As a StoryTerrace writer, Andy interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know him better by reading his autobiographical anecdote below
My first proper writing gig, truth be told, was a ruse to impress a young lady. Said young lady – a pretty medical student, with great taste in bands – told me she was keen on Alt-J, a cerebral Oxford four-piece making waves in that halcyon summer of 2012.
Through a friendship I’d struck up with a magazine editor down the pub, I blagged two guestlist spots for Alt-J’s forthcoming show in exchange for a snappy 80-word review. Seizing the initiative, I also arranged to meet the band backstage for a chat, telling their manager my charming young medic companion was really a well-known local photographer and would they be okay posing for her.
Happily, my ruse paid off. But beyond impressing my date, something quite unexpected happened that day. I fell madly in love with the process of interviewing people.
This delicate art, of establishing easy rapport with perfect strangers to tease out the finer details of their life and work, is actually a kind of sorcery. To work well it requires trust, intimacy, understanding – a profound, clear-eyed connection.
Since that day I’ve interviewed hundreds of subjects, from rock stars to road sweepers, astronauts to A&E consultants. And I promise you it never gets old.
Within everyone is a deep well of stories and accumulated insights, remembered in unique and vivid turns of phrase. I cherish my role cataloguing these half-hidden nuggets, rendering them with graceful economy and lyricism.
To this day I maintain a special bond with the music of Alt-J – as if discovering first-hand the inspired clockwork behind their creative process somehow nourishes my own stock of wisdom.
And as for that pretty young medic? Reader, I married her.