Sometimes you can see a peculiar kind of blue in Accrington. You can normally see it when the sun goes down behind the hill where the former NORI brickworks use to be. (It’s now a new housing estate.) The afterglow spreads over Accrington Stanley’s ground, and then casts a peculiar blue green light into the back room of my parents’ house.
In the very early 1990s, on the dole and living back at my parents’ in Accrington, I began to draw and write in earnest, and in secret. I thought of applying to St Martins’, but couldn’t be arsed. The post ERM crash suited me. No jobs worth having in East Lancashire. Still: I needed a counterpoint to my friends’ exciting lives in dreamlike places like Bedford, Lutterworth or Chalfont St Peter. And, around 1993, London, where my more urbane mates ended up. I started to draw what it would be like to, you know, go there.
Then I would go to the corner shop and buy 4 cans of Trent Mild, and mixed salt and vinegar peanuts and salted crisps, and read the Acccrington Observer letters page and listen to BBC Radio 4.
The past is my playground.