Rubbing shoulders with politicians and sportsmen from Nelson Mandela to Eric Cantona, encountering great musicians from Frank Sinatra to Gustavo Dudamel, constantly arguing the case for teachers and education – and carrying a camera wherever I travelled – life has been crowded with incident and personalities. In You Never Know Your Luck I talk about the people and the places I've known – and recounting the luck enjoyed at various turning points in my life.
I describe my political education during the Cold War years, the struggles inside the NUS, and subsequent campaigns to get education the recognition and the funding it deserves.
After watching the “Hammers” at Upton Park for 80 years, discussing with the club’s co-owner, David Gold, the exciting prospects offered by West Ham United’s impending move to the Olympic Stadium.
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Apart from football, I have written about my other loves, jazz and ballet; about my second home in France; and enthusiasm for photography. Described by Tony Blair as “Labour’s very own paparazzo”, ten photographic exhibitions have been staged, including one at the Photographers’ Gallery, with photographs signed by Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev. Many favourite photos are reproduced in the book.
After more than seven decades of commitment to political and educational campaigning, I speak out on a number of important issues, and conclude by asking “Where the hell is education going?”