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“Rad Dad Feature: Tony Slackshot”

‘Allo ‘Allo Tony Gainsborough is representing the “Modern Day Dad” all the way from England. Tony is a father to two cool kids and a devoted husband to his wonderful wife Sarah. They are his number one in life and you can’t ask about any of them without him gushing with love and pride. Tony is an example for all us fathers with his ability to balance his family life with his demanding day job. When his work is done and his kids are worn out from playing and tucked away in bed is when you see Tony’s other passion come out, his music! Tony is a killer DJ who puts on packed monthly DJ events. His company ‘Get On It’ puts on the best nights out in Chichester, UK. On the last Saturday of the month at the Vestry in Chichester you will find the best of Hip-Hop, Ghetto Funk, House and Breaks. They have been getting bigger and bigger, month after month and guaranteed, you will be dancing all night. Those who are lucky to have met Tony know that your always in for a laugh and a good time when hanging out, he just understands life and its balance. All he needs to do now is understand he is getting a little older and should move up a t-shirt size, those mediums are getting a little tight! – James

1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?

I have a number of different hats on top of my Dad hat. Firstly I work for Goodwood which is an estate owned by the 10th Duke of Richmond (the 1st being the illegitimate child of  King Charles II) here in Chichester, West Sussex UK. As well as being an estate with the typical large estate house, farm and woodlands etc, we also have 2 large golf courses and most importantly, and this is where I come in, we put on some of the worlds best motor sport and horse racing events. We have the world’s most beautiful horse race course and we host both Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival and I manage the team of 13 people that dispatch the 1,000,000+ tickets that we have to send out each year for all of these events. I’m also a DJ and extremely passionate about music. Which leads me to run my own club nights here in Chichester. One called Get On It ( which is all sorts of party and bass music and the other called Jackin’ ( which is purely about all forms of house music. As you can see, balance is the key word when it comes to all of this and being a husband and father.

2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?

To me, it’s all about taking decades of other people’s experience, both good and bad, including my own experiences as a son to my own parents and applying that to bringing up my own kids. I want to bring my kids up to be as life savvy as humanly possible. My daughter is 4 and she can already read and do math, but I want her to understand about life, the importance of having good values as well being a good academic. One thing I have learned since becoming an adult is it’s not just about what grades and qualifications you have. For me it’s about how you survive and carve a good life for yourself and achieve happiness.

3.How did becoming a father change your life?

It was weird. It was exactly like a switch being flicked in my head! As soon as I learned that my wife Sarah and I were going to become parents, my goals and sense of responsibility instantly changed. My views towards work became so different and it suddenly became easy to get up and go to the grindstone once I knew there was going to be someone that solely depended on me and my actions and choices in life. I remember it very clearly and couldn’t believe the impact it had on how I think. Otherwise I think it was important to me to still be me. I took a few years out from DJing while I adjusted but now that is back on track and life feels pretty normal, albeit a little more stressful. I also feel it’s important for me and my wife to still do things as just the two of us. After all, we are the reason our children are here and we should still celebrate being a couple.

4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?

The laughter! All the time I get to spend time with my kids there is always something that they say or do that has me bent over double in stitches. Betty, my eldest is 4 and is HUGELY confident. She picks up the things we say very astutely and will then says them back to us when it’s relevant resulting in often hilarious conversations. My son Baxter is 20 months old and is just learning to speak. He likes to make people laugh and some of the words he attempts to say have us breathless with laughter, and he knows it. Having said that, one of my happiest memories was taking Betty to the hospital after Baxter was born. The moment I had the amazing fortune to introduce a sister to her brother for the first time is one that will stay with me forever.

5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?

There are too many funny moments to filter out just one. However, the one time I suddenly realized something about myself and could only happen when I was a father was one time I changed Betty’s nappy when she was very small. I was changing her on her changing table and once I had completed the smelly task, I bent over to pick her up and lift her aloft. I then noticed both her socks were missing when I knew for certain she was wearing them 3 seconds ago. I looked down to discover they had both got caught underneath my belly and were still there! My stomach from that point was then affectionately nick-named “The Sock Trapper”. However you’ll be pleased to know after a long 4 months of hard training, the Sock Trapper has almost gone!

6. What advice can you give any new father out there?

There’s no rule book! Just do the best you can by your children. Be patient. Always communicate with your partner and try your best to only do the things you want your child to do in future. Lead by example. I also feel it’s very important to  pass a message onto those new Dad’s who’s partners are experiencing P.N.D. (post natal depression) as I myself have been in this situation with both of our kids. Although the available support network for Mum’s suffering from PND is very good, there is little to no support for Dad’s and this can be very hard. Being the partner of someone with PND, it felt as though I was just expected to get on with it and be a “Man”. Even worse at times it felt as though it was being communicated to by wife’s professional carers that I could have even been a trigger and could have been exacerbating my wife’s condition which was not true. Add this to the stress of supporting my wife and having to see her like that and hear the things that PND was making here think, I felt at a total loss. But I couldn’t give up. Neither should you. Things got better eventually and now we are back to normal and are a happy family. I would like to offer my e-mail address for this point as a form of contact and maybe even advice, or even for me to share my experiences with PND for anyone that might want to get in contact. In light of there being no support network, please feel free to contact me.

This Rad Dad Feature has been brought to us from England by my friend and guest contributor, James Clarke.  He nominated a pal of his to be featured as the first English “Rad Dad” and we were stoked to get to know him.  James is from England, but was raised in the states. He is married with four energetic kids and loves soccer and tattoos.  You can get in touch with James here:


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