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George Melly – DON’T TELL SYBIL

George Melly was a character impossible to ignore in London cultural circles between the 1950s and 1990s. He first came to attention as a jazz singer, notable for risqué songs performed with verve rather than with great technical ability. An arresting personality, Melly also dressed the part: his outrageous suits became a trademark, and his talents as a raconteur soon brought him fame as a TV talkshow guest, though usually late-night for reasons of propriety… His three-volume autobiography is a classic that seems unlikely ever to go out of print, and the cheerful bisexualism it describes first scandalised, then delighted a public whose own sexual attitudes changed over the course of these decades.

Don’t Tell Sybilis a supplementary volume of autobiography which treats in more detail Melly’s youthful and long-lasting attraction to Surrealism, and his equally lengthy friendship with the contradictory character who headed up the English Surrealist group: E.L.T. Mesens. Their adventures and vicissitudes form the core of this book (adventures ELT was keen should not get back to his wife, Sybil, hence the book’s title). Mesens was a perfect subject, an extravagant prankster who could nevertheless be as punctilious and stingy as the most respectable bourgeois. Anecdotes of the artists who showed at Mesens’s gallery — especially Schwitters and Magritte — pepper the narrative, a hugely affectionate memoir by a character who was truly larger than life…

This new edition is augmented with previously unpublished photographs relating to Melly and to English Surrealism.

Hardcover,176 pages
Published January 31st 2014
Published by Atlas Press
ISBN: 190056565X(ISBN13:9781900565653)