Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia: The Strange Lives of Julian Maclaren-Ross Paperback – 3 Jan 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyone familiar with Jeffrey Bernard or even the film 'Withnail and I' will be privy to it's classic theme: Starving Artist, fantastic, ultimately unfulfilled promise, a diet of air and amphetamine, 62 hour writing jags, booze as fuel and stylistic prop..
As a biography, the Author's first, it's perhaps a little lacking in depth in places. The latter half especially sometimes seems to read as a list of accounts and figures, with little emotional resonance; On one Page Julian has a £108 advance from a publisher and moves into opulent hotel, able at last to focus on the 'Great novel'. By the next page he is skint again, sleeping rough. A £5 cheque from the TLS arrives, he moves into a bedsit. Money runs out, eviction is threatened.
A royalty payment from the BBC arrives just in time..he moves to another hotel..etc etc
Characters are also seemingly wheeled on, named, either insulted by and /or charmed by Julian and wheeled off again with little consequence; again, seemingly more so in the latter half of the book which seems at times to be rushing inexorably toward our hero's conclusion..
(As with any biography, as the remaining pages begin to thin, the reader senses Death hovering in the wings).
This could be partly down to a lack of material available.
Julian was it seems a shadowy figure, especially in the baliff haunted days of his later life. There are also very few photographs of him in existence. It's an odd contradiction that such an 'egotist' was so seemingly camera shy.Read more ›
The proof reading is ASTONISHINGLY shabby.
The odd split infinitive here and there is of course only likely to cause the most blinkered pedant to vent spleen, but when an ordinary reader like me feels the urge to deface a copy of a book, scribbling with apoplectic fury, teeth gnashing and brow furrowing, then there's something amiss. I think the moment I really got upset was when a character managed to change name three times within the space of two pages. This is frankly rotten work; Paul Willetts deserved to be better treated, for, despite all this, this is a splendid biography, as the other reviews will testify.
I would recommend this book wholeheartedly (as I do all of Maclaren-Ross's works, redolent as they are of the sort of mid-twentieth century despair, hopes dashed and opportunities missed which would appeal to any fan of authors like Patrick Hamilton) if and only if you don't have a twitchy blue pencil, tut at costermongers' signs, think it's all very well for the national Truss to pen that punctuation guide but really this sort of thing ought to have been taught in schools, and find yourself mumbling about falling standards as you stare at your pint in a tap-room filled with the din of juke boxes and slot machines, dreaming of the long lost glory days which, let's face it, never really existed. But enough. The pose of embittered fogey is an annoyance, I know.
Buy it, do, but bear in mind the old cry of caveat emptor.