Philip Norman’s family considered themselves genteel yet somehow became involved in the opportunistic world of seaside trade on the Isle of Wight.
With masterly skill, Norman recreates his upbringing among this gallery of social misfits – his handsome but unstable father Clive, once a dashing RAF officer, now a reluctant showman at the end of Ryde Pier, his pub-owning Uncle Phil, who dresses as a woman every New Year’s Eve, and his irresistible Grandma Norman who presides over her rock kiosk and rules the troubled family like a Mafia don. The year is 1953. While Britain celebrates the coronation, ten-year-old Philip watches disaster approach in his father’s obsession with Joan, the Bronze Medal roller skating champion. Finally, he concocts a stratagem to win his parents’ attention which explodes spectacularly in his face . . .
Funny and poignant, Babycham Night evokes the joys and heartache of childhood, and takes the reader on a nostalgic trip back to a lost era, when the Isle of Wight was an exotic holiday location and Babycham the height of sophistication.
‘Spellbinding memoir of a Fifties childhood by one of Britain’s most stylish writers’ Daily Mail
‘Beautifully written . . . so vivid you can taste the teacakes’ Time Out
‘So richly vivid are his general recollections that practically every passing reference draws us deeper into a childhood world’ Financial Times