What is it about Aberystwyth?
Over the years the sense of betrayal I felt about the sandwiches gradually subsided.
Later, I read German at the Universities of Warwick and Freiburg. After that I became, for a while, the world’s worst aluminium salesman, raising the art of not selling aluminium to levels which have seldom been matched since.
In my time I have been an advertising creative director, a BMW assembly line worker, a deck hand on a yacht in the South Pacific and a hotel washer-up.
In 1998 I quit my job in advertising and took a year off to write Aberystwyth Mon Amour, the first draft of which was finished on board a cargo ship off the coast of Guyana. The novel was published in 2001 and was well received and my editor at Bloomsbury suggested I write more in the series.
I duly rented an apartment in Bangkok for three months and wrestled with the problem of how to continue a series about a town I had carelessly wiped off the face of the earth at the end of Book I. Somehow that three months turned into seven years, and one book turned to four.
I left Bangkok in 2007 and now live in Oxford. I spend my time drinking beer, fighting tyranny and generally being a bit of a berk.
Aberystwyth can really break your heart sometimes…
‘I have come to the conclusion this is the same trick repeated every spring by the old courtesan Aberystwyth. She cakes on the all-concealing foundation, and stands at the back of the chorus line, where the shadows are deeper, hoping that her faded charms will last another season, while the leg-kicking strumpets at the front twirl petticoats that flash and blaze like fireworks in the hot footlights. Is it not so dear Louie?’
‘I’ve never heard Aberystwyth described like that before but it captures her perfectly’. –From Aberystwyth with Love
The day it all began…
A photo that captures the moment I became aware of my destiny: to catalogue the moral turpitude of Aberystwyth. My best friend Marty had a note from his Ma’ excusing him from games on account of his tuberculosis. Games teacher Herod Jenkins dismissed the note and sent Marty off on a cross-country run from which he never returned. I knew I could never rest until I had faced down my games teacher and given Marty justice. But I was too scared. So I invented a fictional character to do it for me.
Marty, front far right. Herod Jenkins, front, third from right. King of Welsh Noir, back far left.
Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to,
while all the time we long to move the stars to pity—Flaubert
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