My dad, before I was born he had a shop, he worked as a taxi driver, and then he consistently worked in textile mills for a variety of reasons. I think he found it much easier working for someone else – which is something I’ve inherited from him – hate the idea of business. But the thing about textile mills even then, is that they didn’t pay particularly well. I remember seeing my dad’s wage packet this one time and this is 1979/80 – forty-five quid! Forty-five quid! And my dad had worked twelve hours a night, five, maybe six nights a week. But my dad always had a thing about working when he could work, you know, a work ethic and a belief that rejection of work was kind of immoral which is something I like to believe too. But we seemed to get round the money thing. My mum was a very good housekeeper. We had a couple of other friends and we did all things that kids do, you know, played footie, rode bikes, smoked cigarettes and all that. School was slightly complicated because at that time there were kids still coming over from Pakistan, so every now and then I’d be asked by the teachers to interpret for these kids – years before people got all sensitive and even practical within education. Racism at that time was fairly rife, from other kids and from teachers, you know. It was just normal, you know, this is what happens at school. Growing up, it became more so for a while. British society became quite politically charged for a while during the middle of Thatcher’s reign I guess. And that sort of helped identify who I was, and by that time I’d started working and stuff so I got to see and learn more about the world.

The thing about literature though, is that it’s always been kind of there – maybe I just resisted it. The two lessons in school I enjoyed more than any others I suppose were Maths and English. I had a big thing about Maths, and I had a big thing about English Language. I got O levels in both and then I got kicked out. But I always liked writing and I could write a lot quickly and expressively. I always did well in English and the teachers were reasonably impressed but they always gave me those bullshit lines about acting foolish and not taking things seriously. But then after I got kicked out of school, I started working and I guess I had no need to touch a pen in that sense any more. And it was only when I went back to further education in my late twenties that I started writing again in an FE academic capacity if such a thing exists.

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