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Members Only: The Life and Times of Paul Raymond Paperback – 2 Sep 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2 Sep 2010
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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (2 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846687152
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846687150
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 553,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Praise for Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia:
The legendarily catastrophic life of Julian Maclaren-Ross has tempted biographers before. But
the task of pursuing him, like the Hound of Heaven, through the sordid backstreets, rented basements and sodden saloon bars of his progress has always proved too much of a challenge. It is an extraordinary story of profligacy and waste which has been told, up until now, only in a million awed anecdotes... I have to take my hat off to Paul Willetts for his sheer industry in following his subject to places where few literary biographers need to tread

(Philip Hensher The Spectator)

Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia is an amusing and ultimately tragic account of the post-war bohemian Julian Maclaren-Ross whose self-destruction was emblematic of an age of fire (Sunday Telegraph)

A fascinating biography (Virginia Ironside Independent on Sunday)

Tremendously entertaining and amazingly well-researched (John Walsh)

Willetts deftly disentangles Maclaren-Ross from the web of speculation (Financial Times)

Imagine a ration-era Withnail and I... Willetts's engaging biography, the evocatively-titled Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia, helped pull a lost man of London letters out of obscurity (Word)

Recounting a life made up of lost afternoons, unfulfilled projects and midnight flits is no easy
task. Willetts doggedly follows Maclaren-Ross to the bitter end, providing a biography that maintains a careful balance between the broadly sympathetic and the properly sceptical

(Peter Parker Daily Telegraph)

Very striking, very strange and altogether fascinating (Richard Holmes, author of The Age of Wonder)

For a full and really fascinating account [of the life of Julian Maclaren-Ross], it is to Willetts's biography Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia that one must turn. That wonderful book is so
informative and so psychologically perceptive...

(Frances King The Spectator)

Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia vividly recreate[s] the colourful life of this difficult, troubled charmer... an excellent biography (Observer)

Historical profiling of a high order, richly and racily done (Literary Review)

An affectionate memoir that celebrates a life of flamboyant decline (The Week)

Willetts's gloriously readable biography paints a picture of a life which, for all its disappointments, was richly lived. I finished the book rather regretting never having had the opportunity to have stood Maclaren-Ross a drink (Mail on Sunday)

Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia is a cracking portrait of London bohemia (Independent)

Exhilaratingly depressing (The Times)

Assiduously researched and enthusiastic (Independent on Sunday)

Diligent, painstaking and bleakly hilarious (Guardian)

Praise for North Soho 999:
I urge you to read North Soho 999 by Paul Willetts. It's the absolutely gripping true story of an armed raid on a Fitzrovia jewellers/ pawnbrokers that escalated into a huge manhunt. The book drips with a fantastic Austerity Britain atmosphere, a place of flick-knives and gangsters and a capital awash with the plundered firearms of the recent war. It reads like a novel and is amazingly relevant, showing how the same terrors and preoccupations about society spinning out of control have always been with us

(Mark Gatiss Independent on Sunday)

Fitzrovia is the setting of Paul Willetts's tour-de-force North Soho 999, a recreation of the circumstances of a murder that took place on 29 April 1947... It is a fascinating account of a vanished Britain (Philip French TLS)

This book is like one of the best black and white films-only it's a true account of a notorious London gun-crime in 1947. Guns were prevalent just after the war and times were hard--and it was Fabian of the Yard who solved the murder of the young garage-owner, Alec de Antiquis. This is so meticulously well-researched, and such a compulsive read, that you are taken straight back to those grey post-war streets of Soho and the days of narks, spivs and squealers, when detectives wore suits and guns were found in the mud at Wapping. Unputdownable (Virginia Ironside Independent)

Immensely well-researched (D J Taylor Spectator)

A wonderful book. What a story! Its narrative, in all its squalid detail, is masterly (Selina Hastings)

A brilliant snapshot of 40s London, peopled by crooks, coppers and creeps. Willetts slices
through time with the skill of a razor-flashing wide-boy. Essential reading

(John King)

An amazingly atmospheric recreation of bombed-out post-war London, stalked by gangs and menaced by the threat of gun-crime (Robert Elms BBC Radio London)


A triumph of research and patient industry, full of arresting incident and sub-celebrity walk-ons... [and] wonderful bits of period detail

(DJ Taylor Independent on Sunday 2010-09-05)

[A] vivid portrait of the man who was, to all intents and purposes, Mr Soho. This fascinating study is as much a history of London's square mile of vice as an account of one man's life...

Thoroughly researched and extremely well written, this is an impressive book. Not since John Dickie's Cosa Nostra have I read anything that exerts such hypnotic fascination for its sometimes repellent subject.

(Catharine Arnold Observer 2010-09-05)

Paul Willetts skilfully teases back the curtains draped around Britain's pioneering pornographer... what really hits the spot is the way Willetts evokes Soho's tacky allure and charts the guilt-ridden British attitudes to sex that allowed a cynical player to prosper. (Keith Watson Metro 2010-09-08)

A well-researched book, covering an exceptionally interesting slice of social history. (Lynn Barber Sunday Times 2010-08-29)

Extraordinary (Daily Express 2010-08-26)

Willetts is good on the way attitudes and the law changed in regard to porn over the years, and on the shifting face of Soho. He is a brisk and witty writer, with an eye for quirky detail... extremely diverting. (Nick Curtis Evening Standard 2010-08-26)

Willetts has done a magnificent job (Sukhdev Sandhu Daily Telegraph 2010-09-11)

All is revealed in this straightforward yet queerly affecting account. (Paul Burston Time Out 2010-09-16)

Brilliant... Willetts' tone of amused detachment is pitched just right, making for some truly hilarious passages. (Simon Evans Choice 2010-10-01)

A fantastically rich portrait of Soho and the post-war period. (Travis Elborough BBC Radio 5 Live Up All Night 2010-10-11)

It documents a fascinating turning point in social history - the transition between grim post-war Britain and the swinging Sixties... hilarious... The whole fascinating story is spiced with brilliant chapter headings, from "Phwoar and Peace" to "Captain of Skindustry". (Virginia Ironside Independent 2010-10-22)

An intelligent, carefully researched book which is humorous but never cheap. It is full of pleasing details... Anyone who wants to study underworlds, Soho history, sexual chauvinism and repression, the self-deception and stupidity of censors, police corruption of the techniques of property speculation should read this book (Richard Davenport-Hines TLS 2010-10-22)

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Now a major film starring Steve Coogan.

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