Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia: The Bizarre Life of Julian Maclaren-Ross by Paul Willetts

As you may have noticed I have been reading this biography of writer, bar-fly and pub-bore J Maclaren-Ross. The dazzle of ‘Fitzrovia‘ in the title I suppose was the draw. I knew nothing about J M-R (or Edward Hyde as he sometimes styled himself) but I do like a bit of mid-century (20th that is) writerly derring-do.

It is rather a personal biography than a literary one, the kind that whets the appetite but leaves one suspecting that the life will always outshine the writing. At times the blur of rent dodging, advance squandering, dun avoidin’ and brandy quaffing caused the eyes to glaze somewhat, but nonetheless a readable and necessary book inking in the outline of a literary life that overlapped and maybe influenced so many others.

And I think that  Mr Willetts  has been sharp to invoke comparisons with the good Dr Hunter S Thompson; both half (or holy) mad with paranoia from booze and amphetamines, both capable of outright hackery, both less dangerous than advertised and both seldom seen without mirror shades or a cigarette holder.

Look out for original editions of his work because they are RARE!

Paul Williams

This is the blog of Paul Williams, Ceredigion resident since 1970. I am an English and Philosphy graduate of what was once known as St David's University College, at Lampeter. I played bass in Dyfed's first punk band, and living in Llandewi Brefi, had a grandstand view of Operation Julie. Eventually, after 2 years playing bass in Brighton's 256th punk band, I returned to Wales to deal in books and then antiques. I've trained and worked as a counsellor, I am a photographer, blog and web designer and I publish the annual Wales Antiques Guide. I am married and a father of one. Apart from my family, my interests include books, maps, Nikon, Yashica and Mamiya film cameras, British Culture 1935 - 1965, Poole pottery, Welsh textiles, and Poster art. My favourite movies include anything by Pressburger and Powell favourite music includes Gene Clark, Gram Parsons, and anything form San Francisco 1965-1970. I am a late convert to 'Kraut Rock'.

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