In the acknowledgements in the published novel, I simply listed those I wanted to thank. Here, I go into a bit more detail:
As the most vital part of my work, the start, took place in Newcastle-upon-Tyne I want to thank the staff at all the Newcastle Libraries I used, particularly Jesmond Library. My studying of DJing and Drum ‘n’ Bass was carried out at the excellent ExploreMusic Library at the Sage Gateshead. Sadly, due to budgetary constraints, Jesmond Library is now only being kept open a few days a week by local heroes in the community, and the Sage had to shut ExploreMusic altogether. I fear that closures to libraries such as these will massively undermine us all in the future; doors that were once open to me may well feel shut to others today.
From the two trips I made to south Wales to research the Brecon Protest Camp of early 2007, I must thank Kate Emmens and the landowner I encountered walking her dogs, whose name I sadly lost!
Wanting to create a setting for the wedding scene in Chapter Eight, the staff at the South Causey Inn, County Durham, were great sports after I pretended I was getting married and asked to have a look around (thankfully, I have grown up an awful lot since then).
I thank Adrian Salmon and Dr John Barber for allowing me to see firsthand some of the amazing outreach and community engagement work they do at the University of Leeds, where I am proud to have studied.
However my greatest thanks from the research phase go to Dub FX. I firstly came across Dub playing music on the street in Manchester, engaging with the locals and creating a carnival atmosphere. That happened to be at a time when my first notes were being written, so I seized the opportunity and picked Dub’s brain about his passion for music. From the moment I approached him, Dub was accommodating and honest and his perspective helped developed the concept of the Values. He also inspired a character that appears at the very end of the novel. Dub is a true role-model, whom I know is always welcome here in Manchester.
REVIEW OF FIRST DRAFT
Simultaneous feedback on the manuscript from my two friends Alex Lovett and Patrick Malone proved invaluable. Each brought their individual perspective to the table and didn’t hold back any constructive criticism.
I wrote Chapter Six, and celebrated reaching the half-way point in the first draft, during a wonderful stay at the farm of Chantal and Jean-Claude Gueny, parents of Xavier, my old flatmate in Paris. I treasure that week in Villiers-Sur-Seine, at the heart of France’s Champagne region, and enjoyed spending time with the parents of two friends for life.
My thanks go to my friend Tim Slater for his excellent job in illustrating the front cover. Tim took a huge amount of pride in this project and his contribution has been met with outstanding feedback from my friends and family.
I’m humbled by the fabulous work of Rob Birkett in building this website the way I envisaged it, as well as the efforts Chuan Wong for all the images of the notebook. Two real pros at the top of their game.
Huge thanks to my editor, the wonderful Jan Disley. Jan’s warmth and easy-going nature allowed the project to benefit fully from her 30-plus years in the writing business. I look forward to working with her in the future.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
My wife Emma, not only for a vital interjection that changed the shape of the early chapters, but also for her continued encouragement and confidence in me. I am a better writer with Emma by my side. Like I said in my vows, this is our journey. Whatever happens, we will experience it together.
Asmar Gondal, Manchester, February 2014