I’m trying to think
where would you see someone like you and
someone like Pat together? A retirement centre. [laughing] What would you be doing
at a retirement centre? – Giving him his pills. – To shut me up. – OK, you let me know
when you’re ready, Alex. – Ready, oh we’ve got music on. – I’m on my way to Brighton
to meet up with this group of men who work with an organisation called
Band of Brothers. They have these groups who
work with men coming out of prison and who are in vulnerable
situations. And they do these weekends away,
where they have this rite of passage to being a man. [cheering and applause] I’m really interested in the work
that a Band of Brothers does because they have this generational
aspect to it where they have older mentors who have been
through similar positions to the younger men
that they work with and I just want to know more
about that relationship, the dynamics between the older men
and the younger men and basically what it is
that they get from being in this group all together. – Have I got to behave? – If that had been a
prerequisite we wouldn’t have fucking invited you. [laughter] – Well that’s really
lovely isn’t it? – Before I started ABoB,
I thought it was going to be another counselling sort of thing,
another therapy group that wasn’t going to work,
that I just go to just to see how it goes. The best thing to date
is the fact that I don’t get told what to do. They’ve never once told me
this is how you’ve got to do it, this is what you’ve got to do,
this is how this works, this is how this works. – When I was younger
I tried the counselling thing but then they sit in that
chair and they go, ‘Oh yeah, this is how
you’re supposed to live your life.’ You’ll sit there and tell me
your shit and the shit that’s actually happened to you, and then I’ll
sit there and go, hang on, he’s willing
to open up to me, so I’m going to be willing
to open up to you, instead of this dude just sitting
there with his legs crossed just looking down on me because
apparently, you’re better than me. The sheer vulnerability.
When you see someone else’s vulnerability or another man’s vulnerability, there’s a sense of, ‘I can
really trust that man’. That’s what I feel. – I’ve been in and out
of prison since I was 14. I’ve got 70 police convictions
and it was only since coming out of prison the last time,
that was three years ago, I found Band of Brothers. I’m not there yet, but I’m
slowly getting myself more in my body. I think that’s the key
to all of this, is feeling everything that’s
going on inside instead of trying to
run away from it. Like anxiety, anger, fear, sadness,
it’s getting me a long way. I think that’s kind of
where us men go wrong is, we’re trying to run away
from our shit that’s inside. There are men and young
men in this circle who’ve been in the care system, who’ve been to prison,
who perhaps have experienced things in their
childhoods that nobody, nobody should ever
experience. But Band of Brothers
is about us as a community of older men reaching out a
hand to those young men and saying ‘we’re here
for you’. – So while I would have
really liked to go on one of these rites of passage weekends
that a Band of Brothers does, they don’t let women
go on them and they don’t really like filming
to happen there understandably because it’s quite an intimate
thing, which they do there. So after speaking to the guys
at this group which they set up, I wanted to speak to a few
of them by themselves. I wanted to speak to Pat
because he just seemed absolutely lovely and I
wanted to speak to Ben because while he didn’t speak
a lot in the group that I was at, what he did say kind of
sparked my interest a bit and made me wonder
what his experience was and what his thoughts were
behind a Band of Brothers and masculinity generally. Is that genuinely the toilet? – Yeah, it’s a hole with
sawdust in it. – That you helped make that? – Yeah.
– Nice work. A lot of the people
that seemed to have been through a Band
of Brothers have gone through
systems like care or prison or they’ve gone through
mental health services. And these are all really official
professional things that they’ve gone
through where you sit opposite somebody
whose job it is. Is the solution always more
provisions and the government doing more stuff or are there
other ways that you can, within a community,
provide networks and support and stuff like that?
– Yeah. – I’ve done everything else. All the psychotherapies
and everything else, where I’ve just been
pushed into it. If you’re pushed into something
you just don’t want to do it. You don’t want to
take part, you don’t give 100%. – Communities need to be
enabled to help themselves. You know, people are very
isolated now, aren’t they? A lot of the problems along
mental health is isolation. It is helpful to have that
professional kind of input, but I think we’re volunteers
and we’re a community so we share a lot of stuff,
not because we’re being paid for it, because we want to do it,
because we all believe that a social change
needs to happen. – When I first went to
Band of Brothers, I wasn’t used to seeing
geezers crying or getting emotional over stuff. So it was a big old
change for me. – But did that then let you
feel like you could show emotion? – I’ve always been really
bad with showing emotion or talking about gear. It’s just I can’t, I don’t want
to express it to other people. You know, I don’t want
to show weakness. – I mean, there’s that idea
that people always say guys find it harder to talk about
their feelings than women. Do you think that’s true? – There’s a lot of the old
kind of Victorian stiff upper lip thing, especially in British societies
where you don’t show those things. It’s like putting on armour,
putting on camouflage. In a Band of Brothers, that is,
if someone shows a vulnerability you actually think I can trust that guy because he’s being honest. – What do you think are the
issues that quite a few men are dealing with that, I guess,
we’re not really talking about? – It’s talking alone.
It’s who do you talk to? Everything stays here
and you’re just emotionally disconnected from everybody. Other than Band of Brothers,
I’ve got nobody to talk to and it has been built up for …
which is why it’s caused me a lot of problems. – It’s interesting when I
talk to you because it’s like, you definitely, you have so many
interesting things to say, but I still feel, even when I
chat to you, there is a little bit of
holding some stuff back. – That’s because one of
the things that Band of Brothers tell us is like, it’s your story,
it’s not everybody else’s story so if you’re gonna give it
to anybody else, then let it be about you
and I’m trying to explain. There’s a lot of things in
there that’s just linked to others. – OK. I’m interested in that
relationship between the older generation and
the younger generation and kind of, what you see
being your role in that? What you get out of it. – I think it’s really important
that communities are cross-generational. I think when you start
segregating, an awful lot is lost. That energy, I think that’s what,
you know, our energy, at my age, my energy starts to dip. When these guys come in, it’s
like anything’s possible energy. – What about you? How do you see Pat
as a person in your life? – There’s a lot of things that
I like that he likes, like the bushcraft
and just being outdoors; very laid back and really
easy to connect with. – Probably both coming from
working-class backgrounds as well. – Yeah. It’s a real struggle
to bond with privileged … not privileged as such,
the ones that act more privileged. It’s a lot less down to earth.
– That makes so much sense. – A lot of say working-class lads,
they would have gone into trades and apprenticeships, which
isn’t happening so much any more. I think there’s a lot of emphasis
on schools and academic achievement and the actual practical
skills are being lost. – There is people that just
aren’t made for office jobs, they need to be more
hands-on. – There’s nothing wrong
with that. – Did you have, I guess,
role models, or a strong relationship with your dad or uncles
or other people growing up? – No, not at all, really.
I just grew up on my own, in a way. Through the care system,
didn’t care about old people. They say respect your elders
but it was quite hard for me to do as a youngster
’cause all I heard was people barking orders at me,
so I didn’t have to listen to them or respect them or
care what they said. – Did you say Ben,
you’ve got a daughter? – A son.
– You’ve got a son? – Yeah.
– Wow, so we’re talking about the older generation, but you’re already the
older generation. – Yeah, he’s seven next month.
– OK. – So he’s getting on a bit.
[laughing] – At the beginning of Band of Brothers
they ask you, ‘Where do you want to be? What do you want?’ I told them one of the main
things I wanted was stability because I was facing
prison sentences again and just not finding
anything to do in my life. I needed the change
and I’ve found it. So now like, full-time work,
got my son every weekend, a nice house, so I
got to where my goal was. – When you’re thinking
about your son, how do you decide what
kind of dad you want to be? – It’s quite hard with
the masculinity thing. You don’t want him to
over show emotion, ’cause he’ll cry over
anything then but I want him to be
emotionally connected. – You want him to be
balanced, right? – Yeah, I want him
to be balanced ’cause I was shut off
for years, which led me down paths of aggression
and just not bonding with no one. I don’t want
that for him. – D’you wanna?
What do you want to do? – Do some gardening?
– Start gardening. – Do you really wanna do?
– Keep talking? – I would actually love to.
– Would you? – I’m a city girl, you know.
Look, look with these nails – Look at those nails.
– I never do any gardening, ever. – Yeah, I can tell.
– You can tell? I don’t have a garden.
[laughing] – Don’t London have allotments?
– Allotments? Only on EastEnders. – Or patches of grass
next to roadsides … Roundabouts … Look at the state of the grass – Do you want to do
some weeding? – Are those weeds?
– Yeah most of them are. But they’re pretty? – Yeah, a weed is just a
plant in the wrong place. – Oh, right.
[laughing] – Do you know about gardening?
– I can dig. [laughing] – This here, borage
that’s … bees love that. – Alright.
– Milk thistle. – Tell me what to do.
– Just get that underneath there, and lift that. And then you’re going to pull,
once that’s loosened a little bit, then you’ve got to get
all these little bits out. – With my hands?
– With your hands. – With my actual hands?
– With your actual hands. – That’s what you wanted weren’t it?
– Yeah, yeah. In fact, you said you’re
actually a grandad? – I am, I am actually
a grandad. – Do you see yourself as
a grandad most of the time for these guys? – Erm, not really.
[laughing] – We’re in our mid-20s.
– I’m not that old. – I mean, you did say that.
I’m sure you said that. – My role is … no I am an elder,
which is, I suppose like a grandad, in a way. – You’ve got children then? – Yeah, I’ve got three.
One girl, two boys. – Having sons, do you reckon
that helps you when it comes to working
with the guys in the group? – Absolutely, I think I’d say my kids
were my biggest teachers, actually. – What makes you wanna go
and work even more with other guys? – I lived in France for a
long time in isolation. I came back to the UK
and you know, I got involved. I missed community, so
I got involved with communities. And if you’d have asked
me that, say a year before that, about working with young
people, I would have said I couldn’t think of
anything worse. Say for example now,
when you look at the way I will say ‘the media’
portrays things, it’s always, generationally,
they’re like, ‘Oh young people are like this
and old people are like this’. It’s like they’re pitted
against each other. Like young people are
completely different, especially in things like
Brexit or whatever. When I chat to both of you here,
it feels like there’s none of that. It feels like you’ve got
a lot of common … Or most importantly
it’s a respect, do you know what I mean,
it’s a respect between generations. – I think you’re right,
it’s a symbiosis, it’s a respect both ways. You can’t demand to be
respected ’cause you’re older. The young need to be
respected in the same way. They’re the guys of the future
so it’s a two-way thing. – The generational gap ain’t
just youngsters against olders, it’s olders against youngsters.
It’s judgmental. – Yeah. – What do you think old people
judge young people for? – Just misunderstanding.
It’s not being able to understand where a person’s coming from. – What do you think are
the stereotypes that older generations have
about younger people? – I can see sometimes,
like fear on people’s faces just because they see a group
of younger people together but that’s them jumping to
the assumption that that younger group’s
dangerous because of what they’re seeing
through media. – Yeah. – Say for example, if
we acknowledge that there’s been a separation
between generations, how do you decide to tell
them how you’ve decided what kind of man to be? How do you kind of build that?
– We’d ask them that question. You’d ask them that question.
Is that the man you wanna be? There’s no, kind of, prescribed
formula to it, I wouldn’t have said. – So Ben, for example, yeah,
if you’re trying to think about what kind of man you want
to be, what do you base that off? – There’s two obviously, there’s
two ways you can look at it. There’s obviously the man
you don’t want to be, so you can bounce off
of that and see a lot of that. – What kind of man
do you not want to be? – I don’t wanna be this
character that’s just lost and doesn’t know what
I’m doing. I wanna know what I’m doing,
I don’t wanna sort of … Lost people end up usually
turning to crime and drugs, alcohol, ’cause they
haven’t got a path. Being the man that I
wanna be, is just … You look at a lot of
other people and you see happiness,
the stability that they’ve got, and you aspire to do that. – Oh, look is that a potato?
– Well done. – Is that a potato?
– Well done. – You’ve caught your
very own potato. You can take that home
with you and put it on the mantelpiece
and if you watch it very closely it will turn into
a bag of chips. [laughing]
– I want to put it back in the ground. So I really enjoyed the
conversation that I had with Pat and Ben, just like
many of the others I’ve had in this series. It felt really open and
interesting and I feel, as a person, not just
as a journalist, I’ve had a lot of my own
kind of ideas challenged, there’s been lots of
food for thought and I’d like to hear what you guys
have liked in particular and what you would like to
see us do in the future. Like, comment and subscribe
to this video to keep up to date with everything that
we’re doing. Thank you.