In an earlier jot we referred to a Schoolboy Party held at the Punch Club in 1932 which was attended by the cream of young society but there are many more such parties covered in the now rare book Society Racket: A Critical Survey of Modern Social Life (Long, London 1933). Patrick Balfour (Baron Kinross) was a journalist, at the time of this book he was ‘Mr Gossip’ at the Daily Express and the character Adam Fenwick-Symes in Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies, who works for a while as ‘Mr Chatterbox’ at ‘The Daily Excess’ may have been partly based on him.
Balfour traces this style of party back to the ‘freak’ parties of the nineteenth century citing Lady Castlereagh’s parties where guests took chloroform. In the era before the BYT’s many parties were marked by extreme drunkenness among the young toffs and women were either excluded or fled to their rooms rather than risk an encounter with ‘drunken gentlemen.’ Balfour writes “..right up until the war, in the days of the Empire Promenade, young men used to behave drunkenly in public.’ By the late 1920s this was disapproved of. He notes that the themed parties started in a modest way with things like ’Treasure Hunts’ and ‘Midnight Chases’ as a reaction to the dullness of the sozzled, dowager-ridden previous generation.
They set the Thames on fire at Henley, they held a false surrealist exhibition of a hoax artist called Bruno Hat, the leaflet for which -‘Approach to Hat’ is now extremely collectable. Among the parties recorded by Balfour were a Circus Party, A Russian Party, A Baby party, A Wild West party and the famous ‘bottle and bath’ party put on by Brian Howard and Elizabeth Ponsonby. The two hired St. George’s Baths at the height of a heat-wave, so that their guest might swim between dancing and supping. This do caused a shock in the media, mainly because the music was provided by a ‘negro’ band. David Tennant gave a Mozart party where guest wore 18th century costume, there was a wild party in Royal Hospital Road in ‘fancy undress’…
In Vile Bodies Waugh writes: –“…Masked parties, Savage parties, Victorian parties, Greek parties, Wild West parties, Russian parties, Circus parties, parties where one had to dress as somebody else, almost naked parties in St John’s Wood, parties in flats and studios and houses and ships and hotels and night clubs, in windmills and swimming-baths, tea parties at school where one ate muffins and meringues and tinned crab, parties at Oxford where one drank brown sherry and smoked Turkish cigarettes, dull dances in London and disgusting dances in Paris – all that succession and repetition of massed humanity … Those vile bodies…”
Found- an American press photograph from 1932. On the back is typed “Schoolboy Party Society Stunt. The latest fad of society in London is the schoolboy party, one of which took place at the Punch Club. The invitations were entrance forms to ‘St Barnacle’s School’ and many prominent society members attended dressed in appropriate costumes. Above are some of the guests in ‘uniform’. In centre is Lady Ashley (without hat) and third from left is Elsie Randolph.. Acme Press 7/25/32.”
This is the world of Evelyn Waugh’s 1930 novel Vile Bodies. The hero of the novel, Adam, becomes a society columnist – ‘Oh Nina, what a lot of parties’ he complains to his girlfriend – and the narrator adds:
“…Masked parties, Savage parties, Victorian parties, Greek parties, Wild West parties, Russian parties, Circus parties, parties where one had to dress as somebody else, almost naked parties in St John’s wood, parties in flats and studios and houses and ships and hotels and night clubs, in windmills and swimming-baths, tea parties at school where one ate muffins and meringues and tinned crab, parties at Oxford where one drank brown sherry and smoked Turkish cigarettes, dull dances in London and comic dances in Scotland and disgusting dances in Paris – all that succession and repetition of massed humanity … Those vile bodies…”
Apparently, there are now academic papers on the ‘Teddy Girls’ of the late 1950s. One paper submitted by a woman from a liberal arts college in the middle of the Canadian grain belt defines Teddy Boys and Girls as ‘passionate spectators of urban life who incorporated aspects of the Baudelarian dandy with a more vigorous embodied relationship to the city.’ Or not…
Anyway, forget Baudelaire; here is a real story of one of these Teddy Girls, plucked from the ever-giving Peter Haining archive. It’s a contemporary account that appeared in the sensationalist weekly ‘ Fling ‘ c 1959 by a self-confessed ‘moll’ who calls herself ‘ Mary Grange ‘ and who entitles her salutary story ‘ I was a Gang Queen ‘.
Mary Grange isn’t my real name. I’m twenty, but I’ve got to conceal my identity to escape from my past—-an ugly, shameful past which landed me in a magistrates court and might have sent my friends to Borstal.
To-day you might meet me while making your holiday arrangements. I work as a receptionist in a travel agency. It you’re a man, you’ll admire my long dark hair, blue eyes and model-girl figure. You’ll classify me as pretty, eager, hardworking and full of fun.
BUT ONLY A FEW MONTHS AGO I WAS A GANGSTER QUEEN
I was boss of ten Teddy Boys. I saw myself as one of those women you read about in books, whose beauty casts a spell over the men around her. I loved exerting my power. I loved excitement and adventure.
I used to “dare” the boys to steal gifts for me, just for the thrill of it.
First it was bottles of gin, then dresses, then the week’s taking from a shop till.
At the time they seemed like daring games. Now I see them as the stupid, criminal antics they were.
Why, you’ll ask, am I reviving a past that’s best buried and forgotten? Because I want to warn others against the pitfalls which put my name on police records.
I can’t plead the excuse of a slum home, a pavement playground. I live in what you might call a “select neighbourhood” in the suburbs of a large town in the north of England.
Found – this 1969 press photo. The byline reads: “1/10/69 London. Christine Keeler (left), whose name figured prominently a few years back in a scandal that rocked the British government attends a party in Chelsea 11/9 to launch a new book on the “Swingin’ Sixties”. With her is photographer David Bailey actress Penelope Tree and singer Marianne Faithfull (right).”
We covered this in an earlier jot with a different photo. One comment said that the super model Penelope Tree ‘owned’ the photo, but in this shot she shares the limelight with the handsome hippified Bailey. A rhyme at the time went: ‘David Bailey/ Makes love daily.’ Christine Keeler appears uncharacteristically jolly and Marianne Faithfull was appearing at the Theatre Royal Brighton in Alice in Wonderland about this time.
The book was Goodbye Baby & Amen. A Saraband for the Sixties. The text was by Peter Evans and photos by Bailey. The sitters included Brigitte Bardot, Cecil Beaton, Marisa Berenson, Jane Birkin, Michael Caine, Julie Christie, Ossie Clark, Joan Collins, Catherine Deneuve, Mia Farrow, Albert Finney, Jean-Luc Godard, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Dudley Moore, Rudolf Nureyev, Oliver Reed, Keith Richard, Peter Sellers, Jean Shrimpton, Barbra Streisand, Andy Warhol, Franco Zeffirelli. Presumably some of these illuminati were at the party..
If you Google Jane Deverson all you will find is that she was the journalist, who with Charles Hamblett, invented the catchy term ‘Generation X’ to describe the disaffected youth born just after the close of the Second World War. Today they are better known as ‘ Baby Boomers ‘, but back in 1963, when she co-wrote the feature in question for the magazine ‘Woman’s Own’, that particular label had not yet been invented. Anyway, Generation X sounds a lot cooler. A book followed in 1964 and it was a copy of this, which budding punk Billy Idol found in his mother’s home, that inspired him to form a band with the same name.
Fast forward eight years to 1972 and the thirty-two year old publishes Night Edge, a collection of distinctly visceral poems whose imagery often recalls the nihilism of Ted Hughes’ Crow, which had appeared two years earlier:
Found – the typescript of a review by Gerald Heard of J.W. Dunne’s The Serial Universe (1934). Dunne proposed that our experience of time as linear was an illusion brought about by human consciousness. He argued that past, present and future were continuous in a higher-dimensional reality and only experienced sequentially because of our mental perception of them. He went further, proposing an infinite regress of higher time dimensions inhabited by the conscious observer, which he called “serial time.” In his time Dunne’s work was highly influential, Aldous Huxley (a friend of Gerald Heard) J.P. Priestley and T.S. Eliot all used his ideas in their work. Gerald Heard is sometimes cited as a proto hippie or father of the ‘New Age’ movement. Wikipedia writes: ‘His work was a forerunner of, and influence on, the consciousness development movement that has spread in the Western world since the 1960s.’ He also wrote several still rated supernatural fantasies. This typescript was probably published in a newspaper at the time.
MR. DUNNE'S THEORY
'IMMENSELY IMPORTANT' FOR MAN
The Serial Universe. By J. W. Dunne.
(Faber. 10s. 6d.)
Reviewed by GERALD HEARD
In pre-Nazi days in Germany there used to be a popular print. It showed one of the great German philosophers walking along the main street of his home town with his manuscript under his arm, on the way to the printers. He keeps close to the wall because down the street's centre dashes that dreaded black travelling carriage inside which can be seen Napoleon, Europe's tyrant, rushing from-one battlefield to another.Continue reading
acid/LSD. Acid-head/one who uses LSD.
bust/police search, raid.
cool/unruffled, admirable (but see groovy); not carrying illegal drugs.
dig/understand. Diggers/idealist hippies undermining capitalist economies by giving away free clothes, washing-machines to needy.
drop-out/one who opts out of society.
flip/arouse enthusiasm. F. one's wig/lose one's head.
Flower Power/from Flower Children or Beautiful People.
Revolutionary philosophy akin to ideas of Young Liberals, e.g. Make Love Not War. Characteristic: bell.
freak/arouse or share collective enthusiasm (freak-out).
gig/single paid performance.
grey/middle-aged, conventionally dressed/minded person (orig. US Negro term for a white).
groove/make good progress, co-operate.
groovy/admirable, sexually attractive.
happening/spontaneous eruption of feeling/ display.
hippy/product of Haight-Ashbury ('Hashbury') dist. of S. Francisco. Anarchic successors to Beat generation. Essential beliefs: protest, legalised drugs, opting out. Not to be confused with plastic hippies/mostly conventional youth who like to dress up at weekend.
love-in/gathering associated with groovy scene.
plug-in/turn or switch on.
psychedelic/mind-expanding. Psychedelia/drugs, flashing lights, sound, colour, movies, dance – usually experienced simultaneously.
riff/repeated background phrase in music.
scene/Underground, or specific part of it.
stoned/very high on cannabis.
straight/conventional person, one who does not use cannabis.
teeny-bopper/anything from 11–16–average age of record-buying public.
think-in/poetry session, discussion group.
turned on/(1) accustomed to cannabis. (2) aware.
UFO/(pronounced 'yoofo'). Unlimited Freak Out – a hippy club.
vibrations/atmosphere; reactions, with sexual overtones.
Zowie/a new import from San Francisco, meaning hippy language.
A press-cutting for June 1961 found among the papers of Daniel (‘Dannie’) Abse, CBE, FRSL (1923 – 2014) well respected Welsh and Jewish poet who worked as a doctor much of his life. From the days of poetry and jazz, duffle coats and beards. The Tribune (a left -wing weekly) emphasises the youth of the audience, this is from a time when ‘youth’ meant under 30 – the youth movement didn’t really begin until 1963 (see Larkin’s poem Annus Mirabilis.) Another press-cutting notes the presence of the ‘irrepressible’ Spike Milligan ‘the eminent goon poet.’ Press cuttings, like Poetry and Jazz, are surely a thing of the past. Are there agencies still cutting up (and pasting) newspapers that mention their clients?
The Hampstead Poets and Jazz Group whose first recital was such a success at Hampstead Town Hall last February, greatly daring,took the Festival Hall on Sunday for another performance of their unique form of entertainment. Their optimism was well justified, as the hall was just about full; again the majority of the audience was under 30, and they were given the mixture of poetry and jazz much as before, although unavoidably, the intimate atmosphere of the first occasion was lost in the vast auditorium.
The one newcomer was Laurie Lee, himself a young poet in the thirties when the chief pre-occupation was the Spanish Civil War, as these young men, Adrian Mitchell, Dannie Abse, Jon Silkin, Pete Brown, and Jeremy Robson, the organiser, are poets of the sixties under the H-bomb’s shadow. Cecily Ben-Tovim’s drawing shows Mrs Harriet Pasternak Slater reading to the audience…her poems and her translations of her brother Boris Pasternak’s poems… created a sense of quiet lyricism and nostalgia among the young voices of protest and dissent. The jazz group, helped by Laurie Morgan and Dick Heckstall-Smith, added their own special contribution to the atmosphere.
Found- a British paperback 144 Piccadilly (NEL, London 1973) a novel by the American film director Samuel Fuller. It concerns a group of London hippies who barricade themselves inside a decaying Mayfair mansion and resist all efforts to evict them. One cataloguer notes that the American edition rather obscures the fact that it was based directly on an actual event — “ripped from the headlines,” as Fuller might have put it. In September of 1969 a radical group known as The London Street Commune, formed to highlight concerns about rising levels of homelessness in London, took over a large house at the corner of Piccadilly and Park Lane (just across from Hyde Park); they occupied the building for six days before being forcibly evicted by the police. Fuller’s literary conceit was to insert himself into the situation, “playing” the narrator, a cigar-smoking American film director (in London for a BFI retrospective of his films) who gets involved with the squatters by accident. Unlike most of Fuller’s books, it’s not just a novelization of one of his own film treatments; as he tells it in his posthumously -published memoir, he actually had been in London when the occupation was taking place, had witnessed the initial break-in while out on a late-night walk, and with his “newspaperman’s nose,” had contrived to have a chat with the occupiers. “The disheveled squatters invited me to stay on,” he wrote ‘(if)…I hadn’t had prior commitments, a wife, and a flight back to the States the next day, I would have.” He subsequently got “damn mad” about the treatment accorded the squatters by the British media and the police, and knocked out a novel in which “an American film director very much like me participates in an illegal entry in London, then tries to bridge the generational gap by becoming the group’s mascot and witness. The fictional ‘me’ does what I was tempted to do but couldn’t, abandoning his hotel suite for a mattress on the floor with the flower children.” He never made a movie of the book.
Loosely inserted in the book is a typed postcard (27/11/71) from Fuller “Am writing ‘Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street’ which I’ll shoot here in Feb. My book 144 Piccadilly just came out… Am at Senats Hotel 5 Koln 1 – Unter Goldschmied”. Fuller has not signed the card but the words ‘Mit Luftpost’ are handwritten in red ink, presumably by the great man… At the front of the book is the ownership signature of Phil Hardy, the recipient of the card- he wrote a book on Fuller published by Praeger ( N.Y. 1970)
Found in Photoplay- A British Film Magazine from March 1964, this piece by Ken Ferguson who appears to have been the magazine's editor. It was called 'Are the Beatles a Religion' and has soundbites from fans, vicars (who had more of a voice in 1964) teachers, impresarios and the lads themselves. The 'Adam' referred to is Adam Faith, a pop star of the time. 'Cliff', of course, is Cliff Richard…here is an abridged version:
Beatlemania, is a form of hysterical worship instigated by four young men who call themselves The Beatles. John, Paul, George, Ringo have written themselves into musical history with their savage, pulsating, hypnotic sound.
The other evening I felt the full blast and fury of Beatlemania as I sat in a theatre along with almost 2000 screaming, hysterical worshippers of the Beatles. It was fantastic. On stage, the four boys moved their lips and went through the motions of a performance but nothing could be heard above the roars of mass appreciation. How did it begin? Why did it begin? Where will it end?
Found - a 1967 Corgi paperback Love, love, love: the new love poetry. It was edited by Pete Roche the subject of a recent jot where he wrote disparagingly of the Cavern Club (1964). Three years later in the height of the Hippie era we find him editing this attractive book with psychedelic covers by Haphash and the Coloured Coat. His introduction celebrates the revival of 'live' poetry - which is still going strong. There follows a poem by him, other contributors included Adrian Henri, Adrian Mitchell, Roger McGough, Carlyle Reedy, Libby Houston, Spike Hawkins, Brian Patten...
… the recent increase in the popularity of poetry readings, particularly among younger people. The success in this respect of the Liverpool poets (all of whom are included here) and of what has been called The Great Liverpool Experiment have already been well documented. But this new interest in oral poetry is by no means confined to Merseyside: the readings organised by Tom Pickard in Newcastle, by Alan Jackson in Edinburgh, by Mike Horovitz and Pete Brown in London and the growing number of readings in other towns and cities throughout the country - all bear witness to the increasing demand for living poetry, poetry that talks to people in the direct and comprehensible way. It is no coincidence that virtually all of the poets in this book, when discussing their work, are quick to stress the value of these live performances.
And it is this quite novel situation - young poets reading their work to predominantly young audiences - that is giving the poetry of the mid-sixties its distinctive character, is investing it (whatever faults in technique one may find in individual poems) with a vigour and a feeling for the realities of life that have been absent from English poetry for too long.
Fumetti is an Italian word (literally 'little puffs of smoke' in reference to speech balloons) which refers to all comics. In English, the term often signifies photonovels or photographic comics, a genre of comics illustrated with photographs rather than drawings. These were often taken from movies or television. Photonovels were popular on the continent, especially in Italy and further afield in Mexico. They had a life in England, especially in romantic stories for young girls. This photo novel which appears to be from 1960 was in a series designated 'Continental Film Photo Stories.' It is taken from the Danish movie Ung Leg a tale of wealthy/ elite youth in post war Copenhagen. While promising (from the cover) a sort of Leopold and Loeb plot of senseless/ existential murder it does not get more daring than a game of 'chicken' on a railway line. A Pan paperback film tie-in novel by Johannes Allen, Young Love, appeared in 1966. The film The Young Have No Time was also directed by Johannes Allen.
Found- a rare piece of Beatnik ephemera, a card from New York's Cafe Bizarre with the phone numbers and name of Rick Allmen who started the club in 1957. The Cafe Bizarre was one of the better known clubs to capitalise on the beatnik phenomenon, and the venue for many counterculture poets and musicians of the period. Musitron Records even recorded an album of Beat festivities at Cafe Bizarre in the late '50s. (In the post-beatnik-era Andy Warhol discovered The Velvet Underground there.) Another band who played there was the Lovin' Spoonful who described the place as a 'little dump' (1965 -post its Beatnik Glory).They played 3 gigs a night and were paid with tuna fish sandwiches, ice cream and occasionally peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. More can be found at Rock and Roll Roadmaps.
Recently found - this 1969 press photo. The byline reads:
1/10/69 London. Christine Keeler (left), whose name figured prominently a few years back in a scandal that rocked the British government attends a party in Chelsea 11/9 to launch a new book on the "Swingin' Sixties". With her is photographer David Bailey actress Penelope Tree and singer Marianne Faithfull (right).
The book was Goodbye Baby & Amen. A Saraband for the Sixties. The text was by Peter Evans and photos by Bailey.
|Maurice Baring with his |
pet budgerigar 'Dempsey.'
Found in Paul Horgan's Maurice Baring Restored (Heinemann, London 1970) a collection of quotations - snippets from the work of the great (and somewhat neglected) writer. Horgan calls these pages 'Good Things.' Maurice Baring was very good on music and art, his Beethoven story has probably been told by others but is still poignant.
We have selected a few of the very best... There are many quotation sites on the web, most have just one 'quote' from him: 'Memory is the greatest of artists, and effaces from your mind what is unnecessary.' The following are from Paul Horgan's selection.
There is no amount of praise which a man and an author cannot bear with equanimity. Some authors can even stand flattery. (From the dedicatory letter of Dead Letters)
Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude.
Art was Flaubert's religion; he served it with all his might; and, although he wrote but little, he died of overwork. (French Literature)Continue reading
|At a revolutionary printing office*|
Found - a review in a 'monthly magazine of bibliography' Book Lore (1886) of a new magazine The Dynamiter : a record of literary bombshells, books old and new, flung into the camp of the orthodox [London : Printed and published for the proprietor by Thomas Shore**, Jun.,] WorldCat shows that it went to just one issue. The only copy in world libraries is at the British Library in Euston. Amazon list it as 'currently unavailable' assigning it the ASIN number ASIN: B0000EF989. The publisher, and probably the author, seems to have been a minor John Camden Hotten style publisher of the curious, seditious & the scabrous. WorldCat lists another work almost certainly by by him:
Men V. Machinery. Suggestive Facts and Figures, urging National Control of National Powers of Production. By Thomas Shore. With Preface by H. Halliday Sparling. 20 pp., price 2d.Continue reading
In our researches in the Glenavy papers in various books and online we came across traces of D.H. Lawrence's plans for a Utopian community to be called Rananim. At one point it appears that Lady Glenavy had Lawrence's actual plans for the community…
|Painting by D.H. Lawrence|
22/1/17 Lawrence wrote to Baron Glenavy (Gordon Campbell):
I hope, in the long run, to find a place where one can live simply, apart from this civilisation, on the Pacific, and have a few other people who are also at peace and happy and live, and understand and be free…
A little later he wrote to Gordon Campbell :
You see for this thing which I stutter at so damnably I want us to form a league - you and Murry and me and perhaps Forster - and our women - and any one who will be added on to us…as long as we are centred around a core of reality, and carried on one impulse.
Earlier (1915) he had written to E.M. Forster:
…in my island I wanted people to come without class or money, sacrificing nothing, but each coming with all his desires, yet knowing that his life is but a tiny section of a Whole : so that he shall fulfil his life in relation to the Whole. I wanted a real community, not built out of abstinence or equality, but out of many fulfilled individualities seeking greater fulfilment. But I can't find anybody. Each man is so bent on his own private fulfilment…'
Campbell's wife, Lady Beatrice Glenavy writes in her memoir Today We Will Only Gossip (Constable 1964):
About 1915..Lawrence begin to formulate his ideas about an Isle of the Blest which he had named Rananim, a name which he got out of one of *Kot's Hebrew songs. He had written out a long draft of the constitution of this island and given it to Gordon to study, hoping to get him interested and involved, believing him to have the organising capacity and the capital to work the scheme. Gordon put the papers away and they were forgotten till after Lawrence's death when Gordon met Aldous Huxley in London and they spoke of Lawrence and Gordon remembered the plans for the island which his practical mind had not taken seriously. Huxley was very interested and said these papers were of great importance and interest. When Gordon returned home he looked for them in the place where he thought he had put them, but they were not there. We searched the house and we almost tore it to bits in an effort to find the document, which consisted of several sheets of paper covered with Lawrence's own beautifully careful writing. They were never found and their disappearance remains a mystery.
Kot = the writer S. S. Koteliansky a core member of the Bloomsbury group. This Hebrew musical version of the first verse of Psalm 33 ('Rejoice in the Lord, O ye Righteous') is preserved in his papers.
Found a Billy Childish (and Sexton Ming) broadsheet listing 24 books from their Phyroid Press 1978 - 1982. It gives a useful bibliography of their publications (some are now rare) and it also lays down some ground rules when dealing with this esteemed publishing house:-
1. Do not swager yu bollocks when you come in
and dont give us any arty shit
yu will resive a brocken jaw and apendiges pretty qwick
2. If yu bottle out n turn out to be a whimpy one
we will not give you respect
infact we will do you down.
3. Do not talk of CND feminism or any of
that crap or we will bust yu lip
We talk the strong langwige that only children can bear
we drink neat carosean n smoke full strength navi-cut
our noses are smokeing chimny stacks
they fall over and crush yu wife and kids
We feed on boil pork n black cocain...[etc.,]
In about 2007 we acquired a collection of books from the estate a kinsman of the Heber-Percy family in a cottage close to the country house of the eccentric musical composer Lord Berners at Faringdon near Oxford. In the collection was this visitor's book (which later sold on the web for a low four figure sum..)
VISITOR'S BOOK FOR CALCOT PARK AND HUNGER HILL (EARL OF ROSSLYN 1914-1935). Oblong 4to (13" x 10"). Handsome red grained full leather binding with coat of arms in gilt on cover, slightly rubbed and slightly stained but sound VG. About 60 leaves. The visitor's book from 2 country houses owned by the Earl of Rosslyn (1869-1939)- Calcot Park and Hunger Hill. 3 photographs of these imposing houses pasted to first page. The first part, at Calcot, runs from 1914-1918. The second, larger part at Hunger Hill from 1925-1935. Signatures from Calcot include Diana Wyndham, Lord Wemyss, Countess Sutherland, Blanche Somerset, Arthur Balfour, Joseph Joffre, Admiral Jelicoe, Dame Nellie Melba, George Robey, Horation Bottomley, J. M. Barrie, Raymond Poincare, Douglas Haig, Herbert Asquith, Eleanor Glyn, George Vth and Queen Mary (the last 13 all appear to have stayed over one weekend in the summer of 1916). The visitors to Hunger Hall combine the old grand Rosslyn friends and the Bright Young Things crowd of their son Hamish St. Clair Erskine (Erskine had been at Eton with Robert Byron and James Lees-Milne and was leader of a "thoroughly irresponsible set." His name cropped up in a Home Office report on the greatest Eton scandal of the day when the actress Tallulah Bankhead was rumoured to have held an orgy with Hamish and his friends in a hotel at Bray.) Erskine, a "reckless charmer", was engaged to Nancy Mitford- this came to nothing; he was the first of a series of unavailable men that she fell in love with. Visitors during this time included Lady Rosslyn's great friend and mentor R. H Bruce Lockhart almost every weekend, Tom Mitford, John Betjeman (seven times, sometimes with Penelope Chetwode), Alan Pryce Jones (4), Peter Watson (3), Robert Byron, Nancy Mitford (3), Nancy Beaton (5), James Lees-Milne and Alvilde Bridges (5), Randolph Churchill, Peggy Evans (4), David Tennant, Victor Rothschild (3), Honor Guinness, Anthony Blunt, Henry Yorke (ie Henry Green). Calcot Park is now a Golf club.
This review slip was found in a book from the library of the playwright John Osborne (1929 – 1994). It was loosely inserted in Bertrand Russell's Fact and Fiction (Allen & Unwin, London 1961) with a handwritten signed letter written on headed notepaper from The Daily Herald, P.O. Box 196, 2-12 Endell Street, Long Acre, London W.C.2., dated October 11th 1961 and addressed to Osborne from their literary editor Frederick Laws. Consisting of about 40 words it says he is not sure if Osborne can find time for reviewing but hopes that the enclosed will interest him.
The typed slip from the same address is a standard covering note for reviewers saying the review is for their 'Book a Day' feature and gives details of how long the review should be and how it should be presented. Finally he says: ' Should you decide that the book is not worth reviewing, will you let us know as soon as possible? We do not want to notice books which are uninterestingly bad and unlikely to mislead anyone. If, however, the book strikes you as important but you are unable to review it, please return it to Frederick Laws'.
Not sure if Osborne ever reviewed the book; there is very little evidence that he read it. In our experience reviewers seldom return review copies to source, free books that can be later sold are one of the few perks open to reviewers...