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I hit the ground running


Beetle and I get married
Frederic Raphael Writer
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So I went to Naples and I shared a cabin on the Constitution with a guy called Knight, and it put me off the idea of sharing... sharing bedrooms with men. He had a very rancid smell to him. Anyway, got to Naples, I went to... went to Pompeii, I went to Herculaneum, I went to the Naples museum, and I was enjoying myself a lot more now that I was moving towards Paris and Beetle. So that was pretty good.

I then went to... went to Paestum, took an excursion to Paestum, Pompeii, all that stuff which shows all... in those days the obscene paintings in the brothel of Pompeii were... had little cupboards over them, and the women weren't allowed to come in to look and you had to go in and then he would show you the various things that he showed you. Wow. I went to Rome, stayed in a pension, I went to all the things you should go to in Rome when you first go there. And then and then and then eventually I went back to Paris, and Beetle wasn't coming until after Christmas so I stayed in the little hotel we stayed at and booked rooms, and then on Boxing Day, I think it was, she flew in and I met her at the Invalides, and we've pretty well been together ever since, actually.

So then there was the question of getting married and I... I wasn't particularly keen on being married because I thought it was unromantic. I liked the idea of being a writer with a mistress and all that living in the garret. I don't think Beetle was very bothered about whether she got married or not, but we came back to England for reasons which I have to ask her, I can't remember why we did, some time in January, and my parents and hers, I think, were rather keen that we should marry, and... and we did.

So we got married and then we went back to Paris the same night. Back to the Hôtel du Continent. And a friend of ours had rented a little... part of an apartment in a district called Crimée, in the 11e arrondissement which is sort of a working class area, somewhere out there beyond the Bastille. And this very nice woman, called Jackie Weiss who we'd been in a play with in the synagogue, a research biologist, gave us the room that she had in this little flat in Crimée on the first floor. And we had three months in Crimée during which I wrote the novel which I has started in... in Juan-les-Pins, I rented a typewriter with an English keyboard and away I went.

And we went to the opera and we went to the movies and we cooked very simple meals and everything was absolutely terrific. Except very cold, but very cold.

Born in America in 1931, Frederic Raphael is a writer who moved to England as a boy. He was educated at Charterhouse School and was a Major Scholar in Classics at St John's College, Cambridge. His articles and book reviews appear in a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times and The Sunday Times. He has published more than twenty novels, the best-known being the semi-autobiographical The Glittering Prizes (1976). In 1965 Raphael won an Oscar for the screenplay for the movie Darling, and two years later received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Two for the Road. In 1999, he published Eyes Wide Open, a memoir of his collaboration with the director Stanley Kubrick on the screenplay of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final movie. Raphael lives in France and England and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1964.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Naples, Pompeii, Paestum, Paris

Duration: 3 minutes, 4 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 10 September 2014