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Giving Hysteria a Bad Name

Jenny Diski: At home with the Mellys, 17 November 2005

Take a Girl like Me: Life with George 
by Diana Melly.
Chatto, 280 pp., £14.99, July 2005, 0 7011 7906 6
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Slowing Down 
by George Melly.
Viking, 221 pp., £17.99, October 2005, 0 670 91409 6
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... thoughts fixed on mankind and do not pass beyond that sphere.’ Not that I’m suggesting that Diana Melly is a Sufi, indeed there’s very little to suggest any path at all in her life, but the several possible responses a reader might have to Take a Girl like Me are much the same as for those encountering a seeker on the Path of Blame. In a review ...

All I can do

Carole Angier, 21 June 1984

Jean Rhys: Letters 1931-1966 
edited by Francis Wyndham and Diana Melly.
Deutsch, 336 pp., £9.95, May 1984, 0 223 97567 2
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... hospital, she still wanted to make changes. But in March Max died, and Jean wrote to her editor, Diana Athill:   I’ve dreamt several times that I was going to have a baby ...   Finally I dreamt that I was looking at the baby in the cradle – such a puny weak thing.   So the book must be finished, and that must be what I think about it ...

Children’s Children

Penelope Fitzgerald, 7 November 1991

Grandmothers talking to Nell Dunn 
Chatto, 202 pp., £10.99, September 1991, 0 7011 3578 6Show More
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... concerned with social problems and music, one works in the Glastonbury Information Office, one is Diana Melly. This gives a certain bias to this deeply sympathetic book. We are listening to creative grannies. Creativity is hard, possibly on the nerves, but certainly on the conscience. They feel a responsibility to their own talent – ‘I thought, but ...

Household Sounds

Michael Irwin, 22 November 1979

The Old Jest 
by Jennifer Johnston.
Hamish Hamilton, 167 pp., £4.95
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The Goosefeather Bed 
by Diana Melly.
Duckworth, 139 pp., £5.95
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The Snow Man 
by Valerie Kershaw.
Duckworth, 159 pp., £5.95
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Spring Sonata 
by Bernice Rubens.
W.H. Allen, 215 pp., £4.94
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... of detachment – the first of these weaknesses arising from the second – are crucial flaws in Diana Melly’s second novel. The Goosefeather Bed is the story of an affair between Stella, an attractive woman in her mid-thirties, married to a bisexual art critic named Bernard, and a young man named Simon, who makes a frugal living by occasionally ...
... most people who’ve been publishers’ readers will tell you that that never happens. But one day Diana Athill came into my cupboard and said: ‘Will you just have a look at these, they’re by a West Indian writer, V.S. Naipaul’, I read them and wrote Diana a report in which I said: ‘I know we never do short ...

Edward and Tilly and George

Robert Melville, 15 March 1984

Swans Reflecting Elephants: My Early Years 
by Edward James, edited by George Melly.
Weidenfeld, 178 pp., £8.95, July 1982, 0 297 77988 5
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... of the 11 tapes which recorded Edward’s recollections of the first 27 years of his life. George Melly handled the tapes and later pruned and rearranged their contents. The book didn’t appear until five years later, but the recording had been a rush job for George, occupying four days between two singing dates with John Chilton’s Feetwarmers. Edward ...

It starts with an itch

Alan Bennett: ‘People’, 8 November 2012

... then, what do I know? My experience of high life is limited, but years ago, I think through George Melly, I used to be invited to parties given by Geoffrey Bennison, the fashionable interior decorator. He lived in Golden Square (‘Above Glorex Woollens, dear’) and there one would find Geoffrey in full drag, and very convincing drag it was too, as he made no ...

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