I am a pretty ordinary 61 (2007) year-old Englishman of my generation
and background. I was brought up in the 50s and 60s liking my public
school, and the suburban version of the national life (see "Britain's
identity", here). I was and remain proud of the British
tradition, and more particularly the English one. I believed I owed
a debt to the generation which fought a war for freedom, whose sacrifice
and values were worth bearing in mind.
I was thrilled by the American blues, and by soul music, and preferred
the Rolling Stones to the Beatles. I may, in the early 60s, have
been the first person to wear a poncho in Surbiton, where we were
living (in the road in which the young Isaiah Berlin, the most important
Enlightenment thinker of our time, found himself on arrival here
in the 20s).
Between ages 17 and 25, I "dropped out", working in shops
and then adopting a more or less working class way of life as ferry
boat, van and security driver.
Well into my 30s, I have worked as a peasant and a rural labourer,
and fixed bikes in London's inner city. I have lived in rural Suffolk
(my 20s) and Hereford (my late 40s), and in London (as a child,
in my late teens, my 20s, 30s and 50s).
I have been "idle rich" and dirt poor - and most things
in between. I have only had a "middle class" job or employment
for four years (The Independent, 1986-90) and arguably for a further
two (enjoying a Sunday Times contract (1990-2). Otherwise, I have
had low wages or have freelanced. For seven years I have run www.livingissues.com).
I now do very occasional consultancy for industry - the majority
of which results in writing in which I always mention any sponsorship.