Review for Glimpses

        GLIMPSES OF A FLOATING WORLD  Larry Harrison *****


I’m the best person in the world to review Glimpses of a Floating World, because I am Ronnie Jarvis. I’m the real life person that this book was written about.  I know what really happened, and how much of the story is made up.  You see, this writer, Larry Harrison, came to interview me and he promised he’d tell it like it is. It was supposed to be my life story, but he bloody invented loads of it. Just for starters, he had me killed off, when as you can see I’m very much alive.

Some bits of it are true, and are more or less what I told him. The stuff about life in the Loony Bin is all true; that’s just what it was like. It was wicked what those nurses got up to. And the stuff about life in prison is pretty much true; that’s what it was like in them days. Still is, pretty much, except they can’t flog you, and they run a more relaxed regime nowadays.  In the early Sixties, the screws were all ex-army, and they ran the borstals and YP nicks like army glasshouses. Everything had to be at the double.

The Duke of York is a real pub, and many of the characters that Harrison has hanging around Soho, like Billy McGuinness, are real. He was famous, Billy McGuinness.  The junkie Tony Moss was real; I knew him well. He hanged himself in Brixton prison, like it says. And Bing Spear, the Home Office official: he really did used to turn up at the all-night chemist’s at midnight and check all the prescriptions. He was a good bloke, and he knew everyone’s Christian name. A proper gentleman.

But the book is full of Porkies. My father was never a copper, and no one ever accused me of being a grass. That is slander. I’ve got a good mind to sue Harrison for that. He took a number of liberties with the truth, making out that I was a grass, and a liar, and a tea leaf. And, in the book, all these tarts behave as though I wasn’t a very experienced lover, whereas in reality they were all crazy about me. Honest, I could have had any one of those girls around the Duke of York. I was a good looking boy in them days. Larry Harrison made me out to be some kind of thicko, just because he’s one of those people who doesn’t recognise comics as art form, which is what they are. And he claimed that I was drug pusher, which is a diabolical liberty. That sort of talk can get people into trouble. So I shall be consulting my solicitor, and unless I get an apology, and a correction, I shall want financial compensation.

In the front of the book, Harrison has what they call a disclaimer, where he says all the characters are fictitious. Well, my brief says that won’t wash.  We can show that the book is based on an interview that Harrison conducted with me in 2005, especially as he didn’t even bother changing my name.  What corrections am I demanding? I want to have the Ronnie Jarvis character well-respected among Soho faces. He’s a friend to several blues guitarists, and lusted after by all the girls.  He does not sell heroin, and no one wants to bump him off.

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