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The Furnished Room

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Laura Del Rivo in conversation with Cathi Unsworth
A Sohemian Society event
Monday June 18th
The Wheatsheaf, 25 Rathbone Place, North Soho, W1, kick-off 7.30pm. Entrance fee £3.

In Laura’s beatnik classic The Furnished Room the novel’s anti-hero Joe Beckett drifts from job to job and woman to woman in a seedy world of bedsitters and all-night cafes. Living in the wasteland between Notting Hill and Earl’s Court, he heats up tins on gas rings and smuggles girls past the landlady. He has no values or beliefs. A chance encounter with a roadhouse braggart brings him the opportunity to murder someone “to shock himself back to life”.

The Furnished Room was filmed by director Michael Winner as West 11, starring Alfred Lynch as Joe, Kathleen Breck as the good-time girl Isla and a cast including Eric Portman and Diana Dors.

Laura Del-Rivo was an associate of Bill Hopkins and Colin Wilson, who described The Furnished Room as “one of the significant novels of the 1960s.” Unsurprisingly, she was convent educated but the call of Soho parties was stronger. After many jobs, including working as a bookseller, a Lyons’ counter hand and an art-school model she started running a market stall in Portobello Road, where she can still be found.

First posted: Friday, June 1st, 2012.

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