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This article is taken from PN Review 80, Volume 17 Number 6, July - August 1991.

An Apprenticeship in Soho David Wright


This is part of chapter two of David Wright's autobiography, following 'The Dunkirk Summer' printed in P·N·R some years ago.


I HAD LEFT OXFORD with no discernible future or means of supporting myself. For a couple of months I stagnated in my mother's house at Broadway. What I wanted to do was to live in London and write. At Broadway the many jobs I applied for - God knows what they can have been - failed even to evoke replies from putative employers. But that summer - in 1942 accommodation was easy to come by in London - Walter Gore and Sally Gilmour of the Ballet Rambert found an upstairs flat at an improbably aristocratic address near Harrods: 7 Montpelier Street. It had a spare room with a bed; so to London I went, there to live for the next quarter of a century. Looking back, my luck seems phenomenal.

At that time the Rambert Ballet was in the doldrums; the company had no engagements. Consequently the three of us were endemically broke - at one time Walter Gore and I walked the streets without socks to our shoes; at another, lived for two weeks on genuine oak-smoked kippers at breakfast, lunch, and dinner; a crateful of these delicacies having arrived from the north of Scotland, where our friend Graham Wallace was on location with the Crown Film Unit. One job I almost landed - at least I got as far ...


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