Market Harborough’s very own larger-than-life pirate, Steve Rippin, has put pen to paper and plundered his first pageturning blockbuster book.
The title of his chunky but riveting 736-page semi-autobiography, ‘Life Through My Eyes’, couldn’t be more spot on.
Because indomitable Steve, 44, has had trouble with both his eyes since he was just a boy.
But even though even now he’s waiting to have more vital operations on them he’s ramming home one overpowering message to readers in Market Harborough – always look on the bright side.
Steve, the self-styled Positive Pirate, told the Harborough Mail in a fascinating, wide-ranging interview: “I’m 44 now and I’ve already packed so much into my life.
“I’ve been on an amazing journey from start to finish.
“And my book, I’m sure, will take you on a journey that you will never forget.”
The charismatic, freebooting new author added: “It’s brilliant because I’ve already had so many fantastic reviews from people.
“Life Through My Eyes has only been out a matter of days, it was only published on Monday September 28.
“But people are telling me as we speak that I’m making them laugh, I’m making them cry.
“But most of all my book’s making them feel better.
“And it’s just the best feeling to know that all being well I will make people feel so much more positive and stronger.”
Steve, who lives in Market Harborough, has been forced to battle extreme adversity since he was struck down by juvenile arthritis when he was just two years old.
“Arthritis hit me in the knees and somehow the inflammation spread to my eyes.
“Don’t ask me how, it seems too incredible, but that’s what happened,” said Steve, who lives with his dad George.
“I had to wear an eyepatch on my right eye for a while when I attended Fairfield Road school and I was bullied as a result.
“You try to brush it off but it does have an impact on your mental health as I was in and out of hospital for crucial eye ops.
“It made me down and I withdrew into myself.
“And it certainly hasn’t helped that I was brutally beaten up twice in nightclubs in Market Harborough.
“I was punched in the left eye when I was 21 in the old Broadway club on the Riverside estate.
“And then I was head-butted in the Enigma club when I was 32.
“Both times I ended up badly injured and spending the night in hospital,” recalled Steve.
“The totally-unprovoked attacks did make me very wary about going out into town.
“But I’ve got great mates and they looked after me.
“I’ve become known as a Jack Sparrow lookalike after the Johnny Depp character in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, which are huge fun.
“So I’ve built up a high profile on Facebook and Instagram to try to inspire and entertain people as I go along.
“Someone’s just told me that I’ve helped to save his life with my posts.
“He was ready to commit suicide but he’s now been inspired to get the help he needs.
“It’s so brilliant and humbling to hear that.
“I have an alternative appearance.
“I am telling people that it’s OK to be different and look different.
“Be yourself, be who you are.
“That’s the overwhelming message of my book.
“I’ve worked on writing it every day for the last three years four months, it’s been a genuine labour of love,” said the carpet cleaner with poetry in his soul.
“I have been to dark places, even now I’ve had a detached retina and am waiting to undergo critical new surgery.
“But I’ve got a mate of just 41 in Market Harborough who’s got cancer and who’s only got weeks to live.
“That puts my struggles starkly in perspective.
“It’s been an extraordinary year, a really challenging year, for us all all over the country with the coronavirus pandemic forcing the lockdown.
“But we will all get through this tough time.
“As soon as one day ends a new day starts.
“So I know that sometimes it can be easier said than done.
“But let’s be positive, let’s stay strong and let’s all support each other – not just now but for the rest of our lives.”
Steve’s rock and roll book costs £12.99 and is published by top local Harborough publisher Troubador, based at Kibworth Harcourt.
“You can order my book from Troubador and you can also buy it from me by contacting me on social media.
“And I’ll deliver it straight to you at your home in the Market Harborough area because I’ve got copies at home,” he said.
“So drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do!”
If you would like to buy Steve’s book and put a smile on your face and a song in your heart you can contact Troubador at: https://www.troubador.co.ukYou can get hold of Steve, Market Harborough’s very own Jack Sparrow, on his Facebook and Instagram pages at: