Sunday, 16 March 2014

Alan Ross

“Walking into the small cramped offices of the magazine was a revelation for me. Books everywhere, of course, but there were two dogs sprawled under his desk, and big vivid modern art on the walls. Alan was an unchangingly youthful, tanned, dark-haired figure even though he must have been in his mid-50s then. He took me to an Italian restaurant and we drank powerful cocktails. It was impossible not to be smitten. There was a sophisticated raffishness and glamour about him as well – nothing seedy or earnest. He owned racehorses. He loved women and travel. He had known Evelyn Waugh and Dylan Thomas and Ian Fleming. He was a poet and a brilliant writer on cricket.” 

This is my fellow Jesubite William Boyd's description of meeting Alan Ross.  I have long had a suspicion that Ross would turn out to be one of those writers who would got better the longer one went without reading him. Not strictly true as I had read "watching Benaud bowl" in some forgotten anthology , but I had not read any of the prose. I have just splashed out on "Australia 55" for the Kindle- partly after chancing on Gideon Haigh's piece on  the book on cricinfo.  I've not actually started it yet but will post my review when I've read it. 

I was going to say that the quote from Boyd doesn't really add anything of meaning to this piece. In fact it was the overwhelming aroma of the world and works of Simon Raven that it evoked that persuaded me to buy the Ross book when I chanced on it- even more than the piece from St Gideon I mentioned above.

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