Colin MacInnes

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Colin MacInnes' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Colin MacInnes' page


By Fiona Green

I first met Colin in 1964 when he was an author with MacGibbon & Kee in Golden Square & my husband,Martin Green was his publisher.He had already published 'Absolute Beginners', 'City of Spades' & 'Mr Love & Justice'. His father was an opera singer : James Campbell MacInnes & his mother a well known Australian writer of romances : Angela Thirkell.He had received little parental love or support as a youngster.He told me that he was closely related to Sir Edward Burne-Jones,Stanley Baldwin & Rudyard Kipling, & proud of his early gift as a painter at the Euston Road School.

At our first meeting he was gruff & prickly,but as time went by I soon learned that this was his defence mechanism,hiding a gentle & sensitive soul.Colin inhabited Soho from the fifties until his death in 1976.He lived with us in Fitzrovia whenever he came to London which was about 6 times a year & soon became a part of our family. One of his favourite recordings was Count John Macormack singing Irish ballads because Colin loved Music Hall (his father a singer) His love of black men is well documented ; I would accompany him to the Mangrove Restaurant in Notting Hill & he would bring his friends back home to our place too. At the end of his life when he was suffering from cancer, drugs were only given to him once a day to kill the pain, so I smuggled in some from his doctor who had retired.He wrote some astonishing diatribes against the health system he had believed in & supported. Just as he had written about the teenagers I had taught at my truancy project in Kings Cross.('The Open Way', TES Supplement, 2/8/1974) His funeral at sea was an amazing affair & the mourners sang the night away.One of the mourners was Frank Norman of "Fings Aint Wot They Used To Be" ..See Colin's biography 'Inside Outsider by Tony Gould.

Post Script : Colin left me an unpublished,semi autobiographical  novel "Fancy Free" in his will,which I am now seeking to get published

'Inside Outsider' by Tony Gould published by Alison & Busby 1993

Photograph of Colin by unknown photographer

This page was added by Fiona Green on 21/02/2013.

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