email me at: Dominic Barker: Biog A word of warning. If you are the sort of person who likes writers to be successful people or role models or vaguely competent at something then this next bit probably isn’t for you. If however you like your writers flawed, confused and generally hopeless…you’ve come to the right place. Dominic Barker was born in 1966 somewhere in the North of England. We have to keep the exact location secret because the town is far too embarrassed to be associated with him. However, luckily for the town in question Dominic and his family soon moved to Ramsbottom, a town with a name so silly it couldn’t be embarrassed about anything. Here Dominic grew up. It was a tough life. The weather was cold and it rained all the time and there seemed to be a lot of mud everywhere. On top of that everybody who wasn’t from Ramsbottom laughed at its name and made rude remarks to the Ramsbottians. When he was five Dominic started school. He attempted to leave at play time explaining to the teacher that school was very nice but he’d like to try something else now if she wouldn’t mind. It turned out she would mind and Dominic had to spend the next twelve years in schools learning lots of things he has since forgotten. When he wasn’t in school Dominic was to be found playing football or riding his bike or he wasn’t to be found at all (this was when he was playing hide and seek). However, eventually his mother found him and made him go to piano lessons. Dominic’s piano teacher believed passionately that a child could only play the piano well if they sat with a straight back. Unfortunately Dominic was a natural sloucher. He therefore spent most of his piano lessons being jabbed firmly in the spine with a stick by an old lady. And so to nobody’s surprise he failed to become a concert pianist. He also failed to become a successful athlete. Selected for the school cross country team he was made to run across icy moors and through freezing streams every Saturday morning throughout the winter. Normally he came about 85th. Some weeks he was 84th and some weeks he was 86th. It all seemed pretty futile and indeed it was. He also failed to become a professional footballer. He took over the captaincy of the Ramsbottom and Stubbins Cub Football team just as all the best players left to join the Scouts. The season that followed was a disaster. The manager experimented with a complex offside trap. The team experimented with getting beat 10 – 0 every week. The league experimented with relegating them. Desperate to try and break this cycle of failure Dominic’s family moved to Southport a seaside resort that people used to go on holiday to before they found out about sunny foreign places and all went to them instead. But Dominic’s string of disasters continued here. Falling over in the school playground and knocking a tooth out he was required to have a temporary false tooth. The next day, believing he was chewing, his teacher confiscated it and wouldn’t return it until the end of the day. Dominic remains the only person to have a false tooth confiscated in the history of his primary school. Or possibly the world. Then Dominic started secondary school where things were just as crazy but they were bigger and there were more of them. He learnt many more things that he has since forgotten. Like French. And Geography. And why you shouldn’t sit on the back seat of the top deck of the school bus when you are in Year 7. Actually he’s still got the bruises to remind him of that one. But for a moment there was a chance of success. Dominic was given the prestigious task of looking after the school locusts. A career as a successful zoologist beckoned. Then all the locusts realised that they were not living as they were supposed to - in a massive swarm flying across deserts descending like a plague on the crops of subsistence farmers -  but instead were in a rather damp science lab which smelt of hydrochloric acid eating soggy dock leaves. This irritated them and they promptly all died. The Biology teacher lashing out with the emotion of the moment gave Dominic a detention. He remains the only person ever to be given a detention for sparking a mass locust suicide. Luckily things couldn’t get any worse. Well, actually they could. The teachers at Dominic’s school were enthusiastic practioners of corporal punishment (that means they could hit him for pretty much anything and usually did). During his school career Dominic was clobbered for amongst other things forgetting his towel, forgetting his homework, playing tig during metalwork and, best of all, making a pottery pig that apparently didn’t look enough like a pig. After school Dominic went to university in Birmingham. Here he discovered that the teachers had changed their names to professors. They didn’t hit him anymore. In fact they didn’t do much anymore. Dominic spent three years at university and only managed to spot a Professor about six times. He came to the conclusion that a university education is a very advanced game of hide and seek. By now Dominic was an adult. This had come as a big surprise to him. An even bigger surprise was that he was supposed to get a job and earn some money. In vain he pointed out that he was a certified failure. Society still insisted he got a job. But he couldn’t do anything. So he became a teacher. Five years later he realised that he’d made a mistake. So he became a writer. He’s waiting to see when this turns out to be a mistake. Knowing his luck it will probably be soon. DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR DOMINIC? EMAIL THEM TO US HERE home