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Pissing on the carpet in a nice pattern

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London makes a poor first impression
Frederic Raphael Writer
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I was American. What else? I did of course actually have British nationality because in those days a British citizen, a natural born British citizen like my father who was born in London, his legitimate children were all British by right. So I had dual citizenship, but it didn't really show because I was an American kid. We did go to England on what was called leave because my father, being employed by Shell and being British, was allowed every three years a free trip, cabin class, on a Cunarder back to England for however many weeks it was. And during those weeks when I was, I think, three years old was the first one and then there was another one when I was five, I was brought back to London or brought to London which I didn't think much of because the buildings were in those days very low, the people spoke in very strange accents and it was all rather stuffy. My parents were both only children so they had... I had no cousins. 

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: London, Cunard

Duration: 1 minute, 10 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 13 August 2014