A Play by Keith Waterhouse Based on the Life and Writings of Jeffrey Bernard
Author: Keith Waterhouse
Publisher: Samuel French Limited
Gambler, journalist, fervent alcoholic and four-times married Jeffrey Bernard writes the "Low Life" column for the Spectator magazine chronicling Soho life as well as offering a very personal philosophy on vodka, women and race-courses. From this, Keith Waterhouse has brilliantly constructed a play (the title being the euphemism used by the Spectator when Bernard is incapable of writing his column) which is set in the saloon bar of Bernard's favourite Soho pub, the Coach and Horses. Having passed out in the lavatory, Bernard awakes in the early hours of the morning to find himself alone and in the dark. Unable to contact the landlord, he is resigned to spending the rest of the night with a bottle of vodka and an endless chain of cigarettes, narrating a story of hilarious anecdotes and witty reminiscences which are enacted by two actors and two actresses who bring to life the various characters who populate Jeff 's world. Starring Peter O'Toole, later succeeded by Tom Conti then James Bolam, the play enjoyed a hugely successful run at the Apollo Theatre, London.
An irresistible collection of the best of Jeffrey Bernardâ€™s celebrated Low Life contributions to the Spectator. The column was once described as â€˜a suicide note in weekly instalmentsâ€™ and became a national institution whose passing was noted with great sorrow. Peter Oâ€™Tooleâ€™s affectionate introduction recalls a forty-year-old friendship, and three sparkling autobiographical essays encapsulate the defining experiences of Bernardâ€™s life.
Described as the Tony Hancock of journalism, for forty years Bernard wrote only about himself and the failures of his life – with women, drink, doctors, horses – which have become legendary. Low Life is an irresistible collection of the best of Bernard's celebrated autobiographical contributions to The Spectator, once described as 'a suicide note in weekly instalments'. Previously published in two volumes entitled Low Life: A Kind of Autobiography and Reach for the Ground, these books are now available in a single volume containing all his derisive reflections on life. Antiauthoritarian, grumpy, charming, politically incorrect, funny, drunk and always mischievous, Bernard could usually be found at the Coach and Horses pub on London’s Greek street, a lit cigarette in his mouth and a drink in hand. He was joined by famous friends including Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Graham Green, Peter O’Toole, Ian Fleming and many others and their conversations – as well as with whomever was tending bar at the time – served as the basis for his writing. There were in fact times when he was too drunk to write, hence the famous "unwell" notice that went next to the large, hastily-sketched cartoon that filled its space in the magazine.
Described as the Tony Hancock of journalism, for forty years Bernard wrote only about himself and the failures of his life – with women, drink, doctors, horses – which have become legendary. Low Life is an irresistible collection of the best of Bernard's celebrated autobiographical contributions to The Spectator once described as 'a suicide note in weekly instalments'. Previously published in two volumes entitled Low Life: A Kind of Autobiography and Reach for the Ground, these books are now available in a single volume containing all his derisive reflections on life. Antiauthoritarian, grumpy, charming, politically incorrect, funny, drunk and always mischievous, Bernard could usually be found at the Coach and Horses pub on London’s Greek street, a lit cigarette in his mouth and a drink in hand. He was joined by famous friends including Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Graham Green, Peter O’Toole, Ian Fleming and many others and their conversations – as well as with whomever was tending bar at the time – served as the basis for his writing. There were in fact times when he was too drunk to write, hence the famous "unwell" notice that went next to the large, hastily-sketched cartoon that filled its space in the magazine.
From Acid Jazz to Peter Sellers, a quick-take who's who of British pop culture From the Swinging 60s and the mods, from the seventies and the punks to Generation E, Britpop and Cool Britain--the past 50 years have seen a steady stream of world-sweeping movements, trends, and styles come out of the British Isles. In this hip, fast-paced look at who's who and what's what of British popular culture, cultist Andrew Calcutt explores more than 200 key people, products, and phenomena in British popular culture. Calcutt deftly deconstructs hundreds of Brit Cult icons--such as Monty Python, J. G. Ballard, Nick Hornby, Martin Amis, Doc Martens, E-Type Jaguars, glam, and goth, Malcolm McClaren, Blur, Oasis, The Kinks, The Who, and the Stones--and identifies who or what they are, what they represent to us, and what they have, in turn, inspired. Each entry is a brief, stand-alone essay providing biographical details, analysis, observation, and opinion; but, taken together, the essays add up to a revealing portrait of the good (The Beatles), the bad (racist skinheads) and the ugly (football hooligans) of British pop culture in all its many facets.
The obituary pages of our quality newspapers have been described as 'oases of calm in a world gone mad', 'a lovely part of the paper to linger in', and 'writing that matters'. Entertaining, inspiring and informative, they serve as a legitimate instrument of history, and have enjoyed an extraordinary revival in popularity over the past twenty years. Life After Death investigates-and celebrates-the development of the obituary form in the British, American, and Australian press. Author Nigel Starck tracks down the earliest exercise in obituary publication (in 1622), then traces the evolution of the form over four centuries, from times when the obituary was the reserve of royalty and privilege to its contemporary egalitarian mode. Along the way Dr Starck delves into a multitude of lives, from the heroic to the comic, the saintly to the downright villainous, the exemplary to the eccentric. Meet, in the posthumous cast list, Major Digby Tatham-Warter, of Britain's Parachute Regiment, who carried an umbrella into battle just in case it rained; the absent-minded Australian barrister Pat Lanigan, who drove from Canberra to Sydney and then flew back, leaving his car behind; and the eccentric American publisher Eddie Clontz, whose newspaper reported (exclusively, of course) that 'tiny terrorists' were disguising themselves as garden gnomes. Life After Death also incorporates a connoisseur's collection of ten obituaries reprinted in full: the subjects include Helen Keller, Diana Mosley, Quentin Crisp, George Wallace, and Rosa Parks. Without doubt, Life After Death is a book that will outlive its author-as an enduring celebration of journalism's dying art. 'Canon Smith expired after suffering an unfortunate disagreement with his bishop.'-The Sydney Morning Herald, 1882 'Minnesota Fats died at his home in Nashville. He was eighty-two, or perhaps ninety-five.'-The New York Times, 1996
Keith Waterhouse is remembered today for his newspaper columns, his play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, and his novel Billy Liar, published in 1959 when the author was thirty. But discovered in his archives when the British Library acquired them in 2012, was a full-length manuscript that had never been published, a humorous autobiography entitled How to Live to Be 22. Written during the early years of his career, as a reporter for the Yorkshire Evening Post, the book contains the dreams, doubts, desires, and ambitions of a young man in postwar Leeds trying to make a career of writing. A torrent of ideas, sometimes bordering on a rant but always humorous and self-deprecating, How to Live to Be 22 contains many of the themes that Waterhouse would later develop in Billy Liar: fantasies of being the leader of imaginary worlds, and even Prime Minister; early experiences with women; and an obsession with grammar. With great confidence and prescience Waterhouse declares in the work that he will have "always one book or play on the glow like people who always have the kettle on the gas," and that the neon lights that lit his name up in the clouds will be "bigger and brighter than before." How to Live to Be 22 provides fascinating insights into Waterhouse's creative process and will be a must-read for the gifted writer's legion of fans.
Peter O'Toole was supremely talented, a unique leading man and one of the most charismatic and unpredictable actors of his generation. Described by Richard Burton as 'the most original actor to come out of Britain since the war', O'Toole regularly seemed to veer towards self-destruction. With the help of exclusive interviews with colleagues and close friends, Peter O'Toole: The Definitive Biography paints the first complete picture of this much loved man and reveals what drove him to extremes, why he drank to excess and hated authority. But it also describes a man who was fiercely intelligent, with a great sense of humour and huge energy. Always insightful, at times funny, at times deeply moving, this is a fitting tribute to an iconic actor who made a monumental contribution to theatre and cinema.
London has stimulated and fascinated writers from Chaucer, Dickens and De Quincey, to Orton, Orwell and more recently, Peter Ackroyd. Both a bedside companion and an imaginative travel guide, it leads you through the literary history of each district. Discover Boswell's Fleet Street, the Dickensian London of The Pickwick Papers and Little Dorrit and look at London Bridge through the eyes of T.S. Eliot. Packed with anecdotes about the lives of the city's writers, the book allows you to locate Dr. Johnson's favourite haunts and drink in the same bars as Dylan Thomas and Jeffrey Bernard. Accompanied by specially commissioned photographs of London today, and hundreds of illustrations of writers, manuscripts, prints and memorabilia, A Reader's Guide to Writers' London is a must for any lover of either literature or London.
The Funniest Collection of Drinking Anecdotes You'll Ever Read
Author: Ricky Tomlinson
Ricky Tomlinson, author and entertainer, has worked in pubs and clubs up and down the country and seen more than his fair share of last orders. CHEERS . . . MY ARSE! is his hilarious collection of classic tales from the heart of publand. Featuring riotous stories that celebrate our best-loved hell raisers - Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, Oliver Reid and Richard Burton, to name a few - and the escapades of modern-day drinking heroes (like the Gallagher brothers and Johnny Vegas), this is the perfect book for anyone who's ever had one too many . . .