Condensed milk version
Father of two daughters. Self-confessed slacker. Proud dreamer. Sporadic writer. Relapsed testicular cancer survivor. Head chef for a Yorkiepoo and a huge cat with a small head.
Weaknesses include: August Strindberg, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, HG Wells, Hammer films, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson and a yearning for office space in Norwich.
In 2014 I finished my first novel, a black comedy, The Wrath of the Four Horsemen, about my struggle with cancer and chemo.
Algie Kreake is my evening alter-ego, my pen name for writing. By day I’m a freelance graphic designer at ulga specialising in lettering and calligraphy.
The early years
I was born in West London just as the dearth of high-rise flats and housing estates began to blight the Victorian landscape. By the age of eleven our family had moved to a provisional town in Suffolk where I spent much of my teenage years mooching around with long hair and flared trousers, fishing and playing football.
My career spluttered into existence with an apprenticeship in engineering. Punk had already exploded onto the world and I lapped it up. The flares were ditched in favour of dayglo drainpipes and possibly the most unspikey attempt at spiked hairstyle ever.
However, my heart was never really in engineering, so I went back to college and retrained as a graphic designer before moving back to the Old Smoke to start a new career.
The glory days
My taste in music now encompassed goth, heavy metal and rock. The hair grew longer, the jeans turned to denim but remained tight. London is a city of discovery and adventure and I eagerly devoured its fruits: Gigs, rock clubs, theatres, bookshops and tube trains.
After umpteen great years in London, I jumped on the web design bandwagon and at the same time moved back to Suffolk to spend more time with my young daughters.
By this time the glory days of long hair were receding but worse still, I was buying clothes from Primark. The shock of returning from London also caused me to start watching Eastenders and listen to country music, which, thankfully, turned out to be a passing phase.
All of this paled in comparison when a short time later I was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to the lungs. After three rounds of BEP (plus an extra EP) chemotherapy it looked as though the cancer had gone, but the relief was short lived as three months later it returned, once again in the lungs. There followed four rounds of brutal chemotherapy at St Barts in London where they specialise in treating relapsed testicular cancer.
During my protracted stay in hospital, I starting writing a journal for my daughters to read when they were older, just in case… As I tried to escape from the reality of the situation, it quickly morphed into a novel: The Wrath of the Four Horseman.
Back to normality
Post-treatment and I went back to work but found the whole cancer experience had taken its toll on both body and mind. I took the plunge and went freelance – I now split my time between graphic design,writing, buying vegetables and looking after the kids. However, I always make time to sit at the window and watch the world go by.
The Wrath of the Four Horsemen
The Wrath of the Four Horseman is my first novel and was originally intended for my daughters to read when they grow up. That day is still a long way off and someone has to read the bloody book!
lazy and inept (I do exercise now) to run marathons, skydive, bungee jump or the myriad of manly charity pursuits that real men do, I hope the book will raise funds for male cancer charities as well as helping me achieve my destiny to work in Norwich city centre (it’s sad I know, but we’re all slaves to our dreams). I remain positive that flares will make a comeback but the hair is lost forever.
Read more about The Wrath of the Four Horsemen.