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Pair – The Empress of Ireland & Something Wholesale
Christopher Robbins, The Empress of Ireland, Slightly Foxed Edition No. 51
41 - Eric Newby, Something-Wholesale - Slightly Foxed Edition
  • Producer: Smith Settle
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Binding: Cloth hardback
  • Trimmings: Coloured endpapers; silk ribbon, head- & tailband; gold blocking to spine; blind blocking to front
  • NB: Hand-numbered limited editions of 2,000
Made in Britain

Pair – The Empress of Ireland & Something Wholesale

Christopher Robbins, Eric Newby
From£34

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Unconventional Ventures

Christopher Robbins, The Empress of Ireland

The subtitle to this delicious book is ‘A Chronicle of an Unusual Friendship’, and it would indeed be difficult to imagine two more unlikely companions than its author and his subject, the 80-year-old gay Irish film-maker Brian Desmond Hurst. Christopher Robbins was young, green and broke when he was first introduced to Hurst as a possible scriptwriter for an unconventional venture, a forthcoming film: a great religious epic covering ‘the events leading up to the birth of Christ’. As he struggled to get his head round this fantastic commission for which he knew he was spectacularly ill-suited, Robbins began to realize that he had indeed entered a fantasy world. The film was never made of course, Robbins was never paid and the script was never finished. But in The Empress of Ireland he produced a comic masterpiece, a picture of a particular kind of gay life in the 1970s, and of a wickedly unapologetic old rogue it’s impossible not to like.

Eric Newby, Something Wholesale

Who would have thought that the adventurous traveller and decorated wartime hero Eric Newby had started his working life in the rag trade? But that is the story he tells in this characteristically jaunty and very funny book. Lane & Newby, ‘Mantle Manufacturers and Wholesale Costumiers’, occupied a warren of offices in Great Marlborough Street and here young Eric was put to work in the Mantle Department, and forced to accompany Mr Wilkins, the head salesman, on one of his twice yearly excursions to drum up orders in the great industrial towns of the North. As Eric blundered his way through the various departments, things were beginning to go wrong. Eric’s father, an Edwardian patriarch with a light-hearted attitude to accounting, had been running up debts, and during the Fifties Lane & Newby finally collapsed. By this time, however, Eric was laying plans for an excursion to the Hindu Kush – and the rest is travel history.



    ‘What larks!’

    Essentially it is the story of the friendship between Christopher Robbins, a struggling young freelance journalist, and Brian Desmond Hurst, an ageing Irish film director who had already outlived his...

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    Misadventures in the Rag Trade

    It remains one of the more surprising facts of life that the intrepid traveller Eric Newby, who by the time I knew him had the weatherbeaten cragginess of a man only happy when halfway up the Hindu...

    Read more

    Large Busts and Slim Margins

    It remains one of the more surprising facts of life that the intrepid traveller Eric Newby, who by the time I knew him had the weatherbeaten cragginess of a man only happy when halfway up the Hindu...

    Read more

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