On the evening of September 14th Reaction (the new commentary site on politics, economics and culture that I edit) is hosting its first event for readers. Tim Montgomerie, columnist for the Times and a leading Conservative thinker, has kindly agreed to be host. He will interview me about the City in the 1980s and now, but we will also get into Brexit, the future of capitalism and even the fortunes of Theresa May.
You can purchase tickets here. Standard tickets are £10. Premium tickets are £30 and include a signed copy of the hardback. There will be wine…
The last time I had a book published (Making it Happen, in 2013, on the collapse of RBS) several people took me to task when I wrote quite a bit about it. “You’re just trying to sell your book!” said one. Another was less direct: “Have you got a book out? You never mentioned it…” Perhaps they had a point, I concluded. I had written about it too much after publication. I felt mildly guilty.
This time, guilt goes out the window. With my new book – Crash Bang Wallop: the inside story of London’s Big Bang and a financial revolution that changed the world – I feel, after spending a lot of time interviewing people who made a fortune in the 1980s, no shame whatsoever about trying to sell it. Crash Bang Wallop is published by Sceptre on September 8th and after that if you see too much about it on Reaction, and it starts to grate, forgive me please and remember that we all have mortgages.
It is thirty years this autumn since Big Bang, when the City underwent an astonishing transformation. Crash Bang Wallop marks that anniversary, but it is about more than just the events of 1986, perhaps the pivotal year in modern British history. The book is in three parts. Part One charts the rise of the City from the 16th century, via the innovations and chicanery of visionaries and rascals. Part Two is the story of the City in the 1980s. Part Three charts the impact and the aftermath, with plenty of scandal. In the Afterword I examine the future of the City of London and the future of money, in the light of Brexit and the next revolution – this time digital – that is sweeping through finance.
I hope you can join us on September 14th at 6pm. There will be more Reaction reader events with other authors announced soon.