1.Tell us something about your background, experiences and travels.
I was born and dragged up in the English seaside town of Blackpool in the north-west. School was not so much about formal education but honing my skills in fighting, playing football and chasing girls (all of which I’m utterly dreadful at, by the way). As unemployment was high in the north-west, I left town to join the RAF for 6 years. I suppose 1994 was a real watershed for me. I was stationed in the North of Italy, where I fell in love with an Italian girl and, more importantly, the feeling of “being a foreigner” and communicating in a language that isn’t my own. In the decade that followed, I was to leave the forces, go to University and live and teach in Italy, Finland, Japan, Bulgaria and Poland. I moved to Valencia in 2005. I now work as a teacher for the British Council and (occasionally) a mediocre actor on a free-lance basis.
2. How does living and teaching in Spain compare to other countries?
One thing that really surprised me was, in general, how traditional the country is. Prior to coming here, I assumed that Spanish people were spontaneous, open and crazy party animals that made us Brits look dull and grey in comparison. Instead I have found myself living in a place where the entire country sits down to eat at the same time (14:00h and 22:00h, on the dot), people are judged on the way they dress (maybe this is why many Valencians spend their Sundays walking slowly down Calle Colon dressed like our royal family on a hunting trip) and where people are relatively closed to music and food from other nations… and believe in the stereotype that, compared to other nations, they are spontaneous, open and crazy party animals…
Saying this, I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me and I evidently enjoy it because I’ve been here for 12 years! I really love the warmth; both of the climate and the people. I think Valencia’s a breathtakingly beautiful place to live and I have the most wonderful friends here who are basically my family. Maybe these last twelve years have not been the most stimulating years of my life but they have certainly been the happiest.
I suppose a place with the warmth of Spain, the music and sense of humour of the UK, the food of Italy, the level of culture of Eastern Europe and Finnish girls would be my personal utopia.
3. Tell us something about your band, ‘DIZZY CANVAS’
Style: Indie Post-Punk. All originals.
Line-up: Wayne Flint (lead vocals) Ian O’Leary (Lead guitar) Dave Rhead (Rhythm guitar, keyboards) Tom Stutter (Bass) Jonathan Paige (Drums).
We have got a gig on Friday 23rd November in ‘Funkadelia.’
Come and see us!
4. Any plans and hopes for the future?
Lamentably, at my age, I am forced to accept that the door has probably closed on my ambition to play professional cricket for England now (I’ve been waiting for a call from the England and Wales Cricket Board for 30 years now). However, I’m more than happy to continue working in the EFL sector. Ideally, I’d like to have a variety of activities in my life, including teaching, writing, examining, conferences etc. Work aside, I can see myself retiring in Valencia and continue playing the guitar. My electric guitar is probably my most prized possession.
5. What is your philosophy of life?
I have seen many people watch opportunities pass them by and complain that life has dealt them a rough hand. I suppose my philosophy is be pro-active and create your own luck. I was brought up in a poor area where unemployment was rife and my school meals and uniform were paid for by the state. I´ll never forget my roots (e.g. I remain an avid follower of Blackpool FC to this day), however, I needed to leave and carve my own chances in life. For this reason, I have been “lucky” enough to live in many different countries, meet lots of wonderful people and do lots of cool things.
Interview by Owl