Take a Girl Like Me: Life with George by Diana Melly; Slowing Down by George Melly - review by Ian Whitcomb

Ian Whitcomb

At Least They’ve Got It Off Their Chests

Take a Girl Like Me: Life with George


Chatto & Windus 277pp £14.99

Slowing Down


Viking 220pp £17.99

Here we have a strange case. This married couple of forty-five years – a team well known to the chattering classes and beloved by local media, yet invisible to the world beyond the British Isles, exemplars of a privileged bohemianism noted for its unbridled, incestuous satyriasis, inevitably trailing behind it a sad string of bewildered children – have chosen, perhaps because they had nothing better to do and perhaps because of cocktail connections to London’s publishers, to let it all hang out in a double-act confessional, a sort of hard-copy blog of jokes and careless tragedies, much of which (the husband’s diarrhoea and the wife’s masturbation) is more testimony than we need to hear. But, like prattling couch patients, at least they’ve got it off their chests.

We will examine Mrs Melly first. She was married with children when she met George – a cartoon-strip writer and belter of off-colour blues, also married – at a Soho drinking club in the early 1960s, on the eve of the destruction of English gentility. ‘Who’s the sexy mouse?’ he

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