View Full Version : About BJ by BJ

March 30th, 2003, 11:30 AM
On our trip to England, we stopped by the BBC shop thing to see if they had any recordings of Brain from his show Jakestown. The lady there gave me this BBC Radio Mereyside Magazine (usually you pay 2 pounds for them, but she gave it to me for free. Yay!)

The Life of Brian
By Brian Jacques

"I sometimes think it ironic for an ex-seasmen, docker, truck driver, policeman, bus driver, etc. to find success writing children's novels" Brian Jacques

New York Times best-selling author Brian Jacques (pronounced "jakes") was born in Liverpool, England on June 15th, 1939. Along with forty percent of the population of Liverpool, his ancestral roots are in Ireland, County Cork to be exact.

He grew up in the area around the Liverpool docks. From an early age, he had an interest in adventure stories, reading the works of Daniel Defoe, Sir Henry Thomas Malory, Robert Michael Ballantyne, Robert Louis Stevenson and Edgar Rice Burroughs. One of his favorite tales is Denneth Graham's Wind in the Willows.

First Day Blues
He attended ST. John's School, and inner city school with a playground on its roof. ON his first day at St. John's, at the age of ten, he had an experience that marked his potential as a writer. Given an assignment to write a story about animals, he wrote about a bird that cleaned a crocodile's teeth.

The teacher could not, and would not, believe that a ten-year old could write as well as Brian had. When young Brian refused to falsely say that he had copied the story he was caned as "a liar". Rather than be unsettled by his unjust punishment, Brian relized that he had always loved to write, and now he knew he clearly had a talent for writing.

Some teachers at St. John's proved to be good role models. As Brian recalls: "My favorite teacher was MR. Austin Thomas. He looked like Lee Marvin. Big man. A captain in World War II. HE came to school on a big black push bike with a harversack on the back. He was a man's man. Always fair. I was fourteen at the time when Mr. Thomas introduced the class to poetry and Greek literature.

Because of him, I saved seven shilings and sixpence to buy The Iliad and The Odyssey at this dusty used book shop." This interest in poetry has eventually extended to include Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Goldsmith.

A Sailors Life for me?
Brian Jacques is an adventurous as the heroic woodland characters that are featured in his epic novels. At age fifteen, Brian quit school, as was common in the inner city, and set out to find adventure as a merchant seaman.

His travels took him to many far-awy ports, including New York, San Fancisco, and Yokohama. Tiring of the lonely life of a sailor, he retured to Liverpool where he worked as a longshoreman, a long-distance truck driver, a bus driver, a boxer, a bobby (Police Constable 216D) and a stand-up comic.
During the sixties, when the Beatles turned the world spotlight on Liverpool, Brian and six others, including his two brothers, formed a folksinging group known as The Liverpool Fishermen.

Brian has written both petry and music, but he began his writing career in earnest as a playwright. His stage play Brown Bitter, Wet Nellies and Scouse was commissioned for the Everyman Theatre on the advice and encouragement of Alan Durband, a retired schoolteacher and writer of Shakespeare Made Easy.

Blinding Inspiration
Brian was working as a truck driver, delivering milk to the Royal Vavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool, when he began volunteering some of his time to read to the students. The storytelling activity gave him ideas of his own, and the story of REDWALL began to take shape.

Brian developed his descriptive writing style with his first audience in mind: for the blind students, he painted pictures with wods, so they could see the action in their imaginations. He continues to be a patron of the school. His writing gained acclaim when Alan Durband read REDWALL, and showed it to a publisher without telling Brian.

The publishers interest lead to a contract for the first five books in teh Redwall series. Since then, readers from eight to 80 have been captivated by his swashbuckling adventure-filled series, featuring the on-going battle between the peacefull mice and creatures of Redwall and the evil rat and stoat vermin who challenge them. The Bellmakeer, Brian's 1995 entry to the Redwall series, is dedicated to Mr. Durband.

Liverpool Lad
Brian Jacques still lives in Liverpool. He as become a well-known radio personality, hosting his own Sunday afterneoon radio show, "Jakestown," on BBC Radio Merseyside.

Brian shares his comedy and wit, and plays his favorites fromt the world of opera (he is a veritable expert on tenors in general).

He has two grown sons, both living in Liverpool. Marc, age 31, is a builder, a carpenter, and a bricklayer, and played Matthias in teh recording of Redwall. David, age 33, is a professor of Art, and a muralist. He has created works for children's hospitals, soccer stadiums, and trade union offices in Germany, Mexico, and CHile. Brian enjoys walking his dog, "Teddy," a white West Highland Terrier, completing crossword puzzles, and cooking (particularly Italian) for the weekly family dinners. When there's time he reads the works of Mario Puzo, Damon Runyon, Richard Condon, Larry McMurty, and P. G. Wodehouse.

{Ed. Note- this is in the top right corner}
Brian's top 5 artists
1. Mario Lanzin- Torna Surriento
2. Roy Orbison- Running Scared
3. Benjiamino Gigli- Tristesse
4. Frank Sinatra- The Summer Wind
5. The Dubliners- Rattling Roaring Willie

{This is at the bottom of the page}

You can own twelve of The Redwall Books by answering the following question:
How many Redwall books where published between 1986 and 2001?
Send your answer on a postcard to:
{Too lazy to write the address}
Closing date: January 10, 2003

Martin the Warrior
March 30th, 2003, 06:24 PM
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing, Calantorntain!

March 30th, 2003, 08:13 PM
thanks for the info cal, i like learning new stuff about bj :D

March 31st, 2003, 08:17 PM
Kewl, I'm printing it up and adding it to my "stuff about Redwall" folder that I always carriy around.

March 31st, 2003, 08:42 PM
You have a Stuff About Redwall folder? You didn't happen to keep the information on were all that came from, did you? Cause I am probably doing a semester long project on BJ next year for my gifted class, and the more sources, the better, but we have to be able to site them. And maybe sometime between now and next year, you could scan them, and I could use them for my project...

Or... if you know a lot about BJ... I could interview you as an expert!

April 1st, 2003, 06:53 PM
Interesting article!

Arg, I tough january 10, 2003 was next jan. ...

April 1st, 2003, 08:24 PM
Yeah, Cal, I do. I have a couple kewl things on him and I know a lot about him. But I'm not his stalker.

April 1st, 2003, 09:10 PM
I want to be his stalker! Stalk him around the country that is, on one of his tours. Get a bunch of ROC people, and travel around the county in a RV visiting him at each book signing! That would be spiffy.

So, for my project next year that I will most likely do, do you think I could interview you?

April 2nd, 2003, 03:48 PM
That would be a cool life. :rolleyes: :p ;)