I left school as late as they’d let me, intending to be a writer, and prepared by taking on the usual jobs: vat cleaner at a brewery, grave-digger, maintenance man, then a few years as a librarian. Early ‘success’ with a pamphlet from Outposts and some acceptances, gave hope, but it took most of my twenties and eight novels before I knew I wasn’t a novelist.
After nearly bankrupting BAE and a stint as transport manager for a computer peripherals company, working for myself seemed the best way forward. The resulting poverty and other ‘prams in the hallway’ – dealing with mss as editor, printer and publisher, over-commitment to local politics and, finally, owning a bookshop, meant I wrote very little for twenty years. Only after the too-early death of my wife, and a subsequent move to Scotland, did whatever acts as my muse return. Now I live in Lochaber, walk the hills, weed my garden, and would whistle in the rain if I had any bottom teeth.
‘In On the wall Barrasford Young meditates on his school failures in science in particular and concludes “but the world lost an astronomer/ and I’m not sure what it gained.” I would suggest that it gained a very decent poet.’
...the marvellous Absolutes, has the feel of Stevens about it ... the inversion of the first and last stanzas questioning our conception of the ‘idea’ .... ‘The extended metaphors of the sonnet Relationship ... show a poet on top of his game with the poem resonating on more than one level.