Philip Larkin’s centenary: ‘ Down Cemetery Road ‘, a review of The Whitsun Weddings by D. J. Enright.

Jot 101 Philip Larkin The Whitsun Weddings coverBy the time The Whitsun Weddings had appeared in 1964 Larkin had become a major voice in contemporary poetry. As such he deserved a decent reviewer and he got one in D. J. Enright, a poet and critic two years older, who had reviewed XX Poems. The irony ( if that is the right word) is that the review of The Whitsun Weddings appeared in the New Statesman. Fast forward to the furore that accompanied the biography by Andrew Motion and the published letters edited by Anthony Thwaite, when left-wing readers of the  ‘Staggers’ were among those  who denounced the racist and xenophobic attitude of Larkin that he must have held at the time when The Whitsun Weddings came out. Of course Larkin, being Larkin, had kept his politics and racism out of this second collection.

Enright remarks that the poet who ‘ wrote like an angel ‘was not averse to swearing in print, but felt that  his  ‘cock and balls’ (from ‘Sunny Prestatyn’)  and ‘get stewed ‘ ( from ‘ A Study of Reading Habits’ ) just didn’t ‘read well.’ We feel differently now, of course, but back then established poets didn’t swear on paper. Enright isn’t put off by the bad language, but does feel that Larkin has a ‘valetudinarian attitude towards life ‘, although he couldn’t be called a debunker. He occasionally patronises his characters ( like Arnold in ‘ Self’s the Man’), but he doesn’t sneer at them.

‘If anyone takes a beating in this book, it’s the author himself. If Mr Larkin’s cheek doesn’t sport a ready tear, nonetheless compassion for others is never too far away; and there are even rare intimations of a sort of muted glory. He writes of failure, or insufficiency rather, or rather of velleities and second thoughts, of dubious buses not too bitterly missed, of doubts about doubts, and there is a gentleness., even a dry sweetness, to his tone of voice.’

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The Whitest Man I Know

Jot 101 whitest man larkin 001Larkin’s ‘Sympathy in White Major ‘ ( High Windows 1974) is one of his best known poems. It begins with a lip-smacking description of a gin and tonic being poured and ends with the poet drinking the health of ‘Here’s to the whitest man I know, though white is not my favourite colour.’

The poem is essentially about the doubtful virtues of unselfishness. Larkin lists all the virtues of his ‘white ‘altruistic protagonist: he ‘devoted his life to others ‘, ‘and was ‘a real good sort ‘, implying that these are qualities that are generally admired. However, as Larkin suggests in another poem, ‘Self’s the man ‘, someone who marries and has children is making a selfish choice rather devoting ‘himself to others’. Larkin looks at his own life as a non-white bachelor who has rejected this ‘ family man ‘ lifestyle, and contends that by being a poet and a novelist he has contributed more to society in general than has the ‘ white ‘ family man with responsibilities to others.

But placing its possible interpretation aside, where did Larkin get the phrase ‘the whitest man I knew‘? We know that he was an enthusiast for ‘ trad’ jazz. He owned a large collection of mainly traditional jazz records and some of his writings on jazz were collected in All What Jazz. But was he also knowledgeable in the field of Music Hall recitations and the music that often accompanied them? Was he familiar with the poem ‘The Whitest Man I Know’, which was written in 1913 in the era of Dixieland by the English actor and poet  J.Milton Hayes, who also performed it to the music of R. Fenton Gower.  Continue reading

Samuel Fuller and 144 Piccadilly

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)

Donald Davie & the poetry scene (1963)

Found in a copy of New & Selected Poems by Donald Davie (Wesleyan University Press, 1961) a handwritten letter from the author. A good newsy letter that gives a snapshot of the  Oxford and transatlantic poetry scene of the early 1960s. It is to Fred Hunter founder of Independent Radio News, teacher of journalism and something of a poetaster and friend of many of the Sixties and Liverpool poets. He also had a poetry record label (Stream Records) which in 1967 put out an L.P. of the American poet Dorn reading from his North Atlantic Turbine. The letter reads:

[Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge]. June 18th 1963.

Dear Mr. Hunter,

I was touched and pleased to have your request from yourself and Mr. S. Raut Roy. I have today dispatched the books to you - don't send them on to India before taking out your own two copies!

I know Jonathan William, by name of course and I believe he was lately entertained by my young colleague Jeremy Prynne, to whom I am chiefly indebted for my knowledge of the Projective Verse poets, who seem to me to represent the only plausible growing-point for Anglo-American poetry. Olson I esteem chiefly as a theorist, Duncan's work I hardly know, but Creeley's I admire very much. We would link with him Edward Dorn whose very distinguished collection in typescript we are at present (Prynne and I) trying to place with a London publisher - but with predictably little success. 

I am having great difficulty about completing a new collection of poems which will represent in some degree the sympathy I feel for some of the Projective Verse methods. But this business of doubling up as poet and don is quite hopeless! 

Again, I'm grateful.

Yours sincerely, 
Donald Davie

Dail Ambler

A letter from the Peter Haining collection unsigned but certainly from Steve Holland, a fellow British pulp enthusiast who wrote a definitive book on the subject - The Mushroom Jungle and later a book on pulp writer Dail Ambler The Lady Holds a Gun! Both books can be bought at Amazon, the latter only as a Kindle download…Among many works written under pseudonyms Dail Ambler (a.k.a.Danny Spade) also wrote the screenplay for the cult film Beat Girl (1960) starring the amazing Gillian Hills.

Dear Peter,
 Many thanks for your letter, and for the offer of some Janson's on loan...
THE MUSHROOM JUNGLE: well, you've certainly come to the right person to ask, as this is the working title of my book on the fifties publishers! I dreamed up the title years ago when I started, a sort of play on The Asphalt Jungle, with mushrooms chucked in because of how these publishers seemed to pop up overnight. The bulk of the bibliography (which runs to 250 pages} is written, but I'm adding to it all the time…

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The Ghosts of Glamis

Found -  The Ghosts of Glamis - a typescript, apparently unpublished, from around the 1960s. Glamis is the seat of the Queen Mother's family, the Bowes-Lyons, and is said to be the most haunted castle in Britain. There is the Grey Lady who haunts the chapel, a tongueless woman haunting the grounds, a young black servant boy haunts the seat by the door to the Queen's bedroom, also the ghost of the gambler and hell raiser Earl Beardie has free range of the house (he lost his soul to the devil in a card game). There are more. The castle is also mentioned in Shakespeare's MacBeth, and the murder of King Malcolm the II is supposed to have taken place in one of the rooms.This seems unlikely as the castle dates from the 14th century and the murder from the 11th century. The typescript is of unknown provenance but seems to have been written for publication...

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Horror in the Night by Richard Macgregor (aka MacGregor Urquhart )

A local dealer has this graphic artist's illustration for a lurid book cover. He thinks he may have bought it from someone selling a quantity of book cover illustrations on card (gouache, watercolour etc.,) by the railings on Bayswater Road about 30 years ago. Art (now mostly kitsch and worse) is still sold there every Sunday. Often these illustrations  have lettering so you can see the title, but not in this case, and no artist had signed either.

By sheer chance he found the actual book that had used the illustration - in a box of SF, fantasy and horror paperbacks.  The book was Horror in the Night, a short story collection by Richard Macgregor published by Digit in London in 1963. Not a lot is known about Macgregor, these were 5 short horror stories and he seems to have written 5 other books between 1963 and 1964 for Digit. Titles like The Deadly Sun, Creeping Plague, The Day a Village Died --- a category that came to be known as Doom Watch fiction, possibly post apocalyptic in content. A further book Taste of the Temptress came out in Sydney in the mid 1960s published by Eclipse, so he could have been Australian -this was also published by Digit so possibly not (also it seems he was from Essex - see the excellent Bear Alley.) As for the artist it could be one R.A. Osborne (1923 - 1973) art director of Digit at the time and responsible for many of their covers including Macgregor's Day a Village Died, the story of a village plagued by killer ants.

This piece first appeared at our old site Bookride and since then new information has come to light via dealer Cold Tonnage and the IMDB database. It seems that his real name was MacGregor Urquhart. IMDB's short biography says he 'was a writer and actor, known for The Powder Monkey (1951), John of the Fair (1951) and The Malory Secret (1951). He died on March 17, 1967.' His first work of fiction appeared in the early 1960s  so it seems that his writing career followed his spell in movies. Further investigation shows he was also a playwright with at least one published play Investigation. A Pay in Three Acts (Evans, London 1958.)

How many molecules in a drop of whisky?

From R. Houwink's The Odd Book of Data (Elsevier, Amsterdam 1965) obtained from the amazing library of Jeremy Beadle MBE (1948 -2008) British entertainer, television star,  hoaxer, quizmaster, book collector and philanthropist (with his blind stamp reading 'Property of Beadlebum OK?')

It's a curious ur geek book full of data such as 'the light now reaching the star Pollux tells us about Hitler's rise to power, whilst a star in the Andromeda Nebula brings us, as it were, a visual greeting from the period when Homo Sapiens made his engravings in caves (15000BC)...' Here is a piece about the number of molecules in a drop of whisky:

Peter looked askance at John who was just polishing off his umpteenth glass of whisky.
'Steady on, old man… leave a drop for the stragglers!'
'Shteady on?'  echoed John, ' Why , theresh heapsh of the shtuff…hic.  Tell you what, shport, I'll dish out a thousand molecules per second to every living soul for the next 30 odd years…hic'.
John upturned his glass and shook a single drop on to Peter's palm. 'Take care of dishtribution old shport!'

Mortimer on British Class System 1969

A typed signed manuscript with ink corrections by Raymond Mortimer and a typed signed letter of rejection from the then Sunday Times editor Harold Evans.

Mortimer's article is now somewhat outdated, although a class system still exists in Britain. 'The Nobility' has now been largely replaced by celebrities and there is now, as in America, a much greater emphasis on money. It seems at the time the Sunday Times was running a series of articles on class by well known writers.

April 18th, 1969

Mr. Raymond Mortimer, CBE,
5 Canonbury Place,

Dear Raymond,

  I'm sorry that I agree with you that I don't think it is quite pointed enough. I think it would need to have some specific symbols of class. The Snowdon observation about class and motoring is the sort of thing I mean:

Saloon car with two husbands in front, their two wives behind = lower class.

Ditto with mixed couples in front and back = middle class.

Ditto with no one in back, husband and somebody elses wife in front = upper class.

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George Barker on MacLaren Ross

At some point in the 1990's we bought a lot of books and papers from the Norfolk based poet George Barker. This catalogue entry is worth preserving. For some reason it seems a bit down on Barker, possibly because Barker is very hard to sell whereas novels by Julian MacLaren Ross go, as they say in Canada, 'like snow off a dyke.'

Barker, George. ( J. Maclaren Ross.) Manuscript of a review by George Barker of the autobiography of  J. Maclaren Ross. 1960s. Typed MS with notes in Barker's hand and a signed note at the top saying that he wrote the review for The Tatler. 800 words with many hand written additions and corrections. It begins 'I remember him as a rather melancholy Malvolio drawling away in a high pitched nasal monotone to which no one in the Wheatsheaf, or the Highlander or the French Pub ever paid any attention at all...' Barker grudgingly admits that his memoirs are not 'entirely unmemorable'. Most of the review is spent putting the boot in and, apart from the envy a  minor writer might feel for another who has become a major cult, it appears that most of GB's animosity came from the fact that JMR borrowed a tenner from him and never repaid it.

 'I found reading them both evocative and faintly shameful. Evocative because Maclaren Ross really did possess a door-to-door salesmen's eye for snap evaluations, and faintly shameful because he had an eye for almost nothing else.' Barker (who got by on academic work  from which, it is said, that he tended to be dismissed for drunkeness, lechery or indolence) is referring to JMR's job working for several years as a vacuum cleaner salesmen, an experience of which JMR writes brilliantly in Of Love and Hunger. SOLD

Vegetarian Instructions

From the Vegetarian Handbook (London 1970). The last 8 pages consist of instructions to show to your hosts in hotels and restaurants so that they understand your diet requirements. The style of non meat food is possibly now slightly dated (nut rissoles, vol-au-vents) and even a little joyless, but the leaflet makes pretty sure that the food provider gets the picture. Serious Veggies could well use it, or modify it...We have added the Spanish version and tried to OCR (read digitally) the Esperanto - but it scrambled.


The following pages, in seven different languages, may be useful to visitors in hotels that do not normally cater for vegetarians. Translation has been kept as literal as possible so that the various items can easily be identified.

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Bolan in Cyclops

From the first issue of the Norwich based literary magazine Cyclops (Wild Pigeon Press 1968). Other contributors included Jeff Nuttall, Snoo Wilson and Bill Butler. There is a full page portrait of Marc by Harriet Franklin, the wife of the magazine's editor Dan Franklin. Cyclops says of Marc: 'Sings with Tyrannosaurus Rex. First book of poems is appearing soon.' Indeed this poem appeared soon after in his Warlock of Love. Untitled (as it is titled) is  a prose poem so abstract it might turn into mist and float out to sea. It seems probable that rare and exotic herbs were consumed during its creation...Take it away Marc:

Tall as the truth the creature coughed in the clouds, 
feeding on mountain tips and the rare winged eagle lords 
that journeyed higher than the memory of man. Its claw, caked in mist and wishes, ripped at a pillar of fear 
masoned long ago by terrible forgotten Titans, to
 prevent the dreams of man from floating in the valleys 
of the diamond.
 Its eyes, like women and sand, shifted ever searching 
for the perilous horn of plenty. A foolish colossus 
it looked, ragged and unworshipped. Solitary on the 
roof of the world, a remaining nightmare in a plateau 
of fair thought.
It moaned and clumsily spewed spells of fear on the 
storm stallions grazing in the temple of pearls. And 
the years danced on. And all that moves returns to 
stone, eventually.

The Estate of the late F.Scott Fitzgerald

After his death, there was $706 cash in hand, Frances Kroll wrote Judge Briggs; $613.25 would go for burial expenses: “casket and services $410; shipping $30; city tax $1.50; transportation (to Baltimore) $117.78.” His worldly goods consisted of:

1 trunkful of clothes

4 crates of books

1 carton of scrapbooks and photographs

1  small trunk with some personal effects—the Christmas presents sent him, personal jewellery (watch, cuff links), several scrapbooks and photographs

2  wooden work tables, lamp, radio

Is this how a man ends? — a few crates “dumped to nothing by the great janitress of destinies” (from the brief verse found in his desk after his death).

From College of One: The Story of How F. Scott Fitzgerald Educated the Woman He Loved (1967) by Sheilah Graham.

London’s first boutique

From Gear Guide (Hip Pocket Guide to London's Swinging Fashion Scene) published in London in May 1967.

Bill 'Vince' Green was a stage portrait photographer who specialised in taking shots of body-builders. One of  his problems  was finding briefs that were brief enough and close fitting to show off the body beautiful to the best effect. There seemed to be no solution to his problem until Vince started making the briefs himself. He tried using stretch material intended for women's roll -ons and other unlikely cloths.  it was really only a part time activity for Vince, but his name spread -  people started turning up and asking for briefs to order in unusual materials. Even visiting royalty  sought him out and were fitted with swimwear.  In 1954 he visited Paris  and was struck by the clothes of the beat Left Bank student fraternity  and cafe society - young people who lived it up through the night in the cafes wearing dark glasses and a lot of denim.

Denim took Vince Green's fancy. He discovered that  people  were actually bleaching their denims and sitting in baths to shrink them to body-hugging shapes. It seemed a great idea and Vince  decided to sell denim made like this. In October 1954 he opened up a boutique selling pre-shrunk pre-bleached clothes. At the beginning the trade was highly amused and though it a quickly passing gimmick. But soon he was supplying his denim wholesale to big stores like Harrods. Today over a decade later, this particular gear style is still very popular in many different forms. Is not surprising  and new as Vince probably thought. In the days of the great army of the Russian Czar's the officers were known to sit in  the hot baths to soak their sealskin trousers before a big parade or ball.

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How to become a spy (in 6 easy lessons)

Found in a 1963 Central Office of Information booklet Their Trade is Treachery. Of some rarity and value - a top online bookseller describes it thus:

In the wake of the Profumo Affair the COI "produced a lively booklet as part of their educational campaign to improve the awareness of middle and lower grade officials and members of the Armed Forces of their responsibilities in regard of security matters" (Gladden, Civil Services of the United Kingdom: 1885-1970, p.166). Includes accounts of notorious cases, tricks of the trade, and helpful advice, "Spies are with us all the time. They are interested in everything, defence secrets, scientific secrets, political decisions, economic facts, even people's characters in order to recruit more spies" (from the preface).

Towards the end of the book after a piece called 'How not to become a spy (in 6 not so easy lessons)' they offer this tongue in cheek advice:

How to become a spy (in 6 easy lessons)

1. Let it be known to your friends, casual acquaintances, and strangers that you have secret information, or are in a job where you may be able to obtain it one day. This should attract treasonable propositions or threats, which it may or may not be possible to resist.

2. Think you are cleverer than you are. Be conceited. Tell yourself that you are capable of handling any regular association with Iron Curtain officials without informing your superior officer or local Security officer. If the Iron Curtain man is a diplomat, convince yourself that it's only your fascinating personality, wit, and friendship that attracts him. If you can believe that, you can believe anything. You're on your way.

3.Develop a few vices, especially abroad, so that with luck you can be compromised and blackmailed.

4. If you cannot manage a vice or two, just be foolish. If you can't be foolish, be incautious.

5. Accept favours and hospitality from Iron Curtain officials… When in return they ask some harmless service in exchange for good money, accept at once. This encourages them, and, if you pursue  the matter to a logical conclusion,  you should land yourself safely in prison one day.

6. If you do not fancy prison especially in cold weather, persuade yourself that if you become a spy you will never get caught. You will, of course, but one must not start with a defeatist attitude.

Teenage Testament 1960

Found among some papers bought from the late John Rolph, a memorable man, publisher with the Scorpion Press and latterly a bookseller in his rambling shop at Pakefield, Lowestoft. He had published several Royston Ellis poetry pamphlets including the great-looking Rave (1960). Ellis's statement, written when he was 18 is a cri de coeur from teenland--the teenager at the time had only just been invented, before that in what is now known as 'the age of deference' you went uncomplainingly from boy to man, from girl to woman, wore sensible clothes, plastered down your hair and behaved yourself. The document  is a carbon copy with a note by JR 'given to me by Royston 1960.' It appears to be unpublished.

                                 Teenage Testament

With the on-coming Spring the teenage has burst into bud once again. But this year there is no getting rid of it with weed killer. Teenagers look like being the prize blooms featured in every newspaper, magazine, television programme and family discussion.

Throughout the country youngsters are being interviewed for their views on life, love, manners, religion....In fact, everything that will give the outsider an idea of what makes teenagers tick. A so-called typical teenager romps into the public eye and is immediately condemned and criticised by earnest religious bodies as being 'not a fair representative'. A learned youngster states his views and straightaway teenagers accuse him of being out of touch.

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I have found a curious pamphlet from the rather neglected Mill House Press which was run by Edward Gathorne- Hardy whose pic is below. Printed on mould made paper in 1963 It is one of 200 copies only and called Inadvertencies collected from the works of several eminent authors.

Basically a collection of inadvertently obscene passages from mostly 19th century classics. The double entendre game. This passage from Charles Dickens gives the flavour -- 'She touched his organ; and from that bright epoch, even it, the old companion of his happiest hours, incapable, as he had thought, of elevation, began a new and deified existence.' My favourites are from Henry James. There is always a faint air of embarrassment with the Master anyway and Gathorne- Hardy has found some corkers.

"'Oh, I can't explain,' cried Roderick impatiently, returning to his work. 'I've only one way of expressing my deepest feelings - it's this.' And he swung his tool." (Roderick Hudson)

"You think me a queer fellow already. It's not easy to tell you how I feel, not easy for so queer a fellow as I to tell you in how many ways he's queer." (Passionate Pilgrim)

'What an intimacy, what an intensity of relation, I said to myself, so successful a process implied! It was of course familiar enough that when people were so deeply in love they rubbed off on each other....' (The Sacred Fount)

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Slang glossary 1962

From a cult novel by old Etonian Robin Cook who later changed his name to Derek Raymond to avoid being confused with schlock novelist Robin 'Coma' Cook. As Raymond his books became very dark and gory but persisted with varieties of slang for which his first book The Crust on Its Uppers (1962) was known. A rich source book of slang, some unique, some well worn and some highly ephemeral. Here is a small selection:

Angst = trouble

Archbishop = Archbishop Laud = fraud

Baize, the = Bayswater Road

Binns= spectacles (dark binns- dark glasses)

Blag= a bluff, a tall story (Fr. 'blague?) Also as verb

Bubble=bubble-and-squeek= Greek (thus Archbubble= ArchGreek or Greek-in-chief)

Cat's-meat gaff= hospital

Charver= to have sex with

Deviator= a crook (devious= crooked; deviation= a crime)

Drum= a room or flat

Duke= duke of Kent= rent

Exes= expenses

44X= extreme, i. e. '44X angst' = big trouble

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British Surrealism – Arson – an Ardent Review (1942)

Toni del Renzio. ARSON. AN ARDENT REVIEW. Part One of a Surrealist Manifestation. London, 1942.

Although billed as 'Part One' this was the only issue of this surrealist magazine of 'incendiary innocence' ever to appear. Several other magazines, mostly smaller in format and associated with E.L.T. Mesens appeared and all have become quite hard to find and consequently expensive. Del Renzio was a key figure in British Surrealism, never a burgeoning movement but oddly attractive and now quite collectable. Under the headline 'SUPERDAD' the art journal 'Studio' published this obituary for him in Febuary 2007:-

Toni del Renzio has died aged 91. Truer than life always, he was born to a landed Italian family outside St Petersburg, where his father was a diplomat to the Tsarist court. He had a legendary and varied life, not least in contributing to Studio International, with whose editor, Peter Townsend, he established a natural rapport. Fluent in several languages, he had fought in the Spanish Civil War but ended up in the lap of the Surrealist movement in Paris. On eventual arrival in London, he founded the Surrealist magazine Arson.

In 1951 he joined the Institute of Contemporary Arts and was involved on exhibition panels and juries. For a time back in Italy, he became the Fashion Editor for Harpers Bazaar, and then reorganised the Milanese magazine Novita as Vogue Italia. He staggered his friends and acquaintances much later on by becoming, at the age of 70, the father of quadruplets, two sons and two daughters: and then wrote about it as if it was the most natural thing in the world, which for del Renzio, it was. His métier was the surrealist collage. He became distinguished as a teacher, both at Bath and subsequently at Canterbury, where he was Head of Art and Design History. Vale, ti saluto, Toni del Renzio, maestro.

Antonio Romanov del Renzio dei Rossi di Castelleone e Venosa (to give him his full name) was a mercurial character and as a surrealist spent a lot of time engaged in aesthetic and political arguments, being at one time being considered a monster by the Mesens crowd. His key work 'Arson' was partially financed by Ithell Colquhoun whom he married in 1943 and divorced in 1948. He was also, briefly, the lover of the surrealist painter Emmy Bridgwater.

In 1942 de Renzio also mounted a London exhibition entitled Surrealism resulting in more general recognition for the movement. Arson was printed on turquoise stock and decorated on the front cover with surrealistic appropriations of steel engravings, printed in purple. Collage was a favourite medium for del Renzio. Contributors included Robert Melville, Giorgio de Chirico, Conroy Maddox, Nicolas Calas, Pierre Mabille + an interview with André Breton. Books by TDR are quite collectable--his 1968/ 1969 paperback on hippies 'The Flower Children' is very uncommon and his 1971 book After a Fashion is highly elusive.

Facts on the Fab Four from ‘Fabulous’ 1965

Trivial info on the Beatles from their 'fab' days. Found in 'Fabulous' 1965.  Surely they were the first 'boy band' and the template for all boy bands since?

John flew to Hong Kong wearing pyjamas.

John is a cat lover.

Ringo spent much of his childhood in a Cheshire hospital.

John used to envy his cousin Stanley's Meccano set.

Brian Epstein hesitated a long time before taking Ringo as a replacement for Pete Best.

Patti Boyd didn't like the Beatles before she met them on the set of A Hard Day's Night.

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