About Jimmy Thomson

I am a Scots-born former journalist now making a living as a TV scriptwriter, part-time journalist and occasional author in Sydney, Australia.

I was born in Dumfries, Scotland, in 1953. At 16 I went to university to be an engineer because my school's careers master said being a journalist meant starting on my local newspaper making tea and that was stupid. I dropped out after about three weeks. I then went to another university and dropped out again (I still owe them the fees so I'm not saying where). But I clearly liked being a student much more than I liked studying.

I got married and had a kid (no need to join the dots) and sold self-published books of really bad poetry round Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh. If anyone has a copy I will pay you to destroy it. Ironically (well, not really) my then wife's brother was a real bona fide poet and probably still is for all I know (or care). His poem In Memoriam Jimi Hendrix is one of the best poems in the Scots tongue that I've ever read and if you think I'm joking, look it up.

I worked as a bookings clerk for a concrete mixer firm near Galashiels, in charge of a menswear department in Kelso and manager of a supermarket cafeteria in the same town. I later sacked myself because if I'd resigned I wouldn't have got the dole. On the form it asked for a reason for my dismissal so I wrote "lack of moral fibre"

I then got a job with a company called Bookwise which meant travelling the country with a van full of paperbacks, stocking up shops that wanted to sell books but had no particular interest or expertise in them. I loved it! It was like having my own chain of little book shops.

I left when we basically became delivery men for whatever the top ten novels were (this was back in the 70s so all this homogenisation of the arts was well underway even back then). I knew I had made the right decision when I saw a TV documentary in which an author was told by her agent that Bookwise would buy up big if she dropped one character and changed another.

Then, in my mid-20s, I got a job with my local newspaper, The Dumfries and Galloway Standard, not quite making tea but not far off it. And I did get to sit in the same chair as had briefly been occupied by Flashman author George MacDonald Fraser who'd been sent there for a couple of weeks during a sub-editing crisis. Having transmogrified somewhere along the line from a work-shy slacker into an overambitious workaholic, I then took up pencil in East Kilbride, Glasgow, Nairobi, London, Auckland and, finally, Sydney.

The Daily Telegraph was my final full-time journalistic gig but in the meantime I had closed three newspapers and tripled the circulation of another. I had also divorced after 14 years (these young marriages just don't last) having proved myself to be a piss-poor husband and an even worse father.

After 18 months at the Tele I left to become a "writer" but panicked after two weeks and took a job at Woman's Day magazine (don't ask). A couple of years later I finally made a clean break and the rest of the story can be followed on other pages in this website.

Apart from that I read crime novels and try to steal ideas for my own efforts, I support Glasgow Celtic FC, I have a son called Jamie who rarely communicates with me (and why would he?). Somehow along the way I managed to convince fellow journalist, now author, the otherwise astute and sensible Sue Williams, that I wasn't as bad as I seemed and we set up home together in Sydney in 1989. I now live with her and our cats in an apartment that's far too posh for the likes of me.

These days I like to think of myself as a storyteller, so some of the above may not be true. There is no such place as Dumfries. Cue Paul Simon, "My Little Town".

JT, Jan 2006