IN THE WINTER of 1964, having recently arrived in Britain, I possessed pretensions to being a poet. Having little money, a dead-end clerical job in London with the General Accident insurance company and frigid lodgings in the attic of a brothel in Tavistock Place, I supplemented my meagre income by serving and washing dishes in the Green Café on the corner with Marchmont Street. I did not mind: it was the Swinging Sixties and I was swinging with them, living: the life poetical, and Orwell washed dishes in Paris.
My fingers freezing, genitals contracted with cold, I sat up in bed in a duffel coat reading all the modern poetry I could get. It was there that I discovered Dylan Thomas, and he has haunted my life ever since.
As I became immersed in the literary scene, I met people