Happy New Year
Not so scary anymore

No offence

There was (I think) a time when obituaries were written with great care so as not to cause offence. Not any more - this is from the Daily Telegraph (several months ago - I forgot about this and have just found it again):

William Donaldson, who died on June 22 aged 70, was described by Kenneth Tynan as "an old Wykehamist who ended up as a moderately successful Chelsea pimp", which was true, though he was also a failed theatrical impresario, a crack-smoking serial adulterer and a writer of autobiographical novels; but it was under the nom de plume Henry Root that he became best known.

Willie Donaldson's alter ego was a Right-wing nutcase and wet fish merchant from Elm Park Mansions, SW10, who specialised in writing brash, outrageous and frequently abusive letters to eminent public figures, enclosing a one pound note. Donaldson's genius was to write letters that appeared absurd to the public but not to those to whom they were addressed. The recipients duly replied, often unaware that the joke was on them.

An inspiration to Harry Hutton, methinks.

In 1971 Donaldson fled wife and creditors and left for Ibiza, where he spent his last £2,000 on a glass-bottomed boat, hoping to make money out of tourists. By the end of the season, he had no money left and had to sell the boat for £250. He returned to London when he heard that a former girlfriend had gone on the game, moved in to her Chelsea brothel as a "ponce" and used his experiences as the basis for his first book, Both the Ladies and the Gentlemen (1975).

He seems to have led a full life, as they say.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)