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This report is taken from PN Review 179, Volume 34 Number 3, January - February 2008.

At Mermaid Manor Neil Powell

It was a summer evening at the Poetry Society - in its spacious Earls Court Square days - and we were there to launch a book of Peter Scupham's: I'm guessing that it must have been either Out Late (1986) or The Air Show (1988). Anyway, there we all were, drinking wine in the courtyard garden before the reading, and Jeremy Brock said: 'I've just done this new thing for the BBC. It's called Casualty.' Perhaps we looked insufficiently impressed. He was, after all, addressing four of the most television-immune people on the planet: Peter, Margaret, Adam and me. 'It's on the cover of the Radio Times,' he added plaintively; and then, somewhat abashed: 'Actually, it's a load of bollocks.' 'Well,' I said brightly, for it's surprising what a couple of glasses of publisher's plonk will do for an empty stomach and an emptier head, 'that would've made a more eye-catching Radio Times cover.' Adam laughed - it was his sort of joke, and meant for him - though no one else did.

I thought of this one day last summer, meeting Jeremy again for the first time since that evening in Earls Court. I'd briefly taught him, over thirty years ago, at a funny place called St Christopher, Letchworth, before he (as far as I remember) stalked off to somewhere in Wales where he could study for the then rare International ...


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