‘I used to be a high school teacher in maths and geography. 30 odd years ago I went to England and I was teaching over there for a long time – long enough to get married, have a daughter, get divorced. You know…the usual story. When I came back they’ve changed the rules on me. I’m no longer qualified. They consider me a new starter. I haven’t got a specialist teaching qualification so despite the fact that I’ve got 30 years’ experience including head of department I can’t teach without going back to uni for another year. I can’t afford that so I’m making scarves to keep myself above the streets rather than below them.’

‘If I sell a few scarves a week, I’m happy. The first couple of scarves buys all the wool I need. The next one buys me food for the week and the next one puts some petrol in my home.’

‘For me it’s like a form of meditation. Sometimes my mind can become so chaotic so I just need to do it to clear my mind.

‘You have to be completely aware of yourself. You constantly need to be thinking ahead and be 100% aware of your body.’

‘The mainstay of my work is sideshow. I swallow razorblades, walk on broken glass, eat lightbulbs and stuff. For a circus performer, I’m neither fit nor flexible. It’s all in my fingers and tongue. I had an act where my assistant would feed me razorblades. She’d then swallow some string and then we’d snog. As we snogged, we regurgitated what we swallowed and tie the razorblades under the string with our tongues.’

How did you get in to this?

‘It’s weird. I studied business. I thought that was the smart thing to do. I didn’t study art and drama like I wanted to because like that’s ever going to make you a living. I picked up fire twirling just by randomness and started getting work for it. I then started to diversify. I went from fire dancing to fire eating to fire breathing to sword swallowing to swallowing other things to just working on controlling responses of the body that are normally automatic that we normally don’t have conscious control over – that your subconscious takes over itself.

‘What I do, it’s not like an adrenaline rush. I’m not seeking death or pain or anything like that. It’s actually more methodical. It’s more mastery of your body. It’s not even mind over body. It’s more mind over mind really. My old assistant used to say, “Everything is in the mind. Even the mind is in the mind.”’