Round the Words: An Interview with Author, Mick Escott

Mr Mick Escott enjoys a relaxed retirement living at Audley Redwood village near Bristol. I recently had the pleasure of asking Mr Escott to share his story with us, from his interesting career as an author, to his decision to move into a luxury retirement village.

Between 2008-2015 Mr Escott published three books – Round the TurnstilesRound the Cloisters, and Round the Footlights, all available to buy on Amazon and in book shops when they reopen.

Each of the three published works involved a vast amount of research over several years, taking Mr Escott all around the UK. 

What was the inspiration behind each of your three books?

I’ve always been a collector of things, one of which has been football league grounds, since I was 16. There are 92 of these. I got to the point where I’d been to nearly all of them and decided to make it a project to complete the task within the next two seasons, given that each year a club (sometimes several) seems to move to a new stadium and the two clubs at the foot of the League pyramid are replaced by non-league teams.

Then I thought of writing about the experience of my visits, fortunately I’ve always kept diaries and could look up when I visited each ground. Thus, in 2008 I published Round the Turnstiles, football travels (119 grounds in 45 years).

As the process of Round the Turnstiles had proved rewarding, I was in search of another similar project. 

Having always been interested in buildings, the idea of another precise number of subjects appealed. Tours of Anglican cathedrals were to inspire me to my second book Round the Cloisters, 49 Anglican cathedrals in England, Wales and the Isle of Man, which came out in 2011.

Finally, I felt compelled to address the huge and varied subject of theatre, having spent my working life in the arts. I eventually found a way to do it, over many years and specifically over the two years before publication through tours of England.

The outcome, in 2015, was Round the Footlights, the unofficial theatre tour, presented on a regional basis. It was very selective in visiting my own choice of venues, some were small and not widely known, and many obvious large ones were omitted.

Of all the places you have visited as part of researching for your books, do you have a favourite football ground/cathedral/theatre space? Why?

Regarding favourites I asked people to nominate cathedrals, then theatres. The popular choice, and mine, was Wells Cathedral, and my favourite theatre is the old Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, where I started, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne Theatre Royal for the most impressive.

Football-wise, of the current league members, at the upper end I would choose Villa Park, Birmingham, being a lifelong Villa fan. More humbly it must be St James Park, Exeter, where I am a regular supporter. I was also born nearby.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

I did enjoy writing poetry years ago, until the demands of working life left insufficient energy to continue with it. What was so rewarding from the start with Round the Turnstiles was that I wholeheartedly enjoyed the process. Even better was that when I showed excerpts to friends I got a favourable response.

Are you working on anything now?

A friend who was familiar with my poetry of the ‘70s suggested I return to that, noting that I needed a creative endeavour. I have indeed done so, with gradually increasing enthusiasm.

I have a poem called Adrift about to appear in a pamphlet called Asylum.

If time and travel weren’t an issue, where else would you like to explore (that could lead to another book potentially)?

I feel my trilogy of non-fiction books is enough. Also, no other subjects have presented themselves as offering the kind of comprehensive treatment of Turnstiles, Cloisters or Footlights.

What else do you enjoy working in your free time?

The obvious: the arts - most forms; travel - I have to contain the list which could be endless; sport - attending live fixtures, swimming, playing tennis; reading and socialising with friends.

Do you admire any other writers and authors?

I admire several poets, travel writers and novelists, especially thrillers, but I fear other retired people make more time for reading than I do.

What’s your favourite book?

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

Before retiring, what did you do?

Financial and management work in the arts, especially subsidised theatre.

What is your favourite aspect about living at Audley Redwood?

Redwood is big enough to make it socially viable and rewarding. The people are friendly - peer owners/members and staff. The bottom line is that

you lack concerns about running your own abode and are there for a relaxed, enjoyable time.

Many thanks Mr Escott for talking with us.

Discover more about Audley Redwood near Bristol.