The playwright, 70, talks about boring Bexhill, envious Ted Hughes, flogging at Lancing and his shocking self-hatred
My father was a sailor, so he was away for 11 months of the year. Even when he came home, he was still absent. My mother was nervous, shy and insecure, and long periods without a husband were the last thing she needed. She was very embarrassed when my father omitted his children from his will, but my sister was not surprised. She said: “Dad was never interested in us when we were alive, why should he be interested just because he’s dead?”
It’s wonderful fortune for a writer to be born somewhere boring. In the 1950s, Bexhill and boredom were joined at the hip. Tedium is hugely stimulating for a child’s imagination. Suburbia is a classic writer’s breeding ground. For the rest of your life everywhere you go is intensely interesting, because it’s not Bexhill.