The first thing I ever made at art school. An ash-tray, present for the mother. She smoked Woodbines.
I was working as a bus conductor and living in an attic room. The ceiling sloped, so you could only stand up in part of it. Small sink and a single gas ring. When I found out you could rotate it to make a grill, bliss, toast. I gave up the job because they asked me to get my hair cut. Philip Gray was at Southport Foundation School and suggested I apply, you get a grant. The one problem was that I was useless at art. He offered to give me some drawings and stuff, but I refused, thinking if I have to front it I should do it. So I traced LP covers onto wall paper. They were desperate for students, it was November and the numbers were down. I applied Friday and started Monday. I had to forge my Dad's signature on all the forms; he'd never sign anything for me, thinking I was up to some scam. Because I came under Liverpool Education the grant I got for the year was 10, Phil was on 300 plus because he came under Southport Authority, more generous.

I worked in ceramic and photography at Southport. I couldn't paint and my drawing was abysmal. The pots were okay but it was all a bit folksy, I didn't have a clue, really. I saw myself as a poet, not an artist.