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a life in architecture

Barry Hines, author of Kes, is writer-in-residence at Sheffield Hallam University. He loves buildings - cinemas and railway stations indiscriminately - and Blackpool Tower and Burlington House in particular. He hates the Barbican Centre: 'You can't find it, and when you do, you can't find your way round it. Buildings should be accessible.' Nor does he like 'picture-postcard' cottages: 'Small rooms, low ceilings, too dark.'

Hines prefers high ceilings and big windows, and were he to win the lottery he'd buy a house in Royal Crescent, Bath. But he also loves his Victorian house in Yorkshire. Oh, and he wants a flat in London. He is a man who flits from subject to subject. He says Burlington House is 'warm and friendly and welcoming'; and he approves of Foster's Sackler Galleries at the Royal Academy. He likes architecture that mixes old and new.

Suddenly, a memory: he recounts vividly the childhood excitement of pit week in Yorkshire, and preparations for the annual seaside holiday. 'We abandoned our game of cricket in the street one day and continued it next day on the beach with exactly the same players'. As soon as he and his friends spotted Blackpool Tower, a huge cheer went up and they felt their holiday had begun. 'Seeing the Eiffel Tower wasn't a patch on Blackpool'.

Barry Hines' most recent novel Elvis Over England (1998) comes out in Penguin paperback this month

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