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Three Queer Lives: An Alternative Biography of Fred Barnes, Naomi Jacob And Arthur Marshall Paperback – 5 Sep 2002
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This work dissects the lives of two extraordinary men and one remarkable woman who defied the sexual prejudices of their age and lived by their own rules. It tells the rags-to-riches story of Fred Barnes, a singer, dancer, comedian and scourge of the military; Naomi Jacob, a terrible but prolific novelist, broadcaster and cross-dresser; and Arthur Marshall, wit, television personality and "portly sunbeam". Paul Bailey describes gay life when it was still illegal, and how he became fascinated by these three characters, all gay in more senses than one.
About the Author
Paul Bailey is the author of eight novels, two of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has also written a volume of autobiography, IMMACULATE MISTAKE, and a biography of Cynthia Payne called AN ENGLISH MADAM. He lives in Shepherds Bush, London.
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I only really bought the book to further my knowledge upon Barnes, but was perfectly delighted by the long introduction, which could have been twice the length for me. Mr. Bailey's frank, often humorous, and very charming - not to say interesting - life was such a natural description of the dilemma facing so many of us, that one found that one had a friend and a guide from the very beginning. I wished that I had read it about 40 years ago. I could have saved so much time, and had so many more enjoyable adventures. I have not finished the book yet, but am writing this review whilst my initial feelings are still clearly in my mind. One question that I hope he will answer, but am pretty sure he won't: having mistaken Naomi Jacob for J.B. Priestly, in a book shop, who does he think would have been more offended (or delighted) J.B. or Ms Jacob?