Simon Gough - a Brief Biography.

Simon Gough has written since he could first fill a fountain pen - deathless poems, prose and plays, which he wisely kept to himself. His parents were in the theatre, his father, Michael Gough, something of a matinée idol in the 1940's and '50's, his mother an actress, Diana Graves, who'd had T.B. as a girl and was constantly ill. Unable to work in the theatre any more, she took to her new beds in France, Rome, Portofino and Majorca, and to journalism, writing for Vogue, Harper's & Queen, Town, and for the B.B.C., finally publishing her autobiography, To My Astonishment, in 1958. She was considered a wit - and one of the best 'listeners' of her time, creating an ever wider and more extraordinary circle of friends who relied on her for help and advice.
Meanwhile, Simon's father had begun making films (some 129 in all), of which The Man in the White Suit, with Alec Guinness, was one of the earliest, and the Batman series, (playing Alfred to George Clooney, Val Kilmer, and Michael Keaton,) among the last.
What with his mother being ill, and his father almost never out of work, Simon was evacuated from London soon after he was born, in 1942, and spent the first years of his life mostly in 'boarding homes', and then in boarding schools, many of them with more than their fair share of traumatised ex-servicemen as school-masters, who meted out revenge for their own shortcomings on the boys in their charge. Although the casual brutality of 'the System' was already dying, by the age of fifteen Simon decided he could wait no longer to be free of it. Having been shown how to make simple explosives by the farm-manager of a school friend, he turned his destructive powers to blowing up old Nissen huts and disused sewers. If he hadn't been caught, he might have gone on to greater things - the school tower and a loathed master's living quarters growing ever closer and clearer in his sights.
He was lucky enough to be chucked out by a forward-looking headmaster who felt a certain sympathy for him, and for his mental state: fifteen years of boarding-homes and boarding schools, while not uncommon among boys in the '40's and '50's, could send certain 'more imaginative boys' round the bend. There was also the matter of his 'inappropriate relationship' with another boy - a natural enough phenomenon in single-sex schools. However, no evidence had been submitted or found to prove that the relationship had been anything but platonic, 'but even so, for the sake of the other boys…'
Through his father's influence, he was admitted to The Central School of Speech and Drama as their youngest student; he wouldn't be able to join acting classes until he was 17, but at fifteen he could join the Stage Manager's course, under David Cunliffe. Within nine months he was out on his ear again, having pulled down the safety-curtain which divided the Director, Walter Hudd, from the cast he was haranguing, which included Simon's secret love, Julie Christie, performing Chekhov with James Bolam and Sebastian Breaks. The draught of several tons of iron curtain wafted Mr. Hudd into the orchestra pit, and wafted Simon straight back onto the streets of Swiss Cottage.

PLAN B. : The Manchester Guardian, Fleet Street.
Even dogsbodies needed a bit of a leg-up to get on, and a wholehearted reference from his great-uncle, Robert Graves (sent post-haste to the Fleet Street Bureau Chief, Gerard Fay), secured Simon the position, eventually, of sub-secretary to The London Editor after eighteen months hard graft. This meteoric rise was suddenly interrupted when he fell in love with an 'ingenue' in a play he'd seen, and followed her (and her mother) to the South of France, where they all became embroiled in a troupe of exotic dancers, with disastrous consequences for Simon. His sudden absence from his office was covered up as much as possible by Gerard Fay's loyal and inimitable P.A., Joan McCulloch, until finally the whistle was blown, and he was 'released' with a letter of reference equalled only by his great-uncle's..

Plan C. : ACTING.
A short stint in Weekly Rep. at The Arthur Brough Players in Folkestone, putting on many of Roy Plumley's ('Desert Island Discs') masterpieces of unintentional farce played during 'tea matinees' which rendered the actors so helpless with laughter that the curtain had to be brought down half a dozen times during each performance until the cast had pulled itself together and the front-of-house staff had finished sweeping up the broken teapots in the auditorium. This triumph was followed by Television work from a stable of television producers and Directors (Charles Jarrott, Guy Verney, Toby Robertson, etc.), who made sure, for his mother's sake, that he was never out of work - the work ranging from a stint in Coronation Street to eventually (in the late '60's), playing Borkin opposite Derek Jacobi in Ivanov, and the Duke of Clarence in Richard III, opposite Richard Briers - who had to speak all Clarence's lines in the First Act when Simon 'dried' stone-cold on the opening night.

Plan D. : Back to The Guardian (as it was now called), at 192 Gray's Inn Road.
Due to a sudden need for him to help with the office-move coinciding with a temporary window of joblessness which looked as though it might never re-open. Joan McCulloch, determined to find him a career in journalism, insisted that he accept an offer to read Spanish Philosophy and Letters at Madrid University (the only university in Europe which would accept him), and he was packed off with an allowance of 2 guineas a week from his long-suffering grandfather. It is at this moment that fate, destiny, or The Weird Sisters (or all three of them) decided to take a hand in his upbringing, ensuring that his great-uncle invited him to Deya on his way to Madrid for advice and moral support.
It is here, in 1959, that the story of The White Goddess : An Encounter begins; a true, yet almost mythic story of love, lies, betrayal, and repercussions which still echo to this day..