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!