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This report is taken from PN Review 203, Volume 38 Number 3, January - February 2012.

Roy and Sandy Neil Powell
They were, like most good double acts, chalk and cheese; and it may seem strange that I think of them as a double act at all, since I never saw them together in the same room. Roy was Roy Fuller, the distinguished poet, fine novelist, prolific reviewer, Oxford Professor of Poetry, BBC Governor and, in his other life, successively Solicitor and Legal Director at the Woolwich Equitable Building Society. Sandy was Sandy Meikle, a Scottish accountant who became General Manager and then Chairman of the Woolwich, in both of which capacities he was, at least marginally, Roy's boss. I think that at times they disliked each other almost as much as they liked each other, a paradox less uncommon than it looks but nevertheless deserving some explanation.

I first heard of Roy Fuller while at school, thanks to an English teacher, Alan Hurd, who was good at signposting the way to interesting contemporary writers. 'What is C. Tomlinson up to?' he'd demand, in his elegant Cantabrigian hand, as a postscript to his detailed comments on an unconnected essay, and once: 'You should read R. Fuller.' Precisely because Alan wasn't given to dispensing irrelevant non-literary information, it stuck in my mind when he told me that Fuller had vaguely Kentish links: we were in Sevenoaks and, as he knew, my parents had recently moved from Surrey to a village near Westerham; while Fuller had as a young man lived in Ashford before eventually settling in Blackheath and working in Woolwich ...


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