshire Cadets attached to the Sheffield area command. I attended twice per week and put a lot of effort into it. It helped having some handy boys in the cadets and it certainly was not for the faint hearted. There were plenty of rewards like days out to known attractions such as Flamingo Park, North Yorkshire. The main memories I have of these times were the silly songs that we sang in the back of the Bedford military Lorries. Not so much football chants but songs of love conquests and oversized genitalia.
The main source of money for the boys around town was what was known as the ‘weigh in’ or mullucking. Either way, it meant collecting non-ferrous scrap and taking it to a scrap merchant for a few readies (pound notes). This was supposed to be scrap metal but it never mattered if it was attached to something. Most of the scrap metal came from old houses in the Masborough area. Sometimes it came from things that were removed from their original resting places. This was my first introduction to the trade of dismantling. I would take anything apart to obtain the scrap. Dishonest? Probably. But I was making money and that was all that mattered.
At this time there seemed to be a growth in the creation of gangs. Self-preservation was the name of the game. Skinheads, Punks, Teddy Boys, Rockers and,of course, the Soulies. My affiliations were to the Northern Soul rude boy movement. The difference between a rude boy and a skinhead was that we tended to have a side parting shaved as well as the number one skinhead crop. Naturally, we banded together and naturally we had to have a leader. Nominations were held and, by the process of not being opposed, I was elected leader. The gang was named the Canal Rats. We occupied our own turf, in particularly the Holmes Café. At night, we owned the Slag Bin and any other club that we turned up to. For entertainment, we would turn up to a youth club that was not in our area. We would introduce ourselves before intimidating the boys and entertaining the girls. The dance floor would be ours and so were the girls for the last smooch of the night. Northern Soul music was now engrained in my passions and it has never really left me since. Our gang was beginning to gain a reputation and the rumour control board at school were soon fanning the flames of over exaggeration. Before long, lower ranking notables would call round to offer their scintillating views on how rubbish we were. It was not long before I thought that some form of remedial action was needed. I say remedial because the guys coming round doing the talking were as thick as the proverbial.
The bating between rival gangs was gaining pace so it came as no surprise that things came to a head. To my surprise it came in my woodwork lesson. As I was concentrating on the technicalities of wearing the skin off my fingers instead of sanding a piece of wood, a guy from the Masborough area sidled up to me. This boy used to be the number one boy in his Junior School and only two weeks previously had taken out a Year 3 student in the school playground. When he appeared at the side of me I knew that kick off time was imminent. Sammy, the boy in question, said to me: “You have seen the rest, now see the best”. His piercing dark eyes, that were an identifier to his origins, glared straight at me. Again, the question of who is this guy entered my head. Once more, the adrenaline rushed to my head at the same time. No contest. Not with him either. Two seconds after the Lower Kimberworth kiss landed unloving on his sharp beak-like nose, he dropped faster than a dead grouse on the 12th of August. I rubbed my head where it had connected with him and stood back and said a saying I still use today: “Don’t mess with the best because the best don’t mess with the rest”. After the inevitable tickle of the fingers by Charlie, Sammy and I went out to the playground to face the expectant mob. To their surprise we were talking like old friends. Still are to this day.