When I'm doing radio interviews, I'm often asked how I got into the field of writing. Well, it was actually nothing to do with the paranormal at all.
I left school (actually I quit, walked out, stormed out - a long story...!) with hardly an academic qualification to my name, and those I did have weren't worth a damn thing.
And I had no idea what I was going to for work. That is, until I stumbled on an opening at a new magazine that was starting up in the area I was living at the time.
This was October 1982, I was 17, sported a Johnny Ramone-style bowl haircut, and was in love with Clare (Gregory's Girl) Grogan. And I needed money.
So, I applied for the gig and, to my amazement - given my abysmal record at school - got it!
Welcome to Zero: it was a regional magazine, focusing on such issues as music, fashion, local entertainment, equally local gossip, and so on.
Actually, Zero began as a definitive fanzine put together by 7 of us using a few old typewriters (yes, real typewriters, with ribbons - crikey!), loads of Letraset, and a battered old photocopier.
In fact, that was my happiest time spent with Zero - which, while it wasn't exactly the equivalent of Hunter S. Thompson's The Rum Diary, I like to think it came pretty close!
Zero eventually got picked up - and funded - by a local investor and became glossy and - shock! - was eventually filled with color photos, rather than poorly photocopies B&W images.
But, it didn't last. Two years later, it was all over.
For the next 5 or 6 years, I held down various jobs - van-driver, shelf-stacker in a paint and wallpaper warehouse, forklift-driver, the list goes on and on - but I knew all along that writing was what I wanted to do. And I have Zero to thank for that.
The picture above shows the front-cover of the first edition of the original fanzine version of Zero which, I still remember to this day, we put together on a cold, rainy Friday afternoon before heading off to the pub...
The image of Zero 1 accompanying this post may not be paranormal in nature, but it was certainly responsible for getting me writing on the paranormal!