Sometimes I look at the biographies of other writers and wonder what’s gone wrong with my life. I’ve never rowed the Atlantic, worked for the security services or spent three years exploring for oil in the Arctic wastes. Joolz Denby, who has been nominated for some prize or other, married a member of Satan’s Slaves bike gang and has ’70 per cent of her body covered with tattoos and she has 25 body piercings in her ears, nose and chin.’ I married a lovely woman who was working for the Baptist Housing Association at the time and I have one earring and no tattoos. Maybe I should get out more. Or at least get more pierced.