As a baby, Simon Gray discovered that he could move his pram while still nestling inside it.
‘It was a complete mystery to the adult intelligences, how had he done it, if it was he who had done it, but if not he, who then and why? So the next afternoon they (Mummy and Nanny) planted the pram in the usual spot, and stood over it, watching – the baby lay there smiling or snivelling up at them, until it struck them that they should try observing the baby when unobserved by the baby, and they withdrew behind bushes and trees etc.; and thus witnessed the swaying of the pram, then the juddering of the pram, then its slow, unsteady progress along the path, the movement accompanied by a low humming and keening sound from within that reminded them more of a dog than a human … “jouncing” was the word they used for it. I was a jouncer therefore.’
In the second book of his chronicles of triumph and disaster which started with The Smoking Diaries, Gray intertwined scenes from his adult and his childish self to produce a brilliant and moving counterpoint of life’s unsteady progress.