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Secret Identities – Ricster

I ask fwooshmembers questions

They answer them

Ricster “and it reminded me of why I do the job.”

Where do you live?

I live in London, in the UK. I’ve lived here for 18 years and am originally from Portsmouth in Hampshire, which is what we call a “sea-side town (coastal town). I left because it was very backward – very homophobic, racist and sexist. If you didn’t conform to the norm, you stood out and got your head kicked in. I was a loud mouth Mo with a mohican and facial piercing. It seems to have improved over the years, due to a huge influx of students and ‘Outsiders’. If you look it up on a map, it is basically an Island adjoined to the coast by a few big roads, hence its Island mentality. I now hear they have people of colour, women with their own minds and a smattering of big old Mo’s, but its not enough to lure me back. Its originally a naval town but by the time I had come of age they had closed the dockyard and all the Sailors got moved out, so I missed the best bit really.

Where do you work?

I work in a large dependency clinic that offers support to chaotic drug users caught up in the criminal justice system. We are based in police stations, courts, prisons, probation and the community. We try to sort out their drug use as well as housing, daycare, rehab, debt, physical and mental health etc. I have a real mix of clients, some of who are very damaged individuals. some are needy, some are very comical. My recent most favourite client was an aging street homeless prostitute who is always being arrested for stealing meat from supermarkets, she would always offer to steal me steak for helping her out, but an old pro cannot tempt me.

What is it like at work?

I work in a large Victorian building that houses 3 drug services, so it’s a one-stop shop. lt’s always busy and can be hectic in reception and on occasions scary. We have just been told our whole department is being re-structured from top to bottom, so those of us left who are not agency workers ( 7 of us vs. 16 of them) are feeling a little anxious, especially with the current economic crisis.

Do you go out to people or do they get sent to you?

My job is funded jointly by our criminal justice system (Home office) and our National health service-, which is free to, all by the way). We are linked into the courts, police, prisons and probation service, so they are automatically referred to us, they have to attend an initial assessment by law, but its up to them if they want to engage with us after that. Other people self refer or are referred to us on a voluntary basis, these are the people that often do better in treatment, rather than those who are co-ersed into treatment.

What is the reaction to you?

It’s a mixed bag really. We deal with the city banker who has been out with friends and snorted a line of coke and been arrested the next day for a driving offence and then while in custody test positive for cocaine use. They tend to turn up terrified; we calm them down, give them some harm reduction advice and send them on their way. At the other end of the scale is your Chaotic homeless, mentally ill and very damaged individual. Often they have a traumatic past they cannot come to terms with. Some are happy for an intervention, some are just vile. I don’t like all my clients, but then I don’t like all of my family either.

I’m guessing it’s a lot of work with a hard to measure reward,
but if you do help someone the emotional payoff would be incredibly huge.

We work with small changes, so if someone stops injecting chaotically and smokes instead, then that’s a huge change in behaviour. It makes my day when a client gets through 6 months of rehab, is healthy and happy and ready to move back into the real world. I had a call from an ex client yesterday, who is now 2 years drug free, has his own flat, is beginning teacher training and has his son living with him again. He was phoning to thank me, and it reminded me of why I do the job. I went home happy.

Who is in you family?

My family is little crazy, a bit Jerry Springer-like really. Born to an unmarried Catholic mother, I am the eldest son with a brother (we don’t speak- he’s not pleasant) and a sister (she’s a babe) who do not share the same father as me. I tracked down my father (to his surprise) in my early twenties and discovered I had another brother and sister on his side. I am part of their family, but don’t have a real sense of belonging there. I should make more effort.

I consider my partner – Billy to be my immediate family, I am very close to his wife (they have yet to divorce) and his dad, who lives a few blocks from us. Thankfully his crazy mother lives in Canada – she’s as mad as a box of frogs! ( I did mention Jerry Springer didn’t I ?)

Any pets?

Would love a dog, but our flat is very very small. Its an old Military hospital converted into flats with land and tennis courts, very pretty, built in the late 1700’s. Its walled with electric gates and keeps the Chav’s out (criminal underclass)
We do look after Billy’s dad’s dog often, she is called Jane, and she’s a rescue dog, and she is more like a cat than a dog. she was mistreated so she has some personality issues. She pee’s a little when she is excited, so we try not to over excite her. She doesn’t like toys, balls or sticks and just wants to be belly-rubbed 24-7.

What are your future plans?

To buy a property in the next 6 months cos house prices are crashing here and I can finally afford it. Change my career path and go clubbing less, I’m getting too old to stay out all weekend dancing, and my recovery time just aint what it used to be. If we get a big enough place then a dog is on the horizon.

Do you customize?

I do a little when I can. I got very excited last year and bought everything, including tons of cheap fodder. I have no where to get messy, so have to wait til Billy is out, and then tidy it all away again in various cupboards, its a real mission. When we move I am promised a work space of my own. I seem to have started ten projects and only finished two. I completed a sunspot, and a Stature and two out of three stepford cuckoo’s, I have unfinished wolfsbane, hellfire soldier, Canonball and a few that are still parts and ideas.

Do you cook?

We share the cooking, both have our trademark meals, I do a very good pastry plait dish that can be filled with meat or vegetarian filling and apparently I make very good soups. I like stir frys and noodles a lot.

What is in your collection?

About 20,000 marvel comics, I’ve been collecting US comics since I was ten, and have the Uncanny X-men back to issue 89, with only 20 issues previous to that. I recently bought myself a copy of Giant size x-men 1, it cost £180 bucks and is in average condition, but oh how I have waited for it.
Figure wise mostly marvel legends, but when we have had very quiet periods, I have collected, Buff and Angel ( I loved both TV series), most of the A lister DC figures and all of the street fighter figures, all at ridiculously cheap prices on ebay and Amazon. I have at least ten superskrulls which were 10 a penny for a while here, which pisses some of your members off, but remember we’ve have had nothing in dear old Blighty since the blob wave. I refuse to buy from “Flea-ridden Peanut” (Forbidden Planet) I have 4 doombots, just to rub it in. I refuse to get involved in the 3 and a half-inch line. I do have a small collection of super hero squad figures on my desk at work.

Where do you vacation? Where would you like to vacation?

I usually go to Florida at least once a year with Billy, its our time to get a tan, shop til we drop and I drive him mad with stops at every Wal-Mart and target we come across and I love Bad apple comic in Orlando, so helpful and cheery. Occasionally Spain, Canary islands for a Gay week away. I went to New York last June but the heat wave ruined it for me. The time I went there before was -13c, I’m there again in April so hope for somewhere in the middle. One of my best holidays was in Thailand but that was ten years ago, amazing culture, food and people. I went diving (only snorkeling) and was in another world for 4 hours, lost with the fishies, resulting in sunstroke on my shaved head and shoulders.
I’d love to go Goa in India or Brazil.

What other sites do you visit?

Occasional super heroine, CBR, Uncanny X-net, BBC News, Homolicious, E !, Freakangels, Action-Figure.com as well as occasional gay porno filth.

What do you spend your money on ?

Comics, figures, books, some music (Huuuuge Morrissey and The Smiths fan), some custom fodder and materials as well as some clubbing at the weekends. I spend a fortune on toys when I holiday in Florida to make up for the lack of availability at home.

What is wrong with you?

I am very intolerant of pushy religious types. I am over sensitive at times. I don’t really have any particular aims or big plans in life.

Thanks Ricster!

 


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