M16……..A Moss Side Story


alex road



The headlines over the weekend have been filled with reports of the shooting in Manchester and the resulting 10 casualties.

I grew up in Moss Side aka The Moss, my parents moved to the newly built estate there in the mid 70`s.

The council house we rented was right across the road from Alexandra Park. Our neighbourhood was a melting pot of folk from England, Jamaica, West Indies, Ireland (that was us), Pakistan and India…..there was even a Chippy on nearby Princess Rd……and it was (wait for it) ….English!

Despite the cultural differences we all got on.

I remember being sat in the Big Western pub together with my father and an elderly Jamaican gentleman began telling me of his experiences working as a conductor on the buses, and the racism he encountered during the 50`s and 60`s.

He looked at my father, leant over and shook his hand saying.

“Folk like your father had to put up with as much racism as we did,  that`s why the Irish and ourselves always got on so well.”

So it saddened me to read much of the racist twaddle I read over the weekend on social media, grief junkies and people who have never lived or sat foot in the area.

The Moss Side Carnival is a joyous, colourful occasion,  and if you have never experienced a carnival then I can highly recommend you do……….pls don´t be deterred by scaremongers.

The area does have it`s faults…..tell me somewhere that doesn`t?

Moss Side has a long been a deprived area, struggling with a history of high unemployment, gun violence and drugs.

In the late 80`s it was one of only two places in the UK (the other being N.Ireland) where the police would be permitted to enforce the law by means of armed intervention.

There has always been a stigma about The Moss, one never mentioned the area or even its postcode (M16) when attending a job interview, because you would never get a job.

Much of my book takes place in the area. It was a scary place during the 80`s and early 90`s, Sus, shootings, riots……I`m no gun expert but I still to this day remember the sound of a Mac 10 semi automatic!!

But most of all what I remember are the friendships, the unbreakable, resilient community spirit which is synonymous with the area.

Living there taught me a lot about people, and I feel very proud to have been a part of Moss Side´s rich history through both the good times and the bad.


High Resolution Front Cover_5750051 - Kopia miniature

A Minger`s Tale: Beginnings
by R.B.N. Bookmark
Link: http://amzn.eu/gLj0TvR













More than just “Thingamajig” ?




This is the latest in a growing number of reviews my book has received from readers who truly believe it has potential as a screenplay.

Thank you one & all, I am most humbled that you prize my work so highly.

From a realistic point of view I know the chances of it ever happening are smaller than a Sumo wrestlers Thingamajig. 

Still I would like to thank everyone who has read the book for all the fantastic reviews you have written.



A Minger’s Tale: Beginnings
by R.B.N. Bookmark (Goodreads Author)

Bookgirl86’s review
Jul 12, 2018
It Was Amazing!
Hilarious! I was pulled into this book right from the beginning by the funny prose and the stripped-down style of writing. It paints a picture of growing up in the mid-20th century in England that reminds me of a classic sitcom or something. But one of those that you had to sneak downstairs and watch after your parents went to bed.
Ribban Bookmark ( a pseudonym that was so hilarious that I chuckled every time I read it, honestly) had a hard life. The son of two Irish immigrants, Ribban grew up in Manchester, England in the 1950’s and 60s. He had a very hard scrabble childhood but the stories don’t come across as grim since he brings out the more comedic moments of them wonderfully.
Being American and much younger than the author, I was worried going into this book that I wouldn’t understand a lot of the lingo but he brings the reader along for the ride, explaining things when they might be more confusing and HELPFULLY explaining a lot of the language that would have been impossible for me to understand otherwise.
I had heard the word, ‘Minger’, however, before reading this and the title was what actually made me pick it up in the first place (or download it, as it were). I did not know, as Ribban illustrates, the the word apparently means: “Someone who fell out of the ugly tree at birth and hit every branch on the way down.” Like I said, that kind of self-flagellating humor that had me dying laughing throughout the book.
I loved all of the characters, (especially his mother. She was a riot) but the witty, gritty prose was what sold this as 5 stars to me. Like Bookmark says in the beginning, “If only I knew where God lived, I’d show my dissatisfaction by pissing in his letterbox.”