You Cannot Live As I Have Lived and Not End Up Like This: The Thoroughly Disgraceful Life and Times of Willie Donaldson

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9780091913861: You Cannot Live As I Have Lived and Not End Up Like This: The Thoroughly Disgraceful Life and Times of Willie Donaldson

The life of Willie Donaldson ended in June 2005 when he was found dead in the seedy rented flat in Chelsea where he had lived for 35 years. His computer, situated in the study he used to call the literary room, was still logged to a website called Lesbian Mud Wrestlers. Willie Donaldson's extraordinary, perverse career of writing, drug-taking, brilliance and underachievement put him in the same holy bracket as Peter Cook, Jeffrey Bernard, Peter Sellers, Hunter Thompson and Alan Clark, although his talent for sabotaging his own achievements has meant that his legend has up until now remained a secret to the few. Born into privilege, he was an unlikely social anarchist. By the age of 25 he had published Sylvia Plath, produced Beyond the Fringe and was about to promote Bob Dylan. At the epicentre of Sixties hedonism, he had affairs with the most desired women of the time, notably Sarah Miles and Carly Simon. But deviance and self-destructiveness were never far away. Though he could switch company with enigmatic ease, he was always happiest in the company of tarts and criminals. The impresario became a serial bankrupt, and the man about town ended up living as a ponce in a Chelsea brothel. When Donaldson started writing, his work was compared to Waugh and Nabokov, but his best-known achievement would be the Henry Root Letters, a bestselling practical joke that heralded the new age of celebrity. Yet financial success merely led him deeper into a dark underworld of crack addiction, fraud and sexual perversion. For some Willie Donaldson was a great unsung comic genius. For others, he was irresponsible and diabolical. But his most lasting work of art was undoubtedly his own life u a story that he was never fully capable of telling himself. Friend and collaborator Terence Blacker's intimate biography will finally turn him into the iconic anti-hero of British non-conformism that he truly was, telling Willie's strange story in all its glamour, hilarity and pain.

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