Book 11. Stalin Ate My Homework by Alexi Sayle. I'd forgotten I'd read this, but I really liked it. He's got a nice way of remembering. (You get the same thing from this, if you can track down a copy.)
About his Dad:
But it was the tools of Joe’s trade that really fascinated me. Each night he would come home and give me his leather satchel, which held a battered and scratched black paraffin lantern with red and green filters that could be placed over the clear glass lens to warn of danger or give the all-clear, a red and a green flag, squares of linen stitched to a thick wooden baton for the same purpose. In his waistcoat he carried a metallic-tasting whistle and a big fob watch like a miniature station clock.
The same juxtapositions I remember from his comedy, but warmer, realer:
Though everybody understood that here was a man who was dedicated to introducing a one-party state in which government terror was a central tool for ensuring the dictatorship of the proletariat I would hear people say, ‘You couldn’t meet a nicer bloke than Joe Sayle.’
the taxi firm were representatives of the petit bourgeoisie – that class which in Marxist terms ‘owned their own means of production’ and whose political allegiance could therefore switch between the ruling and the working-class depending on self-interest
Not just for only children:
Being an only child was a bit like taking an extraordinarily long train journey: you were always trying to find something to do to pass the time. At first I just told myself tales inside my head, but then I discovered that drawing was a great way to give the stories in my brain an external life.