Just had a long, catch up call with our writer Bernard Kops. Bernard is currently working on a novel, getting up at 5.00am (5.30 at weekends) to write for a few hours. If you read his Five Leaves' autobiography, The World is a Wedding, he seems to be an unlikely prospect to still be working at 84, or even alive. He managed to avoid being bombed in the Blitz, but it was close, but it was getting bombed with the other meaning that almost saw him off. His career has been up and down, to say the least. Bernard's conversation is always good value. One minute he's off on Colin MacInnes (Bernard and Erica Kops appeared, thinly disguised, in Absolute Beginners), the next he's describing his April visit to the Society for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies to read his poem on Yuri Gagarin, which he presented to Gagarin in 1961, at their recent celebration of 50 years since Gagarin's space flight. Bernard said he was astonished to be invited as he had not thought of the poem for fifty years.
Bernard has the knack of being everywhere and knowing everyone, for example the cover of The World Is a Wedding is a portrait of him by Ida Kar (currently being exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery). Kops fans can book the date of Monday 28 November to celebrate his 85th birthday at the Jewish Museum in London, but he's usually out and about, reading. He rarely turns down an invitation!