Charles Bronson is the most feared and the most notorious convict in the prison system. Renowned for serial hostage taking and his rooftop sieges, he is a legend in his own lifetime. Yet behind the crime and the craziness, there is a great deal more to Charlie. He is a man of great warmth and humor; a man of great artistic talent who exhibits his drawings around the country; and a man with an overpowering urge not to let the system get him down. Insanity is a look into the mind of a true individual—a wild, inspired, single-minded, fascinating man, oppressed not only by the workings of his singular mind, but also by the system that confines him.
|Publisher:||John Blake Publishing, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.88(d)|
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My Mad Life
By Charlie Bronson, Stephen Richards
John Blake Publishing LtdCopyright © 2004 Charles Bronson and Stephen Richards
All rights reserved.
This is a book about madness. Unbalanced minds. Disturbances of the brain. Unpredictable people. Uncontrollable, dangerous and fearless! Men I've lived with, eaten with, laughed with, cried with, fought with! Men of insanity. Lost souls inside the asylums of hell, criminal and lunatic asylums, such as Broadmoor, Rampton and Ashworth, all top-secure establishments in England. These three are the only ones in England that cater for the criminally insane. Scotland has only one — Carstairs. I've been an inmate in Broadmoor, Rampton and Ashworth. I was one of 'them'. I was once Britain's most unstable madman!
This book is a complete one-off! If you're a nervous type of reader, then don't read it. You've been warned! You are now entering the world of insanity; please keep hold of your sanity until the book comes to a stop!
Just imagine — you're on a stretcher in a hospital, being wheeled to the operating theatre; they inject you, put you to sleep ... anaesthetic. You drift into blackness, you're out and you're the closest yet to death.
Then a surgeon cuts into your body, rips you open, goes deep inside, looks within, pulls a bit out, puts bits in, sews you up.
Then, if you're lucky, you awake! Some don't wake, and this is my point ... will you wake? Why should you? How can you? That's the black hole of madness you're in, screaming to get out. 'Alive' or just 'sane'? You want out of it, you want to see the light!
Hope — without hope you never awake! This hope, I live in continuously, every day of my life I'm under such an anaesthetic! I'm drugged up with the system's madness, they pump more and more into my head; my brain is swimming with their shit! They're beyond explanation, beyond explaining and beyond approach! A law unto themselves. Evil bastards! That is insanity!
It is said that we all have a double or a soul partner or brother or sister, whatever; either you believe it or you don't. But when you read this, it's sure to blow your wig off!
Here I am, banged up in old HMP Durham, England, when many thousands of miles away, in Durham County, North Carolina, USA, my namesake, Michael Peterson, is banged up and awaiting trial for murder. Now you readers new to me will know me as Charles Bronson, but I used to be called Mick Peterson (yeah, we all know it's me) but is it?
At the exact same time I'm banged up here in Durham Prison, so is this other Michael Peterson geezer from America. Only he's banged up in Durham Prison, in Durham County, USA! Like me, he's a writer, only he's a novelist and former city council and mayoral candidate (I did try to run for the advertised job as London Mayor, but didn't Lord Archer beat me to it ... until he was rumbled). Michael Peterson is charged with first-degree murder of his wife. (Don't mix him up with the Michael Peterson who wrote the Foreword ... he's a third Michael Peterson.)
The American Peterson, a former Sun-Herald columnist, claims his wife died after a fall down a flight of stairs. Sounds like a nightclub doorman's worst nightmare. The copper asks, 'What happened, old son?'
'Well blow me, didn't he go and fall down the stairs, officer!'
The defence claim that police used false and misleading affidavits to get search warrants for the home and grounds of murder suspect Michael Peterson. Just like me, this man is being given a raw deal. Cor, doesn't it make you really angry? The defence said that such police tactics were 'unconstitutional' and that, as a result, any information obtained in the Peterson searches should be thrown out — too fucking right they should.
After the indictment, Peterson spent three weeks in jail and was released in mid-January 2002, when a judge set an $850,000 secured bond for him. Peterson put up his Cedar Street home, with a tax value of $1.2 million, to cover the bond. Good on you, mate; maybe they'll give me bail, too!
The discovery of a body — the wife (Kathleen Peterson) of an outspoken critic of the police — at the bottom of a staircase is obviously a very tragic story.
All right, it might look bad for Michael Peterson right now; there are still many more questions than answers in his case. That won't stop many law-abiding folk from jumping to conclusions, of course.
Michael Peterson, like me, has been a sharp critic of the Durham Police Department for years; only I was a critic of all the police departments throughout the world. Old ladies being mugged, mobile phones being taken in street robberies ... all for what, a few quid!
Peterson went after the Durham cops for, among other things, a 'cowardly' approach to the problem of the city's violent gangs and 'the lowest clearance rate in solving crimes of any police force in the State'. So, like me, he opposes bullying and what does he get for it? A raw deal. See, one minute you can be running for the job of mayor and the next minute you're in the slammer on a murder rap; that's what I call insanity. So all you good people out there, be careful when criticising me, 'cos by tomorrow you could well be in the cell next to me!
Now, you think that's mad, it gets madder! I know some of you will have read the Foreword and, if you have, you'll have some idea of what I'm going to say next when I mention the other Michael Peterson. You see, it could be that I'm innocent of all charges! Did I kill myself off years ago to free Michael Peterson? Maybe he doesn't exist and it's me going insane? Is he living my life out there? Fuck me, it's awesome! What a story, even as far back as 1974 he was in my life, and I never knew! He could be me and I'm him!
This guy is the hidden key to madness, we have to open it up, it's a gem! People say I'm mad; a few years ago, Michael Peterson met Screaming Lord Sutch! Anyone remember Lord David Sutch? He's the guy who was always running for MP and represented the Monster Raving Looney Party, my favourite political party.
Lord Sutch never won a seat, came close a few times, but that was it. Sadly, on 16 June 1999, the godfather of pop and British politics was found hanged at his home in South Harrow, London. Like all the loons, it had become too much for him and he took the way out that most of them do – he was only 58. David wanted to forget his past, but they wouldn't let him, they thought he was Lord Sutch 24/7. Now that can be too much for any man, even me! One day, I know I'll have to hang my Charles Bronson handle up and head for the sunset ... but until then, let's have fun, yeeeehaaaaa!
In a set of amazing coincidences, it would seem I'm also leading another life. My name given to me at birth was Michael Gordon Peterson; the other Mick Peterson has the same initials as me, but his middle name is 'George'. I was born on 6 December 1952; the other Mick was born on 25 March 1954, 15 months after me. My favourite drink is vodka; Mick's favourite drink is ... you've guessed it right, vodka! We both love a Guinness, too.
I started offending in earnest in 1969, whereas Mick started offending in 1970. Yeah, we've both got criminal records that date back some time! We both have records for violence. Wait 'til you hear this one; in 1974 I was sent to prison for robbery ... nothing strange about that. Back then, Mick Peterson was my name; the other Mick Peterson was working around the country having lived in London for a time, not far from Charlie Richardson's yard in Camberwell. During the early '70s, Mick was working at Butlin's for a number of summer seasons and also on the fairgrounds, which meant working away from home.
Mick's dear mother, Barbara, only goes and reads in the newspaper that Mick Peterson (me) has been sent to prison for robbery in Luton. Mick's mother lived in Hartlepool, so, to her, Luton may as well have been in London. Anyway, her son, Mick, lands back home on his mother's doorstep and his mum has the shock of her life saying, 'You're supposed to be in prison, what are you doing here?'
Is that mad or what? So Mick knew of me way back then. I only got to know about him when he joined my fan club in March 2000. Can you believe Mick Peterson joined my fan club? I thought, someone's having a laugh here! So now we know what went wrong; they've sent the wrong man to prison and I demand a retrial.
I could go on and on about the similarities between us, even down to looks. I mean, look at the beard, look at the power of the man, look at the bald head ... cor fucking blimey, if that isn't insane then I don't know what is! Right now, Mick is living in Hartlepool, he's married and has a grown-up son called Mark — I've got a brother called Mark. Mick has one giant-sized LP collection and he used to buy and sell at record collectors' fairs — that's where he met Lord Sutch, but Mick's great interest is the legendary, now dead, Frank Zappa.
Now there was a fucking legend if ever there was one! Frank Zappa died as a result of prostate cancer at his Los Angeles home on 4 December 1993, shortly before his fifty-third birthday. Zappa was one of the most original and complex figures to have emerged from the rock scene.
Zappa said he didn't care how he was remembered after he died, can you believe that? We fight to live, we want our memories to live on and yet he said, 'It's not important to even be remembered, I mean, the people who worry about being remembered are guys like Reagan, Bush ... I don't care.' Is that insane or what? Can you figure this guy out? Anyway, Mick has one of the largest Frank Zappa collections, and all on audio tape.
You can grow up being a trouble-maker and then, before you know it, the next thing you're doing is listening to Frank Zappa whilst chilling out ... now that's the intelligent way out. What would a psychiatrist say about that? I can tell you what a psychiatrist said about me when I was 13 years old.
This was my first encounter with a psychiatrist. I can still see his fat, spineless face and hear the shit coming out of his mouth. I had to see him over my problems at school. In those days, it was rare to see one of those people, but it was my first time and the record lives on ... but truly what does it mean?
I learned at that early stage that these sorts of people are not from my planet; they think completely differently and live entirely differently, they may as well be from planet Zappa! They actually look down on the working class! They're above us all, but over the years I've also learned that 80 per cent of these prats can't even put their own lives in order; it's a fact. What right-minded people can sit down listening to a lunatic all day, every day, year in and year out with no side-effects?
Anyway, this prick was a lesson to me, one to remember. I seriously thought about punching a hole in his fat face. As he spoke, I had visions of serious violence. Within ten minutes, this mutant made me feel dehumanised. What was he? God? What can he tell me that my dad can't? I'll tell you — dog shit. I should have punched him! Why not? Cunt!
Nowadays, the shrinks won't see me unless I'm in chains or with a dozen screws in the room. All apart from my lovely Dr Ghosh. She's just lovely to listen to. She came to see me at Whitemoor Prison, funnily enough, to see if I was sane (as I needed a report to say I'm sane to authorise a trust fund). She made a joke of it. 'Charlie, it's the first time I've had to come out of an asylum to do a report saying that you're sane.' She's like that, a lovely lady. (OK, I'm sane and my trust fund is sorted.) If I had seen someone like Dr Ghosh thirty-plus years ago, maybe I'd not be like I am today!
I remember a shrink in Wandsworth Jail back in the '70s. Now he was a really evil fucker, loved to juice you up using the liquid cosh, fucking done me up like a zombie, he did! I went to see him to chin the cunt, but I was so fucked up I could barely lift my arms up! He had me good and proper sorted!
That Dr Falk at headquarters was, in my opinion, a nasty bit of work, too. In the '70s, he diagnosed me a psychopath. That label has stuck with me ever since! Well how am I supposed to get a decent job outside with 'PSYCHO' stamped all over my medical file? Would you employ me ... would you? Would you fuck! A label sticks to you like shit to a blanket. I'm branded, I'm a marked man over all them reports. Nasty fuckers ... it's enough to turn a man to crime; well, a man's got to make a living, hasn't he?
You only have to look at our most famous doctor at the moment — Dr Harold Shipman. Need I say more? I fucking hate them all. I call them vets! And that's an insult to vets! A very prominent doctor at Parkhurst Prison was one of the psychiatrists who certified me mad, but years later he had a breakdown and got caught in the local woods, naked, taking his dog for a walk. If you work in a pig farm, you smell of pigs; if you work in a jail, you smell of crime!
Just take my advice and stay away from psychiatrists — they're dangerous. And if you're 13 years old and sitting in front of one, do what I never did ... chin him, 'cos if you don't, you'll live to regret it. You talk to your mum and dad (they know you best), and keep your problems in the family. Live and die with them.
Prison is riddled with madness and sadness. A young guy comes in weak; he gets hooked on heroin or smack, he sells his watch, radio and even his clothes. Then his arse gets sold; he sucks his life away for a bag of smack! One lad in Full Sutton came up to me. 'Help me, Chas,' he said with tears in his eyes. I took him into my cell, sat him down and he poured his heart out. He owed money, he had nothing, he was afraid. I went to see the 'dealer' and sorted it, but you can't help, it just gets worse. Once hooked, they're lost souls.
He kept sucking cock and taking it up the arse. That's madness. The poor fucker was probably a nice lad when he came in, now he's a faceless lost soul, going out a very bitter and hateful person who will kill for drugs. The system created it! The public will suffer ... prison is madness, it creates what you fear — a nightmare! Well, it created me, didn't it? I wasn't born like I am! I had a lovely family; prison drove me over the edge! I'm not crying, I accept it, but the system never will.
Is Bronson mad? Let me ask you. How else can I be? I'm probably the maddest guy on two legs if the truth be known, but prison will never beat me. I'd sooner die today than allow it to! I once walked into a cell in Frankland Jail, some seven years ago, right into a party of eight cons (all heavies). I pulled out a glass bottle of pop; they all looked. I handed it to one and said, 'Go on, use it on me!'
'Hit me, any of you, hit me, smash it over my crust!'
No one did, so I did it myself! All looked, no sound, I walked out in peace, pissing blood and laughing ... I felt free of madness. That's mad! Nobody knows why it happens or how. But mad people live with it, day in, day out and, to some, it's horror and pain, but to others it's pleasure. My only sadness that day was that they never done it! Violence can be a release, a pleasure, it's a form of being loved and wanted.
So if everything I've said is the definition of insanity, then the next thing is — how do you define an evil bastard? People can mix evil and insanity up, thinking both to be the one and self-same thing ... wrong! Let me tell you about evil. First, you smell it; second, you feel it; third, you taste it; and finally, you need to destroy it.
If evil lingers around you, it will rub off on you; it will cause stress, anxiety and a lot of mental anguish! Eyes — you can see evil in the eye of the beholder! Body! Talk! Stance! Walk! Posture! Evil oozes out!
Ever see Moors murderer Ian Brady? Study his photos, study Black, study Cannon, study Sutcliffe — study them all! Who says evil is not recognisable?
Excerpted from Insanity by Charlie Bronson, Stephen Richards. Copyright © 2004 Charles Bronson and Stephen Richards. Excerpted by permission of John Blake Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 INSANITY,
Chapter 2 BEDLAM,
Chapter 3 CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED INSANITY,
Chapter 4 MAD AS A HATTER,
Chapter 5 BEHIND THE WALL OF HELL,
Chapter 6 MONSTERS AND BEASTS,
Chapter 7 DEAD MEN BREATHING,
Chapter 8 BROADMOOR – DEAD MEN DREAMING,
Chapter 9 ARSEWORTH AND RAMPANT,
Chapter 10 THE MADNESS OF LIFE,
Chapter 11 VENGEANCE IS MINE, SAYETH BRONSON,
Chapter 12 MAVERICKS,
Chapter 13 PRISON MADNESS,
Chapter 14 BRONSON'S DIARY,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Bronson is absolutely amazing