Born in Stoke, I spent the first four and a half years of my life living with my mum and dad in an old rented farmhouse. It was said to be haunted and my Grandmother still swears she once saw the covers at the bottom of my bed moving as my toes were tickled by a poltergeist. During this time, I generally wore moccasins and tartan dungarees. Eh? Give me a break – it was the seventies!
After a bit, we moved to an old Victorian house with a nice big garden. The lady showing us round ratcheted up the excitement by telling me there was a “playroom.” I went in, expecting something akin to Disneyland, only to be confronted with a big empty room with pebble-effect linoleum. Then I had a sister. And a dog. Or was it the other way round? The dog (a red setter named Danny) was a lively soul and, within a few months of getting him, leapt up at me playfully, catching one of his canine teeth in my cheek and tearing a large chunk out of my face. It healed up ok as these things do when one is so young and chubby. Not long after that, Danny got run over by a car and it was left to my little sister to take up the biting duties.
My dad’s work took us to Spain for a year, and the tartan dungarees were ditched for grey, knee-length shorts. School in Spain was ok – there were a few other foreign kids but you still needed to speak Spanish to get on. Unfortunately, I couldn’t speak Spanish. Fortunately, I learned early on that running around shouting “Capitán, Capitán!” (Spanish for ‘captain’) was sufficient to get involved in most of the war games that went on in the playground.
Soon after our return to England, Dad bought a holiday cottage in a fishing village in Aberdeenshire, close to where he grew up. We’d travel up there by car several times a year (and still do). The journey from Stoke took about eight hours and, in between bickering with my sister on the back seat, I would often use this time to scribble down stories.
My dad was a professional musician and at senior school I also got into music, teaching myself to pMy dad was a professional musician and at senior school I also got into music, teaching myself to play the guitar and drums. I wrote a lot of songs and played and sang in a rock band on and off, doing a few gigs around Stoke.
When I finished senior school, I went on to study French at Bangor University in North Wales, and spent a year living in France as part of the course. After graduation, I did all kinds of weird and unwonderful (?) jobs but never really settled into anything, my only real interests being my story-writing and music.
These days I’m happily married and living back in Stoke with my wife and daughter. All roads lead to Stoke...
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