I Could Be So Good For You tackles head-on the pernicious and implicitly racist fiction that London, most especially north London, has no “real” working class in comparison to a more “authentic” working class in a place called “the North”.
In doing so it offers a history and a portrait of north London’s working class from the 1950s to the 21st century, based on a wide and original range of sources including personal memoirs, autobiographies, collected oral histories and new interviews conducted by the author. The result is an important social history and a rich panorama of working-class life — its struggles, work, celebrations, events, triumphs, tragedies and the occasional nice little earner.
For good or ill, from the start of post-war affluence in the 1950s to the economic crash of 2008, north London’s working class had a life experience like almost no other part of the British working class, one not just of poverty, racism and exploitation, but also of bold new housing schemes in the heart of the city, of great opportunity and diversity and enjoyment. Its about time to tell that story.
John Medhurst was born in London in 1962 and graduated in History and Politics from Queen Mary College, University of London. He has worked at all levels of the British civil service, from front-line welfare delivery to ministerial office in Whitehall, including local Job Centres, the International Branch of the Health and Safety Executive (in which he helped deliver assistance projects to ex-Soviet Bloc Eastern European countries), and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. In all of these he was an active trade unionist. He is now a full-time officer for the UK’s largest civil service trade union, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS). He was elected to PCS’s National Executive Committee 2003-06 and for six years was PCS’s representative on the European Public Services Union’s (EPSU) Public Services Network. He has written for Novara Media, Morning Star, Red Pepper, Green Left and the Journal of Contemporary European Research. He is the author of the highly regarded That Option No Longer Exists: Britain 1974-76, a revisionist history of Britain in the 1970s published by Zero Books in 2014. He is married with two daughters. He lives in Brighton, England.
“What a fantastic book this is – both a much-needed history of a class claimed regularly not to exist, and a compendious, endlessly quotable book of facts, anecdotes and tales of the ‘working class bohemia’ that existed, and crucially still exists, and changes and grows and thrives, in the lands south of Watford, east of Staines, north of the Thames and west of the Lea’”
“This is a Dickens for a postwar North London… an intimate letter to the North London working class, written out of a tough love, completely shorn of sentimentality. This is an important book. I know of no other quite like it. I wish I had written it.”