I was born in Beaconsfield, UK on the evening of Saturday 13 August many moons ago, during a violent thunderstorm (so the story goes). I grew up in the naval city of Portsmouth along with my younger sister, raised by my mother while my father played boats in the Royal Navy.
I studied Computer Science at Kent University and moved to Malvern shortly after graduating in 1982, joining a small hi-tech company as a software designer, developing a monitoring system for helicopters. In 1986, I took a leap of faith and went freelance, working for a number of UK based companies on a variety of projects, before a spell of five years took me on a tour of France, Italy and Belgium.
Shortly after returning to the UK in 1993, I set up an IT consultancy with two colleagues, before selling up and moving lock, stock to the Dordogne in the south west of France in 2004. In true 'no going back' style, I returned to the UK in 2008 (with a crate or two of Desperados in tow), where I now work as a freelance software engineer, fledgling writer and drum tutor, although never at the same time!
Self taught as a drummer, I have played in a number of local bands since the age of 16 in Portsmouth ('Orange Spectator'), Canterbury ('The Electric Turds'), Malvern ('96 Tears', 'The Projectors', 'The Night Trippers' and 'Med Snooks and the Good Scratch') in France ('The Vin Catz' and 'Like A Blues Machine') and since back in the UK ('illegal2dance', 'Waiting For Katherine', 'The Synthetix' and 'The Doors Experience').
Heavily into the Brit sound of the last four decades, I still rue the demise of The Smiths!
I have always yearned to be a comedian, although some might argue against the idea. Since my early teens I have greatly admired and appreciated the comedy writing of Woody Allen and I grew up on a diet of such film classics as 'Sleeper', 'Love and Death', 'Annie Hall' and 'Manhattan'. The king and creator of observational humour, his stand-up recordings from as far back as 1964 are still fresh today. If I had felt as confident in front of a microphone back then as I do behind a drum kit now, then maybe things might have been different. But who knows? Maybe it's not too late!
In 1982-83 and against my better judgement given my passion for playing the drums, I built my own kit car, a Dutton Phaeton. Built on its own chassis, the car was constructed using the front end of a Triumph Vitesse and the back end of a Mk II Ford Cortina. Powered by a Mk III 2L DOHC Cortina engine, the end product was very exhilarating to drive. Sadly, we parted company in 1987 as my freelance IT career took off and I found myself on a weekly commute up and down the country. It was fun to drive, but definitely lacked comfort, not to mention luggage space!
To say that I have led an exciting life to date would be an understatement. I have endured a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows during the past 20 or so years and have often re-invented myself as a means of moving on.
Like most people, I have for a long time believed that I have a book or two inside me as well as several other ideas which, up until recently, were confined to scraps of paper neatly filed in a drawer in my study.
With the launch of my Charming Man, SMS Publishing and A S Wilkins web sites, I aim to somehow find the time over the coming years to breathe life into some of these projects... in between the day job, playing in two bands, keeping fit, providing a taxi service for the kids, helping with homework, nursing grazed knees, reading bedtime stories...
Feel free to email me at [email protected].
An avid football fan, dogged by an irrational support for West Ham United (having witnessed them win the World Cup in '66), my other interests include music, writing, comedy, photography, movies, eating and drinking, and keeping fit.