life, other people's shit, the sicknote diaries

Sicknote Driver, Dickie Balboa’s House Fire


dickie 6

Dickie Balboa. Do you remember him? The legend that drove Sicknote around from approximately 2006-2011. He put so much into the band, and although he had a wicked time with us, he got very little back. A true giver in the truest sense or the word. Eventually succeeded by Stevie G, another legend and true giver. I feel these guys gave the most to the project financially, always keeping vans on the road for our benefit, and silently absorbing the costs to ensure the sickness arrived. Anyway he left in 2011, and had to get a job, sell the sick mobile and sort his situation out. I think he was feeling under-appreciated and his personal circumstances were in dire need of some attention. Dickie then became a charity bag collector. Delivering the bags one week and collecting them the following week, for British Heart Foundation. It helped that he was a hoarder, his house was notorious for being full of junk. From floor to ceiling in most rooms. He used some of this junk to ensure the charity was getting it’s quota, but still worked flat out, usually starting his rounds at 4am each day. He worked his balls off. He paid off his debts, and managed to save a little bit. Dickie, being Dickie, stashed his little savings at home. He wasn’t one to leave it all in a bank. Fuck the system. So he had it stashed in a box buried deep within his junk upstairs. It would take a thief days to find it.

At the end of last year, Dickie opened his back door, and some kind of back draft thing happened. The open fire, that was blazing away his winter chill, spat out a ball of flames right up the wall and across the ceiling. He stood upon a bench and began to pat the wall and ceiling out, but managed to pretty badly burn his forearm. It was no use, in a matter of seconds the entire kitchen ceiling was alight. He headed for the stairs to retrieve his little stash, but the fire was spreading fast. He stepped outside to survey the situation, and then decided on one last mad dash. A neighbour was passing and grabbed him, thankfully, and stopped him going in. He dragged him to the opposite side of the road and they watched as the entire house went up in flames. The fire brigade came and put it out. The roof was gone. Every window melted. The doors gone. All of his belongings. Money. Everything reduced to a smouldering pile of soot. The only thing he had was the clothes he stood in, and his Sherpa van parked outside.


The neighbourhood, Abertridwr, an odd dead-end village in the valleys near Caerphilly pulled together in ways that help build faith in humanity. These are people without a pot to piss in. And they are giving everything they haven’t got. The local pub landlord gave a room for people to drop off donations. The community were dropping in fridges, sofas, money. Scaffolding companies put up free scaff on the remainder of the bricks. And they began to raise money with local and online collections. Everybody, even people who didn’t personally know him put money in the pot, and although not a lot of money, it afforded Dickie some emergency help with his basic needs. Friends cleared out their spare rooms and he is staying locally with the friendliest and most colourful insane characters. He had always said he needed a clear out.

here is the news article with the link to the local donations (now expired – £835, spilt between Dickie and his neighbours)

I got the bus up there before christmas and done a couple days work. It was fucking hardcore. I thought it was game over, but no, he was determined to build his house back. If you had seen it you would have no doubt agreed with me, that this was impossible. There was fuck all left. Piles of black shit. Collapsed black ceilings, Stairs black and hanging off wall. And not much else. The roof was gone, save a few burnt beams, and the rain pissed through, making it all a smelly, soggy, pile of black ash. When I first arrived he was stood covered in black soot, arm bandaged, soaking wet carrying buckets of black shit, what was his belongings, and dumping them in a donated skip outside. Somehow still cracking jokes. Determined and full of life as usual. My second visit, a roofing company was on board, and a delivery of donated roof tiles turned up. It was me and Keithy Cammando’s job to get the tiles up the scaff to the roof. Killer job. The roofers were unbelievably fast, and the new roof was fitted in an afternoon. Drenched, sweaty and fucked, I got some chips and got the bus back home.

That was over a month ago. I went back last night. The upstairs had windows fitted, a new staircase was in. Scaffolding gone. Aside from that and the inside looking a little cleaner, it was still an absolute bomb site, with all downstairs windows and doors yet to bet fitted and nothing inside but burned walls. The rain poured down hard, it seems to never stop in Abertridwr. I located Dickie at his friends house up the road, and he invited me in. A fat dog with a squashed face and short legs yelped and squeaked and jumped all over me. Dickie’s arm had recovered well, but his hands were ground down in places to fleshy bloody cracked sores, and the rest of his skin was covered in the soot. He looked knackered. He was rebuilding his home from scratch with hardly any tools and relying on help from anyone who would offer it.

We had a cup of tea, and in true Dickie style, he had us laughing our arses off in no time. And yes, Dickie being Dickie, there was no insurance. He had bought the house in the 80s. Never insured it. Never contents or buildings insurance. Nothing. Basically everything he ever had was literally up in smoke. He had to give up his job to dedicate himself to the task at hand, and is relying on handouts from his local community. Completely mental. Never seen anything like it.

So, the Tribe, if it wasn’t for Dickie we wouldn’t have cut our teeth across the country in the early days of the band and gathered up the following and the scene which ensued. I’m not sure who knows Dickie, but I do know those who have met him, love him. He is a true gent and was a total father figure for Sicknote, always in the background making sure it all went off. A true giver, who deserves help. So I’m asking you to chip in. Even a single penny will help. There is nothing too small. The state he is in at the moment even a tin of Aldi beans is a true help. Help him out, a couple of pennies will do, and whatever we get together I will take up to him at the end of the month and make sure he’s got some money from the Tribe to help him move on from this complete nightmare.

If you donate, I will write your name, every single name, in a big card and put the money in the card. I’ll update every night or two (with screen shots of paypal) with how much we’ve got and a list of donators for that day (unless you’d rather stay anonymous). I plan to take the cash in a card up to him at the end of February, and hopefully by then we’ll have a lump. I think this is the way forward, I know he’d be embarrassed if he knew we were doing this. But it’s about time he received. His local community helped, and now it’s our turn! I thought I’d set this up and see what happens, if it fails, as I’m aware he wasn’t that well known and was never in people’s faces, then so be it. But even if it’s £50 I take up to him, I know it will help. He slipped into the conversation last night that the windows downstairs were about £200 each and he needed outer doors too. So my target is £500 to bring to him. If it’s less or mOre! then so be it.

Flakey has just set up a Facebook group to share ideas to help him out, here.

If anyone has any other ideas drop me a message, or just turn up at his house, and help him out! Abertridwr Street in Abertridwr (you can’t miss it). It’s been a few months and it’s a long way off from being liveable. Chuck a penny in and Help the legend that is Dickie Balboa here or press button below. THANK YOU!


target £500 by March 1st 2016:………


£ 1104.53

[updated daily]


People who have chipped in:

Nick Bray, Paul Bevan, Nick Walker, Joe Marvelly, Eleanor Burns, Stevie G, Jason Doghouse, Karl Parkinson, Johanna Hartwig, Matthew Downes, Rev & Flakey, Dom Atreides, Andy Thimbleberry, Victoria Leadbeater, Toby Evans, Joe Goddard, Julia Round, David Sheppard, Becci Barker, Theodore Ellinas, Gina Wathen, Lesely Haywood, AM Bligh, Mouse and Badger, Jason Phillips, Stuart Forsyth, Paul Hardy, David Newton-del-Campo, Luise Tomlins, Craig Lee, Mark Deer, Crocker, Stephen Cuky Cooke, Swag Minal, Hobaps and Major Triadz, Karl Baker, Sare Bear, Anna Doolan, John Garton, Ange n Mark, Annabel Tinks Neilson, Keith Harman, Rebecca Gould, Philip Crisp, Les Wilkins, Caroline Richards, Sian Richards, Jessika Burridge, La Laure, Lorraine Boyle, Fozzys, Heather Casey, Emma Money-Kyrle, Julie Kirk, Simon Betts, Joanne Taylor, Emma Barnes, Stephen Reed, Rowena Brook, Caroline Tomlinson, Joel Morris, Yin Hau, Janine Palmer, Michelle Nicholson, Maja Palser, Tina Price, Audrey Jackson, Megan Dugmore, Robin Weallans, Gavin Bolton, Timothy Barker, Julie Acorn, Paul Riddell, Geraint Short, ………..

thanks to every one of you.  we will put all your names in a card with the cash. x

here is Dickie’s living room:


my shit, the sicknote diaries

Conker Tribute Tee


Amazing New T-Shirt to remember the legend, Dr Conker –
Ltd to 100 T-shirts, selling out very fast.
get yours now here

also new Breaking Bad style “Chemistry” Tee just in stock, i fucking loves it…

life, the sicknote diaries

The Ascension of Dr Conker

Conker Smashed

So me and Doghouse not been seeing eye to eye for quite a while and despite several attempts to solve the situation, it still sucked hard. This divide in the band and constant problem between us has caused the band trouble for a long time. We got in the car together and i put my foot down hard as we headed off to the Filths house in West Wales. I really didn’t want to go.

The rain poured so hard on us we could hardly see as i swerved through the dark Welsh lanes playing The Doors on cassette.

We stayed the night and neither of us hardly slept.

The next day we helped Filth out with some family chores and then we put his family up in one of the bedrooms and set up the band through a 2k soundsystem in his living room. It was halloween and we made a racket for a few hours. We laid down a jam for a new track which seemed to click despite us not being able to create for quite some time together. I had found a new way to record the band straight into my laptop for the first time ever, and this excited me!  I done a quick mix on it and exported it for us to enjoy. We all agreed this song was a classic, and like all our best material, it seemed to write itself, with no discussion between the band, just capturing us tuned into the ether. We wrapped up and i fucked off and found some space away from them as i was craving solitude.

“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.” 
― Laurie Halse Anderson

The following day i took a drive down to Wiseman’s Bridge and walked along the coast. I was blown away by the beauty of this area, and i watched the sea bulge out into the horizon as the sun dropped and the rain soaked me through. I got to Queens Hall in plenty of time for Soundcheck and went back stage and slapped the headphones on and continued in my studio experiments.

The lads turned up and we soundchecked,  i headed off down to a busy local bar, found a sofa in the backroom and disappeared in my headphones again to a world of sound.

When i returned the backstage was rammed with people all dressed up and looking messy.

Sheep had cancelled as Mrs Filth had German Measels and this could be dangerous for the pregnant Mrs Sheep,  there was a good chance i might have it too after hanging out with Family Filth. Dom Bassflange sent Sheep a photo of Conkers penis and we all laughed our asses off. We headed for stage and the vibe was weird. We dropped the new song and the place went serious… I wanted to call the new song ‘Making Angels’, Doghouse wanted to call it ‘Nice and Deep’. Never on the same page. But the atmospere was set and Conker took to stage and we delivered a serious and slamming performance with various fruits and freaks joining us on stage and thankfully being dragged off by Keith It Real one by one.

For the encore we dropped Righteous. And the place went mental. From behind me Conker came bouncing onto stage completely bollock naked apart from his Doctor Martins and me and Johnny NoCash looked at each other in disbelief. The Dr jumped up and down screaming with his pecker slapping all over the place. I picked up the bottle of water i was drinking and flung it at him, soaking my laptop on takeoff, the water seeped between the keys but i couldnt stop the music – the place was going off, and the stage was rammed – later i realised i fucked up several keys on Smaragda my laptop (this is being typed with external keyboard). Then we dropped Whitey. The last tune.

As Doghouse left stage he spewed all over the steps from the stress of it all and we all stepped in it as we left.

I wanted to get back to Cardiff pretty quick so me, Conker and Johnny dived in the car. Johnny was a little pissed off as he wanted some brandy from the rider but someone refused to share it with him. Conk fell asleep in the back and me and Johny chatted all the way home scoffing chocolate fingers from the rider.

First gig back in a few months… a weird one, but an explosion for halloween for sure. Little did we know this would be the final performance of the Doctor. And what a performance it was. The first full naked performance. On Halloween. In The Queens Hall. In West Wales.

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
― Mark Twain

I popped in to see Conker  a few days later with a pack of hobnobs and he made me a cup of filter coffee. We chatted about books mainly, about money, the future, a little about the gig and i bought some books off him. He seemed in great spirits and had even cleaned his kitchen!!! We laughed for an hour and i went on my way.

A week later i noticed Doghouse dissing some of my studio work online and I was ready to fucking explode. We were scheduled to go to Swansea together on the train for a meeting with a new potential booking agent. We met in a cafe before hand. A 2nd hand book he had just bought was placed on the table next to his steaming mug of coffee. It was Stanislavski, the first part of the book i had bought from Conker last week! WHAT WERE THE CHANCES OF THAT?  for the first time we engaged in a conversation in which we opened up to each other about our hatred for each other and the reasons why the band was falling apart. He hated me as much as i hated him!!!!! We argued and moaned for hours, missing the train and missing the meeting. We both said for the first time ever, that today we were willing to walk away from the project as it was making us unhappy. After both admitting this a turning point seemed to emerge and we decided to try and understand where each other was coming from. We got into a warm pub as it got dark and seemed eventually to find some common ground and potential new ideas from where we could rebuild Sicknote from. We drank and talked more, devising a plan to get us back on track – and suddenly –  we were getting on. I won’t go into details but lets say this may have been the 1st time we been on the same page in a few years. And it felt good.

We hug! And leave, both, i think, feeling relieved and some what back on track and excited.

The following evening i update my facebook with a quote that kept coming to mind from Steve Jobs about death. You can read it at the bottom of this post. i receive a call less than an hour later from Flakey. Conker is Dead.

It appears he died yesterday. Possibly as me and Doghouse were sorting everything out. He passed gently to the other side, in his sleep.

I cycle to his house at 2am, a massive odd shaped moon hangs bright above his chimney, i sit in his living room. His necklace is there, his Chavez t-shirt thrown over a box and other random personal things scattered around,  his fag buts still in the ashtray. I sit in silence. Tears fall down my face. There’s a warm feeling almost like he’s still there or maybe that where ever he is, that other dimension, that he is ok. I look over at the seat i last seen him in last week, and behind where his head was a big thick book sticks out off the shelf, ‘The Curtain Falls’.

I drink a cup of tea with Tommy Tank and we sit in silence.


We are releasing the song we made on halloween, the night before Conkers last gig. It will be some time this week, i think we have agreed on the title ‘Black Cloud’.  It will be dedicated to Dr Conker. All gigs are cancelled. We will be in touch in 2014 after we have mourned the loss of our own personal legend, our spiritual guide and friend, Dr Conker.

RIP brother. We knew you would be first to ascend, as you always said you would. See you some time soon. Adios.




“Alright Conk?”


a song for Conker



“Death is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it.” 
-Steve Jobs

my shit, the sicknote diaries

Alchemy 2012

L-R: Ady HD, Stew, Flakey

Filth broke down.  All running LATE!

6 hour drive.
20 minutes to set up and get on stage.
smashed it.
drinks round the fire.
Ady fell on fire – The Singed Dodo. They put her out with cider. Happy Birthday.
Slept in the Corsa.
Woke up to beaming sun.

Flakey broke her funny bone.

Massive ginger bloke. Long beard. Rammstein Tshirt. Swinging little pink ribbons. FUCK POI!

DJed to a packed tent.
Bongo player done my nut in!!
5 hour drive home.
Here is my DJ Set from yesterday….
soundcloud deleted it. PRICKS. now herE:
camino, the sicknote diaries


baggage. all to fuck.
land. 5 hours looking for apartment. johnny pissed, attacks lionel. filth attacks johnny. bleeding scalp. everyone turns on him even tho he is right in what he’s saying. bullying pricks.

pissed as fuck. walk round porto beautiful. stunning.

meeting with chloe new manager:
websites shit. gigs are shit. fees are shit. merch is shit. everythings shit. time to change. all agreed.

off to the festy!!

mental.. magic. munted. blur. abuse. memory loss. scrumpy. drugs. chels carvan. plastic cock with a goaty. stabbed johnnys face. filth ripped leg off rabid dog. chlow told everyone to fuck off. doghouse looking like hobo, no voice, coldsores. sparticus on a leash after lamping people. where is my memories.. crates of lager. nostril fluff. then on stage,… 3 hour set.. dunt think any of us were aware… were we possessed by other being or just completely fuckin shit faced.. back to the caravan.. more muntedness…

 back to the porto.. love it. huge meal. discovered info on camino portuguese. goodbye guys..

the sicknote diaries

Phone In Sick 2012 @ The Globe, Cardiff

So the Phone In Sick Party was a massive success even with the problems which arose prior to the event, with my flat flooding, the after party venue (the lovely Netty’s shop) burning down, people bad mouthing us and scaring the venue into nearly cancelling the gig and then finally The Filth phoning in sick as his new baby was imminent!!! All pretty stressful but we slotted in stand in drummer Matt FUOD who had never played with us before and we ran through 2 songs just before the doors opened and BANG!!! the venue filled to capacity in no time with smiling happy faces from all across the UK.

A great night was had by all with Aceeater getting the place buzzing and a nice set from DJ Tommy Tank and Shaun Feral Disco… then My Bad Sister caused a bit of a stir in their warm up slot… Conker was missing and had been on a complete BENDER over the previous few weeks boshing all sorts of shit and generally completely off it and had decided no one was allowed to talk in his company only himself and if anyone disobeyed him he ejected them from his house. He regularly declared that he was diagnosed as a genius by the family doctor at the age of 5 and he hadn’t sleep in days and we were all a bit worried…

We started the gig without him thinking he’s either totally lost it and is banged up somewhere or he thinks he is so important he can turn up whenever the fuck he likes. The latter proved to be right as we stopped the music during the second track and the crowd parted to make way for his royal highness Dr Conker.. he was sporting some fucked-up make up with a zip that was half opened round his head… and was completely off his tits. He grabbed the mic and started squawking into it about random shit but held it so far from his trap no one could understand him, aside from the people at the front who looked completely baffled as he whipped himself into a frenzy about all the things he hates… and the fact he has secured an American tour for us (which turns out to be true!) he then went on a politcial rant about Plaid Cymru and half the punks in the event left immediately.

Doghouse grabbed the mic back and we smashed fuck out of the place for the remainder of the night.. it’s a real shame the place closed down early and the bouncer stopped lettting people in at 1am… but spirits were high and everyone went back to various houses in the area to carry on the madnesss. Doghouse’s bedroom was host to a plethora of freaks who danced well into the following Tuesday led by the warped and legendary front-man throwing shapes incessantly in a baby grow and none other than Colonel Puddinghead on the decks (now known merely as ‘Pud’ after his demotion)!

The gig marked the start of a 10 week break for the band, returning with a flurry of gigs in Portugal in April.

although i was a bit disappointed with the soundsystem in The Globe, the venue was awesome and the staff great, also the soundman Mr Jake Tilley done a fantasic recording of our gig and mixed and mastered the entire mess just for you.

go grab a copy here (pay what you want).

the sicknote diaries

A Turd in The Bird’s Nest

sicknote live at Bird’s Nest, Deptford, London 9/12/11


6pm we left cardiff and off we flew up the M4.

Conk was quiet with his eyes closed dreaming of books, money and boys…

Johnny was rubbing his injured foot while tucking into his 3rd bottle of whiskey

Sheep n Pip were under a big arsed devut stoned off their box and eating sweets

The Filth was face down into his iphone

I was sucking on my pretend cigarette and

Doghouse and Stevie G were up front…

on the stereo on repeat was the new song we laid down the previous night.. “I’m Having A Whitey” which sounded edgy, exciting, awful, banging, ametuer and amazing all at once…

We arrived to a lively pub, with a dried up puke on the door matt, some smiley crusties and some LOUD music! After being thrown some beer tokens I was refused the pint of Guinness i craved for 4 hours in the back of the fucking van…  “only cans of piss sorry mate” Grrrrrrr!

Andy K and his Hairy Cheek smashed it!

The venue was a good old school pub and as we warmed our cockles a short Chinese dude with one hairy cheek took to the stage armed with an ipod, a guitar, a tom drum, and some kind of weird elctro squelchy machine. He proceeded to bang the shit out of it all with a stick and the room was infected by the amount of fun this guy was having.. he literally didn’t give a shit! He then announced his CD was 20p, so i gave him 20p and shook his hand. I had just witnessed one of the best sets of 2011. I think his name was Andy K, i’ll add more info when i dig out the CD i bought..

Suddenly there was a potent stench of human shit in the air. I mean not a little bit. i mean i was choking on the stench. i know i give up smoking recently so i may be sensitive, but right now i wanted to smoke the strongest fuckin fag in the world…fuck it gimme a bong! Anything to rid my windpipe of this TASTE!
I went outside for air. came back in and headed back stage to a small kitchen. Doghouse entered and bang the stench was back.. “fuck man you shat yourself or what?” “little messy” he replied as he started to wash his hands. i legged it to the stage…

Only to discover there was no monitor speaker. Not ideal when your drummer is practically deaf!
Luckily they managed to wire up a fat bass amp which was distorted to fuck but we pointed it at Filthy’s head. bingo, the room was tiny, the system was pretty fat and a good little crowd of mad heads gathered as Doghouse entered the stage with a clean pair of trousers on!!!! “WTF!?!?!”
“Had a little accident” he sheepishly confessed, “Stevie G had a spare pair in the van”
“Phew!” We’ve all been there.

Sheep, Doghouse and Conker warming up

BANG!!! we dropped the bassline from ectoplasmic to a rip roaring cheer.. and a twitch from the dogs sphincter signalled the start of a frenzy as people began to rock and bounce and go mental.. i could see some friendly faces like Lou Disgrace, Bri and Sam covered in sweat and enjoying themselves.. the crowd spilled onto stage and Smaragda my laptop was all over the place, Doghouse stood up and belted out the words to ‘TAXI for LIONEL BLAIR’ and the crowd launched him into my laptop and disconnected it completely…. we brought it back in soon after and the crowd were getting riotous…
i was looking forward to debuting the new punk single “Whitey” when suddenly we were cut off with no explanation…and some Samba was being played through the system. eveyone looked at me as they thought i was playing the shit.. confused . com

after 2 minutes i fought my way to the soundman and screamed “WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU STUPID CUUUUUUUUUUNT” in his face. we packed up. then trying to get paid turned into a Benny Hill sketch as i chased Bri around the venue…
finally i cornered her and she said “i’ll pay you half as you only played half a set”
NO FUCKN CHANCE i said as i prised the envelope out of her hands..

back in the van, the stereo spat out the biggest sack of distorted shit all the way home and my head was banging – no rest here folks! welcome to the sickbus.
i had a muffin with Ninjah at 7am in MCdonalds and off to bed i went.


time to get back to the studio!!!

only ONE more GIG in 2011!!! what a year. what a night. what a fuckin band.