William J Booker © all rights reserved.
I always felt this story needed to be told and after putting it off for years, in 1989 I finally began using my lunch breaks to scribble a rough draft. In late November I rented a cottage for a month in Thornham, Norfolk, and, using an old word processor, I keyed in what was to be the first draft. It came out at just 70,000 words.
Due to pressures of work and other commitments (I was a partner in a graphic design/advertising agency and was managing a punk band from Stamford, Lincolnshire at the time, as well as being on the committee of a literary society), I put the manuscript away and forgot about it.
In 1999 I split up with my then partner and stored a lot of belongings in my brother’s garage. I looked for the manuscript (and three more hard copies) but they all seemed to have disappeared. My ex-partner told me she had accidentally deleted Trippers from the word processor when she cleaned it out prior to giving it to her mother. I thought there was a back-up copy on disc but that never did turn up.
At that point I gave up looking for the book, accepting that it had become a victim of circumstances and got on with my life.
In 2007 my brother decided to sell his house and asked me to go over and sort out my stuff. Unsurprisingly, it comprised a great deal of hastily-packed crap that now needed throwing out. As I was about to throw a box of old paperwork into the skip, I noticed a grey document wallet amongst the contents. To my surprise, it contained the last remaining copy of Trippers. It was in a musty condition and still bore the working title The Madcaps Laugh.
I handed over the manuscript to a friend as she expressed a desire to read it. She was so enthusiastic about the story that she keyed it into a Word file for me (being a very fast touch-typist which I am not). This enabled me to get to work on it once again. After re-reading the manuscript 18 years after I had last set eyes on it, I realised what an incomplete work it was but had forgotten what I was going to do with the second draft.
Photograph taken in July 1971.
L - R: Bill, Freddie, Syd, Ray.
Currently a writer and graphic designer: I split my time between the two.
I enjoy writing, reading, graphic design, photography and walking. I live in Leicestershire,
Three years at art college. To date I have worked as a graphic designer in advertising
agencies, as a director of an advertising agency, as a partner in a design company
and as a freelance designer.
I served on the committee of a distinguished literary society for ten years.
Other activities have included lecturing in graphic design at an art college and
managing a punk band, a metal band and (briefly) an indie band.
Besides writing and designing I’ve done time as a screen printer, a post office worker,
a plasterer’s labourer, the weigh-man in a book warehouse, a van driver, a limestone
flooring salesman, an admin assistant, an airborne data analyst, a Photoshop artist,
a seminar organiser and also worked in a couple of engineering factories.
My writing has so far included a series of short stories, book reviews, advertising
copy and press releases. I am currently working on a new novel.
About writing Trippers
During the next few months, memories of those specific few weeks in 1971 kept popping
unbidden into my head so I quickly scribbled them down. After a while I unwittingly
developed the knack of using various memories as ‘keys’ to unlock even more memories.
The experience was akin to going into trance and produced an amazing amount of new
material.Sadly, the notes I made in 1971 that I had used as source reference during
the first draft were also lost in the shake up of 1999 - but I had already taken
what was needed from them and these new recollections more than made up for the loss.
This is the story of an 18 year old told by an 18 year old (with a little artistic
license). Without added sophistication, subtlety or hindsight. Of course, the music
we listened to was always going to be an important factor.
What was I going to do with it? I had known for a long time that the story fell naturally
into a strange parallel series of symbolic elements and is essentially a tale of
the great hiding in the small. This was all adding up to an impossibility - too many
disparate angles. How to tell it? After much thought, I realised it had to be a combination
of kitchen sink bathos, droll soap opera and slapstick comedy that would, as it unfolded,
become transparent enough to reveal certain nuances. And sometimes hide things in
The book was completed in December 2010.