09 June 2011

Just The One: The Wives and Times of Jeffrey Bernard (Graham Lord)

"A biography of the legendary bohemian British journalist, drinker and womaniser whose rackety life was immortalised on the London West End stage by Peter O'Toole in Keith Waterhouse’s award-winning play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell and in later productions by Tom Conti, James Bolam, O’Toole again and Dennis Waterman.

Bernard, who died in 1997, was a most unlikely hero of our times. What other bottle-of-vodka-and-50-cigarettes-a-day scribbler has also been a gigolo, navvy, fairground boxer, miner, stagehand, film editor and actor? Who else has been married four times, seduced 500 lovers (including several famous actresses) and become a personal friend of the novelists Graham Greene and Alice Thomas Ellis, the painters Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, the jockeys Lester Piggott and Fred Winter, the actors Tom Baker, John Hurt, John le Mesurier and Wendy Richard?

Bernard was compared to Pepys and Boswell, had a racehorse named after him, and was described by his admirer John Osborne as “the Tony Hancock of journalism.” He was convicted of shoplifting, tax-dodging and assaulting a rubber-plant and wrote regularly for numerous newspapers and magazines from the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Queen and Men Only to The Sporting Life and his famous ‘Low Life’ diary column in The Spectator – his notorious ‘suicide note in weekly instalments.’

Graham Lord was a friend of Bernard’s for twenty years and interviewed dozens of his other friends – and enemies – to write a biography that is fun, frank and critical yet unexpectedly touching. Jeffrey Bernard was indeed unique – just the one."

4 comments:

v. Braun. said...

Every self-respectiing man should at some point in his life be convicted of assaulting a rubber-plant!

A.E.F. said...

Admiral, kind of chap who makes me proud to be English. I'm sending my order to Heywood Hill's in the morning.

Bourbon&Pearls said...

"It was an unprovoked assault. He was getting fresh with my fronds"

The Rubber Plant ( as told to Tabbers en vacance)

Miss Tabitha said...

I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Coincidentally, I have just been reading about Mr. Bernard - he allegedly vomited in front of the Queen Mother at Ascot, the little rascal!I loved the description of him by one writer as "a walking,talking object lesson in dissolution" Gives us all something to aim for....