THE PERSIANS ARE COMING
& Other Stories including 'The Movie Star' and 'The Black Violinist'
by John Groves
Love, cruelty and controversy bind this lively, absorbing collection of stories
together in which the author takes his cue from English history and from his
own experience and imagination.
Whether it be a youth in ancient time who might have been Christ, a beggar lad
in the court of King Henry the Eighth, a person of colour presented to a mad
King George, a hungry East End boy in the 1930s or a successful but love-sick
businesswoman in 2013, his imagination enjoys free rein. London and East Kent
provide the backgrounds, the English Channel home to an illegally-moored
Observing an open-minded attitude to sex and sexuality, imaginary characters
surface who dare to challenge the established order of things – notably the majority’s self-satisfied assumption of what is normal.
Born in London’s East End in 1926, and later a survivor of the wartime Blitz there, the author
joined the United Kingdom Post Office at the age of fourteen.
Serving nearly four years in the Grenadier Guards, he returned to civilian life
and progressed through various Departments of Government, specialising in
information services, publicity and the media.
After a short sabbatical, working and studying in Hollywood, USA, he returned
to the Post Office, long recognised as a qualified PR specialist in films and
broadcasting. Liaising with virtually every news and documentary programme on
the air, from Blue Peter to Panorama, he also became, in the late 1960s and early 70s, Government media spokesman on
national broadcasting policy, much involved in the great new innovations of
colour television, Channel Four, Radio One and local radio. He trained top Post
Office management in interviewing skills, between-whiles helping to launch
National Girobank, the new concept of postcodes, and working on the separation
of BT from the parent company. Accelerated promotion to Deputy Director of
Public Relations for the entire United Kingdom Post Office, then arguably the
largest business in Britain, rounded off 40 years in public service. His career
continued as a professional PR consultant and City correspondent.
His first novel, The Carapace, appeared in 1991, followed by Naked Heaven, Naked
Earth, a controversial book of prose and poetry on a theme of environmental
philosophy. His first paperback was an anthology, Poetry on Purpose, which
appeared in 1994, paving the way, in 1996, for The Chocolate Sword, an
anthology of seventy new poems, published in his 70th year. The Learning Curve
of Love, 100 new poems for the Millennium, completed the cycle in 1999.
The MCC at Lord’s gave special prominence to his work in their first anthology of cricket verse,
published by Methuen in 2004.