I was born in Slough in 1972, and where I went to Slough Grammar School (although it was called Upton Grammar then). I attended Anglia Polytechnic University in Cambridge for three glorious years (during which the University changed name twice - from AHEC, AP, to APU), where I was a member of Cambridge Student TV and a founding member of the Cambridge Media Group. Returning to Slough, I worked for Ottakars booksellers and became an editorial assistant on Story Cellar magazine. From 1995 to 1997, I attended Thames Valley University (which, unusually, has not changed its name), and was awarded an MA on their excellent Cultural Studies course. In 1998, I began a long stint of working for Amazon.co.uk, where I won the Amazonian Award in 2000, and where I edited their internal newsletter Amazone. In 2002, my essay on Masculinity in Dune, Spartacus, and Lawrence of Arabia
was studied at the University of California. I left Amazon in 2005, and now live in Ealing with wife Michelle. My main preoccupation is editing the literary review magazine, Authortrek.com, portions of which have been reprinted in the US edition of Joanne Harris's Sleep, Pale Sister
, and quotations from the site were used on the cover to plug Neal Asher's debut novel, Gridlinked
. I also wrote a reading guide for the US edition of Joanne Harris' novel Gentlemen & Players
. I have performed poetry at London's Poetry Cafe, and at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith. I am currently the Web Content Manager for the Society of Young Publishers. From 2007-2008, I worked for Random House, and I now freelance for Orion and Legend Press, who own the YouWriteOn imprint.
Elliot Gold stared at Doctor Tell's ceiling. He was used to the sight. He saw the Gucci doctor once a week, and told him all his woes. Elliot had tried to persuade the team to join him in a group session, but neither they nor Doctor Tell had agreed to it. Doctor Tell had a reason why, but just wouldn't tell. That was probably where it all began to go wrong, Elliot thought. Prior to that had been his revelation to a journalist from The Sun that he had learnt all his training skills from Duxford State Circus when he was a lad. Until that moment, Elliot's timing, his ability to read the game and life itself had been perfect. Elliot had held the complete respect of the team. No one had ever questioned him before that. Not long after, with his confidence in his own abilities low, Elliot had sunk to introducing the long ball into Duxford's game.
If truth should be told, as it should be in Doctor Tell's office, Elliot had only devised the tactic because he had heard that all first team players at Wimbledon regularly saw a psychoanalyst (and what better club to emulate than one which had come from nowhere?). So, Elliot had decided that Duxford United could do with some of the same mind quackery. He would have tried anything to have healed their confidence, and what better way than to confide their woes to a pro?
It never had occurred to him that the real reason why Wimbledon players went to see the men in white coats was that they were all nutters.
Doctor Tell's ceiling was fascinating. To the casual observer, the black and white blobs on each tile merged into a meaningless jumble, but to Elliot, they signified something far different. One of them had a semicircle of black with a curved swirl of ebony in the middle. It was obvious to anybody but a referee, Elliot reasoned, that this was Graeme Souness. To his left was a lanky and quite unpronounceable piece of soot - Kenny Dalglish. Another had a wispy effect - definitely the late Bob Paisley. And the one with the bold black strokes? Shankly. Frankly, it had to be Shankly.
He should never have listened to that man. What was his name now? That man he had met in the Duck and Cower? Mister Chadwick - that was it. One might well have taken advice from Mister Spud. And fancy ever trying to emulate Wimbledon, Liverpool's bogey team. No wonder Liverpool's majestic crowned heads stared balefully down at him from the ceiling.
"How are we today?" the impeccably dressed Doctor Tell asked.
"Oh, fine," Elliot lied.
There was something about this room that reminded Elliot of the confessional: it was the bars on the window. Whenever a priest asked if he had sinned, Elliot had seen fit to invent a whole litany of crimes, falling just short of mass murder and littering. He hadn't wanted to disappoint the priest, since he could never remember them anyway, they were so numerous. But you just had to say something in that situation. Okay, so lying, and thus committing another sin, was not an ideal solution, but saying you hadn't sinned at all was positively sinful in Elliot's eyes, even if you hadn't. Still, he had only been a practising Catholic till the age of ten, and then he'd only gone to confession with his class. That was when you proved how hard you were by how long you took to do your penance.
"How's your schizophrenia coming along?" Elliot asked.
"Very droll," the Doctor commented, although it was at least the thousandth occasion with which he had encountered the remark. "You know, Mr Elliot, the one danger of psychoanalysis is that the patient and the therapist will swap places. In your case, however, I believe we are quite safe."
"Well, I certainly keep you in business, Doc. I'm your best customer."
This was a slight fib on Elliot's part. He was, in fact, Doctor Tell's worst client. Doctor Tell resisted imparting this news to his client in case it made him depressed. He didn't want Elliot to get any worse.
It was hardly fair, Elliot reasoned to himself (thus making Doctor Tell redundant). Thank God he hadn't heeded Chadwick's other advice though: to hire a ballet dancer. Elliot couldn't see a weak little lass running through their SAS fitness regime, let alone lead it. But then again, Elliot had come to maturity in the late seventies, when no one had heard of a feminist movement, apart from the defenders at Arsenal.