Bleak House Farm lies down a muddy track which leads off Heslington Lane, quite close to York's main golf course and a stone's throw from the grey concrete campus of the university. Here, in 1969, in a field more often than not unapproachable without Wellington boots, stood a dilapidated modern caravan just big enough for the occupant and his eight cats. The occupant, who kept halfcopied transparencies of music by himself and his teacher rolled up under the bed, was Vic Hoyland. His motive for such an existence was neither masochism nor romantic self indulgence, but extreme hardship. The cats – all related by vigorous in-breeding – had short legs and voracious appetites.