As a teenager, I ran a small poetry and short story magazine. It had a suitably overwrought title, was lots of fun and put me in touch with a whole load of people who’ve influenced who I am today.
One such person was Geoff Stevens who ran another, far longer established, magazine called Purple Patch. I didn’t realise at the time but Purple Patch was one of the best respected and widely known small-press poetry publications in the UK. Both Geoff and Purple Patch were based in West Bromwich, and for a little while, Pebble Mill. These were far off and exotic lands to the teenage me, living in a windy ex-pit village in the north-east.
When, a few years later, I found myself living in the West Midlands, I had a go at getting in touch with Geoff; no more than a couple of answerphone messages. Then other things got in the way and, well, now it’s too late.
I was sad to read, today, that Geoff died a few days ago. So, thanks Geoff for your encouragement and I’m sorry I didn’t try to call again.