The Year I Became Al

By Alan Bignell

Turning back the Clock

Alan Bignell, one of the teachers at the Bloomsbury Alexander Centre has just published a book. It’s a memoir of his first year in Canada after he emigrated there over half a century ago. That was some years before he came in touch with the Alexander Technique but the book recalls in great detail the life and emotions of a young man seeking a direction on a new continent. 

To help publicise the book which at present is only available as a digital download, Alan returned to Montreal at the beginning of May and revisited the house in the city’sWestmount district he shared with four others 50 years ago.The current owner was extremely welcoming and showed Alan and his wife around the much changed interior.

The event was captured by a photographer from the Westmount Independent and the spread shown here appeared in the paper with two photos, the first showing Alan sitting on the porch step with his 1968 housemates and the second in the same position now with his wife and the current owner. The article retraced Alan’s advertising career after his return to England in 1970 and how, after coming in touch with the Alexander Technique, he eventually left that world and trained as a teacher himself. The article concludes with a short but concise explanation of the technique.

This publicity came hot on the heels of an interview Alan gave on BBC Radio Four’s Saturday Live programme. Interviewed by the programme’s presenter, the Reverend Richard Cole, Alan explained how his mother had kept all the letters he sent home during that first year and how these only came to light many years later after her death. Much of the detail in the book comes from just these letters.

The book’s title,’ The year I became Al’ comes from the North American habit of abbreviating names and Alan being called Al throughout his stay in North America.

‘The year I became A’l is available from Amazon at this link where the first two chapters can be read free of charge by clicking on ‘Look inside’ or ‘free sample’. It is also available on Kobo.

Purchase and Read the free ebook extract

Newspaper reports Alan’s visit 50 years later…

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