The use of that last phrase, “style over substance” has always been, as Oscar Wilde observed, a marvellous and instant indicator of a fool. For those who perceive a separation between the two have either not lived, thought, read or experienced the world with any degree of insight, imagination or connective intelligence.
Douglas and I, as the first two owners of Apple Macs in Europe, played for years (before the internet would have made it easier) like kids with train sets, swapping software and routines and programmes. No colour, no hard disks for some years: but damn it was fun.
Downstairs lurked Sue Freestone, DNA’s publisher, wishing that I would go away so that Douglas would get on with his latest novel. As a way of getting rid of me she offered me an advance for a book of my own.
So I went off and wrote one.
When I came back Douglas was no further forward with his. As is well known, he HATED writing.
He was a huge man: when he was in a house it rattled and you always knew he was there. He did the same to the earth. It doesn’t rattle any more now that he’s gone.