Just had a quick read of the biography of the famously debauched Willie Donaldson. Must say it was for the most part a pretty interesting read - Donaldson seemed like a kind and likeable chap, albeit one who obviously had a cartload of hang-ups, which eventually manifested themselves in a liking for prostitutes and crack cocaine.
It was sobering to read of the man who had brought 'Beyond the Fringe' to the West End and who had even been engaged to Carly Simon spending his 60's sitting in his flat surrounded by twenty-something druggies, underworld-charred call girls, and the sad remains of his considerable talent.
He revelled in his role as a corrupter, a pied piper of decadence. I haven't seen it, but it called to mind what Gaw has said previously about the play Jerusalem.
I particularly liked this passage from one of his memoirs - most apt.
'In real life a person is an unknowable jumble of contradictory qualities. Brave and cowardly. Cruel and kind. Treacherous and loyal. Feckless and prudent. In fiction, this would be confusing...This is a mistake that writers of biography make. They try to shape a life, to give it a fictional coherence. They should just tip the whole mess on the page and say:
"Here is a life of sorts. Make of it what you will"