I never had the pleasure of being called 'cunty' by Soho's Colony Room founder and proprietor Muriel Belcher. Some people have all the luck. So, I'll have to settle for second best.
Sophie Parkin's chronicle of the high culture boozing parlour, The Colony Club 1948-2008: A History of Bohemian Soho, is due out on 10 December 2012 - and she's declared open a dedicated website where you can find more book details - click here.
The book is a huge collaboration involving a great many of the former habitués of the establishment. Memories, conversations, goss, names - they're all here. Francis Bacon, Dylan Thomas, Tracey Emin, Princess Margaret, Molly Parkin, Lucian Freud, Jeffrey Bernard, Peter O'Toole, Kate Moss (barmaid), Christopher Hitchens, Will Self and so many other super-luminaries of stage, screen, canvas and piss contributed to the Colony legend.
Sophie is the ideal biographer. Quite possibly (or not), she trod on the dew of the vomit that Dylan Thomas projected onto the Colony carpet: she absorbed the soul of the place as a hereditary bon viveuse at her mother's knee, and for decades thereafter. Just how many of the ex-Colonists will still be talking to her post-publication?
Three editions of the title are available: Collectors, Limited and Standard (the last priced currently at £30). Without giving too much away, the Collectors and Limited editions comprise artists' prints which alone are worth the investment. Never-seen-before photographs grace all three. If nothing else, think Flog It!
Visit The Colony Room website as soon as and secure your copy - aside from my personal horoscopes, what better Christmas present is imaginable (to oneself)?
PS: For a flavour of the Colony, do read my post on writer Duncan Fallowell and the night he took off with Muriel Belcher's crutches. Be warned: the piece is illustrated by a nude photo of Duncan, cock and all. Click here.
Francis Bacon at the Colony, video