JULIAN MACLAREN ROSS died tragically and suddenly in the autumn of last year with only three-quarters of his Memoirs of the Forties completed (Alan Ross, 250. He was in his early fifties and the author of several hooks.
But it is probably as a figure of the Forties, roaming down Charlotte Street cutting a remarkable figure at a remarkable time in his teddy-hear coat, dark glasses and silver-topped stick, that he oil strike the present generation, who have perhaps not read his stories and novels.
Yet as well as being a period piece and an authentic one he was a writer whose validity and genius is certain of survival in the final reckoning.
"Fitzrovia", as Tarobimuttu descrihed that network of pubs and cafes north of Oxford Street where the literati and not so literate used to hang out, became MaclarenRoss's stamping grounds.
For it was this war-time "Fitzrnvia" that after night saw the same group of regulars. wits and bums as Dylan Thomas called them—shift their custom systemsreally from bar to bar, since for even the most seasoned drinker then there was always a right time and a right bar to be in.
Apart from Dylan Thomas with whom he worked as a film documentary script-writer. MacLaren. R oss recalls Anthony Carson whom he first met at a Russian party in Nice, and Cyril Connolly who took his first short story for Horizon.
To read these pages is in many ways to rebuild on the bomb-sites of London, and to resurrect the famous and not so famous. the artists and the entrepreneurs. from death — or their present obscurity.