Inspiration strikes again

One of the hottest days of the year and I ventured into London with a day of phone interviews and writing in store. it quickly became apparent that it would be a slow day: one of my biggest jobs had been put back and the deadline pushed to 29 July.

Up my sleeve was the chance to interview someone I'd already spoken to on the phone at some length. A quick phone call and we set up a rendezvous and I was off - happy to be getting out of the office.

Mickey De Hara was a name I'd come across in passing before, but meeting him in person was inspirational. A lifetime of crime - by his own admission - had led to massive highs and lows in adulthood.

While still part of the criminal justice system, Mickey met film director Guy Ritchie, who ended up giving him a laptop and loads of advice. The result was work on both 'Snatch.' and 'RocknRolla'. Unfortunately, in the course of this productive, successful, crime-free part of Mickey's life, he made a couple of ill-advised decisions that resulted in a five-year invitation to Her Majesty's Pleasure, ending up in Brixton as a Listener: "more like a social worker on the inside" as Mickey told me.

Frankly, I can see why people turn to Mickey. Although capable of talking the hind-leg off any passing donkey, he also has an ability to get you to open up. I could have easily bored him with my own life story. Certainly the grim details of the last eight months,

Out since the end of 2011 on licence, Mickey has set up Films4Life, a charity determined to help young people turn their own lives round by learning about film-making. Already, they've filmed Liam Gallagher's 'Beady Eye' backstage and a promo film for one of South London's finest bands -'Brand New Heavies'.

So, two hours with him today helped me focus on the positives. I can ignore my frozen shoulder as long as I'm not trying to reach or carry anything and no-one gets too near it. I can ignore whatever this lump is in my stomach - at least until the NHS pulls its finger out and discovers what it is and why it makes me feel sick pretty much constantly.

Besides which, if you discount those two ailments, life is pretty good. Mickey seems to help focus switch to the positive. Even when he's describing his past-life - elements of which would make anyone's hair curl.

Oh, and Mickey, if you're reading this, you'd better start writing your story before I do. There's a great story there that needs telling.

Posted via my iPad