smoky Potteries

Robert Beech was born in a two-up two-down to a working-class family in the ‘Mother Town’ of the Potteries, Burslem, just as few streets from where the later Robbie Williams was brought up. Robert attended one of the first ever comprehensive schools not far from where Robbie Williams’ dad sang in a club and left aged 16 armed with four GCSEs not including maths. He went on to do boring, unfulfilling manual work.

In his forties he became a university student and completed a degree and two post-graduate degrees, all Arts subjects so he was then unemployed. He went on to do boring, unfulfilling office work, far away from Robbie Williams, and his dad.

Robert has dabbled in writing for much of his life, along with guitar-playing, banjo-playing, long-distance running, short-distance running, watching Stoke City, cutting dovetail joints, playing the mouth organ like Neil Young, walking cliff paths, hitting the perfect topspin backhand, inspecting ancient carpentry, pitch and putt, fundamentalist religion, knock-out whist, the Jane Fonda workout, wood-carving, stone-carving, driving a narrowboat without crashing, squeeze box playing, dressing up as the Green Man, bricklaying, ornithology, reading novels in Italian.
Most of these he has given up, and most of what he learnt he has forgotten.

In 2018 Robert independently published The Purple-Bellied Parrot. The idea behind its publication (besides social comment and artistic expression) were the undoubted riches it would bring that would enable him to leave the boring unfulfilling job.

In 2019 he left the job anyway and went to the west of Ireland to renovate a house. Covid struck, extending the stay, and he wrote Comanche Is Not My Name and Cow Killer while gazing out at the rain and cows.

The first book Robert remembers reading is The Coral Island by R. M. Ballantyne.

The first record Robert ever bought was Mama Weer All Crazee Now by Slade off Russell Chadwick for 45p.

Desert Island Discs (all subject to change according to mood):
The record he would save from the waves is: Days of Old (1960), by B. B. King.
Book: Close Range, by Annie Proulx
Luxury: An electric guitar and a very loud amplifier and an electrical socket to plug it into.

Reading: Robert finishes only about 1 in 4 of the novels he begins.
He does give them 100 pages. Fair's fair.
He believes books generally are too long and he doesn't like books with lots of ‘he/she felt’s in them.