Narrated By: Jonathan Meades
Duration: 12 hours and 32 minutes
What to expect
LONGLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE 2014
‘A symphonic poem about postwar England and Englishness … A masterpiece’ Financial Times
The 1950s were not grey. In Jonathan Meades’s detailed, petit-point memoir they are luridly polychromatic. They were peopled by embittered grotesques, bogus majors, vicious spinsters, reckless bohos, pompous boors, drunks, suicides. Death went dogging everywhere. Salisbury had two industries: God and the Cold War. For the child, delight is to be found everywhere – in the intense observation of adult frailties, in landscapes and prepubescent sex, in calligraphy and in rivers.
This memoir is an engrossing portrait of a disappeared provincial England, a time and place unpeeled with gruesome relish.
Listen to a sample
‘By far the best picture of the 1950s I have read’ George Walden, The Times
‘A sulphurously brilliant alphabetical stroll through the seamier byways of the author’s youth in post-war Salisbury’ Jane Shilling, Evening Standard, Books of the Year
‘A radiant account of Britain getting itself together’ Kathryn Hughes, BBC Radio 4, Books of the Year
‘An Encyclopaedia of Myself is a corrective – an anti-misery memoir’ Stuart Jeffries. Guardian
‘Meades vividly conjures a vanished world of Cracker Barrel cheese adverts, Aertex shirts and ‘Johnny Remember Me’ on the airwaves … He is a very great prose stylist, with a dandy’s delight in the sound and feel of words, and we are lucky to have him.’ Ian Thomson, Spectator