13 biographical splinters

  1. I lead a double life. I’m a working writer. I freelance with advertising agencies and my own clients as a copywriter and creative director.  I have been paid to write everything from TV commercials to tweets.  But I also write plays. I write poems. I write stories. I collaborate with composers. I have too many ideas. This blog is an attempt to account for all this in one place.
  2. Words did not come naturally to me. When I  eventually learned to read (the last in my class) my world changed forever. I accelerated from Janet and John books to reading the penguin translation of Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre within three years.
  3. Some of my childhood was spent with ghosts. We could hear them crying like children and stamping up the stairs to the bedroom. At the time I was living with my grandparents in a  16th century granite cottage on the island of Guernsey. This convinced me, at an early age, that all you can see isn’t all there is. It probably led to me studying philosophy at University.Peter Plane crop
  4. When the new moon became visible, my grandmother would go into her garden and perform a ritual to assure a fortunate month. She would bow to the crescent nine times and dance round in circles shaking coins in her cupped hands. She was also a medium who claimed to have materialised orchids from India in her hands. When she went into trances it was hard not to laugh. I understood at that time that just because something is irrational does not mean it is meaningless.
  5. As a child in Guernsey I believed I would fall up into the sky. I held onto the hedgerows for safety as I walked to school. Since then I have had recurring dreams of being torn up into the sky. My first poetry collection was called The Boy Who Fell Upwards.
  6. My mother, my brother and I moved back to London, and my new friends were all from Indian families. I watched spellbound as a friend’s mother picked a white bloom from a rosebush and slid it into her black hair. For the first time I realised a person could be beautiful.
  7. The weirdest crush I ever had was for a photo of my Anglo-Indian great grandmother, wearing fancy dress and Turkish slippers, sitting on a veranda in India. There she is on the left. FANCY%20DRESS%20PARTY%203_1
  8. I went to a comprehensive school in Wembley. In an epic bout of self-sabotage I refused to do homework. Somehow I fluked my way to Warwick University to study philosophy and literature. While there I became increasingly distracted by poetry and had my first poems published and did my first poetry reading.
  9. I am two poets in one. The early Peter Kenny was a handsome young devil who had his poems published in the 80s and early 90s. There was a break for about 15 years before returning as the more mature Peter Kenny in 2010. I don’t think the mature Peter Kenny quite approves of the younger Peter Kenny. And vice versa. Below, the younger Peter Kenny in Paris.peter%201979
  10. Writing poems led me to writing plays. My first theatre work was done with my friend Tim Gallagher. His death from aids a year later derailed my writing for some time.
  11. When Tim’s wife Rosa held my hand as she was dying at the age of 27 she freed me from the fear of death. I walked away from the hospital physically numb, but with this phrase in my head: ‘death is as normal as sneezing’. It was an amazing gift.
  12. In a poem I wrote wrote that ‘part of the people we are is other people’. I have always been blessed by excellent friendships. And I love my family too. I have never had children, but now I have God children, and thanks to my wife Lorraine, grown-up stepchildren.
  13. Although I used to be a genius, I am not a genius any more. Screen shot 2012-09-12 at 14.10.05