Course

The Museum of Loneliness

Reflection Collage

The Museum of Loneliness

Chris Petit

I learned very little from any formal academic training. The two things that taught me most were the early issues of Time Out magazine (in terms of negotiating a city, and later, when writing for it, the virtues of brevity, with 150 words for a review); and Iain Sinclair’s book catalogues when he was a dealer. 

The Museum of Loneliness project was an extension of both, adapted to the problems of documenting the radical shifts brought about by the digital age (maybe not such a radical shift, more an excess of proliferation). It has operated pretty much under the radar for 10 years — being in the business of avoiding commission — but has accumulated quite a large body of material. The seminar will draw extensively upon this for the basis of instigating further research as a collaborative enterprise.

Intermission

The Museum of Loneliness is: a space/no-space concept. Different outlets & platforms. Mono- and multi-. What’s in the room/what’s not in the room. Journey versus no-journey. Solo & collaborative. Working outside the box & in hung space. Inter-disciplinary, because old cultural definitions no longer apply in a collage world. Explore instead new collisions: wordimage, postcinema, making border raids on the image bank, culturally covert, franchise wreckers in search of that big rolling thing, and new ways to communicate, outside the usual channels (which are really about control, arbitration and received art). Trust no one. Travel light. Keep a moving target. We’ve been around long enough to know.

There will be no set questions and as little ’teaching’ as possible. Instead, we will work together through obscure documentation on an anti-pantheon of films and books — preferably those which are impossible to obtain: for example, Robert Westerby’s Wide Boys Never Work or The Answer to Life Is No by Anon (in fact it’s Charles Wrey Gardiner). The course revels in the principle that the most interesting parts of many texts are the footnotes. The Museum of Loneliness is essentially a project of footnotes.

This course is thus like being given a map for a treasure hunt. It’s up to the participants to see what they can generate, either by using the documentation to choose their own paths or ignoring that and setting off in their own direction, providing it’s in the spirit of the original.   

N.B. Idea: modernism can in many ways be defined by a cultural triangulation of three bespectacled Midwest boys: TS Eliot, James Jesus Angleton (head of CIA counterintelligence who said that William Empson’s Seven types of Ambiguity was the single essential text for a life in counter-espionage) and W.S. Burroughs. Subject for further research.

What follows is Fragments of the Lost Library — a list of a hundred books — which is indicative of what I’m talking about:

  1. Frenzy by Arthur La Bern (Pan, 1972) Paperback tie-in with release of Alfred Hitchcock film of 1966 novel, previously titled Goodbye Piccadilly, Goodbye Leicester Square. VG++ in sensational pictorial wraps. Starring Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Barbara Leigh-Hunt. Hitch’s return to London for what seemed by then dated material upgraded by graphic violence. End-of-era Covent Garden when still a fruit and veg market. Several years ago, MoL lived next door to Jon Finch, by then faded into obscurity, and could see his hands on the desk in window; it was Finch’s hands that convinced MoL it must move from that town of lost souls. 

  2.  Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity by Marc Augé (Verso, 2006) Translated from the French by John Howe. Paperback. MoL library copy with some pencil marking. Key text. At home in the departure lounge. “This need to give a meaning to the present, if not the past, is the price we pay for the overabundance of events corresponding to a situation we could call ‘supermodern’ to express its essential quality: excess.” 

  3.  The Photographic Image in Digital Culture edited by Martin Lister (Routledge, 1995) First edition. Soft cover. We have now entered a post-photographic era. Index B: Bacon, F. 106; Barnardo, Dr 97, Barthes, R. 9, 10, 16, 39, 41, 42, 44, 125, 224; Batchen, G. 44, 51; Baudelaire, C. 77; Baudrillard, J. 145, 219, 246-8; Benjamin, W. 1, 13, 24, 40, 219-21, 223, 226, 229, 244, 251; and aura 231-3; Bennet, C. 172; Bentham, J. 96, 104; Berger, J. 33-4, 37, 39, 42; etcetera. 

  4.  Spook Country by William Gibson (Penguin Viking, 2007) Paperback, first thus. VG+ (Borders [since bust] sticker 2 for £20). Old spies come out of the woodwork for one last game. Belgian money, via Dublin, offices in London, Japanese vacuum cleaners, the palms along Sunset thrashing, like dancers miming the final throws of some sci-fi plague. “Don’t think, she advised herself. Don’t read your email.” She descended to the lobby in a Phillipe Starck elevator. “She’d once read an article about Starck that said the designer owned an oyster farm where only perfectly square oysters were grown, in specially fabricated steel frames.”

  5.  Requiem for a Spy: The Killing of Robert Nairac by Anthony Bradley (Mercier Press, 1993) Ampleforth, Oxford, Grenadier Guards, undercover agent in Northern Ireland where he recklessly passed himself off as Danny Boy Oirish and on the last night of his life insisted on standing up and singing two Republican songs (“The Broad Black Brimmer” and “The Boys of the Old Brigade”) in the Three Steps Inn in Drumintee: “The bar was steaming with a close-packed mass of border cowboys.” One man said, “That’s the strangest Belfast accent I’ve ever heard,” which more or less did for him. Having seen him act at school I wouldn’t have fancied his chances. He was awarded a posthumous George Cross and Ken Loach used his kestrel in the film Kes.    

  6.  The Chapman Report by Irving Wallace (Arthur Barker, 1961) UK first. Near fine in protected d/w. Dead racy in its day, named after a sociological report on female sexual habits, here a chain of events that leads to deliberate dishonesty, murder and rape. “Lousy bitch. He should have guessed. These were the worst, these doers of laundry, and bakers of bread, and dusters of furniture. The gingham harlots.” Interesting author portrait: defensive folded arms, looking well away from camera, pipe en bouche (Ceci n’est pas un pipe). “It is possible that several of the many women with whom I have crossed paths in the years between puberty and the present will look into this book as they might into a mirror and, through some personal alchemy, see a reflection of themselves.” MoL says: not many examples of finer writing.  

  7.  Night and the City by Gerald Kersh (Ace Books, 1959) Reprint. VG++ in slightly rubbed pictorial wraps; lurid. “One of the comparatively few living novelists in this country who write with energy and originality.” (TLS) Memorably filmed by Jules Dassin in 1950 with Richard Widmark as small-time hustler Harry Fabian. Wrestling. London low-life of  pimps, hustlers, tarts and wide boys. Classic.  

  8.  Who Killed Daniel Pearl? by Bernard-Henri Lévy. Translated by James X. Mitchell (Duckworth, 2003). First UK edition. Review copy, fine in d/w, plus tipped-in press release and copy of NY Times article: Philosopher On the Trail of Daniel Pearl’s Killer. Noted in pencil on press release: “Foolhardiness of the truly vain.” Plus tipped in facsimile of Guardian review, listing Levy’s favourite subjects as himself, name-dropping and blowing own trumpet. Lévy is fascinating for his Gallic preposterousness (the hair, the white shirts, the women), as if an unbuttoned Melvyn Bragg, rich beyond belief but minus the lordship. (Ceci n’est pas un pipe.) Of more interest than expected; ditto the correspondence between Lévy and Michel Houellebecq in Public Enemies (“We are both rather contemptible individuals.”)  

  9.  The Blonde and the Boodle by Jack Trevor Story (Howard Baker, 1970) VG in G++ d/w showing some signs of age. A Sexton Blake Mystery. The provenance of a couple of the Blake stories was the subject of the film The Cardinal and the Corpse (Sinclair and Petit, 1993) where it was floated that Flann O’Brien may have been the author. Jack Trevor Story wrote The Trouble With Harry, filmed by Hitchcock, and he has a cameo in the Aidan Higgins story The Bird I Fancied, as the thrice-bankrupt one, sometimes seen drinking in Golders Green, firing down double brandies in the company of adoring young floozies, and a man who may or not have been film director Nic Roeg. 

  10.  The Vienna Woods Killer: A Writer’s Double Life by John Leake (Granta, 2007) First UK edition. Fine in d/w. True crime. Reformed Austrian con goes on killing spree while posing as writer and poster boy for rehabilitation. The book features cameo by eminent Austrian sexologist Ernest Borneman who championed killer’s early release. Author Leake misses the fact that Borneman, a UK resident for many years,  was also author of the highly pertinent The Face on the Cutting-Room Floor, published in 1937 under the pseudonym Cameron McCabe and hailed as a milestone in crime fiction. For the killer’s purposes, this radical and experimental murder mystery set in the film industry had one crucial point: the narrator of the story was also the killer. With tipped-in facsimile of email to literary editor of the Guardian, containing copy of review. 

  11.  Adrift in Soho by Colin Wilson (Pan, 1964) Paperback. Almost VG. Minor splitting to bottom of spine and some browning to pages . Pictorial cover. Novel about London’s eccentrics, beats and artists. Wilson achieved brief, premature fame, of the sort later awarded pop stars, as existential hipster after publication of The Outsider. “Can you imagine Christ or St Francis in a Cadillac? Of course not. They were like us --- wanderers in the fields.” Christ on a bike.

  12.  Flats by Rudolph Wurlitzer (Gollancz, 1971) Stamped: Notre Dame High School, Plymouth, Library (which shows a great enterprise its librarian probably doesn’t show today). American Beckett. Although published at the same time, Wurlitzer belongs before DeLillo. Pynchon: “Really, really good.” Too good to make it. Wurlitzer detoured into cinema, flirted with legends-to-be (Hellman, Peckinpah), struck Buddhism, directed the movie Candy Mountain with Robert Frank, fell out. Career of exemplary drift. Publisher’s blurb does not hedge its bets: “A book you may dislike intensely.” MoL applies first sentence/last sentence principle. “I walked a fair piece.” “He opened his right eye and noticed the light slowly cover him.” What’s to dislike?

  13.  Terminal Architecure by Martin Pawley (Reaktion Books, 1998) Soft covers. Fine. Architecture for the electronic age: “The dematerialisation of modern architecture into glass precedes its submergence into electronically simulated reality.” From Post-Modernism to terrorism and security architecture, stealth architecture and the big shed. “Unlike heritage architecture, which has the vast literature of tourism to support it, this is, in the terminology of the immigration officer, “undocumented” construction. There is no cultural literature to document it. No novelist or filmmaker explores beneath its surface.” Plus still from film Content, which did, MoL preferring an industrial estate to a landed one any day. 

  14.  The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon (Longman Caribbean Writers Series, 1985) Reprint of classic 1956 documentary novel of West Indian immigrant experience. “All over London have places like that now. It have tailor shop in the East end, near Aldgate Station, what owned by a cockney Jew fellar. Well papa, when you go there on a Saturday you can’t find place to stand up, because the place full with spades, and Jew passing round cigars free to everybody. (Cigars is on Saturday, if you lime during the week he give you cigarettes.) Is a small shop, and on the walls you have photo of all the black boxers in the world, and photo of any presentation or function what have spades in it.” 

  15.  The Craft of Intelligence by Allen Dulles (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1963) English first edition. VG in red boards. Minor rubbing to edges. Fired as head of CIA by JFK after the Bay of Pigs, Dulles wrote this sanitised account of the espionage business. Given that CIA was in the business of regime change, Dulles could as well have been writing about the USA when he noted of the Soviets that secret assassination had always been an official state function assigned to the apparatus of the security service. “A special ‘Executive Action’ section within the latter has the responsibility for planning such assassinations, choosing and training the assassin, and seeing to it that the job is carried out in such a way that the Soviet Government cannot be traced as the perpetrator.” Plus page from Petit script The James Jesus Tapes that includes the following exchange. BAINES: She probably had more reason to kill him than anyone. Hell hath no fury like the proverbial. Cherchez la femme, Jim. ANGLETON: A perfect triangle, but I suspect Mr Darin was right when he said multiplication was the name of the game. I’ve got down George Poppy Bush, Richard Nixon, LBJ, Allen Dulles, half the military-industrial complex, several millionaires and billionaires, not to mention the usual suspects. BAINES: Mafiosi, renegade CIA, exiled Cubes. I know. But, Jim, the point of a coverup is it has to stop making sense. You of all people know that.  

  16.  A Very Private Woman: The Life and Unsolved Murder of Presidential Mistress Mary Meyer by Nina Burleigh (Bantam, 1998) VG/VG in d/w. Myer was Washington society, married to CIA, and lover of JFK, herself shot the year after he was on a Washington towpath, in what is now accepted to have been a Mission Impossible-style hit, probably CIA-perpetrated to shut her up. Plus page from Petit script The James Jesus Tapes with following speech. ANGLETON: Much to talk about because of Mary doing it with jack-rabbit Jack. Mr Hoover, head of the Bureau, reported to us Mr Kennedy was no fan of foreplay. On and off in jig time. The knockabout romantic antics of JFUCK came to resemble bad farce, especially in the case of Mary who wasn’t only turning on the President to sex. They took LSD together, for Chrissakes! Hello! Security! 

  17.  House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (Pantheon, 2000) Remastered full-colour edition. The one about the house being bigger on the inside than the outside. File under post-cinema. VG in soft wraps. 

  18.  Three Beds in Manhattan by Georges Simenon (Hamish Hamilton, 1976) UK first edition. Fine in protected d/w. First published 1946. Thinly disguised biographical novel based on Simenon’s emigration to North America after the war and start of affair with the woman who would become his second wife, with disastrous consequences. Simenon’s trip was not as innocent as it appeared. Had he stayed in France he could have been accused of collaboration thanks to wartime upturn in personal fortune, which saw many of his books sold to pro-German film companies. 

  19.  The Deep by Mickey Spillane (Arthur Barker, 1961) First UK edition, about VG in similar d/w. Hysteria is the corollary of cool and none mined cold war hysteria better than Spillane’s pulps. This was a non-Mike Hammer story, featuring a detective called Deep. One thing about Mickey, he could name ’em. Contender for best last line in a book: “Velda was a man.” Contender for best film adaptation of a book: Kiss Me Deadly (1955) in which Hammer (Ralph Meeker) is asked, “Who are you?” and produces the immortal reply: “Who am I? Who are you?” 

  20.  I Was Doctor Mengele’s Assistant by Miklós Nyiszli (Frap Books, 2001) Paperback original. Near fine. Memoirs of an Auschwitz prisoner physician; exactly what it says. MoL library copy; some pencil markings to text. 

  21.  The Intelligence Game: Illusions and Delusions of International Espionage by James Rusbridger (IB Taurus, 1991) revised paperback edition. Rusbridger, scourge of intelligence communities and politicians he exposed as liars, died one of those strangely staged deaths of auto-erotic asphyxiation (gas mark, black oilskins, images of bondage) that often seems to afflict those with such associations. Cal McCrystal noted in the Independent that experienced, non-lackey journalists insisted on his accuracy on security matters and wondered if someone had wished him dead. “Last week, Mr Rusbridger sent bundles of research material on the pornography industry to a television station and a newspaper. The documents were said to have named certain members of the Royal circle with 'exotic sexual appetites'. This material must form a tiny section of voluminous Rusbridger files painstakingly assembled over the years. Who will claim them? What embarrassments do they hold? Is there a will? An explanation?” 

  22.  Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don’t Care by Lee Server (Faber, 2002) Fine in fine d/w. Biography of the finest laconic actor. “Marry me and you will be farting in silk,” he proposed to the woman who became his long-suffering wife. Shirley Maclaine, who had an affair, said she made a habit of asking the time “just to get a straight answer”. Plus tipped-in copies of Guardian review and notorious Time Out interview, a total disaster until the man was asked what was the strongest drink he had ever had. 

  23.  Chester Himes: A Life by James Sallis (Payback Press, 2000) First UK edition. Fine in fine d/w. Biography of creator of Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones written by Sallis whose Drive was filmed starring Ryan Gosling, and included music by the Chromatics. Sallis featured in the film Asylum (Sinclair and Petit, 2001) as himself, “the man who both writes and is written”. 

  24.  Robinson plus Robinson by Muriel Spark and Christopher Petit (Avon Pocket Books, 1958/Granta, 2001) About VG and fine; both paperback. MoL remains a big fan of Spark’s tight, sparse style, despite her efforts to see the rival Robinson unnamed, claiming the title as hers, to which the answer was it wasn’t as though anyone was trying to call it The Abbess of Fucking Crewe. 

  25.  Amazons by Cleo Birdwell (Granada, 1980) First UK edition, VG in VG d/w. Don DeLillo writing in drag (female ice hockey): “They write about my honey blonde hair flying in the breeze, my silver skate blades flashing, my stamina, my milky blue eyes, my taut ass and firm breasts, the nightmarish bruises on my downy white thighs.” 

  26.  Gilles de Rais: The Banned Lecture to Have Delivered Before the Oxford Poetry Society on the Evening of Monday, February 3rd, 1930 by Aleister Crowley (Belleville, Munich, 1988) Crowley’s lecture on Gilles de Rais, medieval mass-murderer of boys who fought alongside Joan of Arc, was cancelled after pressure from the University chaplain, Ronald Knox and published instead as a pamphlet and sold on the streets of Oxford. 

  27.  Gilles and Jeanne by Michel Tournier (Metheun, 1987) Translated by Alan Sheridan. Fine in fine d/w. Salvation and damnation in the stories of Joan of Arc and dark soulmate, Gilles. “Intoxicating fusion of sanctity and war.” Nomadic love and the war machine, holy martyrdom and the birth of Bluebeard, necromancy and the flames. Everything burns. The spirit of Gaston Bachelard presides. 

  28.  The Lost Weekend (hyphened on the dust wrapper, not on the title page) by Charles Jackson (The Bodley Head, 1945) First English edition. VG in very slightly less so d/w (protected), with some creasing and edging missing at extremities. ‘“The barometer of his emotional nature was set for a spell of riot.’” A man after MoL’s heart. Big drink book, author’s first, filmed by Wilder with Ray Milland. Soho soaks seeing the film in Chelsea came out reeling and had to adjourn to nearest pub to fortify Nina Hamnett’s shattered nerves. Just the one. 

  29.  Homicide: A Year of Killing on the Streets by David Simon (Houghton Mifflin, 1991) US first. Near fine in d/w. This book gave Simon his career, first via the Barry Levinson-produced Homicide, which introduced the fast, hand-held shooting methods of the French new wave to mainstream US TV. Homicide was a terrific piece of ensemble acting, fantastically well-paced. Simon topped that with his own show, The Wire, often described as the best television show ever, although much less technically adventurous than Homicide, opting for a classic visual style and measured pace of a nineteenth-century novel. In terms of schism, Homicide produced a split that developed into The Shield, which adopted many of the Baltimore show’s strategies, and The Wire, which was more conservative and earnest. A key figure in all this is Clark Johnson who played Detective Meldrick Lewis in Homicide and went on to direct, including the pilots of The Shield and The Wire and returned to acting as the city desk editor of the Baltimore Sun in the fifth and final season of The Wire. £37.00. Sale includes VHS of off-air recorded episodes of Homicide.

  30.  King’s Road by Mariella Novotny (Leslie Frewin, 1971) First edition. Near fine in d/w. Novel. Takes lid off upper-class layabouts and London’s turned-on, beautiful people; Made in Chelsea of its day. Novotny played her part in two of the great political scandals of the 1960s. A main figure in the Profumo affair (calling herself the government’s Chief Whip) and considered by Christine Keeler a sexual athlete of Olympian proportions. (“I know. I saw her in action.”) Was also believed to have worked at the Quorum Club in Washington, through which she was involved with the Kennedy brothers. King’s Road was her one excursion into fiction: “She was beautiful and flushed, the effect of cannabis and anticipation.” “‘Zac Baker might be Britian’s answer to Bob Dylan but in my book he’s just another junkie. Get dressed, kid.’” At the time of her death (premature; 1983) she was writing of a plot to discredit Jack Kennedy. Shortly afterwards her house was burgled. The Coroner’s verdict was misadventure, but Keeler, along with Moscow, thought Novotny was done in, probably by CIA (cf. Mary Pinchot Meyer). 

  31.  The London Adventure or The Art of Wandering by Arthur Machen (Village Press, 1974) First thus. Machen has been described as first modern horror writer. “Fans include Stephen King, Mick Jagger and Rowan Williams.” Why am I telling you this? Google Arthur Machen. Machen names a secret pub whose existence few know of, off the high roads of a leafy quarter known as “the Wood”; modest residences of stucco. MoL reckons he’s talking of the Clifton Tavern in St John’s Wood where fifteen, twenty years ago you could see the great toper and actor Ronnie Fraser, who if in the mood would serenade your female companion with love poems.  

  32.  Choice Cuts by Thomas Boileau and Pierre Narcejac (Dutton, 1966) Translated from the French by Brian Rawson. US first edition. VG in protected d/w. Murderer condemned to death donates his body to scientific experiment in which seven of his body parts to be donated to seven very different people by Czech doctor with brilliant grafting technique, leading to alien possession (teacher finds himself more interested in sex than ever before). By the authors of Vertigo, filmed by Hitchcock, and Diabolique by Clouzot. 

  33.  Mr Arkadin by Orson Welles (Thomas Y. Cromwell, 1956) US first. Near fine in protected d/w.  Novel in “The Third Man mood” of Welles’s film Confidential Report. “A model of how to make a paranoid detective fable out of a tall tale; out of home movie improvisations, old friends brought back, yet again, to do the business. The monstrous, whale-like Arkadin hires an investigator to tease out the story of his own past. Witnesses, having made their contribution, are murdered. Welles is composing a delirious suicide note to his career, a film built to be lost. And meanwhile its director slipped into London to shoot an interview with a bunch of old ladies, living in an almshouse behind the Hackney Empire (where he was rehearsing Moby Dick). But that’s another story...” (Iain Sinclair). See The Magnificent Ambersons below.

  34.  Dog Eat Dog by Edward Bunker (No Exit Press, 1996) UK first edition, fine in d/w. Hard-boiled ex-con who cracked Hollywood and publishing, played Mr Blue in Reservoir Dogs and inspired the character of Nate played by Jon Voight in Heat (1995) starring De Niro and Pacino, directed by Michael Mann. Hollywood loves a tough guy for authenticating all the pretend tough stuff. 

  35.  Phil Spector: Out of His Head by Richard Williams (Abacus, 1974) First UK paperback edition, about VG. Unlike a contemporary cultural pundit whose swotting box-ticks its way through cool, off-beat subjects (jazz, photography, etc), Williams’s enthusiasms, whether for jazz or Formula 1, are properly held and informed by a real knowledge, rather than swotting, as is shown by his blog thebluemoment.com. Plus DVD copy of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector (Vikram Jayanti, 2009), excellently edited by Emma Matthews (The Falconer, Asylum, London Orbital, Content, Museum of Loneliness, etc). 

  36.  The Night Watch: 25 Years Inside the CIA by David Atlee Phillips (Robert Hale, 1978) First UK edition, VG+ in d/w. Phillips was deep in the deepest CIA business: orchestrating regime change in Guatemala; Mexico City; Dallas. One of the spooky boys and a spook’s spook, Phillips was a man of theatrical handsomeness, an unsuccessful playwright and failed actor before turning to espionage. Phillips was one of two case officers who handled Lee Harvey Oswald and he claimed Oswald was given the mission of killing Castro in Cuba, using the same kind of high-building set-up as in Dallas. On whether Oswald was a psycho or double agent, Phillips wouldn’t commit, and he said he didn’t know why Oswald killed Kennedy. Plus pages from The James Jesus Tapes dealing with Phillips’s career. ANGLETON: What to make of Mr Phillips’s provocative theory given that he was more of a master of spin than any radio deejay?

  37.  Fowlers End by Gerald Kersh (WDL Books, 1960) Paperback, first thus. VG is pictorial wraps. From Iain Sinclair catalogue (pencilled I/S). Authenticated as such by Sinclair. “[His] card read: EENA, THE CHINESE CONTORTIONIST, FACIAL CONTORTIONS, WORLD-WIDE IMPERSONATIONS. ‘How do you do?’ I said. ‘I walked all the way from Brixton,’ said Eena, the Contortionist, in anything but a Chinese accent. ‘Anywhere I can cop a kip for half an hour?’ Copper Baldwin said: ‘You can lie down in the gents’ dressing-room for ’alf an hour if you like.’ Mr Laverock says, ‘I take it you are male and not female?’  Eeena said: ‘I got a wife and six children. Can I sub ten bob?’” “Ealing Studios comedy rescripted by William Burroughs.” (TLS) £31.00. Sale includes super-rare DVD of The Cardinal and the Corpse in which Michael Moorcock mentions Kersh. 

  38.  Wolf Solent by John Cowper Powys. (Jonathan Cape, London, 1933) Original Cloth. Book Condition: abt VG. D/w abt VG in protected covering, with small chip to top back cover and tear to bottom of spine, but intact. Reprint. First Cheap Edition from 1933. The novel was published by Cape in 1929 and reprinted twice that year with this being the next edition. There is  a red 8/6 price sticker on jacket. Rare as such. 

  39. Bid The Soldiers Shoot by John Lodwick. (Heinemann, 1958) First edition. VG/VG d/w, with minor tears and price-clipped. “A personal narrative.” Memoir of Lodwick’s interesting war --- French Foreign Legion; internment under German occupation; escape; SOE; parachuted back into France. “Richness of invention, a debunking wit, and a command of words equal to Evelyn Waugh’s” (John Betjeman) “One of the few true craftsmen writing in English.’ (John Davenport, The Observer) Both true; which makes Lodwick’s literary eclipse following an early death in 1959 after a car crash in Spain hard to explain. Interesting writer, much preoccupied with what happens to sanctioned violence when the formal hostilities of  war cease; by Lodwick’s account it either becomes institutionalised or moves into the domestic. Lodwick is a seriously forgotten writer whose reputation can only improve, given the range and quality of the work, which fits between that of Patrick Hamilton (saloon-bar psychosis) and Patricia Highsmith (the perversity of the ordinary mind). Good investment. Stock will rise. 

  40.  Starlust (The Secret Lives of Fans) by Fred and Judy Vermorel; introduction by Pete Townshed (Comet, 1985) First edition. VG. Some MoL pencil text marking. Muh-muh-muh, my imagination. “I’d like Debbie Harry to wank me off all over her fat beautiful tits.” Oh well. “I didn’t think I owed a fig to anyone until the overtures of ‘Scary Monsters’ penetrated the slow receptacles of my mind. You’re right - it’s a shock - a daunting prospect . . . Am I living in the real world? What do I know? I love you, in doubt that you may be a shadow of me - not really there at all.” Rare. 

  41.  Letters from Hollywood by Michael Moorcock (Harrap, 1986) Drawings by Michael Foreman. First UK edition, about fine in protected, unclipped d/w. Letters written to his friend J.G. Ballard while visiting his dying friend Graham Hill in Los Angeles. Moorcock concluded that he couldn’t think of a better place in which to greet the twenty-first century, instead of which he ended up in Bastrop, Texas, where he appeared in the film Asylum (Sinclair and Petit, 2001). In it he talks about Graham Hill, who gave him his driving licence as a parting gift. An extremely rare, nearly impossible-to-get DVD copy of Asylum is included in the sale. 

  42.  City of Panic by Paul Virilio (Berg, 2005) Translated by Julie Rose. First edition in d/w. MoL research copy (Content); thus some markings. Otherwise clean and tight. “‘. . . An inconceivable life of stress, of power, of endeavour, of unbelief --- the strong life of white men, which rolls on irresistible and hard on the edge of outer darkness,’ wrote Joseph Conrad on the subject of modern man. At the threshold of the third millennium, it is not only the whites but the whole of humanity that is camped on the edge of outer darkness, on the razor’s edge of the emptiness of outer space, hoping against hope for some ultimate colonisation, not over the seas, now but OUT OF THIS WORLD.” Signed by Chris Petit plus DVD copy of commercially unavailable Content. 

  43.  Voyage In The Dark by Jean Rhys (André Deutsch, 1967) About fine in d/w; first edition thus. Peter Harrington would sting you £75 for the same. Rhys’s book is featured in the film Unrequited Love (Petit, 2006) based on Gregory Dart’s memoir of the same name, subtitled : On Stalking and Being Stalked - A Tale of Obsessive Passion. Sale includes copy of extracts from director’s related notes (illustrated) on filming the book.  

  44.  The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy (Century, 2001) Advance uncorrected proof of first UK edition. Some creasing to cover. Personal copy. Tipped-in publicity sheet, plus facsimile of Guardian review by Chris Petit. Haunted tale of super-spookery, tack-gun prose, and hallucinatory surge. Howard Hughes, JFK, Fair Play for Cuba. Ellroy takes the usual ingredients and puts them in the big blender, which comes out a weird mix of Mickey Spillane, with tough-guy hard-ons, the drugged infinities of William Burroughs and Donald Duck. Jack’s head went kablooey and Jackie dived for scraps.  Sale includes rare DVD copy of James Ellroy’s Feast of Death (Vikram Jayanti, 2001) edited as usual by Emma Matthews.

  45.  Defiant Pose by Stewart Home (Peter Owen, 1991) The only writer visible to the naked eye from outer space. Filth beyond all imagination. Lavishly inscribed. Home is also the Fu Manchu-style mastermind behind the so-called Golden Lane triangle, a sinister cabal of writers posing as ordinary people. 

  46.  An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James (Scribners, 1972) US first edition. Good++ in protected price-clipped d/w; marred by what looks like small amount of child’s biro scribbling and the name Finn in black marker on front inside of d/w. Otherwise a tidy copy. Variously filmed, including by Christopher Petit, signed thus on inside front cover. Director’s working copy. Plus tipped-in copy of Peter Ackroyd’s New Statesman review. 

  47.  High Rise by J.G. Ballard (Cape, 1975) First edition. Library copy. Front e/p missing. Copy from Solihull Public Libraries, stamped “Withdrawn”, otherwise a clean copy with cocked spine in complete slightly rubbed d/w. Key text. “Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.” Ballard was a prolific signer; here a rare unsigned copy, cheap at the price. (£75 for another ex-library copy, similar condition! Over a ton for one in good nick with d/w, and 600 quid for signed copies.) Plus inserted  copies of location Polaroids taken by Chris Petit during making of documentary on Ballard. 

  48.  1985 by Anthony Burgess (Little, Brown, 1978) US first edition. Near fine in protected d/w, with some foxing to edges. Two-part answer to 1984 by author of A Clockwork Orange. Half reassessment of Orwell’s original. “Nineteen eighty-four will not be like that at all.” It wasn’t. Plus his own version, includes French-speaking Algerian force, backed with Saudi money, takeover of Alderney and Sark, press and radio muzzled, bars closed, Islamic law imposed. A man who said one of the most chilling experiences of his life was finding himself in a BBC lift with Jimmy Savile.

  49. Mystery Story by David Pirie (Muller, 1980) First UK edition, fine in d/w. First novel by ex-Time Out film sectioner (A Heritage of Horror), who went on to write Rainy Day Women and The Patient’s Eyes. “Our subject, then, is mystery, a quality so important to sexual excitement that the two are almost synonymous.” (Dr Robert Stoller). Mystery Story was  recently selected by Nicholas Royle as his Book of a Lifetime. The first edition never had a paperback run, so very scare. Pirie writes within a triangulation set by Geoffrey Household, R.D. Laing and Ira Levin. Rainy Day Women is currently being redeveloped as a feature film. One of its influences was the Household-ish It’s Different in July by Kevin FitzGerald, which quotes Kipling: “It was all woman business and I was never so frightened in my life.” An about VG 1957 Pan paperback edition (first thus) of It’s Different in July, with previous owner’s name written neatly on the cover, is included in the sale. 

  50. Nazi Gold by Iain Sayer and Douglas Botting (Congdon & Weed, 1984) and The Human Pool by Chris Petit (Simon & Schuster, 2002): first US edition, VG++ in protected d/w;  and first UK edition, fine in d/w, with very slight rubbing, signed by author and unread. At the end of the war in 1945, the capital flight from Nazi vaults in Berlin resulted in the biggest robbery in history and a dozen others as anyone in a position to help themselves did, and all of it scot free. Third Mannish crew of dodgy investigators, SS desperados, drugs, “a redhead queen of crime”, brothels, holes in woods, a different colonial imperative and transcendent black market, a new wild west and the stuff of thrillers: hence The Human Pool. Black-market trading in leather for Nazi boots, the questionable neutrality of Switzerland, deals concerning Jews as the war started to be lost, a corrupt US spymaster Allen Dulles (see above) protecting vested American interests in Germany, which he had facilitated in the 1930s, and the whole profitable business of war. “Budapest became one of those cities that shaped bad destinies, like Harry Lime’s Vienna or Saigon during the Vietnam war - a place where souls were bartered on the black market.”

  1. The Face on the Cutting-room Floor by Cameron McCabe  (Gollancz, 1974)  VG in publisher’s distinctive yellow d/w and first edition thus of 1937 thriller set in cutting rooms of Soho, a weird jazzed-up murder story written by a youthful German emigré, who, appropriately, went on to write jazz articles for Melody Maker, and was later a sexologist in Austria. He wrote several more novels under his own name of Ernest Borneman whose biography never sounded quite real (work associations with Wilhelm Reich and Orson Welles). At the halfway mark in this catalogue we reach a point of crossroads where names and themes start to overlap, creating their own maps: ghosts of cinema, writers double lives, serial killers, the mysteries of the cut, the Soho lowlife, weird academic research, lists and archeology, other landscapes, lost weekends, bad sex, wrong judgements, wild music, the crisscross of connections, plus philosophy, with Herbert Read pointing out the Hegelian influences on The Face on the Cutting-room Floor. It was one of those one-off perfect cul-de-sacs (like The Deadly Percheron), a seemingly straightforward investigation of the murder of a film actress whose part has been excised in the cutting-room. The narrator is tried and acquitted despite being the murderer and kills again to eliminate the detective in pursuit, at which point a minor character takes over to reinvestigate the case in terms of all the other characters as likely culprits because “the possibilities for alternative endings to any detective story are infinite.” The book is then discussed as having already been published before another murder is committed, leading Julian Symons in Bloody Murder to declare it “a dazzling, and perhaps fortunately unrepeatable, box of tricks.”  Because of the Soho connection, Borneman was bound to come to the attention of Julian Maclaren-Ross, who had a fascination for mysterious biographies hidden behind aliases, hence his curiosity about the true identity of McCabe. M-R described the book as a “brilliant, off-beat detective story” which he ascribed to Cyril Connolly and told him so. The review in Punch, saying that no straight novel published that month had the qualities of this crime story, was signed “Ross Maclaren”. Regarding Borneman’s later murderous Austrian protege in The Vienna Woods Killer (see above), as a voracious  reader the killer may well have known the book, which was published in German under Borneman’s name. The killer posed as a journalist to interview police about murders he had committed. One presumes he was acquainted with Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom, a film of great relevance, with its charming, boyish Germanic killer revisiting the scene of his brutal murder of a prostitute, by pretending to be a journalist from The Observer. A reporter remarked on a strange tie worn by Borneman’s protege, made out of a roll of 35mm film, which “may have said something about his strange interior life”. 

  2. The Technique of Film Editing by Karel Reisz (Focal, 1953) First edition. Near fine in protected d/w. Very minor foxing to edges. Very rare; even rarer in such good condition. Compiled for the British Film Academy by future director of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Instructive in these days in which editing has been reduced from a craft to a matter of keyboard assembly. “A cut from a to b is acceptable because the action is ostensibly continuous, although a portion of the movement is omitted.” See The Face on the Cutting-room Floor (immediately above). See also film Unrequited Love (2006); Petit commentary: “Janet Leigh in the shower in Psycho. Filmmaker as stalker. Hitchcock, for all the droll manner and Cockney formality, a man with the soul of a stalker. That obsession with those blonde actresses he manufactured - each more contrived and manipulated than the last - amounting to formal sadism. Shoot that film. Cut that picture. Murder that blonde.”

  3. The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker (Granta, 1989) First edition. As new in d/w. Representative of a certain kind of yuppie/nerdy/super-anal American experience, post-Bret Easton Ellis, which understood the future of the shopping mall and was representative of the US novel in transition. Story of one man’s lunch hour. Lists. Footnotes. Twins with Marc Augé’s Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity (1995); see above. Sale includes paperback copies of Vox (Granta, 1998 reprint) and Checkpoint (Chatto paperback original, 2004); the first fine (unread); the latter VG with some turned page corners. One, telephone sex ; the other, shooting the President. “‘Sometimes the opposite happens and I’m crowding up to the big moment in the story and my orgasm is dawdling, not all the precincts are reporting yet,  and so I have to read the chosen come-sentence very slowly, syllable by syllable, “up ... and ...  down ... on ... his ... fuck ... pole...’” Post-9/11 novel: “Hey hey, ho ho - George Bush has got to go.” Plus Granta first edition of Baker’s third book, U and I, with Baker ... up ... and ... down ... on ...  Updike. VG+ in d/w. 

  4. City of Encounters: A London Divertissement by Thomas Burke (Constable, 1932) First edition. About VG in d/w. Spine slightly cocked, some foxing. Rubbed jacket, with portion missing from top front cover of otherwise spectacular drawn design showing London, St Pauls, Charlie Chaplin (and others) and the Thames. Peter Harrington has better copy of same at £125. Burke was a prolific Ackroydish (see below) London writer: “Let us grant that Regent Street and Oxford Street are unworthy to be compared with Fifth Avenue or Unter den Linden or Michigan Boulevard or the Champs Elysées; that we have enclosed our great cathedral within three of the drabbest streets that any city possesses . . . And still London is a great city.”    

  5. The Great Fire of London by Peter Ackroyd (Hamish Hamilton, 1982). Near fine copy in d/w. Standard browning to pages and very minor spotting to inside d/w. First novel. First edition. Second impression December 1982. Scarce even so. Cycloramic portrait of  metropolis. Homosexual underground. Vagrants. Unemployed. Rich and successful. Babble of contemporary media. Premonitions of the eventual conflagration.  

  6. Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell (No Exit Press, 1998) First UK edition, review copy, about fine in d/w with press release loosely inserted. Woodrell, described by Annie Proulx as “reaming the language with a dry corncob” is something of a writer’s writer and many queue to praise (Lehane, Pelecanos). High pulp, written with the finely-tuned ear of a man who might well have a PhD in American vernacular. The UK edition had a much smaller print run than the US one; hence rarer.

  7. Laidlaw by William McIlvanney (Hodder and Stoughton, 1977) First UK edition. VG in protected d/w. Some spotting to top edge. First outing for unconventional, uncompromising Glasgow copper (what else?), written by late sportswriter Hugh’s brother, of whom Ross Macdonald said: “Staying power of a saga. Talent and daring.”  Founder of Tartan Noir; a key figure in unsurpassed Celtic trinity with Alan Sharp and Peter McDougall.   

  8. The Papers of Tony Veitch by William McIlvanney (Hodder and Stoughton, 1983) First UK edition. Near fine in d/w, with tiny traces of foxing to top edge.  Both Laidlaw and this were winners of Silver Dagger award. Second outing of three for unconventional, uncompromising Glasgow copper (what else?). “The wine he gave me wisny wine.” 

  9. The Sporting Club by Thomas McGuane (Andre Deutsch, 1969) First UK edition, VG in d/w with minor rubbing to edge extremities. Author’s first novel. Subsequent works filmed include the cult 92 in the Shade (Warren Oates) and Rancho de Luxe (Jeff Bridges). Mania of boredom, sex games, power games, death games. “For the next two hours, he tried to read Thackeray’s  Pendennis, a volume from the sunbleached blue uniform set that was the porch’s only decoration. Even the weevil tunnel that penetrated Chapter One sent his mind hurtling back to Janey’s bare-assed splendour.”  

  10. Voyage to a Beginning by Colin Wilson (C&A Woolf, 1969) First UK edition. Autobiography. Illustrated. About VG in d/w. Some dust and spotting on top edge. Signed by author “For Alex, with warm regards, Oct 1977”. Wilson’s reputation burned bright after publication of The Outsider (1956, Suez, Elvis, beatniks; youthquake; austerity and hysteria) and crashed the following year with Religion and the Rebel: “Another critic who had helped launch The Outsider had already explained to various acquaintances that he had not actually read it, but thought it deserved a good review on the strength of its blurb.” “We are sick of the Boy Colin,” wrote Nancy Spain and a week later Wilson’s publisher hung him out to dry, advised him to stop writing for a year or two and get a job. The “Wilson phenomenon” was over before he was out of his twenties.   

  11. Rachman by Shirley Green (Michael Joseph, 1979) First edition. VG++ in protected d/w. Winner CWA Gold Dagger Award for non-fiction. With pasted in erratum slip accepting that Diana Dors never met Rachman, with reference to pps. 70-1, 73-4, 108 and 154. More crossroads: Rachman was exposed through the Profumo Affair and his relationships with Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies. His name became synonymous with ruthless slum landlord practices in a then squalid Notting Hill, which evicted unprofitable white statutory controlled tenants and replaced them with West Indians desperate for accommodation at any price. Rachman was the underbelly of what would become swinging London. He arrived penniless via a German concentration camp in his native Poland and a labour camp in Russia; from there he made the logical move into flat-letting and making other people’s lives miserable. 

  12. Death on Credit by Louis-Ferdinand Céline (John Calder, 1989) Translated by Ralph Manheim. First thus. Near fine in d/w. Some rubbing to cover and minor browning to pages. Mordant classic. “They’re singing in chorus, completely out of tune . . . It’s amazing the way they manage to torture their mouths, to dilate them, to blow them up like real trombones . . . and pull them in again . . . They’re on their last legs . . . They’re dying of convulsions . . . They’re praying and signing hymns . . . There’s this big tall battle-axe with only one eye, she yodeling so hard it’s likely to pop out of her head.” 

  13. Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline (John Calder, 1988) Translated by Ralph Manheim. First thus. Near fine in protected d/w. Minor browning to pages; otherwise very crisp copy. The Robinson to end all Robinsons: “Our own journey is entirely imaginary. That is its strength.” “He’d got a good deal thinner since Toulouse, and something had happened to his face, something I’d never seen before, a kind of portrait had settled on his features, with forgetfulness and silence all around it.” Included in sale, a signed and inscribed first edition, fine, of Robinson by Petit (Cape, 1993). Unique pairing. 

  14. Black List Section H by Francis Stuart (Lilliput Press, 1995) Review copy with inserted slip. First edition thus in folded wraps, about VG apart from evidence of reviewer folding page corners. Stuart (with Céline) was one of the great intransigent writers of the twentieth century, who, compared to his compatriot Beckett, made all the wrong moves: fascist wartime Berlin compared to Resistance France; tricky pro-Nazi broadcasts compared to silence. Stuart featured in the film The Falconer (Sinclair & Petit, 1997). Life was all drift, he said, but it is important what currents you drift on. Loosely inserted copy of long Petit Guardian review of the book (“Journey to the End of the Night”): “unique chronicle of daily existence in wartime Berlin”, with Stuart driven by an impulse that put him beyond the scope of most literature: to hold a candle to a great darkness and render it familiar. The book was dedicated in memory of John Lodwick (see above), “dearest of friends”. Included in the sale is Lodwick’s Somewhere A Voice Is Calling, a (very good, undeservedly obscure) Iberian novel dedicated to Stuart (“In love and homage”), (Heinemann, 1953). Reprint of  first edition. VG in d/w.   

  15. Balcony of Europe by Aidan Higgins (Calder and Boyars, 1972) Paperback edition, first thus; 2) Helsingor Station & Other Departures: Fictions and Autobiographies, 1956-89 (Secker and Warburg, 1989) First UK edition, review copy with folded slip loosely inserted, VG in d/w; 3) Dog Days (Secker and Warburg, 1998) Autobiography, fine in d/w. Higgins is a terrific writer, praised by Beckett and in the process of being forgotten. His first novel Langrishe, Go Down was adapted for television by Harold Pinter. Higgins incidentally opposed the cultural rehabilitation of fellow Irishman Francis Stuart (see above). The short story The Bird I Fancied, mentioned above, an exemplary pub crawl among other things, is included in Helsigør Station. The faulty memory that identified Nicolas Roeg perhaps should have recalled that the confusion was over Higgins’s compatriot, author William Trevor. “The William Trevor Doppelgänger passed me en route to the Gents with eyes bulging and gingery hair upstanding. He gave the impression of always advancing against a headwind, the eyes in his head swivelling.”  In that Irish habit of being away, Higgins has been all over: Spain (Malaga, “capital of sorrow”) in the novel Balcony of Europe (coldest winter since 1740); Berlin; Copenhagen. He interviews Anthony Burgess (see above) in the Savoy: “reserved affability; fingers clamped rigid like Beckett’s on the cigar (Beckett’s brand too), the noble head enveloped in Daneman smoke.” “Fell foul of Professor Ricks and Saul Bellow, for reasons unclear.” Back cover of Helsigør quotes Petit Times review, beneath William Trevor himself, no less, in Irish Times (“a beady eye”): “The sort of writing that looks random, but is in fact highly selective and not aimed at any old target. He goes hunting the literary equivalent of snipe, and gets bull’s eye after bull’s eye, making it look easy, until you have a go.” 

  16. Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic by Dan Auiler (Titan Books, 1999) Foreword by Martin Scorsese. Illustrated. About fine in d/w. Review copy with loosely inserted press release, with coffee ring and small spill, otherwise immaculate. Plus copy of director Petit’s version of draft script commentary (15 pages; signed) for the film Unrequited Love (2006), which contains sections on Hitchcock (also see above), including rivalry with Antonioni: “Hitchcock, his career in decline, was obsessed with the ambiguities of Blow-Up and screened it all the time, regarding it more advanced, technically and sexually, than anything he could do under the Hollywood studio system. Antonioni was obsessed in return. He talked of wanting to shoot a scene with a man thinking about opening a door in a long, empty hotel corridor and making the audience wait beyond the point of boredom until suspense takes over and danger is sensed. That is the way I work, he said. Hitchcock eat your heart out. I can do it better with no props, nothing, just one man standing alone in a corridor, waiting to turn the handle of a door.” 

  17. Rosie Hogarth by Alexander Baron (Jonathan Cape, 1951) First UK edition, VG++ in intact, unclipped, protected d/w. London novel, Islington setting. “Four years after the war ended, Jack Agass came home from London; and within four weeks he was engaged to be married,” and not to Rosie Hogarth. Third novel by one of finest London writers (The Lowlife - cited by Jon Savage as definitive pre-punk - King Dido). Hackney Downs School; fought Mosley’s blackshirts in Whitechapel; card-carrying Communist. Later worked as BBC scriptwriter (Poldark, adapting Dickens and Austen.) Carl Foreman turned The Human Kind into The Victors (1963), a big war epic about a US platoon’s (English in the book) progress from Sicily to Berlin. “Baron has been the subject of essays by Iain Sinclair.” (Wikipedia). He featured in a white Lino Ventura raincoat in The Cardinal and the Corpse (Sinclair & Petit, 1993), talking about returning to London after the war. 

  18. The Damned United by David Peace (Faber and Faber, 2006) First UK edition, fine in d/w; soft cover paperback original. Richard Williams (see above) cover quote: “Amazing. I can’t imagine there’s ever been a more extraordinary football novel in any language.” Review copy with publicity sheet loosely inserted and publisher’s letter to Claire Armitstead, literary editor of the Guardian, plus email copy of review by Petit: “Puppet-masters condemned to the sidelines, (managers) are caught up in a play of control, destiny and impotence that affords Shakespearean possibilities: Taylor, Redknapp, Atkinson and Pleat in a bad rep version of one of the lesser comedies; Hoddle in Troilus and Glenda, sulking in his tent; Sven and Nancy as one of the problem plays; Fergie a full-blown, crimson-faced Scottish Lear, with Cantona and Keane his Goneril and Regan, Giggs his Cordelia. No Prospero unless it's Martin O'Neill or his mentor Brian Clough, a man not without a touch of the Calibans, someone sufficiently aware to have been conscious of the tragic dimension of his rise and fall and played to the hilt.”

  19. Arfur: Teenage Pinball Queen by Nik Cohn (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1970) Uncorrected proof of first edition. Orange wraps. VG apart from minor cracking to spine, plus creasing. Rare in any condition. Signed I/S in pencil, indicating it was bought from one of Iain Sinclair’s collections; countersigned by Sinclair in verification. Cohn’s association with the Who inspired “Pinball Wizard” which became the central motif of Peter Townshend’s rock opera Tommy, filmed by Ken Russell. Cohn would similarly inspire Saturday Night Fever, via a piece of journalism, and so be indirectly responsible for the second fame of the Bee Gees. 

  20. Almost Cover to Cover by Michael Snow, A.L. Rees, Amy Taubin, Malcom Le Grice and others (Black Dog Publishing, 2001) First edition about fine in soft cover with some creasing. Finely illustrated, black and white and colour. Essays published to coincide with first major exhibition in UK by Canadian artist, experimental filmmaker and jazz musician, Michael Snow, at the Arnolfini, Bristol. Plus loosely inserted copy of Manny Farber essay on Snow (1969) from Negative Space (1971): “The cool kick of Michael Snow’s Wavelength was in seeing so many new actors - light and space, walls, soaring windows, and an amazing number of color-shadow variations that live and die in the window panes - made into major esthetic components of the movie experience.” 

  21. Soft City: What Cities Do To Us, And How They Change The Way We Live, Think and Feel by Jonathan Raban (Hamish Hamilton, 1974) First UK edition VG++ in protected d/w. Author photo by Walker Evans. Dedicated to Robert and Caroline Lowell. Plasticity, privacy and freedom. Makes the point that we all carry different maps in our heads of the places where we live, much based on superstition, and, one might add, Clockwork Orange paranoia. Described as an “imaginative inquiry” into to the life of the individual in the big city, leaving the reader free to wonder how much is made up. “There are rumours of a gang called the Envies. Their brutal, seemingly motiveless assaults on strangers go largely unreported by the press, apparently for fear of ‘carbon copy’ crimes. Who might not fall victim to the Envies? You have a car, a girl, a new suit, a cigarette, even a smile on your face, and they may come at you out of the dark. They choose the most elegant and unruffled parts of the cities for their attacks.” Nah. Made it up. First non-academic work and acknowledged classic by author who went on to establish reputation as a travel writer. Collectible.      

  22. Aren’t You Rather Young to Be Writing Your Memoirs? by B.S. Johnson. (Hutchinson, Midway Original, 1973) First edition. Paperback in laminate d/w. Fine. “It is a fact of crucial significance in the history of the novel that James Joyce opened the first cinema in Dublin in 1909.” “Are we concerned with courtesy?” “Someone has to keep the records.” “What are hands for, if not to hide the eyes?” Final essay in book Everyone Knows Somebody Who’s Dead. “Popular acclaim must surely follow.” Suicide at forty after what he perceived to be a career of commercial failure. Rare example of contemporary experimental English novelist. “Guts.” (Anthony Burgess) Scarce. 

  23. Accident by Nicholas Mosley (Hodder & Stoughton) First UK edition, VG in protected d/w. Small tear to top front end paper. Car crash; death; all an “accident”. Pre-Morse Oxford. Tutorials. Professional jealousy. Beautiful young things. Media punditry. Obligatory adultery. Civilised seething. More famous as a clipped film adaptation by Pinter, directed by Losey ,with Bogarde and Stanley Baker, another exercise in class decadence following collaboration on The Servant from the novel by Robin Maugham. Pinter, not above a bit of social climbing, grabbed himself a fine brace with these two, both old Etonians and disguised aristos: Sir Nicholas, 3rd Baron Ravensdale and 7th Baronet of Ancoats; and 2nd Viscount Maugham. (Highly sought after title; top-end UK dealers charge twice the price, or check out Raptis Rare Books in Brattleboro, VT, USA at a staggering £796.54.)  

  24. Inside Daisy Clover by Gavin Lambert (Hamish Hamilton, 1963) First UK edition, about VG in somewhat rubbed and creased d/w with suntanned spine; some foxing, slightly cocked and dusty top edge. Rare. By the author of The Slide Area and The Goodby People. Educated Cheltenham, along with Lindsay Anderson, Lambert eventually  decamped to gay Hollywood where he made name as screenwriter, social observer and novelist. He claimed Nick Ray was his lover while they worked together on Bitter Victory, which Ray directed and Lambert part wrote. The film of Inside Daisy Clover, directed by dependable if unexciting liberal Robert Mulligan, starred Natalie Wood, Christopher Plummer and Robert Redford in a discreetly bi-sexual role that probably delayed his stardom by several years.    

  25. Football Quartet: The Damned United by David Peace (Faber and Faber, 2006) First edition. Uncorrected proof copy. Soft covers. Almost VG, with rubbing to top and bottom edge of spine front. 2) The Perfect 10: Football’s Dreamers, Schemers, Playmakers and Playboys by Richard Williams (Faber and Faber, 2006) First edition. Fine in d/w. 2006 was something of a vintage year for Faber on the f&football front. 3) Among the Thugs by Bill Buford (Secker & Warburg, 1991) First edition. Uncorrected proof copy, VG, with loosely inserted letter to Richard Rayner from Dan Franklin, hoping he agrees it is a brilliant and important book. Buford was editor of Granta magazine at the time, later famous as a foodie, and the book was the subject of much gossip as to whether he would deliver. Buford claimed to have an inside track on football hooliganism, a sexy subject among the media classes. As it was, its impact was eclipsed by Alan Clarke’s film of two years earlier, The Firm with Gary Oldman, and Buford’s methodology was questioned by insiders: “I was there and this book does not represent what was going on. For excellent alternatives try Steaming In, Armed for the Match or Congratulations, you just met the IFC;” all a bit more hands-on. 4) Football Delirium by Chris Oakley (Karnac, 2007) First edition. Proof copy, fine in soft covers, with loosely inserted press release. Oakley is a psychoanalyst and football fanatic, travelling to matches all over the world in what amounts to a kind of stalking and strange acts of shrinkage: “One autumnal Friday evening I am in Limerick taking in a run of the mill Irish second division game.” Why? What is the real agenda here? Fascinating. 

  26. The Animal-Lover’s Book of Beastly Murder by Patricia Highsmith (Penzler Books, New York, 1986) Hardcover. Limited first edition of 250 copies numbered 128 and signed by the author, fine in publisher’s slipcase. There is an account of Petit’s meetings with the author in The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar. These involved a misunderstanding over a German dictionary that Petit was given to deliver to Highsmith’s then girlfriend in Berlin, which led Highsmith to write to the editor of Time Out, for which he then worked, querying whether Petit was an impostor. Facsimile copies of this correspondence are loosely inserted into the slipcase.   

  27. The Polish Officer by Alan Furst (Harper Collins, 1995) First UK edition, about fine in d/w. Third novel of highly collectible author whose superior wartime novels cleverly exploit interstices of the great game. 

  28. Ratking by Michael Dibden (Faber and Faber, 1988) First UK edition, VG++ in unclipped, slightly rubbed d/w with usual browning to pages. With bookplate of literary agents A.D Peters; from office of Anthony Jones. Dibdin’s third novel and first Aurelio Zen outing. Dibdin appeared in Petit film Thriller (1994) for BBC Bookmark, a very rare DVD copy of which is included in the sale. 

  29. Maclaren-Ross Double Translation. 1) Pierrot by Raymond Queneau (John Lehmann, 1950) Translated from the French by Julian Maclaren-Ross. First UK edition about VG in water-stained boards but in VG protected, clean pictorial d/w with some rubbing and very minor chipping to bottom of spine. Purchased from an Iain Sinclair catalogue, marked I/S on front end paper; signed by Iain Sinclair as authentication. 2) Maigret and the Burglar’s Wife by Georges Simenon (Hamish Hamilton, 1955) Translated from the French by Maclaren-Ross. First UK edition, VG in d/w. After comparatively short-lived literary success, Maclaren-Ross, one of what was called a ruined generation, scraped a living from freelance work, a bit of radio, a bit of reviewing, translation, radio and film scripts, including a daft Canadian coproduction called The Naked Heart that was truly awful. 1955 was reckoned to have been a hard year for M-R. Anthony Powell talked of an American-style crack-up, following a disastrous affair, included in Books Do Furnish a Room, which led to the malicious destruction of a manuscript and only copy of a novel he had spent two years working on.

  30. Memoirs of the Forties by Julian Maclaren-Ross (Alan Ross, 1965) First edition. VG in VG d/w with sun-tanned spine and minor edge nicks. Life as a Soho pub crawl and the art of being broke and taking taxis. The dandy’s flourish. Dylan Thomas, drinking bitter, to Maclaren-Ross, drinking Scotch, in the Café Royal: “Why don’t you try to look more sordid? Sordidness, boy, that’s the thing!” M-R was a major minor author or a minor major author depending on taste. This selection is a commendable act of deep topography, reaching literary parts otherwise neglected. Anthony Powell modelled X. Trapnel in A Dance to the Music of Time on M-R. Included in sale, facsimile pages of essay Newman Passage  or J. Maclaren-Ross and the Case of the Vanishing Writers (1993) by Petit, described by Guardian as an essay got up to resemble a short story, or was it a short story designed to read like a memoir? “Whichever, it was deceptively clever since the distinction between Maclaren-Ross’s short stories and memoirs, if there’s one at all, is rarely very clear.” 

  31. Rum, Bum and Concertina by George Melly (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1977) First UK edition, VG in slightly rubbed and price-clipped d/w (one crease on rear cover) with drawing by David Hockney. Louche memoirs of jazz, bi-sex, surrealism and anarchy. “Lord Kestrel, still in his pyjamas, was standing on the right of his front steps shouting abuse at the departing orgiasts while on his left Reggie, who by this time had put on an expensive silk dressing-gown I had watched him choose in Burlinton arcade, was apologising profusely for his father’s behaviour.”  “Since I was thirteen, I had been making eyes at all my mother’s friends I knew to be gay and finally one them had responded, so I ran home to tell my ten-year-old sister. I’d already sold her the glamour of homosexuality and we’d go for long walks in the parks appraising the ragamuffins in their torn jerseys. ‘How much more beautiful,’ I’d say to her, ‘is the word “boy” than the word “girl””, and she, flattered to receive my attention and confidences, would solemnly agree.” The examples of Melly, Lodwick and Borneman, not to mention Stuart and Céline, leave us realising what interesting lives people lived then, compared to now when everyone just logs on, like in a factory. 

  32. Patrick Hamilton double. 20,000 Streets Under the Sky (Constable, 1947) Second reprint of 1935 edition, containing The Midnight Bell, The Siege of Pleasure and The Plains of Cement. Introduction by J.B. Priestley. VG clean copy with none of the usual defects, in near VG d/w, with some rubbing and and chipping and two edge corners missing. Rare in jacket, even in this later edition, an altogether handsome copy. 2) Craven House (Constable, 1948) Second reprint of revised 1943 edition of Hamilton’s second novel, published 1926. An about VG clean copy, blue boards, silver title lettering, no d/w; cocked and small Sellotape wrap around bottom of spine. Hamilton was never more beady-eyed than in 20,000 Streets, a cold-hearted story of ruin. Although many of his stories remain Victorian in spirit, he was one of the first to write about a modern automated world (he himself was a victim of a hit-and- run accident) of cars, telephones and cinemas, still evident today. His specialities were saloon-bar fascists and sexual psychopathy, particularly in his theatrical hit Rope, which Hitchcock adapted for the screen and Hamilton dismissed as “sordid and practically meaningless balls”. Hamilton’s end, as an alcoholic in retreat in Norfolk, is bleak by any account. His last works are full of resumé, as the writer’s pickled memory tries to remember what was last written. 

  33. Great Jones Street by Don DeLillo (Andre Deutsch, 1974) UK first edition. Near fine in protected d/w; very minor page spotting. DeLillo’s rock and roll novel. Long journeys across grey space, consuming fame, bad publicity. “Hysteria in limousines, knife fights in the audience, bizarre litigation, treachery, pandemonium and drugs.” 

  34. The Family by Ed Sanders. (Dutton, 1971) US first edition stated (without the Process Church disclaimer). Near fine in slightly creased protected d/w, with minor paper tanning. The story of Charles Manson’s Dune Buggy Attack Battalion. “There was a new persona developing for Charlie: The Devil from the bottomless pit beneath Death Valley. Oo-ee-oo.”

  35. The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen (Gollancz, 1938) First edition. VG in black boards, a generally tight, clean copy, slightly dusty top edge and minimal foxing. London setting, written in anticipation of war: high tension, increasing anxieties and what Bowen called “this great stress on individualism. People were so conscious of themselves, and of each other, and of their personal relationships because they thought that everything of that time might soon end.” Named among hundred best modern novels by Time Magazine and the Modern Library. “He felt pretty flat in London and always shot home again, which was very gratifying for her. Till one time, when for a reason that did not appear till later, he sent her a wire to say, might he stay on in London for a few days more. What had happened was that he has just met Irene, at a dinner party in Wimbledon. She was a scrap of a widow, ever so plucky, just back from China, with damp little hands, a husky voice and defective tear-ducts that gave her eyes always a rather swimmy look.” Loosely inserted, in admiration, two pages of the script of Unrequited Love, quoting Bowen’s sublime line from The Heat of the Day, describing initial meeting of her lovers as “the demolition of an entire moment”.  

  36. The Portable Virgin by Anne Enright (Secker and Warburg, 1991) First edition; about fine in d/w; some typical browning to pages. First published collection of Booker Prize winner. “‘I wouldn’t go near her with a bag of dicks,’ said his companion, who was left-handed, or at least that was the hand that was holding his pint.” Of Canada: who needs history when you have so much weather. Sale includes copy of film treatment written by Enright for never realised Petit project (1994).

  37. The Light Went Out: A Biography of Patrick Hamilton by Bruce Hamilton (Constable, 1972) First edition. Illustrated. VG in slightly rubbed protected d/w. Small staining to a couple of pages. Bruce Hamilton wrote in the shadow of his brother, never achieving much by way of sales though unintentionally paving the way for the huge success of Gaslight via a throwaway detail from his 1930 novel To Be Hanged, which noted the variable brightness of gas light in a room, according to other appliances in the house being switched on and off, which Patrick exploited as the central motif in his huge stage hit. Hamilton’s four-times married second wife was Lady Ursula Winifred James (née Chetwynd-Talbot (1907-66); daughter of Viscount Ingestre who wrote under the name Laura Talbot and known to her intimates as “La”. “Patrick had not much cared for her novel The Gentlewoman, which while showing sensitive perceptions, was excessively preoccupied with such trivialities as the propriety of having armorial bearings on carriages or cars.” Bruce’s account is one where the hangover is the determining state of life, with much peakiness. (I have half-remembered rumours of bondage, resisted, and Talbot’s affair with a dentist that was turned by her into a thriller of sorts, except that sounds too vulgar.) “Still drinking hard.” “Drinking madly even for him.” Immediate cause of death was collapse of the kidneys, accelerated by the huge quantities of water with which for many months Hamilton had diluted his whisky, as a means to arrest the cirrhosis causing collapse elsewhere. 

  38. The Grass Arena by John Healy (Faber and Faber, 1988) An autobiography. Introduction by Colin McCabe. First edition, VG in slightly bumped and creased d/w, with some rubbing, plus usual tanning to pages. Small discount sticker on front inside  wrapper. Among the great down-and-out writing: booze, vagrancy, beggars, con-men, thieves, prostitutes, killers. “Description of the highest order, the eschewing of all levels of morality and psychology in favour of an ethic and aesthetic of accuracy.” (McCabe) Healy’s escape came through chess: “Into this gruelling, competitive world we threw ourselves each weekend, seething with aggression, hunched over our boards like hawks mantling their prey.”  Sale includes UK first edition of The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis (Heinemann, 1983) VG in slightly rubbed d/w. “‘The Caro-Kann Defence,’ he said, laughing. ‘A genuine bummer.’ ‘What’s wrong with the Karo-Kann?’ someone asked. ‘All pawns and no hope.’  Smart chess thriller, as you would expect from the man who wrote The Hustler  (filmed Rossen with Paul Newman) and The Man Who Fell to Earth (filmed Roeg with Bowie).

  39. The Legacy of the Stiff Upper Lip or The Astonishing Social Hinterland of a Lapse by Robin Cook (Hutchinson, 1966) About VG quasi-Bohemian copy in similar d/w with some creasing to front top and small piece missing near spine. Some foxing, but in the spirit of its author, a generally robust copy, with previous seller’s pencil marking thus: 13.2.97/Petit/13.  Cook was what many writers aspired to be: louche, Bohemian, semi-criminal, well, criminal actually, the public schoolboy (Eton) gone wrong. He wrote in the spirit of Patrick Hamilton: We had a drink and went on to somewhere else we could have another. “‘Time was, I used to be able to drink from twelve to fifteen pints before it hit me . . . I don’t know why I get these funny moods, where I want to show people, or kill people, or die wanting to be loved by them.”’ After many years in France, after a necessary runner,  Cook returned plus black beret and reinvented himself as Derek Raymond, writing metaphysical noir that achieved a fine balance between ramrod discipline and rant. Included in sale, a rare DVD copy of The Cardinal and the Corpse (Sinclair & Petit, 1993) in which Cook makes a fluent appearance, despite having helped to drink the bar dry. Plus copy of Petit’s Robinson, signed by author (Granta, 2001), first thus, fine and unread. The character of Cookie was not based on Cook, as such, but was an amalgam of several such dangerously charming rogues; the voice, however, was entirely lifted from Cook. “‘No such thing as bad weather only poor kit. Cheers!’”   

  40. The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington (Hodder and Stoughton, 1918) First UK edition, a fair copy in grey boards, black lettering and somewhat bumped and faded spine. Foxing and page-tanning and general signs of wear. Front illustration opposite title page: “‘It’s good-bye - I think it’s good-bye for good, Lucy!’” The point is, regardless of condition, an almost impossible title in terms of archeological exhumation. The only other copy currently available in similar condition, or slightly worse, is offered at over three times the price, with the seller pointing out the uncommonness of the English edition, compared to American, “perhaps because Tarkington’s American regionalism didn’t translate well into England”. The book was filmed twice, in 1925 as Pampered Youth, and by Orson Welles, with legendary difficulties, as his 1942 follow-up to Citizen Kane.  Sale includes Welles biography Rosebud by David Thomson (Little, Brown, 1996) First UK edition, near fine in protective d/w.      

  41. The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon (Mysterious Book Club, 1998) Reissue of 1959 watershed thriller about mind control. VG in lightly creased d/w  and slightly cocked spine. The book is signed by the author on the title page. The novel was filmed twice, more notably by Frankenheimer (1962) as classic cold war thriller with Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh. The film is discussed in Manny Farber’s essay The Decline of the Actor in Negative Space, in terms of sadism with which the actors are treated. “Janet Leigh seems to have been skinned and stretched on a steel armature, and then compelled to do over and over again with hands and voice things supposed to be exquisitely sexual. The audience is made to feel unclean like a Peeping Tom, at this queer directional gamboling over bodies. And Sinatra’s romantic scenes with Miss Leigh are a Chinese torture: he pinned against the Pullman door as though having been buried standing up, and she, nothing moving on her body, drilling holes with her eyes into his screw-on head. In one advanced film after another, we find an actor being used for various purposes external to him - a mistake, a pitiful object, a circus sight.” The book was a personal copy of Condon’s sent to Petit following an interview. Loosely inserted is Condon’s original letter of thanks, on his headed paper with Dallas address. “Your piece in The Times made out visit to Blighty. It was the best analysis of the purpose of the Prizzi novels that I have ever seen ... Resting on the oars, All cheers.” 

  42. Phineas Kahn: Portrait of an Immigrant by Simon Blumenfeld (Jonathan Cape, 1937) First edition, VG in d/w with portion missing on top edge of spine, and usual signs of wear, dusty top edge and some browning to pages. Copy was bought from same seller at same time as item 89 with written in pencil: 13.2.97/Petit. London Jewish East End novel. Blumenfeld wrote Westerns under the pseudonym Huck Messer and founded Record Mirror with Benny Green. Author of three very-hard-to-find novels in their original editions (see item 95), and a precursor to a school of Jewish East writing that included Alexander Baron, Bernard Kops, Harold Pinter and Emanuel Litvinoff. Almost never seen in original jacket.

  43. The Gilt Kid by James Curtis (Jonathan Cape, 1936) First UK edition. Hardback beige cloth covers, turquoise titles. Light shelf rub to boards, spine slightly darkened, small rubs to spine tips. VG, no d/w. Very rare any condition. With previous seller’s (Burwood?) loosely inserted strip, itemising condition, with Stock ref 8788. (A copy in d/w, plus similar of Curtis’s You’re in the Racket, Too and There Ain’t No Justice are currently in a combined sale for an altogether staggering price of nearly £5000.) Curtis was one of those lost writers, rediscovered and reforgotten several times over,  compared by Jonathan Meades to Derek Raymond, aka Robin Cook, author of metaphysical noir, who like Curtis rejected his class background and took to Soho bohemian life. Underdog tales and a reservoir of slang. London pre-noir: “It was after seven o’clock by the time the Gilt Kid had reached Coventry Street and the evening bustle was well under way.” Drinks later: “The barmaid, flustered at the end of the day’s rush, looked at him a little strangely. She noticed there were beer-slops on the counter and began to mop them up. Most of the male customers in the four-ale bar, drank pints of fivepenny ale, all black and frothy in glasses as thick as jam jars; the women usually had stout, or a glass of cheap Lisbon red wine, lizzie they called it.” 

  44. Pompey by Jonathan Meades (Jonathan Cape, 1993) First edition. Uncorrected proof in wraps, with author photo on front and on the back amended publication date, in biro, moved from 15 to 29 April, plus some penned alterations to text. VG++ with very minor creasing. The book is inscribed to Petit on title page: for Chris from Jonathan. As others have noted, Meades rarely signs. Meades was another Time Out recidivist (short-lived).  Pompey, although hailed, remains insufficiently hailed as one of the finest novels of the post-war generation. Always a keen sartorial observer: “fleece-collared flying jacket and Donegal overcoat”. Natch. I’ve read most of them but Meades is one of very few that writes about a world I recognise as an exact and better approximation of the one I grew up with and lived through, a sort of Céline on acid, football, telly and people called Jonjon. Meades’s political correctness is impeccable: Congolese pigmy hunts; the bad faith of Ray Butt’s Church of The Best Ever Redemption and the bad blood of geronto-philiac Jean-Marie. Enormous vocabulary. Mordant wit. Filthy mind. Unfailing curiosity.

  45. Jew Boy by Simon Blumenfeld (Jonathan Cape, 1935) First edition, July; second impression September 1935. Hardback purple cloth covers, turquoise titles. Light shelf rub to boards, spine darkened, small rubs and some fraying to spine tips.  Browning to page edges, some staining; a somewhat dusty copy, but intact, condition good, no d/w. Very rare as such; twice the price, and more, from elsewhere for similar.  Story of some months in the hectic life of young Jewish tailor (cf. Alexander Baron’s Hoffman Presser in The Lowlife) in Whitechapel sweat shop. London setting.  Praised at the time for exclamatory style, doing for Whitechapel what Walter Greenwood’s Love on the Dole did for Salford, as well if not better. Humour and humanity, flashing anger and bitter wit. “To read this hard, vigorous, vital book is to begin to understand something of the sufferings of the industrial under-dog.” (Observer) 

  46. I Am Your Brother by G.S. Marlowe (Collins, 1935) First edition. Hardback, brown cloth covers. Shelf rub to boards; same to spine tips plus some creasing. OK copy, intact, robust; probably ex-library, but no stamps, and extremely rare any condition.  (The only similar available is charged at £165 and a copy in d/w will set you back 750.) Marlowe was the pen name of Gabriel Beer-Hoffman, a brief cult sensation and forgotten now except as a footnote in Julian Maclaren-Ross’s Memoirs of the Forties, itself obscure. Cf. entry posted on the internet a couple of years ago: “Memoirs has about the most esoteric character sketch I’ve ever read and it’s driving me up the wall that I can’t find any more information, fully expecting to find at least an anemic Wikipedia page, but no, barely a whisper on the entire web.” Maclaren-Ross, who adapted the book for a never produced radio drama, refers to a “repulsive mother of the schizophrenic young composer, shuffling and snuffling around the Soho markets in search of offal on which to nourish her other, perhaps imaginary son: a monster product of maybe artificial insemination, who lived in an attic above his brother’s studio and had to be fed raw liver and fairy stories once a day.” M-R found Marlowe comfortably ensconced in a Kensington flat with an attractive secretary. He never discovered Marlowe’s nationality and variously speculates that he was Scandinavian, Viennese or from the Danube basin. Marlowe told M-R that I am Your Brother originated as “a bedtime story”.  M-R says Marlowe had worked in Hollywood, where he met Greta Garbo, and wrote the script of David Copperfield (1934). If he did it was uncredited, though Marlowe claimed friendship with Hugh Walpole, who played the vicar in the film, and whose name did appear in the credits, so the claim may have some foundation. Maclaren-Ross later visited Marlowe in a larger, modern flat in Chelsea: “Here, on an afternoon in Spring, I found him living in an Edgar Wallace-like opulence, surrounded by dictaphones, telephones, and typewriters, with a brand new secretary even better looking than the last.” In the spring of 1940 Marlowe, who was Jewish, left Britain for Norway, believing it the one place the Nazis wouldn’t invade and was in due course written off as dead by all until after the war when Maclaren-Ross was drinking (champagne cider) with a man who claimed to have run into him, alive and well in a village pub. “Thus Marlowe contrived to enshroud himself in mystery right up to the end, if indeed it was his end.” 

  47. Live Now Pay Later by Jack Trevor Story (Secker and Warburg, 1963) First edition. VG+, very slightly cocked in protected, unclipped d/w with some tanning to spine and altogether a nice clean copy with publicity photograph on back cover for film of the same starring Ian Hendry and June Ritchie. Not quite of this world and certainly not of the next but that of the “never-never”, somewhere on the outer fringe of provincial England. Easy women, easy payments, promiscuous glamour and the feckless Albert, prince of the tally-boys. “The early edition of the local evening paper carried a full-length picture of Joyce Corby wearing a bikini bathing suit, a crown, and the ‘Miss Agricultural Tractors 1959’ sash across her middle. ‘Ex-beauty Queen dies in fall from bedroom - local man’s heroic life-saving attempt’ was the heading. And opposite was a head-and-shoulders photograph of Albert taken on the steps of the police station alongside a picture of Corby. ‘Oh, brother, what a figure!’ Jeff was saying as they all looked at the paper spread on the counter. ‘Look at those child-bearing hips. Don’t tell me you weren’t knocking it, Albert!””  

  48. The Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock (Neville Spearman, 1963) VG+ in protected , unclipped d/w with some rubbing to extremities ; some foxing to page edges but generally an extremely presentable copy. First of the Elrics; nothing necessary to add. Curiously unsigned. 

  49. Mystery title: on application.

  50. London Orbital: A Walk around the M25 by Iain Sinclair (Granta, 2002) Cover by Dave McKean. Illustrations by Renchi Bicknell. Colour plates. Fine in d/w. Signed by author. Plus one from a series of paintings, signed by Emma Matthews of M25 images taken from film of same name, directed by Sinclair and Petit, edited by Matthews. Image shows abstract traffic detail, red and white, plus barrier; digital image and oil paint 6x6cms.