What was going on with your writing then?
At the time, people weren’t talking about books. They were talking about TV plays, fringe theater, cinema, rock music. Then I read Jerusalem the Golden by Margaret Drabble. By this time I’d begun reading the big nineteenth-century novels, so it came as an absolute revelation to me that the same techniques could be applied to tell a story of modern life. You didn’t have to write about Raskolnikov murdering an old lady, or the Napoleonic Wars. You could just write a novel about hanging around. I attempted to write a novel at that time, but I didn’t get far. It was pretty bad. I have it upstairs. It was about these young students drifting around England one summer. Conversations in pubs, girlfriends and boyfriends.