Dominic Green

The Predatory Tense

Jumpin’ Jack Flash: David Litvinoff and the Rock’n’Roll Underworld

By

Jonathan Cape 386pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

One evening in 1954, Lucian Freud entered Esmeralda’s Barn, a club in Knightsbridge, and heard the barman asking another customer, ‘Is that on your bill, Mr Freud?’ The impostor was David Litvinoff (1928–75), the vicious, verbal hustler who accelerated the swing of Sixties London and whose furtive, flagrant life Kieron Pim traces in this superb biography.

‘It turned out he’d been me for quite a while,’ Freud recalled. The resemblance was not just physical: Litvinoff was a Jewish gambler with a violent streak and a taste for low company. Instead of attacking ‘possibly the most revolting person I had ever seen in my life’, Freud asked Litvinoff to sit for him. ‘I thought, well, I can do a self-portrait without all the bother of looking in the mirror.’

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • John Stubbs reviews Stephen Greenblatt's latest, 'Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power' ,
    • RT : What happened when US military strategist Herman Kahn - one of Kubrick’s three models for Dr Strangelove - took LSD… ,
    • 'Pollan has no doubt that the use of psychedelics could have a powerfully beneficial effect on a range of condition… ,
    • A memoir about an Untouchable family and the 'formation of modern India': 'Ants among Elephants' by @gidla_sujatha… ,
    • RT : First founded in Edinburgh in 1979, is considered a trusted independent source for reviews of new book… ,
    • 'In different ways Hatherley makes gritty Lódź and poor old which-country-are-we-in-this-week Lviv sound entrancing… ,
    • In this issue Lucy Popescu discusses the miscarriages of justice occurring in the investigation over Maltese journa… ,