At Home in the Bushes – Book Review


It might come across as a little inappropriate, me writing a review for my own book. But I’d just like to tell you a little bit about it. I’ve been writing since a very early age, so finally having a project like this finished feels extremely wonderful, and I just want to share it with people.

One of the reasons I attempted to write a book was so that I could learn how to write books. I’ve always had a hands on, learn-as-you-go attitude to life, so it seemed like the best way for me to figure it out. But the main reason was that I wanted to share my tale. I felt it was a story worth telling.

It’s about a year I spent cycling, busking and wild-camping around north-east Britain, on an old bicycle I found in a ditch. I’ve always loved travelling, but in my early twenties I took this a step further and began actually living on the road full time. With a variety of campervans, tents, bicycles, shoes I spent years wandering around Britain, busking for sustenance in the towns that I passed. This particular trip starts a year into my bohemian period, just after I’ve lived in my first campervan. I was desperate to get back on the road, having now become accustomed to a life of movement; of freedom and curiosity. But the van was completely done for, and I had no money to acquire something similar. Fortunately though, fate favoured my soul. During a short bike ride into the countryside a scruffy bush caught my eye. I had some kind of epiphany. “I can just sleep in there.” I thought to myself, being aware of the multitude of British bushes about. And with the old ladies shopper bicycle, which my friend had helped me find, that’s exactly what I started doing, pedalling from bush to bush.

It follows me through Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, heading north; catching up with musical friends in places like Whitby. A serious of punctures lead me up to the Scottish border, into the glorious, awe-inspiring landscapes which I encounter. There’s a few hairy moments- wheels falling off, gunshots a little too close for comfort, bad camping spots, angry busking receptions. And it gets a little lonely sometimes, me out there by myself. But ultimately it’s me enjoying great bouts of vagrancy, freedom from: jobs, bills, rent, home, expectations of any kind. I could go where I wanted, when I wanted, with my guitar and everything else I would need for survival. Free to indulge on the hills, the grass, the trees, the twisting lanes; the great sky above me, the brown dirt beneath; strengthening more and more my bond with nature and the wisdom it instils in anyone out in it.

At the end I attempt a move to London, which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is in great contrast. Things don’t go that well. I find it hard to adjust, and the story ultimately ends up getting rather bleak. But it was important for me to document the hardships too, in order to give a well-balanced view of this kind of lifestyle .

I’m not a trained writer. I never went to university and studied English. I’ve just kind of figured it out by myself. And this is my first ever attempt at a book, so it is a little messy in places. But it’s authentic. I lived it and through the pages one reading it can live it too. It’s sometimes poetic, sometimes funny. There’s a lot of descriptions of nature, and the sensations being out in it brought upon me. There’s a lot of talk about music, about my influences and my interactions with other artists that I meet along the way. And there’s some philosophy too; my thoughts and ponderings on freedom and movement.

I originally got the book published back in 2014, but got rather screwed over in the process. Fortunately I managed to buy my way out of the contract, and am now trying my hand at self-publishing. I had a snazzy new cover done by Edinburgh artist, Sally Beaton. And shortly after had some copies printed. They went pretty quickly and now I’m on my second batch. You can order your copy for £10 here, or alternatively download the E-book for £4 here.

Thanks for reading!

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