Philip Oakes was a British journalist, poet, and novelist brown in Burslem in 1928. His father, a travelling salesman, died when Oakes was 4, and his mother developed a brain tumour when he was 8. All this led to a difficult upbringing and lasting conflict with his mother.
Today I finished reading the third of his autobiographical trilogy which forms the title of this post. The subtitle, ‘A Memoir of the ’50s’ is not strictly accurate because it really occupies the 1940s.
There is no doubt that the author’s early life contributed to his later relationships, especially with women, about which he is honest and revealing. He displays a lively journalistic style in describing his early adulthood, his needs, his errors, his lessons, and his influences. There is a rich vein of humour. He hadn’t minded his post-war call up for National Service, which I narrowly missed.
It was as the ’50s turned to the ’60s that I was into my jazz period, so I was intrigued by Oakes’s friendships with the likes of George Melly and Mick Mulligan. Although I could only find much later versions like this one https://youtu.be/AJAuxRzLM30 of one of Melly’s standard performances I did enjoy his much more athletic presentation some 50 or so years earlier on a stage I don’t remember – possibly Croydon’s Fairfield Halls. Oakes also celebrated this turn in his book.
One of the author’s friend’s favourite recording was Muggsy Spanier’s https://youtu.be/fjnpXl9Q-ag
Perhaps it was Bill Maddocks’s early death in a car accident that suggested Philip Oakes’s tribute title.
Ian returned home to Emsworth soon after lunch. Becky stayed on another night. The three of us dined on more of her tasty pasta bake, pizza, and salad, with which I drank Patrick Chodot’s Fleurie 2018.