(Copyright © 2001 Al Aronowitz)




It gives me great joy and pleasure to announce that THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST will no longer have a staff consisting of just me!  Overburdened and overworked, I have finally found a fellow writer talented, astute and willing enough to volunteer as my associate editor. He is John Williams of Liverpool, England, who has already given me input and assistance in giving my website a face-lift that I have found invaluable and enlightening.  When I asked John for a bio so I could write this announcement, he emailed me:

I was born between Los Alamos and Hiroshima, twixt Trinity and Hell. Whenever opportunity knocked in the past I was usually slipping out of the back door, but when Al Aronowitz invited me to link to his site I grabbed the chance in both hands.

When I asked him to make his bio a little longer, he emailed me:

I was born between Los Alamos and Hiroshima, twixt Trinity and Hell. I have been a tailor, an engineer and a sailor, before becoming a teacher of English in Liverpool.  I have two children, both boys, who see me as a whetstone to sharpen their wit upon.  I also have a wife who has steered my foundering ship through many a maelstrom.  In the past, whenever opportunity knocked, I was usually found slipping out of the back door, but when Al Aronowitz invited me to link to his site I grabbed the chance in both hands.

I needed more of a story, I told him, so then he emailed me 11 paragraphs.  But before I tell you what he said, I’d like to explain that John not only knows his way around computers and the Internet, but he is a very talented writer with his own website. Click on  and you’ll get the inside dope on the city that the Beatles made famous.  In fact, this is a website that will delight every Beatles fan around the world. The introduction alone should tempt you to read more:

The writings in these pages flow from Liverpool, the city on the river Mersey that gave to the world the Beatles, football excellence and wit. Liverpool was, sadly, long ago, the richest port of the slave trade. There is a long history of Irish, Jewish, African and Asian immigrants who came here for diverse reasons. Indeed, Liverpool is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe.

The names of two of the Beatles, Lennon and McCartney, reflect the influx into Liverpool of the Irish victims of the famine. In fact, the strength of Liverpool's Irish population has led to our city being nicknamed the capital of Ireland. Our cosmopolitan nature is reflected in the mosques, temples and synagogues that can be found here in Liverpool but we are, in the main, Catholics and Protestants.

Although Liverpool is no longer the world's greatest sea port we Scousers still wear the jeans that were made popular by the transatlantic sailors of the fifties, plying their trade from a town that was still reeling from the assaults of Hitler's Luftwaffe. Ironically, before the war, Hitler's half-brother Alois lived in a flat at 102 Upper Stahope Street and 22-year-old Adolf had actually spent six months with Alois here in Liverpool!

Our greatest passion is football, and we have three great teams, Liverpool football club, their reserves and their youth football team! To be absolutely fair Liverpool is also home to Everton football club, one of the oldest football clubs in the world. The fact is, Everton football club was the parent of the breakaway Liverpool football club.

We also have two great cathedrals, the Liverpool Metropolitan and the Liverpool Anglican, one for each of the Catholic and Protestant traditions. Liverpool has known its share of tragedy. In the year 1900 three cities tragically led the world league for infant mortality, Dublin, Liverpool and Calcutta, in that order! For our many immigrant communities the long and winding road ended at a Liverpool workhouse for the indigent, or a mass grave for the victims of cholera and Scarlet fever.

During the blitz of 1941, when the Luftwaffe pounded Liverpool nightly, as it was the key to the western approaches of the Atlantic, almost 20,000 people died. In the Atlantic itself the German U-Boats accounted for thousands of locally born seamen, including my namesake, whom I never knew. Twenty-five years later four Liverpool lads would sing 'Give peace a chance’ because they knew instinctively that all we need is love. The Beatle's song,'Places I remember', reflects their love of Liverpool.  

This site, I hope, reflects my own personal love of the city on the Mersey, whose vitality prompted Carl Gustav Jung, lecturing at Liverpool University, to call it 'the pool of life'. Somebody else said 'see Naples and die, see Liverpool and live!' Amen to that, and Amen to Liverpool's resurgence in the 21st century. In the words of the Beatles, our greatest sons, 'Let it be!'

Of course, Liverpool was on the map long before the Beatles put it there and if you want to spend a pleasant read, here’s how a kid grows up to manhood in that famous Mersey seaport.  And how he follows his hometown trade of sailor to voyages off to far-away places like Japan, Israel and elsewhere.  And how he attains middle age to teach English to the local Scouser children and, finally, to writes about it all with the same Liverpudlian humor and whimsy you find in Beatles songs. You want to know more?  Just click on

There, you’ll find some 60 stories, all of full of Liverpudlian charm, because John, like the Beatles, is a very charming writer and Liverpool, like Ireland across the Irish sea, is a fount

John's only run-in
with the Liverpool

of charming storytellers. Some of John’s tales are more ruminations than narratives, but he’s the kind of writer who can make even a death notice to read.  Some of the stories will have you on the verge of tears.  And some will make you split your sides.  Such as the one, entitled The Mild Bunch, which tells about a couple of characters John calls Smash and Grab.  It was with them that John experienced his only run-in with the Liverpool constabulary.  At least John says it was his only run-in.

As I’ve said, the stories are told with the same kind of humor you’ll find in Beatles songs and in the same Liverpudlian accent.  If you didn’t already know, that’s  called Scouse.  In John’s stories, Beatle fans will learn some of what their heroes faced growing up in that Northern English city on the Irish Sea. Because John William’s tales, although they are mainly about himself, are also about experiences that any Liverpudlian kid might have had to go through.

Such as soccer and sailing and Liverpudlian dating practices.  Such as in a piece entitled You Say Hello, I Say Goodbye.

It all started one summer's night when I met Helen. Just seventeen, she was pretty, completely innocent and entirely without guile. I was nineteen and a battle-hardened veteran of the sexual revolution. I walked her home and despite her undoubted charms I didn't pursue anything other than a half-hearted attempt at making a date for the following week.

Now it so happens that up until then I had never stood anybody up in my life. Moreover, I was always the first to arrive on a date because I was too insecure to imagine that a girl would wait for me for any length of time. However, I stood Helen up, with more than a touch a twinge of remorse as she was a nice trusting kind of person.

Well, I don’t want to spoil the story for you by telling you how it turns out.  But this is one paragraph in it:

One night I called for her to find her in a state of great agitation. She was 'late' and she had already consulted the old wives who told her a tale about the efficacy of something called slippery elm. The 'remedy' failed and it wasn't too long before I was facing the hostile gaze of her clan.

And then there’s another paragraph:

All that remained was to approach our respective Parish priests and obtain permission to marry. Now not many couple get married in November so when we went to see her priest his first question, accompanied by a righteous sneer cast in my direction, was,

      " How many months are you?"

John has been around the world and around the block, as they say.  Today, his wife is named Marian.

Born in Liverpool in January 1945, John says VJ day “was almost my last because I nearly crawled into the fire while my mother was in the front garden with her neighbours celebrating the end of that contradiction in terms, the Pacific war. That moment of luck, which drew her away from the celebrations in time to prevent my self-immolation, has stretched to become a lifetime of fortunate escapes and rescues.”

As John says, Liverpool had played a vital part in World War II, supplying sailors to man the Atlantic convoys “and a skilled handling force to unload the ships as they arrived from the Americas with their precious cargoes.”

John’s own father sailed in those convoys.

“And his brother John, a gentle boy by all accounts,” John adds, “was killed in 1943. My Grandmother once showed me a card he had sent from New York in 1943 bearing the poignant message, ‘Don't worry Ma, the Ocean won't get me. ‘But it did, just off Newfoundland. He was only nineteen and the only things he left behind were a widow and his name, which was bestowed on me. If it had been left to me I would have plumped for Elvis, Buddy or Jerry Lee. Elvis Williams? Perhaps not.”

John grew up listening to Rock and R/B because, as all Beatle fans have learned, sailors returning to Liverpool from the United States brought back records not available elsewhere in England ---everything from R/B to Country.

“I was a teenager when The Beatles erupted,” John says, “and although I was a member of the Cavern Club in 1963 I never saw the Fab Four in the flesh. To this day I still haven't

Because of his love for the seaport on the Mersey, John has never considered leaving that city permanently

seen even one of them. By default, I used to watch groups like The Hollies and Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, both Manchester-based! Then again, I have never attended the Grand National Steeplechase, and it's only ten minutes drive away.”

As a sailor, John lived in Israel for a while.

“But I have never even considered leaving Liverpool permanently,” he insists. “I love the place too much. Yet a kind of dislocation did take place when, at 29, I went to University. I became distanced from the sort of life I had led before. Many of my friends at the time were antipathetic to education. I suppose they felt that Tim Leary and Jack Kerouac had told them all they needed to know. I was grateful for my second chance at education because it fleshed out what had been only vague suspicions on my part about the world and my place in it, about which my Catholic education had left me wholly ignorant. Unlike Judaism, which seems to thrive on argument and disputation, Catholics are simply thrown a catechism and told, ‘That's the way it is so don't ask any questions!’

“Beauty is truth and truth is beauty---that's all you need to know on earth. . . But I had lots of questions and not just about religion.”

John says he has another reason to be grateful for his education.

“You see, he says, “I've always had a thing about women who combined beauty with brains and that's where I met my wife, my helmswoman and best friend. I have difficulty handling the daily setbacks and vicissitudes of this world with any kind of equanimity and I rely heavily on her interpretative and diplomatic skills when Le Monde feels impelled to spit in my eye. She also bore me two wonderful boys, who,as I’ve already said, perceive me as a whetstone with which to hone their considerable wit. Is there any thing worse than being criticised in a way that reduces one to helpless laughter? The first one now shall later be last...

“Yes, the times they are a changing and how! I am sitting in Liverpool across the pond from Al Aronowitz, a man who didn't simply meet The Beatles but helped forge their immortality, and I am helping him with his site. Technology! Funny, really, 'cos I never wanted to be a writer, paper back or otherwise.”

John is such a Liverpudlian that he decorates his website with Liver Birds, which makes me wonder: were the birds named after the city or vice versa?   Another chicken and egg story? Liver birds don’t lay eggs, because they’re fictitious.  Actually, John actually has two websites---“one to demonstrate my love for the city on the Mersey, Liverpool Tales From the Mersey Mouth, and one for what I laughingly refer to as poetry. Poetry reclaimed.”  For John’s “Poetry reclaimed,” click on .

I’ve always needed some help with producing and maintaining my website and when John pitched in to assist me in giving THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST a badly needed facelift---something that is ongoing and something that has proved to be a very labor-intensive task---I asked him to join me as associate editor.  I need somebody to holler at who will holler back at me.  I can’t tell you---but I’m trying---how very pleased and grateful I am that he has taken the job.  In addition to his editorial contributions, John will also contribute some of his writings, such as THE GREENING OF LIVERPOOL in SECTION TWO of this Column, number Fifty-Nine.

The ongoing facelift has not only occasioned the lateness in publishing Column Fifty-Eight, dated April 1, but it also is the reason why Column Fifty-Nine, dated May 1, is also late and consequently has had to be abbreviated. Also, all serializations will be resumed in a future column.  Already accomplished, however, is the installation of codes in each Section that will record every visit by a reader. As a result, we’ve learned that we’ve been far underestimating the number of hits THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST has been receiving.  THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST is bookmarked on a growing number of computers all around the world. And our revised estimate is that as of now we have had more than 300,000 hits since the inception of the website in September of 1995.  

Nothing really sensational---compared to the millions of hits that NASA’s website receives---but nothing to sneeze at, either.  We can now boast of a growing cult following---and of two editors!  ##



The Blacklisted Journalist can be contacted at P.O.Box 964, Elizabeth, NJ 07208-0964
The Blacklisted Journalist's E-Mail Address: