Interview with Tom Lockington

Is Tom Lockington the same as David Mathew?

David Mathew works in the Centre for Learning Excellence at the University of Bedfordshire, UK, and as an independent researcher and writer. His wide areas of interest include psychoanalysis, linguistics, distance learning, prisons and online anxiety. With approximately 600 published pieces to his name, including a novel based on his time working in the education department of a maximum security prison (O My Days), he has published widely in academic, journalistic and fiction outlets. In addition to his writing, he co-edits The Journal of Pedagogic Development, teaches academic writing, and he particularly enjoys lecturing in foreign countries and learning about wine. He is a member of the Tavistock Society of Psychotherapists and Allied Professionals, Evidence Informed Policy and Practice in Education in Europe (EIPPEE), and the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing. He was also a member of The Health Technology Assessment programme (, as part of the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre at the University of Southampton (2009-2013).
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

My name is David Mathew and Ventriloquists is my third published novel. I have also published a volume of short stories and next year will see the publication of my first academic book, Fragile Learning. I work at a university in a staff development team and I’m active in research into barriers to learning and psychoanalysis. In terms of fiction, I like to write what I hope will be powerful fiction, with a strong voice, strong characters and dollops of dark humour. That’s the plan, at any rate.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Reading is probably too obvious (though it’s true). I like watching films and especially listening to music. The list of acts that I listen to is as long as your arm, but at the moment I’m really into Swans, Iggy, Miles Davis, Tindersticks, Zeppelin and Coil. I recently got the ‘Awkard Pause’ album from Nurse With Wound and it’s hardly been off the CD player in the car. My dog’s not entirely sure what to make of it but I love it.

I enjoy taking my dog for walks in new places; meeting friends for a pint; occasional trips to the theatre; eating out. I also try to keep fit but I’m not sure that ‘like’ comes into that.

What’s your favourite food?

If it’s a night out, I really enjoy Indian food. There’s something about an Indian restaurant that makes the experience more than a meal that you eat. There’s an ambience, a pleasure in the company shared. Or there should be any rate…

Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?

What a great question! My first band – and everyone, I think, has a first band, a band that just feels right, a band that clicks with you (and you click with it) – was Showaddywaddy when I was a boy. I was born in 1971 and they were very popular in the UK when I was between eight and about eleven, twelve… Their Crepes and Drapes LP was the first record I ever bought (and I still own it, and I still play it a couple of times a year). Something from that would definitely be on my soundtrack but it’s hard to pick a favourite because it’s all one piece in my mind, almost. That’s how I absorbed it when I was a boy.

After Showaddywaddy I got into Queen. Something from Queen, probably from A Night at the Opera, which is probably their album I like best.

I’d also have Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Coil, The Pogues… For my year in Cairo (the academic year 1994-95) I would have Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shane MacGowan and the Popes and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. These cassettes were rarely out of the machine. In 1995, in Poland, in listened to a lot of Elvis Costello and Ramones.

In recent years, Miles Davis, 16 Horsepower, Tindersticks, Led Zeppelin…

Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?

It really depends on what I’m writing (or reading). They don’t mean the same thing to me and any sense of preference would come out of the term’s suitability. Ventriloquists is very much a weird fiction book. Its predecessor, Creature Feature, was very much a sarcastic horror novel. So I don’t have an in-built preference for one term over the other.

Who are some of your favourite authors?

Stephen King, Martin Amis, Ramsey Campbell, Jonathan Carroll, John Updike, Vladamir Nabokov, Charles Bukowski, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Paul Meloy, David Foster Wallace…

What is your all-time favourite horror novel, and film?

For sheer inspiration I should choose the first horror novel I ever read, which was It by Stephen King, which I got as a birthday present when I was fifteen (or it might have been sixteen). It still resonates, to this day. In fact, I’ve recently started to read it again. I like to read when I’m on my exercise bike, doing my 10K in the morning before work. It took some courage to pick up It again – I was nervous that I would think it dated
Published 2015-11-29.
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