Today I'm being interviewed by The Big Issue. Before you ask, no, it's not an interview to see whether I'm competant enough to sell the magazine, but because Bluemoose is based in Hebden Bridge. You see the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival starts at the end of the month, and The Big Issue want to know why there are so many creative people and organisations in this small Pennine town. Well, towards the end of the 1960's lots of Hippies and like minded people left the hippy trail and bought cheap property here in Hebden and started an artisitc community that boasted artists, musicians, and alternative therpists. Anita Brookner calls it, The Greenwich Village of the North.'It is also a beautiful part of the country. Hills, streams, rivers and Ted Hughes started The Arvon foundation up the hill in Heptonstall. Sylivia Plath is buried there too. In the past thirty years, the place has flourished. I wrote a book, ANTHILLS AND STARS. It's 1968 and in Paris the students are rioting but in Broughton, a mill town 20 miles East of Manchester, the Permissive Society has just arrived driving a multi coloured VW camper van. That's the Plug.
Today, Hebden thrives. Poets on every corner and if you're not careful, you can find yourself starring in some street theatre and before you know it, you'll be sporting dreadlocks and throwing eggs at MP's. There are more counsellors here per square foot than anywhere else in Europe. Only California boasts more therapists. We do however, suffer from, PSCD. Post Stress Counsellor Disorder and of course we have a therapy for that too.