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Franc Roddam, probably best known as the director of the cult film Quadrophenia, expressed a lot of interest in the manuscript of At the End of Tobago Street during the 1990s and requested I work on it some more. Due to a series of complications I wasn’t able to make the changes he wanted at that time. But I have made changes over the last few months and am publishing chapters as I complete them in the hope of generating the same sort of interest again.
Though not the pervading theme, the novel takes place against a background of Thatcher’s Britain. Inner city riots, miners strikes, the Falklands War; it was as though old lines were being drawn once again and Britain was becoming more divided than it had been in decades.
In 1983 the Act that came to be known as Care in the Community was introduced as a measure to release physically and mentally disabled people from hospitals and other institutions into the community. The effects were devastating for some, particularly schizophrenics, who often ended up on the streets with severe drink and drug problems.
At the End of Tobago Street is the story of a schizophrenic whose condition is not recognised by those closest to him. He ends up in a downward spiral of increasing paranoia exacerbated by heavy drug consumption. There follows the opening paragraph with a direct link to the first chapter.
“He needed to see her. Desperately. Yes, he did remember they’d promised not to contact each other, but this was different. They were following him again. Of course, he was sure. He was in a phone box at that very moment and could see a man standing at the corner of the street. The man was pretending to read a newspaper and kept glancing up the road towards him. Was she calling him a liar? No, it wasn’t the same man as last time. He hadn’t seen this one before. He would tell her more when she came. He had to be quick, they were closing in on him. She should take the address down before his money ran out. Tobago Street, number forty-seven. The tall house at the end. It was easy to get to, just across the river, New Cross. She could be there in less than half an hour. Okay, okay, it could wait till she finished work that evening. But she would have to promise. No, promise.” Link: At the End of Tobago Street
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