Dress-down Friday: Julian Maclaren-Ross

No memoir of metropolitan literary life in the 1940s and 1950s would be complete without a vivid supporting part for him, invariably one where he wreaks inadvertent havoc on the memoirist’s hitherto orderly existence. No earnest study of London’s artistic demi-monde would be complete without quotations from Memoirs of the Forties, his classic paean to the vanished world of the blackout, “buzz bombs”, and boozy nights with Dylan Thomas. And no misty-eyed portrait of mid-century Soho would be complete without an appearance by him. Tall and aloof, he’s more often than not seen standing at the bar of the Wheatsheaf pub or in some shadowy dive. Resplendent in his trademark camelhair coat, worn over an immaculate suit, a fresh carnation in his buttonhole, a malacca cane propped beside him, a cigarette holder clenched between his teeth, mirror sunglasses lending him a gangsterish demeanour at odds with his otherwise dandified costume, he cuts an incongruous figure. Around him, a gaggle of fawning cronies provide an attentive audience for a relentless, well-rehearsed monologue, declaimed in a distinctively deadpan drawl.

– Paul Willetts on writer Julian Maclaren-Ross in Fear & Loathing in Fitzrovia


One comment

  1. Pingback: Fitzrovia revisited « Strange Flowers

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