From football hooligan to opera singer, from the Cockney Reds to Catullus, from a hectic household to tranquillity of spirit, Mark Glanville has travelled many paths, been many people - this is his story. His journey is from violently bullied Jewish boy (Goldberg is the real family name) at Pimlico Comprehensive to Principal Bass with the Lisbon Opera, via a period travelling the country as a member of the Cockney Reds (the notorious Manchester United-supporting hooligans). Throughout all these vastly opposed phases and worlds, Glanville's driving force is his search for self-knowledge. His homelife is overshadowed by the larger-than-life character of his famous father and his extensive philandering, his mother's obsession with psychotherapy and hostile relationships with his siblings. He fights to defend his Jewishness at school, only to be told by his father that he has no right to call himself a Jew. A bookish teenager, Glanville is obsessed with jazz and opera but he spends his weekends with a group of hooligans who are unsure whether to accept him or beat him up because of his posh accent.
Then reading Classics at Oxford (explaining his absence away to the Cockney Reds as a four-year prison sentence for manslaughter) he is simultaneously drawn to and repelled by the Oxbridge "society set". The story of his struggle towards equilibrium, to learn from his own and his family's mistakes, and to find his own identity, eventually re-embracing Judaism and music, is gripping and inspiring.
Mark Glanville studied Classics and Philosophy at Oxford University before winning a scholarship to the Royal National College of Music. He has sung principal bass with Scottish Opera and Lisbon Opera amongst others. Now living in London with his wife and two children, he is Cantor for Westminster synagogue on Saturday mornings, and follows Millwall on Saturday afternoons.