Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Death lit

Sarah Weinman on the genius of Derek Raymond. Which I was just contemplating yesterday morning myself, after following Helen's link to the wonderfully good Telegraph obituary for Paul Raymond (vague thematic Soho vice connection):
Many — particularly male journalists — found Raymond's candour charming, and he could be generous to employees. Nor did his lifestyle follow the American fashion of vain exclusivity and pretence; he remained a louche and unhealthy man of vulgar tastes, though he wore good suits.

Tall, with an artificial tan that mummified his skin like cracked toffee, a mane of hair like brittle silver lamé and a smear of moustache, he latterly evoked Dracula lurking in the guise of an Oxford Street spiv.

He sported heavy gold jewellery, a gold Rolls-Royce and had a penthouse next to the Ritz. He did not affect intellect; fearful that reading could destroy his instinct for the popular, he claimed he had not touched a book since infancy.

Though he had a son, Howard, the two were estranged, and Debbie was heir designate, until she died in 1992 after consuming quantities of cocaine and alcohol. Her father was distraught, became reclusive, and his own health gradually failed. A nephew took over the running of his enterprises.

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