‘A Walking Shadow’ 1965-75 p. 1

My university ‘adventure’ had  ended; and now I had to find a job.

I had acquired a shelf of books, but had no shelf to put them on. I was homeless.

I’d   read as much philosophy as I could. Extracts from the great philosophers, and all about Kant, Wittgenstein and Heidegger from Bertrand Russell’s  The History of Western Philosophy.

A friend, who worked at the Natural History Museum in Kensington, put me up in his home in Putney. He suggested that I walk over to the V&A and ask if they had any job vacancies.

There was a menial Civil Service job available  in the basement office. I was accepted. In  a year’s time I was promoted to Museum Assistant in the National Art Library.  I had taken the first steps on a career ladder.

A colleague offered me accommodation in his poky ,flat in Harley Street Mews.  The BBC ‘head honcho’, Lord Grade, parked his chauffeur- driven car beneath us.

I had time to read and write a little. I went to poetry readings and met George MacBeth, (‘Mr Poetry’ at  the BBC), and Mike and Frances Horowitz.

I had a risque  poem called ‘Consummation’published in a magazine called  Poetmeat.  It published other young ‘new’ poets: Penelope Shuttle, Lee Harwood and Dave Cunliffe. I also had poems  accepted by Scrip, Breakthru, and Preface.

Like Birmingham University, the V&A had been partly designed by Aston and Webb in 1909. The two buildings were so similar.

London was ‘swinging’; and I was at the heart of it, buying my clothes at Biba every week and wearing the shortest skirts possible.

And I bought a book of poems, which I really loved:  North from Sicily. Poems in Italy  1961-64  by Alan Ross Published by Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1965.

I really loved these fresh, direct, very modern poems. And had no idea then that in 2001, Alan would publish some poems of mine in the last two editions of  London Magazine  shortly before his death; and that all those years in to the future, I would attend his memorial service on Tuesday, 30th October 2001 at St Paul’s church, Covent Garden.















One thought on “‘A Walking Shadow’ 1965-75 p. 1”

  1. What great destiny to have been right at the crest of that ‘swinging’ momentum in 60’s London….like a planetary “renaissance” compressed into a few short years.
    I only caught the backend …


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s