I grew up in a world where the social democratic state was the norm, not the exception.
I can still boss people around. I can still write. I can still read. I can still eat, and I can still have very strong views.
I started work on my first French history book in 1969; on 'Socialism in Provence' in 1974; and on the essays in Marxism and the French Left in 1978. Conversely, my first non-academic publication, a review in the 'TLS', did not come until the late 1980s, and it was not until 1993 that I published my first piece in the 'New York Review.'
The pleasures of mental agility are much overstated, inevitably - as it now appears to me - by those not exclusively dependent upon them.