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Julian Maclaren-Ross In the Shadow of Cain

Six minutes of pure joy – that’s Julian Maclaren-Ross in the BBC documentary Writer’s World: In the Shadow of Cain.  I was very lucky to get hold of a copy of the footage from this show, thanks to Chris who worked hard to get it.  THANK YOU, CHRIS!

I thought I’d share a few screen shots from the show for those of you who haven’t seen it:

This is not an interview, you understand.  It was more a case of wind him up and watch him go.  It’s unbelievable the way Julian Maclaren-Ross talked; excuse my French, but he really had his s*** down pat.  He doesn’t falter at all, he goes from one anecdote to the next without hesitation, even doing a slightly different voice for a Colonel he was talking to, each story neatly turning into another.  I can understand why he was called a bar-room bore though, because there would be little to no chance of getting a word in edgewise.  How he remembers all his lines, I don’t know – and they are lines, because this can’t be off the cuff, it seems so well-rehearsed.  Anyway, I was well-impressed.  Just one thing, his voice always surprises me – the way he looked, his image, I always imagined him talking with a Mid-Atlantic accent rather than being so incredibly posh (even though I knew I was).

He tells stories about the only time he was ever treated as a writer in the army; how he started writing a series of army stories on the company office typewriter when he was transferred to Suffolk; how he collaborated with Dylan Thomas on a documentary script about the Home Guard; how he was once called “a Soho non-blitzer by a very stout young woman known to us as Are They Real or Are They False?”; how a rocket bomb nearly landed on his head and soon after that the war ended (coincidence? maybe!); about a chip shop that had a sign in the window saying, “Owing to Hitler, chips is littler.”  All very, very amusing.

So few pictures exist of Julian Maclaren-Ross, so here’s some more for your visual pleasure.  And for your reading pleasure, buy J. Maclaren-Ross books now!

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About tinynoggin

I love films (anything from exploitation stuff to stylish Eastern European cinema, but I'm not really into blockbusters and modern Hollywood), music (Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin, Michel Polnareff, Left Banke, Francoise Hardy, The Seeds, Love, The Zombies, etc) and books (Kurt Vonnegut, Julian Maclaren-Ross, Michel Houellebecq, Patrick Hamilton, Alan Sillitoe, and more). I take photographs with my Lomography Diana F plus or my Olympus Trip and like making stuff in my spare time.

6 responses to “Julian Maclaren-Ross In the Shadow of Cain

  1. Feeling very dumb as I have never heard of him before now. The images grabbed me and your writing, too. Will give him a Google to find out more.

    • Oh, please do! If you like short stories, JM-R’s short stories are a great place to start – I adore them. Some of his novels are wonderful too; his most famous one is Of Love and Hunger, which I can highly recommend. He’s not terribly well known, so don’t feel dumb at all. It’s just a shame he is not better known – his writing was superb and he was a real character. If my drawing was better (unfortunately it couldn’t get much worse!) I would definitely do a comic book about Julian Maclaren-Ross. Thanks for visiting again and thanks also for posting all your wonderful photobooth photos on your site, that must be some collection you have got! Years ago I had a friend who collected “lost photos” (ones you’d find dropped in the street – I’m not kidding, we used to find quite a few) and a lot of those were photobooth photos, just because they’re the kind of thing people might drop accidentally. Anyway, I guess that’s the kind of collection that’s never-ending, so it’s a hobby for life! Keep up the good work :0)

      • Thanks for all the info! My library hasn’t got anything by him so I might see what I can find on eBay or Amazon.

        Thanks heaps for the compliment about my blog. The collection is pretty stagnant at the moment but it is large and I have so many left to share.

        I have a category for found photobooth photos. https://photoboothjournal.com/category/found-photobooth-photos/
        I wonder if your friend still collects? When I lived in the U.K. I found heaps of strips around the Tube station booths. I’m not sure the ones I found were lost accidentally some of them were dreadful but also very amusing! My favourite is one is one I haven’t published as it is a tad pornographic. I found late one night at Euston Station. To me it is an invaluable treasure! 😃

      • Oh my! I love that – my mind is “boggling”, what on earth happened in that photo booth! I love also that these anonymous photos get your imagination working – who these people are and what they were doing, where they are now etc. It’s fascinating. You should do a book and then see if you can track down some of these people to re-enact their original poses in a photobooth today! Funnily enough, wherever we go me and my boyfriend always have to get photos done if we ever find a photobooth. The problem is I always look absolutely hideous – in one photo I even have 3 chins which aren’t usually there! I hate having my photo taken but I still put myself through the awkward, do we both fit in the booth, can you see me, am I looking the right way thing every time. There is a really good one in Rough Trade East Record Store in London. We’ve been in there several times. I have to say I prefer the black/white ones to the colour ones, but I think that’s just because they were always black/white when I was kid. It’s fascinating. I’m going to keep an eye out for any photobooth photos for you when I go to car boot sales and flea markets from now on!

  2. Ruki ⋅

    New to me too. Youtube yielded nothing. Now I’ll check BBC via Tor and see if I can access anything there.

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