The first thing about me that comes to mind right now is that I’m crap with computers, I’m crap with the internet and I’m crap with email. So don’t ask what I’m doing with my own website, but here goes...
Second thing that comes to mind: apparently it isn’t the “done thing” for the writer of a book to explain the book because the book should speak for itself or something. That may be so, but it hasn’t stopped lots of readers e-mailing with questions about it. So here’s the long-promised website. Thanks for your interest in Londonstani and cheers for dropping by.
First, a big shout to Chris Morrissey for actually putting this site together (did I mention I was crap with computers?)
Now, a quick CV because I have no idea what else I’m supposed to stick in a section called “About the author”.
London, 1976 (August 27th if anyone wants to fatten me up by sending me cake).
Height: 5.10; Weight: 8 stone - see, am serious about the cake.
Birth of my brother when I was two. Somehow he’s now older than me – or is it wiser?
Mum came to London from Uganda and worked as a radiographer while bringing us up. She was an incredibly tremendous mum (I know, I know – you’re not meant to stick this kind of stuff in your CV unless you want to be unemployed. But I can’t write about myself without giving her and my bruv a shout out. Did I mention she was incredible?)
Yes, you deserve a shout out too, wifey.
Journalist at the Financial Times since starting out as a graduate trainee in 1997 (very lucky, I know - but I guess these lucky breaks have got to go to someone). Along with a stint in our Washington bureau, I also really enjoyed covering the media and telecoms industries - where I reported on all the dodgy mobile phone scams that crop up in my book, Londonstani. A bunch of my articles can be accessed from the list below this CV.
Selling cheap stereos and stuff at Tandy Electronics on Hounslow High Street.
Can’t decide between the regulation stint scanning barcodes at my local Tesco or kitchen portering for a local temping agency - which basically meant washing up giant metal davas (really big un-nonstick pans) after Indian weddings.
Isleworth & Syon Comprehensive School for Boys (favourite subjects: English and History). Then Christ’s College, University of Cambridge, where I studied Social and Political Sciences and spent way too much time working on the student newspaper - but hey, I’d wanted to be a journalist even before my bollocks dropped and I didn’t have a Plan B.
Also spent too much time on my university dissertation about the Brit-Asian rudeboy scene and the rejection of our parents’ efforts to integrate with mainstream Britain - leading to the development of our own brand of Britishness. It started out as an excuse to go back home and interview my mates, but I got really into it and it ended up propping up my degree. A synopsis of the study and its findings - in the form of an essay I wrote for the FT’s Saturday magazine - can be found at the end of the list of articles below this CV. Anyway, I over-researched the thing so all the surplus interview tapes and notes formed the basis of Londonstani. It began as non-fiction, but when I turned 25 and still hadn’t made any progress I started writing it up as a novel instead - which I finished four years later and which was first published in May 2006.
Video games; Football; Gameshows; Clowns; Jewellery; Shaving over puss-filled zits; Tossers who try to get laid by ordering the nightclub’s most expensive bottle of champagne.
Only ones worth boring you with are books and films.
Top five recommended books:
First Love and other stories by Samuel Beckett;
The Stranger by Albert Camus;
Drown by Junot Diaz;
The Subterraneans by Jack Kerouac
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger.
Top five recommended films:
Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino);
La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz) ;
In A Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray);
Croupier (Mike Hodges);
Salvador (Oliver Stone).
If you haven’t read and seen most of these yet, what are you wasting time surfing the internet for?
Links to my journalism
‘‘Mixing and matching: What’s
wrong right with Asian boys?’
- Financial Times, April 22nd, 2006
‘Sounds of Assimilation’
- New York Times, August 19th, 2006
‘The Manor As Muse’
- Time Out magazine, February 7th, 2006
‘Organised Crime: Customs officers crack down on mobile phone fraud’
– Financial Times, December 11th, 2001
‘Street Crime: Networks at odds as theft of mobile phones soar’
- Financial Times, February 9th, 2002
‘Weight of evidence pins Whitehall down in BSE inquiry’
- Financial Times, 27th November, 1998
‘US employers labouring as jobs market tightens’
-Financial Times, April 12th, 1999
‘US hero battles to win voters’
- Financial Times, June 1st, 1999
‘US groups come under spotlight over human rights abroad’
- Financial Times, July 5th, 1999
‘Slice of Orange appeals when the price is right’
(article about the mobile phone company’s stock market flotation)
- Financial Times February 10th, 2001
‘Cell phones research looks for the authenticity’
(article about the problems with research efforts into the health effects of mobile mobiles) - Financial Times, January 25th, 2002
‘A Spaniard in the works of spread betting’
(article about a City spread betting scandal)
- Financial Times, March 23rd, 2002
(interview with the then head of BBC Worldwide)
- Financial Times, March 4th, 2003
‘Cut-price gladiator goes to the cinema’
(article about EasyGroup’s budget cinema venture)
- Financial Times, May 15th, 2003
‘The perils of being left in da corner’
(random article about music industry consolidation)
- Financial Times, September 16th, 2003
‘Haven’t we seen that programme somewhere before?’
(article about reality TV legal battles)
- Financial Times, September, 20th, 2004
‘Copyright’s haven of stability’
(article about the music publishing industry)
- Financial Times, November 18th, 2004
‘The other jet set: tales from village Heathrow’
- Financial Times, November 19th, 2005
‘It is right to show the bullying in Big Brother’
- Financial Times, January 19th, 2007