“...I had an idea recently, going to Nottingham. It would take the form of a visit to Nottingham (or another city) by a man who had not been there for some time. Various things he saw and did would remind him of his earlier visits, and these would appear as flashbacks, all within the framework of a visit to report a football match. This suggests itself as a film, first of all, or a television play: but the trouble is that so many other people would mess it about it either of these media unless I kept the very strictest control. So maybe a novel or short story would be better. I’ve made some notes along these lines, but how do you feel about all this? Naturally, I wouldn’t want to do anything which would hurt you in any way. Please let me know how you feel...” (June Tillinghast to Johnson, 31 January 1965)
JOHNSON'S CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE FRIEND WHOSE DEATH FROM CANCER AGED 29 INSPIRED THE UNFORTUNATES. Tony Tillinghast (1935-64) was an undergraduate at Nottingham University when Johnson was at King's College London and their friendship was of great significance to Johnson. Johnson acknowledged the debt he owed to Tillinghast for his help on Travelling People by dedicating the novel to him and his wife (see lots 188-189).