He started out unpleasantly right wing, self-centered, and a really bad driver.
But as his driving improved, so did his writing skills and political views (moving from an ACT-style dogmatic world-view, to his current centre-left inclinations).
In the late 1970s, Frank visited the socialist republics of Eastern Europe. He lived there; immersed himself in the language; got drunk on plum brandy (oh, god, the memories…); fell in love; got dumped; and drove badly on the other side of the road.
But he learnt one thing. Socialism isn’t about economic systems. It’s how we treat one another and look upon others in our society less fortunate than us. ‘Cos as sure as evolution made little green apples, you can’t take your cash with you – but it’s what you leave behind that really does count.
It’s been a long journey. Some near misses later, and many hundreds of thousands of words written down, he sees the world much differently than the young prat who thought he knew it all in his teens and twenties.
Second most memorable insight? When Carl Sagan pointed out that the atoms we are made from were forged in the furnaces of dying supernovae. We are ‘starstuff’, recycled products of dead stars.
See how cool recycling is?
His driving is better.