My memoir Left Field was published in 2016 and is still available in shops, as an e-book and as an Audible book.
The intervening years have been ones of personal and political hope and of personal and political despair. In other words, nothing out of the ordinary.
Not surprisingly for someone in his seventh decade, these have been years when close friends have left this planet while I remain clinging to its edges, aware of Leonard Cohen’s words to Marianne Ihlen that, “I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.”
The subdural haematoma operation I wrote about in Left Field was followed two years later by a heart valve operation, then a stroke caused by infection of my new valve. I used my hospital stays to campaign for an NHS that had now saved my life more than once.
I am proud that the unfairly much-vilified Jeremy Corbyn visited me when I was in St Barts Hospital. The worst insult he has had to endure has been ‘anti-semitism’ accusations about a man who has been at the forefront of anti-racism struggles for decades.
To that end, I helped organise a letter in his support signed by Ken Loach, Brian Eno, Grime4Corbyn, Nigel Kennedy, Alexei Sayle and thousands of others, I consider Corbyn to be our El Pepe.
His visit to me was organised by Alice Kilroy whose recent death has left my grip on the planet edges more enfeebled. She was a wonderful friend and visited me in hospital more times than anyone outside my immediate family. I miss her.
These years have been ones when my eldest son lost and won back his disablity benefits. Many haven’t and many have lost their lives in the process.