An incredible interview between Philip K. Dick and Charles Platt from 1979, where the legendary author discussed his life, his writing and the strange events that inspired his famed Exegesis. At nearly 2 hours long, this interview is essential listening for anyone with an interest in PKD.
Michael W. Dean and Kenneth Shiffrin’s 2005 documentary on writer Hubert Selby Jr. provides a wealth of insight on the author of Last Exit To Brooklyn and Requiem For A Dream from Selby himself as well as many of the artists he influenced.
Narrated by Robert Downey Jr., Hubert Selby: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow, features interviews with Lou Reed, Darren Aronofsky, Nicolas Winding Refn, Richard Price, Jerry Stahl, Nick Tosches, Gilbert Sorrentino, Henry Rollins, Amiri Baraka, among others.
Selby lived a hard life of drug addiction, poverty and debilitating illness, which he not only managed to survive but transform into writing that stands alongside William Burroughs Jr., Dostoevsky and Charles Bukowski. He engaged the muse right up to the end of his life. His story is stirring, inspiring and more than a little heartbreaking.
Ken Kesey died 10 years ago this month, on the 10th November. In memory of the great man who was “too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie”, here is a brief film interview with the Merry Prankster, where he discusses the characters he met through the Acid Test; the Grateful Dead and The Beatles and the Power of Music; looking for the crack that brings the magic and the Deadheads - what Fame meant and their Legacy.
For the first time, an exhibition of 44 pen and ink drawings by writer and poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) are to be shown at the Mayor Gallery in London, from 2 November to 16 December 2011. The exhibition contains drawings made in Paris, Benidorm, Cambridge in England, and Wisconsin. The show reveals Plath’s abiding love for her “deepest source of inspiration”, art.
For details of Sylvia Plath: Her Drawings and Dadamaino: Volumes at the Mayor Gallery, check here.
A selection of pictures can be viewed at the Telegraph.
The Rum Diary is the product of hugely talented people. It’s based on a book by Hunter Thompson and stars one of Thompson’s biggest fans and acolytes Johnny Depp who also produced the film. In Bruce Robinson it has a director and screenwriter that is responsible for one of the best comedies of the past three decades, the hilariously bleak Withnail And I. This is the coolest trio since Cream broke up.
Pulling The Rum Diary out of development hell (for years studios tried to get the film off the ground) was obviously a labor of love for Depp and that may be why it doesn’t work as well as it might have. Depp’s love for Thompson could be the problem here. Love is blind… or at the very least nearsighted. Depp’s approach to Thompson is too cautious, too safe, too reverent. I think if Thompson were alive he would have instructed Depp to loosen up, too untighten his ass and go for it…gonzo-style.
The Rum Diary wants us to enter Thompson’s deliriously intoxicated world, but it’s just too damn tidy and slick for its own good. The squalor, mayhem and debauchery lacks any genuine sense of danger and the delirium is never delirious enough. And I’m definitely not buying into the film’s depiction of Thompson as some kind of romantic saint. Spinning Thompson into hero material might make for a crowd pleasing narrative but it stretches The Rum Diary into mythic places it doesn’t belong. By trying to do right by Thompson, Depp may have done him a disservice by turning one of pop culture’s biggest bad-asses into a Mr. Goody Two Shoes.
As frustrating as The Rum Diary is, there’s much to like in the film. Which is why it’s frustrating. Robinson’s direction is filled with brilliant moments - a menacing, sexually-charged scene inside a night club choreographed to scorching blues music, a visit to a hermaphrodite Voodoo priestess/priest who dispenses some powerful reptilian mojo, and a chase scene involving a decrepit Fiat, some high octane hootch and a bunch of pissed-off Puerto Ricans. Giovanni Ribisi is wonderfully deranged in a performance that channels Richard Grant from Withnail And I and there’s some brown acid weirdness that seems to have wandered in from Terry Gilliam’s Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas which, despite being recycled, is still good for a contact high.
The weakest part of the movie is supposed to be its dramatic core: a plot involving a bunch of greedy industrialists attempting an illegal land grab. But it is so undercooked and dull that the film walks away from it way before Thompson does. As a result, his character building moment, his crisis of conscience, lacks punch because most viewers won’t give a flying fuck about the whole damned thing. I suggest you forget about the particulars of the plot and just dig the atmosphere and the film’s all too rare leaps into the unknown.
When Bruce Robinson’s vision becomes disengaged from the story, dances outside the script and elbows the actors out of the way to let something organic and real in, The Rum Diary becomes as drunken as Rimbaud’s boat. My sense is that after Robinson started shooting the film with his cinematographer, the incredible Dariusz Wolski, he became increasingly engrossed with Puerto Rico’s shadow side and the mystery of the moment took over as the screenplay receded into the background.The movie finds itself in the interstices where life slips through and the audience is allowed to simply take it all in - the lysergical light, the sway of sun-sharpened silhouette, the fetid murk and tangle of tree vine, rotted root and gnarled limbs, the bristling feathers of a cockfight, the murderous intent tattooed on faces of people done wrong, the unraveling of symmetry and beautiful decay of streets and ancient buildings that stagger under the weight of forgotten crimes and deadly secrets. Within this sweetly malodorous topography lurk the kind of dark dreams that press in on a man. This is the kind of shit that writers pull inspiration from with the fervor of mad dogs digging for a hank of flesh and bone. This is where Hunter Thompson found his fucking muse. And Robinson may have as well. In these all too brief moments, The Rum Diary reminds me of Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus. It is at its most sublime when its characters become figures in a landscape that throbs and surges with a sexual heat and as they move into the foreground we see in their eyes bottomless desire. Had Depp lost himself as Robinson did he may have found the redemption that the film cries out for.
Should you see The Rum Diary? Absolutely. Just prepare yourself for an experience that could have used more of what Depp describes as Thompson’s “savagery.” Or some of whatever that Voodoo priestess was doling out. Ask Bruce Robinson exactly what that shit was. I bet he knows.
The Rum Diary opens in theaters on October 28.
Johnny Depp and Bruce Robinson at the Austin Film Festival screening of The Rum Diary. Film critic Elvis Mitchell is conducting the interview. October 21, 2011. This is absolutely lovely, as you will see. I think everyone in the Paramount Theater was drunk. Hunter would have loved it.
Paul Nelson had an unabashed passion for the music, cinema and literature he loved. His immersion in the culture of rock and roll and affinity for its creators made him more than just an observer. He didn’t sit outside of the music, he lived in it. If it’s possible for a writer to be embedded in rock and roll, Nelson was embedded. From his early days as co-founder, editor and writer of the rootsy The Little Sandy Review and his influence on a young Bob Dylan, to his days as a contributor and editor at Rolling Stone magazine and A&R man at Mercury Records (he signed the New York Dolls), Nelson did more than chronicle the musical landscape of several decades, he helped define it. I can only think of a handful of music critics who had the intensely personal relationship to what they wrote about that Paul did - Lester Bangs, Robert Palmer, Chris D. and Nick Kent come to mind, though Paul was very much his own man with his own distinctive style and point of view.
Paul forged friendships with Dylan (see the video below), Warren Zevon, Leonard Cohen, Jackson Browne, Rod Stewart, The New York Dolls, Clint Eastwood, hardboiled novelist Ross McDonald, among many other iconic figures in music, literature and cinema. He managed to do it by being as serious in writing about pop culture as the artists who were creating it. He shared his life and thoughts (which were basically steeped in movies, music and books) with the people he covered, built bridges of trust, and ended up being the kind of guy who writers and performers listened to, confided in and, when Paul was going through his own personal hell, rescued.
Nelson never became as well-known among rock fans as many of his peers, mainly because he was just too damned tough on himself as a writer and as a result wasn’t very productive. But what he did write is generally considered to be some of the best to ever appear on the pages of Rolling Stone. And when he couldn’t write at the level he expected of himself he just stopped. But while he was writing, he was as they say, a critic’s critic, admired by some of the best essayists, reviewers and thinkers in both music and film. Mikal Gilmore, Greil Marcus and Nick Tosches, Jay Cocks, Eastwood, among many, were big supporters of Nelson and, in the end, many were coming to his aid as he struggled with poverty, poor health and depression.
Paul didn’t sell his soul for rock and roll, but he may have pawned his heart.
Kevin Avery’s biography of Paul Nelson, Everything Is An Afterthought, The Life And Writings Of Paul Nelson, combines Avery’s reverent, engrossing and richly detailed depiction of Nelson’s life with interviews with the musicians, filmmakers and writers who knew Paul during his four decades of being everywhere but nowhere. With his quiet presence, cloistered life, and low tolerance for bullshit, Paul was not a natural when it came to the fame game or compromising his standards for the sake of a buck. For that reason he never managed to parlay his great skills into a business stratagem. There was something almost spiritual about Paul, an aura, he could be at the center of what was happening without anybody noticing until he had left, leaving his trace like a trail of cigarette smoke crossing paths with a beam of moonlight. Once you think about it, it’s gone…an afterthought.
Everything Is An Afterthought also collects a motherlode of Paul’s writings, some published for the first time. If you’ve never read his work, you’re in for a highly entertaining and compelling journey, full of intimate and insightful encounters with legends like Rod Stewart, Eastwood, Jackson Browne and Zevon (whose life he may have helped save) and critical essays that are classics in a field where there are very few classics.
Nelson could really nail it when it came to his appreciation of punk and most everything else, but he loses me in his almost religious zeal for the music of Jackson Browne and his disdain for Patti Smith. But when a critic gets so much right, he/she compels you to re-think assumptions and question your own obsessions and biases. So based on his positive take on Jackson Browne, I went out and bought several of the songwriters CDs for the first time in my life. After listening to them as much as I could bear, I realized there was no changing my mind on Browne. I don’t get it. And when it comes to Patti Smith, Paul doesn’t get it. But the thing I really appreciate in reading Paul’s writings is you get to a place where even if you disagree with him you want to really explore why. He challenges you, not outrightly, but through the sheer force of his own enthusiasm and the particulars of why he digs what he digs. That’s what great rock writers do - they send you to the music.
Of all the books I’ve read this year, Everything Is An Afterthought is the one that has meant the most to me. In Paul Nelson I see a little bit of myself. I think any artist who has ever been trapped in that dark zone between desire and desolation, creation and emptiness, may understand what made Paul Nelson both a beautiful soul and a tragic one. But as sad as Paul’s life was toward the end, it is what is left on the page that makes you understand that, when all is said and done, life is good when you do what you love and you do it not only for the sheer pleasure of it but also as some kind of act of faith. Paul was a true believer and movies, music and books were his holy sacraments.
Paul died in July 2006 in a small New York City apartment on 78th street. He had been dead for a week when his body was discovered. It sounds like a lonely death but Paul was surrounded by videotapes, records, CDs and books. So, one might say, he died among friends.
Fantagraphics Books is releasing Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson next month.
Kevin Avery talks about his book:
Marc Campbell: What is it about Paul Nelson that inspired you to write a book about him?
Kevin Avery: I first discovered Paul’s writing in Rolling Stone, when I was a teenager living in Salt Lake City, Utah. His words connected with me in a way that critical writing seldom—if ever—did. You could tell it was important for him to accurately convey how he heard the work he was writing about; how it made him feel. At the same time, there was often the suggestion that whatever he wrote about was in some way part of his own story. Though it was never overt. There was an ongoing mystery to it.
In any case, as the years went by, it just seemed increasingly criminal to me that this amazing writer’s work was pretty much relegated to back issues of old music magazines that, by and large, were only available on eBay. I wanted to do something about that.
Marc: At one time, rock and roll critics were almost as interesting as the music and artists they wrote about. I’m thinking of Lester Bangs, Richard Meltzer, Nick Kent, Cameron Crowe, Lenny Kaye and Paul Nelson, among others. They were kind of like literary rock stars. Do you think Paul had problems dealing with the attention he was receiving as a high profile critic and was he too much of a purist to last in that environment?
Kevin Avery: I don’t think he put himself into the position where he could be the recipient of that attention. He often withdrew to his apartment, behind the safety of a closed door and a prehistoric answering machine that his friends grew to despise. Even when he did frequent the Seventies rock scene, there was something “alone” about him.
As for the second part of your question, I don’t know if I’d label him a purist. It’s difficult to call someone a purist who is equally willing to embrace the music of Bob Dylan, Bernard Herrmann, Jackson Browne, the Sex Pistols, and the Ramones. It was the fact that he wasn’t a purist that got him in trouble with the traditional folksters in the Sixties—because he championed Dylan when he plugged in and went electric.
Marc: The role of the rock critic seems greatly diminished these days. Is it a dying art?
Kevin Avery: To be honest, I don’t follow it that much anymore. I think part of the reason Paul stopped writing critically wasn’t because rock criticism was becoming diminished but rather the music he used to love writing about was becoming diminished.
Marc: Paul was ahead of his time when it came to championing punk bands like The NY Dolls and The Ramones. As a music editor for Rolling Stone he was discouraged from being a cheerleader for punk. In retrospect, he was right about the importance of punk and Rolling Stone was like an old hippie in refusing to embrace a new generation of rockers. The cost of being ahead of your time can be high and I think Paul suffered as a result. Do think this rejection of his aesthetic/taste by the old guard was one reason that he abandoned rock writing?
Kevin Avery: It wasn’t so much the rejection by the old guard as it was the hesitancy of audiences at that time to buy the music. As a result, a lot of the bands broke up and, to quote Paul, “rock got rather uninteresting.” Even some of his favorite, more commercially viable artists were letting him down. That, combined with severe seismic shifts in his personal life, caused him to lose interest in the music.
Marc: What was it about Paul that allowed him to become friends with such notable artists as Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Warren Zevon? He seemed closer to his musician friends than he was to other critics.
Kevin Avery: He certainly had his close critic friends—Dave Marsh and Jay Cocks immediately leap to mind. But I understand the question. He was able to create that close bond with musicians, I think, because they sensed that here was a guy who not only understood their work, but he also understood what they went through to produce that work. He was a kindred spirit in the deepest sense.
Marc: Paul’s writing style is cleared influenced by the detective novelists and film noir that he admired. I think he was more suited to a life of being a novelist than being involved in the fickle and trendy world of rock and roll. Would you agree?
Kevin Avery: Yes and no. I agree that he could be the most beautiful stylist, and that that style would have been well suited to novels. Some of his longer pieces—“Rod Stewart Under Siege,” “Warren Zevon: How He Saved Himself from a Coward’s Death,” and his noir-influenced essay about Dylan—more than hint at what he might have accomplished novelistically. But those pieces did not come to him easily. While he certainly had those aspirations, he didn’t seem to have the temperament to withstand a novel-length work.
Marc: Your own style of writing has a novelistic feel in that it doesn’t just settle for conveying facts or describing situations but creates a drama and a certain tension that had me flipping through the pages of “Everything Is An Afterthought” as though I were reading a good mystery. Have you written fiction or have any plans to?
Kevin Avery: Some of my earliest published pieces were short fiction, which are now part of an unpublished short story collection. In 2006, I had just finished the first draft of a novel when I received word of Paul’s death. That same day I set the novel aside and began work on what became Everything Is an Afterthought.
Marc: Paul’s friendship with Clint Eastwood seems like an odd pairing. Why do you think they had such an affinity for each other?
Kevin Avery: Unsurprisingly, Clint’s a no-nonsense guy. So’s Paul. To quote Steve Forbert, “He liked it pretty real.” Eastwood, who has little use for Hollywood or its sycophants, must have found Paul and his Midwestern honesty quite refreshing. As somebody else put it, there wasn’t a jive bone in Paul’s body. I truly think Clint just enjoyed hanging out with him.
Marc: I remember when Eastwood was seen as some kind of fascist pig back in the early 70s because of his role as Dirty Harry. In the book, he comes off as a pretty cool guy, someone who was there for Paul when he was going through some rough patches. What’s your take on Eastwood?
Kevin Avery: Paul was one of the very first critics to, in a national publication—Rolling Stone—challenge those other critics and their dismissal of Dirty Harry. He clearly saw in Eastwood an acting and directing talent that, especially at that time, the majority of critics didn’t. And even if they had, it wouldn’t have been fashionable to say so. But Paul didn’t fret about fashion. He liked what he liked.
As far as my take on Eastwood, I really don’t have one. I enjoyed listening to the tapes of his conversations with Paul. It’s easy to see why Paul liked him. They clearly formed a friendship, and I really wanted that aspect of their relationship to come across in the book.
Marc: Paul certainly had a self-destructive streak. His diet of Coca Cola and candy bars, his aversion to vegetables and addiction to tobacco seems like a form of slow suicide. Do you think he was basically an unhappy person?
Kevin Avery: I don’t think he was a happy person, but he certainly found enjoyment in the music and books and, especially, movies he admired. And no doubt he had periods of great unhappiness. He definitely, by his own admission, had bouts of depression.
Marc: Paul’s writing has a classic, timeless feel. There’s nothing “hipster” or gimmicky about it. He doesn’t have Lester Bangs gonzo style for instance or Richard Meltzer’s William Burroughs-like fractured edginess. He’s more disciplined and low-key. He writes about rock and roll (perhaps the least respected art form) with the sensibilities of a serious writer. Do you think the fact that he wasn’t into booze, drugs or being king of the hipsters, might have figured into why his writing is free of a lot of hippie dippy excess and pop culture overkill?
Kevin Avery: It goes back to what Steve Forbert said about Paul liking it “pretty real.” I think Paul was wise enough to know that flowering up his writing like that would only serve to date it.
Marc: If Paul were alive and you had him over to your house what music would you put on the sound system?
Kevin Avery: Whatever he wanted to hear.
Marc: Is rock and roll dead?
Kevin Avery: Recently, someone asked me who was the most prominent critic ever to declare that? And when? A little research revealed that, according to Robert Christgau, Richard Meltzer started saying it back in 1968. Based on the music that’s come about since then, he was clearly mistaken.
Marc: What’s your next project?
Kevin Avery: In 1976, Paul conducted over forty hours’ worth of interviews with detective novelist Ross Macdonald. I’m considering publishing a book based on those interviews. And, of course, there’s that novel that I set aside back in 2006.
In this short clip from Martin Scorsese’s Bob Dylan documentary, No Direction Home, Paul Nelson recounts the days when Dylan was a vinyl thief.
Home is where the art is for four different groups of writers, who lived and worked together under one roof, experiencing a cultural time-share that produced diverse and original works of literature, art, and popular entertainment.
The February House
Between 1940 and 1942, “an entire generation of Western culture” lived at 7 Middagh Street, Brooklyn. The poet W. H. Auden was house mother, who collected rents and doled out toilet paper, at 2 sheets for each of his fellow tenants, advising them to use “both sides”. These tenants included legendary stripper, Gypsy Rose Lee, novelist Carson McCullers and a host of other irregular visitors - composer Benjamin Britten, singer Peter Pears, writers Jane and Paul Bowles and Erika and Klaus Mann, Salvador Dali, a selection of stevedores, sailors, circus acts and a chimpanzee.
Auden wrote his brilliant poem New Year Letter here and fell obsessively in love with Chester Kallman, and attempted to strangle him one hot, summer night - an event that taught Auden the universal potential for evil. On the top floor, Carson McCullers escaped from her psychotic husband, and wrote Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding, while slowly drinking herself to an early death.
On the first floor, Gypsy Rose Lee created her legend as the world’s most famous stripper, wrote her thriller The G-String Murders, offered a shoulder to cry on, and told outrageous tales of her burlesque life.
Known as the “February House”, because of the number of birthdays shared during that month, 7 Middagh St. was a place of comfort and hope in the desperate months at the start of the Second World War.
The Fun Factory
The scripts that came out of 9 Orme Court in London, changed world comedy. And if Spike Milligan hadn’t gone mad and attempted to murder Peter Sellers with a potato peeler, it may never have all happened.
Milligan was the comic genius behind The Goons, and the stress of writing a new script every week, led to his breakdown. The need for a place to work, away from the demands of family, home and fame, brought Milligan to share an office with highly successful radio scriptwriter, Eric Sykes.
The first Fun Factory was above a greengrocer on the Uxbridge Road. Here Sykes, Milligan, comedian Frankie Howerd and agent Scruffy Dale, formed the Writers’ Bloc Associated London Scripts. The idea was to bring together the best and newest comedy writers under one umbrella. Milligan saw ALS as an artists’ commune that would lead to political and cultural change. Sykes saw ALS as a business opportunity to produce great comedy. Frankie Howerd saw it as a source of finding new material.
When Milligan asked two young writers, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson to come on board, the central core of ALS was formed.
This merry band of writers expanded in the coming years to include: Johnny Speight (Till Death Us Do Part); Barry Took and Marty Feldman (The Army Game and Round the Horne); Terry Nation (Dr Who and the Daleks); John Antrobus (The Bed-Sitting Room); and with a move to the more suitable offices of 9 Orme Court, ALS was established as the home of legendary British comedy.
Milligan continued successfully with The Goons, before devising the groundbreaking Q series for television. Sykes began his long and successful career with his own TV show. While Galton and Simpson created the first British TV sitcom, Hancock’s Half-Hour, and then the massively influential Steptoe and Son.
9 Orme Court was once described, as though Plato, Aristotle, Galileo and Leonardo Da Vinci were all living in the same artist’s garret.
The Beat Hotel
A run-down hotel in the back streets of Paris was unlikely setting for a Cultural Revolution, but the Sixties were seeded when poet, Allen Ginsberg William Burroughs, Gregory Corso, and Bryon Gysin moved into the Beat Hotel, at 9 Git le Coeur, in the late 1950s.
The literary revolution that started with Ginsberg’s Howl in America was formalised and expanded in the cramped, leaky, piss-smelling hotel rooms at 9 Git le Couer.
Ginsberg wrote part of Kaddish here, as he came to terms with the madness and death of his Mother. First to arrive, Ginsberg was also be first to check out, travelling in search of enlightenment to India.
The wild and romantic Corso produced his best books of poems “Gasoline” and “Bomb”, whilst living the life of an American abroad.
But it was Burroughs who gained most from his four-year on-and-off stay in Git le Coeur. Here he completed Naked Lunch, and wrote the novels The Soft Machine, The Nova Express, The Ticket that Exploded, and together with Bryon Gysin devised the cut-up form of writing, indulged in seances, Black Magic and tried out Scientology.
Like Middagh Street, the Beat Hotel was a cultural and social experiment that sought to inspire art through shared experiences.
Passport from Pimlico
It started with a bet. Three young writers sitting watching Mick Jagger on Top of the Pops, in a flat in Pimlico during the 1960s. The bet was simple, which of the 3 would make the big time first?
It was the kind of idle chat once made soon forgotten, but not for these 3 young talents, Tom Stoppard, Derek Marlowe and Piers Paul Read.
Read and Marlowe believed Stoppard would hit the big time first, but they were wrong, it was Marlowe in 1966 with his cool and brilliant spy thriller A Dandy in Aspic, made into a film with Laurence Harvey, Mia Farrow, Tom Courtney and Peter Cook.
Stoppard was next in 1967, with his play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Then Read with Alive the story of Andes plane crash in 1974.
All 3 were outsiders, set apart from their contemporaries by their romanticized sense of Englishness, which came from their backgrounds. Read was a brilliant Catholic author, favorably compared to Graham Greene; Stoppard, a Czech-émigré, and Marlowe, a second generation Greek, who was for “heroes, though if not Lancelot or Tristan, heroes” who appeared “out of the mould of the time.” All three writers were to become the biggest British talents of the 1970s and 1980s.
Vincent Price is on sparkling form in An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe, in which the Master of Horror presents his unique interpretation of 4 tales by “the most original genius America has produced” - “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Sphinx”, “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Pit and the Pendulum”. Directed by Kenneth Johnson, who later created the classic series V, this is a classic TV adaptation from 1970, capturing Price at his electrifying best.
Cynical, dark-hearted British playwright Joe Orton and his boyfriend (later murderer) Kenneth Halliwell so hated the books on offer at the Essex Road library in London, that they decided to amuse themselves by creatively defacing book covers. Eventually the pair were caught and did jail time. Now a large selection of their naughty handiwork is on display at the Islington Museum, where 40 of the 72 dustjackets they defaced can be viewed by the public through January of next year.
What would a librarygoer in 1960 think in picking up The Collected Plays of Emlyn Williams and finding they were about to read plays called Knickers Must Fall and Fucked by Monty?
They also altered the blurbs for the books in a less than tasteful fashion. Dorothy L Sayers’s Gaudy Nights, for example, was the writer “at her most awe inspiring. At her most queer, and needless to say, at her most crude!”
Readers of another of her Lord Peter Wimsey books, Clouds of Witness, are advised to read behind closed doors “and have a good shit while you are reading!”
The pair would sneak the book back on to a shelf and then wait for someone to pick it up so they could watch the reaction.
You can see more of the defaced book jackets here.