John Osborne ("utterly without talent," according to Colin Wilson - and he's one to talk) ended up bankrupt in Shropshire, begging money to fix his teeth from the Royal Literary Fund. Kingsley Amis became a bulging-eyed boozer and misanthrope, being funny in the Garrick with his zip undone, and virtually incapacitated by his phobias - flying, folk dancing, hailing taxis and sitting on his own, to mention only a few.
Philip Larkin succumbed to "depressive nihilism", expiring of oesophageal cancer in Hull surrounded by his ugly birds, the devoted Maeves, Monicas and Bettys. John Braine ("contrived and perfunctory") drank heavily, grew "downright stupid" and "bored everybody silly". His Room at the Top archives failed to sell at Sotheby's and for Christmas he went to the community centre and lunched with tramps.
John Wain kept churning out unreadable epics about Oxford, went blind and died "short of money", living off handouts from the Society of Authors. Kenneth Tynan's cheques bounced, too, and he died of emphysema, weighing less than eight stone. Before that, his obsession with sadomasochism got the better of him, and he broke a blood vessel in his penis, which took on "the shape of an egg-timer". ......... read on .....
Friday, May 25, 2007
I recuse myself (genuinely loathing the man John Osborne seemed to be, indifferent to Amis though antipathetic to "The Old Devils", admiring Larkin, having had a teenage fling with the Wilson's "The Outsider", and previously imagining that I was the only person who recoiled from Tynan) but there is something bracing somehow in an insanely abrasive review of what seems to be an insanely abrasive book. I will follow Roger Lewis with interest in future (maybe his just hates Wilsons):
at 8:00 am