. The Haumed Maw" Rom” Manha" i intriguing excerpt from a novel by
(Scottish Academic Press £2.95) Good old Major Jack Gore — ‘the finest sportsman living. as I often overheard myselfcalled' - inaugurates his golfing career by taking on the reigning ()pen Champion. Jim Lindsay. in a classic grudge match. At stake is the hand. and not inconsiderable fortune. of the wealthy American widow Katherine Gunter. Compelling to the nineteenth hole. we daren‘t give away the outcome. though the fact that the winner makes a bequest to the Home for Inebriate Caddies has some bearing on it.
0 Edinburgh Review No 73 (Polygon £2.95) Poems from Edwin Morgan. a hagiographic interview with Leon
Rosselin. fond farewells to Bernard Malamud and Alex La (iuma. an
lan McCiuinness. the usual anonymous wacky reviews. an indigestible feature on Sottish Education. Mcllvanney — misogynist amongst the misprints. and affirmation of'l‘om Leonard's ambition to play the ukelele while leaning on the lampost at Pseuds‘Corner.
0 Marriage Susan Ferrier (()xford UP. £3.95) A handsome (and cheaper) rival suitor to the 19th century novel Virago—ed earlier this year.
0 Religion Inc. Stewart Lamont
(Harrap £9.95) Apologetic expose of
the Church of Scientology and its Sci-fl guru and cowboy L. Ron Hubbard. Denounced by the courts
BACK LIST _.
as a charlatan. Hubbard assiduouslv followed ()rwell‘s advice by starting a new religion and making a million. Lamont covers the ground with panache and investigates with vigour. coming to the conclusion that Scientology is about as bogus as its recentl)‘ cremated founder. A tall tale well told.
O Glitz lilmorc Leonard l l’enguin £25”) (‘hilly thriller based in Atlantic ( ‘ity where a chirpy killer-cum-rapist stalks a wounded cop. Bloody.
o The Bruce Rs. Silver l Saltirc Society 8.5“) first publication ol the never-performcd play. Set early in the l-lth century in the years leading up to the Declaration of Arbroath. it‘s an eloquent. realistic plea fora nation’s independence. Written. significantly . after Nazi occupation of most of liurope.
o The Quest for Merlin Nikolas 'l‘olstoy ((‘oronct £3.95) A zealot roots and reads his way into convincing us that Merlin was a native of l)umlriesshirc. 'l‘he headv stuffof necromancc. ' 0 Sunrise with Seamsters l’aul
'llicroux (Penguin £3.95) A copious
collection of journalism. reflecting
At which New York hotel have guests been known to sleep in coffins? 0r pay fortheir room with a painting? The answer is the Hotel Chelsea, rendezvous on the international Bohemian circuit for over 100 years.
Mark Twain, Lily Langtry and Thomas Wolfe all lived at the Chelsea. More recently Andy Warhol staged happenings there, Alice Cooper lost his python and Sid Vicious killed his girlfriend.
The guest list of the Sixties and Seventies reads like rock history: Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Frank Zappa. Jefferson Airplane wrote about ‘The Third Week at the Chelsea’. Leonard Cohen sang: ‘I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel’.
Florence Turner remembers him, and many other heros ofthe daffodil-thrusting Sixties, in ‘At the Chelsea’ (Hamish Hamilton £12.95). She was a resident there from 1964 to 1975. During her stay she made up a bed for Procul Harum, looked after a cat for Pink Floyd and cooked fish for a man from the Mafia. Her rent came at first from her salary as a theatre scout for MGM, laterfrom pornographic novels such as ‘The Naked and the Nudeﬁ
In Room 831 she swallowed purple hearts and soothed broken hearts. People brought their problems to her so often that her room became known as ‘Checkpoint Charlie’.
The Chelsea itself was a haven for artists, writers. musicians and dreamers. Successful or starving. ‘Where else could I live and dress as I want?‘ said Charles James, couturier. And where else would the management let rooms to pimps and hookers when long term residents fell behind with
28 The Lisi l 19-24 July
Jnis Joplin utside h Celsea Hotel:
their rent? ‘The pimps, unknowingly, were patrons of the arts.’
‘You could be what you wanted to be,‘ says Florence Turner. The hotel was
, ‘like a huge and not too selective
; commune.‘ Her book dropsthe names which hit the headlines. And also some which didn‘t: the Chelsea staff, who
l polished round the FBI in the lobby and
the Theroux view of life: trains. travel and writing figure prominently. but there are some delightful surprises. including sunny snapshots of his extended family. Book reviews are eschewed. but he makes intelligent comment. thankfully concluding that while he has encountered ‘foolish and vain and self-serving book reviewers. . .l have never known a corrupt one . . .‘
0 Ford Robert Lacey (lleinemann £15) I lenry Ford did not say ‘Ilistory is bunk‘. What he did say. according to Robert Lacey. was ‘l iistory is more or less bunk' - and even that the man who democratiscd transport disputed. Methinks he protested too much. because Ford was a congenital banana skin slipper. and ifhistory has since got its own back. poetic justice has been done. For Ford not only tinkered with cars. he liked to reassemble the facts of his past. promoting a rags-to~riches image which his sensible wife Clara did her best to de-bunk.
He was born in Deaborn near Detroit in IBM in a house which was later painstakingly restored and has
a past headless dolls in the corridors.
Florence Turner now lives in Edinburgh and misses the freedom of the Chelsea. ‘Scotland makes me feel boxed in. I‘ve been terribly poor here. sometimes taking £5 hand-outs from a place in Victoria Street. You only survive if you don't believe in materialism.’ Her present home is in a house with nine other tenants. ‘The windowcleaner found me this place. It’s a mad house —a mini-Chelsea.’ One neighbour is a classical guitarist, another a writer. The telephone is communal.
Ms Turner sips a can of hock from Marks & Spencer and talks about mini skirts, politics and horses. ‘I love horses—that’s why I forgive the
Queen.’ The Incredible String Band, of which her son Malcolm was a member, looks down from a poster on the wall. She plays a song Malcolm wrote for her about the Sixties: ‘The lights came on in ‘68.’ Two silver stars from a friend sparkle from the green fringed lampshade by herchair.
‘Edinburgh? I’m used to it. It’s a very
. difficult place to make friends. I'm f surprised at how many I have found here. The Drummond Hotel used to be
quite crazy, all sorts of eccentrics there. I've accepted this city, rather than it accepting me. I'm very careful
. about my clothes. I have my hair done.
My nails are long and sharp. But not too long to type. I like to fool the world. They think I’m respectable.‘
No need to dissemble at the Chelsea. Hespectability was an insult. Eccentricity to be cultivated. ‘At the Chelsea‘ is a very personal
; kaleidoscope of anecdotes about this Bohemian hothouse. (Margaret
l l l