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.