I’m proud to announce the publication of my father’s memoir, “An English Baby Boomer My Life and Times”. Call me bias, but I’ve found it to be a very insightful and often amusing social commentary on the post-war years. Dad, born in 1947, grew up first in South Africa and Germany before being sent off to a British boarding school at the age of seven. The Britain he describes hardly exists anymore, and his recollections of the attitudes of his parents, grandparents and peers serve as a stark reminder of just how fundamentally attitudes have changed (mostly for the better). Dad went on to the public school, Marlborough, which is about as posh as it gets. But he broke the mould and, in the late 60s, joined a commune and started a decorating business in the West End. My favourite bits in the book are about his exploits with his Swedish business partner, Leon, with whom he attended church on Sundays with the sole purpose of picking up women. Go Dad! One detail did give me pause for thought, however. Apparently, when my Mum found out she was pregnant – and, no, she’s not Swedish and he didn’t meet her in church – Dad booked an appointment at an abortion clinic. Fortunately a friend told them it would be a mistake to get rid of me and my parents subsequently married, so I owe that individual a considerable debt! To think that there might have been one less Tarquin in this world.
Dad, who was 22 when I was born, proved himself an incredibly hard-working entrepreneur and a doting, enlightened father. Sadly, thanks to poor advice, irresponsible banking practises and mass-market competition, his businesses didn’t survive the recessions of the 80s. But always a survivor, he drove a minicab (his call name was “Spud”) to make ends meet and helped me syndicate my first feature stories with capital raised from the sale of his much-cherished family heirloom, his Grandfather Clock. That he also reinvented himself and forged a successful career in the financial services industry, which was full of snake-oil salesmen in the 80s and 90s, is not perhaps the titillating material of many best selling biographies. But it is a testament to a work ethic, common decency and fair mindedness that has made Britain such a liveable and tolerant place today. Inspiring? I would say so – certainly for anyone thinking about writing their own story. The book weighs in at 388 pages and he wrote it over the course of the past ten years. Personally, I can’t think of anything as precious to pass on to my kids…although one of these days it might be nice to buy back that Grandfather Clock.
To order a paperback go here.
For the kindle version here.