Life’s a funny old game. A few years ago I found myself sitting down for a pint with Steve Ignorant, front man of punk legends Crass, and wondering how to answer his suggestion that I worked with him on writing his autobiography.
I’d first met Steve a year earlier, when I’d worked as stage-manager at his ‘Feeding of the 5000’ gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Somehow he’d got hold of my books of poems, read them, liked them, and reckoned I was the person to help him tell his story.
To be honest, I didn’t know what to say. In many ways, being a poet’s an easy gig. You work on your own, when you want to, you write about whatever takes your fancy, and few poems drag on over more than a couple of hundred words. Could I write a whole book? And be sure Steve would like it? I’d no idea, but I told him I was willing to give it a go.
It was a good decision. Steve was a pleasure to work with, had a wonderful life story and a great world view, and became a good friend. The book, when it came out, was something we were both very proud of.

All of which is a preamble to saying that I’ve been doing the same again. For the past eighteen months I’ve been working with someone from another UK punk band, and the two of us have been putting his story down on paper. It’s taken a while – we’ve had to fit it in round my work and his tour dates – but this week, the first draft will be done and dusted. With a little luck, and a good deal more graft, the finished book will be in our sweaty little palms by the start of summer.
I’ll be making more of a song and dance about it (won’t be much of a dance, mind, not at my age and with these knees) once we’ve sent it to the printers. For now, consider this a heads-up on a book which will be well worth reading, and one I’m very happy to have been involved in helping write. Once again I’ve been privileged to sit with someone and listen to them talk about their life and where it’s led them – and make no mistake, that is a privilege – and have a good old chuckle with them while I’m at it.

I don’t quite know how it is I end up doing the things I do – I never have – but it beats having a proper job. Like I said, life’s a funny old game.
Now excuse me while I scuttle away to write those last few chapters….