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, reckless bohos, pompous boors, drunks, suicides. Death went dogging everywhere. Salisbury, where he was brought up, had two industries: God and the Cold War, both of which provided a cast of adults for the child to scrutinise with wonder and fear: desiccated god-botherers on the one hand; gung-ho chemical warriors on the other.
Meades is a writer, journalist, essayist and film-maker. His books include three novels and several anthologies, including Museum Without Walls. He will read from An Encyclopaedia of Myself and discuss some of its themes with Simon Kövesi, head of English and modern languages at Oxford Brookes University.
‘The title is grossly inaccurate. The book is, rather, a portrait of a disappeared provincial England, a time and place unpeeled with gruesome relish,’ says Meades.
Presented by Oxford Brookes University as part of the Oxford Literary Festival