Colin MacInnes was the son of the popular velist, Angela Thirkell. He didn't like that. He was also the great-grandson of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, and cousin to Stanley Baldwin and Rudyard Kipling. He himself was t a part of the Establishment, far from it, more 'the best off-beat journalist in London' with 'prose as sharp as a pair of Italian slacks and as vivid as a pair of pink socks'. His heyday was the decades of the 1950s and 1960s. He gained a unique and formidable reputation as a velist, as an Orwellian chronicler and interpreter of the then unfamiliar worlds of the teenager, of rock 'n' roll, and of Britain's black community; and as a homosexual who combined prickliness and a drunken belligerence with a sympathetic championing of the underdog. Tony Gould got to kw Colin MacInnes towards the end of his life. Even when dying of cancer he hadn't lost his ability to be awkward and peremptory. 'Go to a bookshop', he commanded from his hospital bed, 'when you leave here and get six paperbacks - three of them should be readable. Send them up by taxi' adding in a lordly manner, 'I'll pay for the cab'.'MacInnes may have been a maverick in his own time, but he is perhaps the most eloquent spokesman for our own.' Literary Review'Riveting if sometimes painful reading.' Listener'Well-documented and well-constructed.' Times Literary Supplement
Tony Gould was born in 1938 and grew up on a farm in Devon. He served as a National Service officer in the 1/7th Gurkha Rifles and was invalided out of the army with polio in 1959. He read English at Cambridge. He has been a BBC radio producer and literary editor at New Society and then, after the two magazines amalgamated, at the New Statesman. He is the author of several books, including Inside Outsider: the Life and Times of Colin MacInnes (1983, and editor of Absolute MacInnes: the Best of Colin MacInnes, 1985), Death in Chile: a Memoir and a Journey (1992), A Summer Plague: Polio and Its Survivors (1995), Imperial Warriors: Britain and the Gurkhas (1999), and Don't Fence Me In: Leprosy in Modern Times (2005).