Her childhood she spent climbing trees and ruins with pockets full of almonds and Narnia books.
Her teenage years she spent mostly in love:
She read history at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in a squat for
seven years doing the kind of daft picturesque jobs writers are meant to do (dinnerlady at a parking meter factory, upright bass player in a busking band, person inside cartoon-animal suit in a New York department store) before learning to subedit in a pub on the Fulham Road and, fired by frustrated fury at having to rewrite other people's rubbish and correct their mistakes, became a journalist.
She wrote for anyone who would have her before settling with the motorcycle magazine Bike, where she was contributing editor; the Guardian, where she wrote features and columns for many years, and Marie Claire, where she was for seven years lead feature writer, mostly covering eccentric aspects of US culture, such as born-again Christian gang bikers.
Here she is in Galveston, Texas, dressed and indeed made up by Mrs Idaho and her friend Mrs Ohio for the Mr and Mrs Perfect Couple of America Pageant 1985. Beside her is Mr Teen Texas 1979, who had just taught her how to stand: 'aim with ya HIP and ya TIT'.
Her first day on Fleet Street was the last day of hot-metal printing, so she was greeted by a banging-out ceremony, which was an omen. After a while on the Daily Express she ran away to drive across the US in a stupid car. In Nashville in 1988 she interviewed Johnny Cash. This turned out to be something of an epiphany.
In 1993 she swapped her Harley-Davidson for a baby:
This is the baby’s father: