25. Giles Paley Phillips; Award-Winning Author on the Wonders of the White Cliffs, Glastonbury Festival and the Gardener in Syria Who Inspired His Next Book - The Big Travel Podcast

Episode 25
July 3 , 2018

25. Giles Paley Phillips; Award-Winning Author on the Wonders of the White Cliffs, Glastonbury Festival and the Gardener in Syria Who Inspired His Next Book

Growing up in a small town on the Sussex coast was idyllic for children’s author and musician Giles Paley Phillips until tragedy struck and changed the course of his life. As a teenager in a small town he found the dodgiest clubs, yet soon learned his guitar was his ticket to ride. He’s travelled the breadth of the UK playing in Paul McCartney’s studios in Liverpool, at Glastonbury and his latest book is inspired by the gardeners of Syria. 


On this episode we cover:


How Lisa and Giles ‘met’ on twitter

His 260k followers!

Fake followers

Piers Morgan’s fake followers

Giles’s stolen twitter identify

How he’s not as posh as he sounds

Posh names!

Publishers asking him to change his name

Norman Cook/Quentin Cook/Fatboy Slim

A very British conversation about name and class

Lisa Nandy (aka why Lisa uses her middle name)

His work as a children’s author

Seaford, Eastbourne and Brighton on the Sussex coast

The craziness of 90s Brighton

The dangers of the white cliffs of the Seven Sisters

Not being good at school

Becoming a musician

The death of his mother when he was six

His Dad’s drink problem

Living in a one bedroom flat with his Dad and Nan as a teenager

Playing Glastonbury

Touring the UK with his band

Not being a big world traveller

Not being snotty about travel

Not backpacking in Nepal

How people in Nepal will think Seaford is exotic

Life in a small town

Recording in Paul McCartney’s studio in Liverpool

The quality of the toilets at Glastonbury

Playing on the same bill as Flaming Lips

Edith Bowman

The other worldliness of Glastonbury

How Lisa missed half of Koh Phi Phi in Thailand

His first book – in aid of Leukaemia research

How losing his mum at an early age has affected him

The beauty of Sussex in the South East of England

The white chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters

How the cliffs have become a friend to him

Hope Gap

How the landscape lends itself to deep thoughts

Beach Head and its reputation as a suicide spot

How spending time in nature is good for mental health

The beauty of the South Downs; villages, pubs and walks

Teenage days in Brighton, school in Lewes

‘The Trek Club’ in Seaford aka Clubbing in a small town

Brighton pub gigs – The Free Butt, The Richmond, The Pressure Point

Going Trekking at The Trek

Why Wolverhampton is grim

(apologies to anyone from Wolverhampton)

Returning to home towns

How weirdly, Giles has been to Lisa’s home town in Spain

Fuengirola, Spain, Gilbraltar

His time in Washington DC

Suburban isolation



Fenced off shops in Toxteth Liverpool

How his mum’s illness and death affected the family

Taking the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe

Duty free booze runs

Wigtown in Scotland, almost completely taken over by book shops

His ambitions to travel to New York

The books he has written

Free verse poetry – ie the stuff that doesn’t rhyme

The garden centre in Aleppo in Syria which has inspired his latest books

Aleppo’s last beacon of hope

The Syrian ‘white helmets’

How gardening is huge in refugee camps in Iraq

The Lemon Tree Trust gardening competitions in the refugee camps

The surprising song that reminds him of his hometown of Seaford