Colin MacInnes was the son of the popular novelist, 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 not 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 novelist, 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 know 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".