route-compendiumQ: A performance of Soho is featured on this site, taken from the book of the same name that did very well for you. As with Old School Ties, the sense of place and character is very prominent. I suppose this piece was part of your shift from performance to the page; do you feel that this work still holds up, and do you still frequent Soho to the same extent as you did?

A: Up until three years ago, I had a rolling programme of decorating work in a couple of media joints around Soho and was there most days, mainly during the twilight hours when it was easier to get on. I made a rough outline of everything I wanted to say and Jonny Hannah did some ace illustrations. David Allison produced the CD and set up some small press. I feel the piece is very much a performance vehicle, but I only read it live once for a Channel 4 documentary. I’ve not read it in ages, but if I do go back to it, I’d certainly make some changes. It would sound great as a voice-over for Soho, but I don’t think it reached a wide enough audience, which was a shame. Distribution is ever a problem isn’t it? I’d still be interested in looking into it again.

Q: Is there anything you are working on at the moment?

A: Funnily enough, I’ve just started to set out a new short story that’s partly inspired by one of my poems and by a recent girlfriend – who photographed the cover for Old School Ties. Again it involves my trade, but it’s more about loss of a different kind. It might work as a short film, but I’m going to see how it pans out as a story first. Fingers crossed. I’m constantly at the poems and have an idea inspired by the great Louis MacNeice that could be good if I can pull it off. Apart from that, I’m hunting down some good old bread and butter decorating work. I’m skint at the moment. You will keep your ears peeled for me now, won’t you?

Old School Ties features in Route Compendium

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