Gloucester Crescent: Me, My Dad and Other Grown-Ups by William Miller
(Profile Books, 2018)

Gloucester Crescent: Me, My Dad and Other Grown-Ups

by William Miller

Gloucester Crescent is a curving, leafy street hidden between Camden Town and Primrose Hill, unremarkable in many ways, unless you notice the lady in the van parked outside one house, and the famous-looking residents crossing the road… which of course you wouldn’t if you were just one of the local children who played in the street and its gardens every day. Written through the eyes of a growing child, this is the story of a family and their circle of well-known, left-wing, idealistic and intellectual friends, who all lived in one of the most iconic streets in London in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. It not only captures an extraordinary time in Britain’s cultural history - and provides a hitherto unseen portrait of some of the brightest minds of a generation - but it also tells the funny, tender and moving story of a young boy struggling to find his own identity. We follow William through the ups and downs of an extraordinary ordinary childhood - sitting exams in the shadow of a brilliant but overbearing father, getting drugs from a philosopher’s wife, being bullied for appearing on TV, and struggling to watch the moon landing in a room full of comedians - all set to the rhythmic clatter of competitive typing. Utterly absorbing, hilariously funny and at times totally heart-breaking.

Reviews

His portrait of his father, exasperated yet tinged with affection, is beautifully drawn, and he's particularly good as putting himself in his own childhood shoes.”
- Mail on Sunday
This deeply felt memoir is about a particular kind of pain – of failure, of the anxiety of influence writ through an entire life.”
- The Guardian