Saturday, 17 July 2010

Adrift in Soho























I am currently reading London Blues by Anthony Frewin, a well-written and engrossing novel following the exploits of a pornographic film-maker in Soho in the early 1960s. There are overlaps with Bad Penny Blues by Cathi Unsworth, with whom I had the pleasure of hosting a literary event last week.

Apparently there is a film in production of Colin Wilson's Adrift in Soho (I own the edition above), probably the quintessential Soho novel, especially as it is set during what is generally regarded as the highpoint of the cultural life of the district - the 1950s, when John Deakin, Francis Bacon, Dan Farson and the usual cast of colouful characters stumbled between hostelries and bedrooms.

addendum 25 July: decided to reread Adrift in Soho and very enjoyable it still is, although the ending is a bit abrupt as if he got fed up with it, or was intending to publish further instalments. It is a much more down-market and impoverished Soho of dingy bedsits, grotty cafes and pubs and constant cadging that Wilson explores with real-life local characters such as Ironfoot Jack appearing. An exploration of beatniks and proto-hippies living communally. I must check to see if some of the other eccentrics who appear were based on real people. Seems a bit of an odd choice to film as not a lot actually happens, most interest for me resides in descriptions of the streets, buildings and people. Wilson's obsession with slightly dodgy philosophy (typical of many a young man of that age though) permeates the pages. Interesting to see what they make of it, although I have my doubts about its eventual appearance.

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