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When did you become an anarchist, and why?

I was about 15 or so. My mates Kristof Brykczinski and Alex Benady were anarchists too. I had read ‘Homage to Catalonia’ by George Orwell. I found it impossible to believe that all these amazing and heroic people had lived and fought and struggled not so long ago, and yet nobody knew much about it and few wanted to find out. I still don’t understand why that is. Anarchism is just so obvious. No-one is born to rule over anyone else. Property and law are imaginary, even when they hold a strong grip on our imaginations. The detail of how any anarchist society might or will evolve is difficult. The overall concepts are simplicity itself.  

Are all your ideas original?

No, of course not. Most of the detail of events which happen in this book is fictional, the more general events are based on fact. I didn’t invent the Spanish Civil War, but all of Buenaventura’s doings are made up. BUT similar things will have happened to other people at the same time, in nearly all cases. What is slightly spooky is how I invented what I thought were original happenings only to discover subsequently that the same had happened to other real people. When Buenaventura’s father is buried the son refuses to attend the Catholic funeral, along with his father’s work colleagues. I later read of a similar event in “Miguel Garcia’s Story” where his father’s colleagues boycotted the religious part of the ceremony. Another example is where Federica’s son is kidnapped and forcibly held in a fascist orphanage. At the time I wrote this I thought I was exagerrating things, as I knew that orphans of Franco’s murderous reign of tyranny were brain-washed in those institutions. Only some weeks later did I unearth material showing that kidnap from living parents was a frequent prelude to being placed in the orphanage.

Is this your first novel?

This is indeed my first novel, but not my first attempt at a book. Thirty two years ago I wrote “Blabber and Smoke, a cultural history of Cannabis Consumption” which was an attempt to look at the issue of cannabis from a different angle to the legalise/criminalise duality which still plagues us. I did find a publisher for that, but he went bust almost immediatey afterwards (damned hippies!) and then I forgot all about it.

Why did I write this novel?

I was made redundant three years ago. After trying in vain for a while to get a ‘proper’ job I hit upon the idea of writing this novel. As for the subject matter, I have considered myself an anarchist since the age of 16, or thereabouts. I have never understood why the rest of the world cannot see the obvious truths about anarchism and thought to write a novel where the main character would effortlessly and naturally acquire an anarchist perspective on life. This was possible in pre-civil war working-class Spain. In much of the peninsular the prevailing ideology and morality was that of anarchism, preferable to the more authoritarian versions of socialism and far preferable to the hypocrisies and superstitions of the Catholic church. As my main charactter, Buenaventura, began to develop I determined to involve him in as many of the events of 20th century anarchism as I could. So that was how the plot line of the novel evolved. Buenaventura was needed in such and such a place, so that was where developments led him.

My first novel

I have just published my first novel, “Ucontrollable” as an ebook via Smashwords. It is the autobiography of a fictional 101-year-old Spanish anarchist.