I was born at the tail end of the Baby Boom or the
beginning of generation X, but really fell between those two
generations just as my parents fell between the generation that lived
for jazz in the twenties and the one that fought the war in the forties.
Far too clever for the grammar school, where I learned nothing
because I'd already learned everything at the Library before my teachers
deigned to impart their alleged wisdom.
I was bad at sports
apart from archery but my Uncle took my bow away as I
was not to be trusted with a weapon.
The navy wanted me to be
in Supply and Secretariat. I said no because I knew I'd
hate the idea of being stuck behind a desk.
I decided to be a
biochemist because I wanted to make designer drugs, preferably ones that
would make people easier to persuade. I had a place at Warwick
University to read Biochemistry and Chemistry but I couldn't go because
my parents refused to pay their share.
I went to Cambridge
instead and worked in a ridiculously low-paid job in a chemical
synthesis lab. Never did learn to make designer drugs but I did learn
to make napalm. I also joined my first band at age 21 after they'd
heard me singing in the Great Northern in Cambridge. Didn't last long
because, just like my mum, they wanted me to be a girl.
enjoyed Cambridge and met some of the best friends I'll ever know there.
The thing is though, I was real stupid about relationships. That
stuff doesn't come naturally to me and in the end, I had to learn it all
out of books. I've always been more comfortable with an audience than
one to one. I've also always been happier writing poetry than telling
people stuff to their faces. Esto es la vida mierda!
never realised though was that, with the exceptions of probability and
cryptanalysis, I have little aptitude for maths. I was okay at
it at school but nobody (apart from Dr Whitehead, the shrink they sent
me to when I was unable to cope with other kids at primary school)
realised that my verbal skills are off the scale (even more surprising
in that I have a form of dyslexia that means I have difficulty
distinguishing right and left).
I corrected for this and moved
to London for a degree in Cultural Studies (it was a new discipline then
and I thought it was going to help me rule the world or at least get me
into the media). Boy was I wrong, with my 2:2 clutched in my hands, I
applied to every television station in the UK... and the Irish Republic,
France, Belgium and the Netherlands. They all turned me down and after
two years of unemployment, I ended up working in an office.
I've worked at the Department of Health for 26 years now, mainly because
nobody else would give me a job. In that time, I've written seven novels, three screenplays and countless short stories. My first actual publication "Seven Sins" (written as Quinn Agathoni) will be launched on December 18th 2014.
I've started singing again. I'm
hoping to make something of that but I'm fifty-four years old so who
knows. And yet, every time we played, and I heard how we sounded in the
last Vaccination gig, I realised we were brilliant. That
said, Richard said I was a "disruptive musical influence" (which makes me
sound like a cross between Captain Beefheart and Suzy in the Trio
adverts) so, the only reason I was in the band is I'm the best lyricist
since... well, since ever.
I left Vaccination and now front the American Style Punk band e-Cog Zero, where I strut the stage as my alter ego, Emily Zero.