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I, ME, MINE

I was born on Hampstead Heath in 1953, in a maternity hospital adjacent to Whitestone Pond. Due to my father, Richard McNeff, being a repertory theatre actor I spent my childhood all over England and in Scotland, too. 

 

When I was 11, we settled in West Hampstead. I went to Westminster City grammar school. My long hair broke the rules, so I did my ‘A’ levels at Kingsway College and then took English at Sussex University.

 

My first job was as a carpenter for the Greater London Council. I was known as the “Ace Craftsman” as I was so ham-fisted. So, I went to Barcelona and taught English for the British Council. This was 1975, the year Franco died. Next, I went to Ibiza, then at its pristine best, sold Spanish foreign legion surplus in the hippy market and ran an international school. I also spent a year in Amsterdam but can remember nothing about it.


I returned to London for a while then taught in a washing machine factory in the Basque Country. It was the worst stage of the war between ETA and the Spanish state. In 1985 I was drawn back to Ibiza. I taught English, wrote songs and sang for a band called The Smugglers of Love. I became friends with the sculptor Barry Flanagan and curated shows for him.


Apart from a stint in Baku, I have lived in London since 1994. Until last year I worked for the London School of English in Holland Park, where I was in another group, Banned Practice, sadly missed (by me). I have a daughter called Astara and a grandson, Willow.

At Sussex University
Ibiza in the seventies
With Barry Flanagan
With Willow and Astara