Archive for January 10, 2009


I am not very keen on memes they usually arrive when you have a lot to blog about and never when you have the blogger’s block. 

But I was tagged by Jeff Kingston Pierce of The Rap Sheet and asked to provide 16 interesting facts about myself. The three other bloggers tagged at the same time as me were all shining luminaries of the crime fiction world [see here] and that convinced me that I should participate. 

Asking any egomaniac to blog about themselves is rather like giving a pyromaniac a box of matches. 
Well here goes with my 16 things, a fair sample of the boring and the bizarre:

1] Two of my greatest heroes are naval Commodore Uriah Levy [his duel in 1816 with William Potter shows his incredible bravery] and another brave fighter against prejudice Baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

2] My childhood home was directly opposite the road in which Detective Jack Whicher of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale lived in the 1830s.

3] I went to the same school as Raymond Chandler and P.G.Wodehouse though not at the same time. I found out about those ‘mean streets’ Chandler was talking about and played Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Hard to believe now but I could run fast, it is surprising how much 50 years and 15 kilograms will slow you down. 

4] I once was a pawn up playing a future Chess  Grandmaster.  I lost.

5] My distinguished amateur dramatics career included playing Christy Dudgeon, the submissive nitwick brother, in George Bernard Shaw’s The Devil’s Disciple, and Bottom in Midsummer Night’s Dream. 
I also played seven of the eight male parts in a radio play for a college project. The eighth male part was for the young handsome hero; I could not get that part even though I had the ideal face for radio. I was becoming typecast. 

6] I am a bit of an American Civil War buff and have dragged my wife round a lot of the battlefields, even to Perryville and Fort Donelson. Our guide at Gettysburg asked me if I knew as much about English history as I did about American. I said ‘no’ as we have a lot more history to remember than the Americans. 

7] My mother once told Mick Jagger he was mean and with all his money should buy a more expensive item. He had asked her if there was a cheaper saucepan in stock at my parent’s shop in the Kings Road, Chelsea.

8] I could eat fish for every meal, every day, and luckily I now live close to the sea.

9] I once lost my job to a ‘friend’ who a few months later murdered his wife. A very sad story [the murder not me losing the job], which even after many years sends a shiver down my spine. 

10] I used to worry about being short, now I worry about important things like breathing.

11] I have only travelled to 13 countries, but have visited 26 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. 

12] I was in Chelsea in October 1981 visiting my parents when the IRA bombed the Chelsea Barracks, and in November 1981 at home in Wimbledon when the IRA bombed the house of Attorney General Sir Michael Havers. 
I learned that bombs sound very loud even if they are a mile away.

13] My son worked in Canada, Dubai and Hong Kong during 2008. My daughter worked in Swindon. I just hope they will have jobs in 2009.

14] I once won a competition and the prize was the cost of our weeks holiday in Florence returned back to us in travel vouchers. Which meant we had to go on a free holiday to Rome.

15] I was on an advisory committee that voted 16-1 to close down a major London hospital. I am not offering any prizes for naming the awkward short bearded guy who was the one solitary vote to keep it open.

16] My wife is a ‘professional’ author, having received payment for an article in a very erudite magazine making me proud and a teeny bit jealous. 

Well that wasn’t too painful and I will tag Jeff back. 

Now to finish reading The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson’s brilliant sequel to the rather disappointing The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.