The short version.
Born Hastings in 1979, I left school with no GCSE's.
Between 16-21 I had 11 jobs, in 5 towns living in 9 houses.
I left everything to travel in South East Asia alone.
Managed two pubs in Eastbourne.
Moved to Cyprus
Realised that if I wanted to be a writer I needed to learn how.
At 31 I gained a degree in Creative Writing
While Becoming a professional stand up comedian.
I earnt my Masters Degree in Script Writing for Television.
Had my first short film made .
This website is currently being built and is not finished
The longer version
If I had to blame two things for my lifelong passion for story telling it would be the First Gulf War and Dire Straits.
At some point while listening to my parents music I heard Dire Straits - Brother in Arms and I was inspired and decided that I should rewrite the lyrics (I can only assume that this is where my ego was born), Dire Straits did a better job but the idea of creating and an outlet for it was intriguing but My budding song writing career was hampered by my sole music ability being hot cross buns on a recorder (an instrument that is not easy to play while singing).
Then I invented poetry, it’s possible that others created poetry before the eleven year old me but I can’t imagine that I was exposed to too much poetry on a council estate in the 80s. I can actually give a rough date to my first story/poem because on January 16, 1991, Operation Desert Storm started and British soldiers went into Iraq, I watched the news on TV getting upset at the idea of war and then locking myself away in my bedroom I wrote a poem (like all eleven year old boys did?) it was in the form of a letter from a solider on the front line back to his girlfriend questioning the idea of war.
I turned twelve on February 3rd 1991 with Dire Straits and the Gulf War not realising the damage they’d done (damage to me, no doubt they both caused more harm elsewhere).
An urge inside me was born, a frustration of thinking of new ideas and concepts and having to get them out of head and written down and my only format was poetry. It would be eighteen years before I discovered a better outlet.
While I was creating private masterpieces about the concept of God, homelessness, the guilt of a married man having an affair. At school I was failing English. Although my greatest achievement in English was poetry, when I was asked to stand up in front of the class and read a sonnet by Shakespeare, my response was to suggest that if she wanted to teach us pointless things the least she could do was read it out herself. At sixteen I left school with no GCSE's.
Having already left home I moved two hours away from everyone I knew to work eight hours a day on a five wire machine in a factory where I had to produce 1447 units a day. Now in the interest of not boring anyone that has bothered to read this far let me skip a bit but before I do I want to clarify something, I enjoyed my time in that factory, I couldn’t care less about education, I had money and freedom and everyone seemed happy that I was not unemployed or in prison, I had overachieved.
So skip 16-22 years old, in this time I had 11 jobs in five towns and lived in more than 9 homes.
...we pick back up I’m working in a little independent bookshop, I got the job because I’d go in their café and write during my lunch from a different job. By this point I had written a book of poems called ‘I love, I know, I am’ three chapters love poems, opinion poems and personal poems. Id not shown anyone and I knew that people that come from where I come from can’t be writers but I also could not stop writing.
The bookshop was the first time I’d been given direction and I soon became a manager and part of my responsibilities was looking after authors for book signings. I met the likes of Terry Pratchett and Martina Cole and one of the nicest human beings ever Elizabeth Waite. I realised that poetry was pointless and I should write a novel, so I got a credit card and bought an expensive PC. Many times I sat at that PC not knowing how to start a book until I realised that I just wasn’t good enough to write.
Then one day my boss sat me down and gave me a promotion and a pay rise. My girlfriend at the time was also making plans for our future and I realised for the first time I was doing well and had people that cared about me, so I gave away everything I owned and went travelling. It wasn’t until others planned out my future that I realised really wasn’t going to be a writer, a fire was reignited as I came up with my new idea of why I wasn’t a writer, I wasn’t travelled enough (I had used the expensive computer to write up a few poems and write vague ideas for books)I’d never been out of the country as an adult and I flew alone to Bangkok with no underwear, travel books or visa. Seven months and three weeks later I flew home having been robbed twice in one night in Vietnam. I definitely got stories (and a written Edinburgh show that I never performed) but I didn’t become the writer that I thought travelling would make me.
Okay we need to skip a bit through what we shall call 'the drinking years' where I’d basically realised that writing was not for me but alcohol was. I'm 25 years old and my main focus in life is struggling with debt and going out every night (I was also running a pub) when a friend said 'I'm going to work in Cyprus, wanna come'. So I gave away everything I owned and left.
Why did I do this? Because I thought I will sit in the sun and write.
My first job in Cyprus was handing out fliers for a local nightclub, after the first night I nearly had to give up because I couldn’t talk to strangers (a few years later I would be standing on stage at the Hackney Empire Theatre in front of 1000 people).
Skip the fun bit of parties, beach, sun life and no writing.