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JTS columns from the Guardian newspaper

16. You Can't Use Jack Any More...

There's a word somewhere around impresario and entrepreneur that describes women who ride herd on maverick writers. Whatever the word (and it's lost with all the others that probably came up while I was playing truant up the spinney with Sam Bagley), the best example I know is Violet Hunt.

"She was so precocious she got middle-aged spread when she was sixteen," said Ellie, looking up from her flageolet practice. A week after getting knocked down it was discovered that she had a fractured pelvis. I've been putting in so
me illuminating grape-eating in the geriatrics ward, the only place where they had a bed. Mary is 100:

men were very earnest when I was a girl. You had quite a job sorting out the free-thinkers. Excuse me, I used to say, my bloomer elastic has just broken. If you're not going to take them off, have you got a pin, please? That's how I met George..."

Ellie has been dipping into Arthur Mitzener's biography of Ford Maddox Ford, "The Saddest Story",
my last Maggie present, which she also uses as a back rest.

"Ford's life was brought to a cli
max in the latter part of 1908 by two major events..."

The first of these was his editorship of The English Review, the second Violet Hunt. She talked "practically continuously" and had the uncontrollable i
mpulsiveness of a middle-class Moll Flanders or Molly Bloom. Filling in the frightening details he quotes Iris Barry:

"Chattering with subli
me disregard for practically everything, distraught golden hair, obviously a beauty of the Edwardian era, Violet Hunt often proved disconcerting... for the way she pounced..."

Can't you hear the crack of the whip, the pounding hooves and to hell with bloo
mer elastic.

"Early in 1907 she had a very brief affair with Somerset Maugham. At the same time she found her old friend Edward Heron Allen suddenly showing signs of a

When Ford left Violet for Stella Bowen, "she tracked the
m down in Bedham and hung over the fence of their cottage watching them..." But worst of all, and what makes living in Hampstead so hazardous for the unbranded steer:

"His gloomiest expectations were confirmed by the publication in 1927 of Violet Hunt's 'The Flurried Years' with its indiscreet description of their love affair..."

Who needs climaxes?

Thanks anyway, Penelope (PO Box) for the photograph and the manuscript which I think is really excellent of its kind. Go ahead and finish the novel. I can't make Thursday and in fact will be busy on a screenplay for the next few
months. Pick out the tune starting on the D string of your guitar as follows:

D, E flat, F natural, G, A, D... D, E flat, F natural, G, A, B, D, B, D... To fit: "I'll never be the sa
me there is such an ache in my heart," and so on in the key of D major. You'll find Al Bowlly singing it on Ace of Clubs ACL 1147 - though you probably know that he's dead and can't help you, either.

Who said "ti
me is the great healer"? I remember - old Norman. Well, maybe so, but I'm going to devote the rest of my life to Maggie whether or not we ever meet again. She's no violent hunter and her writing, intended for oblivion, is totally unmalicious and mostly pastoral:

"Water creeeeeeeees!" we used to yell, with H E Bates's gypsy girl, whenever we passed the cress beds.

I'll plant one in Allen Water when I buy her the dairy farm. This new film could easily be the starting place.

"Don't talk about it until the contract's signed," the man said. The power of the pen is getting a little inverted. So
mebody in television told a secret friend of mine: "You can't use Jack any more. You never know what he's going to say about you in his next column."

"Say what you like about us," Maggie told
me in Brussels last July. "I'll always defend you. I know how important your writing is to you." They don't come like that any more than once in a lifetime. So why does a woman leave home?

"You remember when I used to cry because I couldn't play the violin?" This was her last cross-channel explanation before she changed her telephone nu
mber. "It's something to do with that."


Artists love with their spare time and sex is a therapy. There's a word somewhere between fulfillment and despair and I'm damned if I know what it is yet. When I finally grow as old as Rupert Brooke was at 21, I might just possible accept that:

"...flesh is flesh, was fla
me before:
And infinite hungers leap no
In the chance swaying of your dress;
And love has changed to kindliness."

(The Guardian, Saturday 3 February 1973)


Jack Trevor Story's texts copyright   the estate of Jack Trevor Story 2002. Not for reproduction. Copyright in all work by Jack Trevor Story is the property of the author's heirs. Permission for use of this material can be obtained through Jackie Edwards (Story), Peter Story, Lee Story or Michael Moorcock. Reproduction of copyright material whether in text, visual or audio form by unauthorised sources strictly forbidden.


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