Julian Maclaren-Ross


Sohemian Rhapsody

A Journey into the Lost World of Bohemian Soho

Hosted by The Society Club with Paul Willetts and special guests Callum Coates and Virginia Ironside

The Charlotte Street Hotel
Private Cinema
15-17 Charlotte Street London W1T 1RJ

Monday, 9th of July

Doors open at 7pm, Talk and screening starts promptly at 7:30

Few people have led such a strange life as the cult writer and Soho dandy Julian Maclaren-Ross (1912-64), whose work has attracted admirers as varied as Harold Pinter, Evelyn Waugh, Iain Sinclair, Graham Greene and Sarah Waters. Brought up on the French Riviera during the 1920s, his subsequent life encompassed fame and literary success as well as alcoholism, drug addiction, homelessness and a psychotic obsession with George Orwell’s glamorous widow.

To commemorate the centenary of his birth, we’ll be staging a recreation of one of his short, characteristically stylish 1950s radio plays, starring Callum Coates, founder of the popular Fitzrovia Radio Hour and stalwart of the Globe Theatre under Mark Rylance. We’ll also be presenting rarely seen footage of Maclaren-Ross and his friends talking about the long lost world of Soho bohemia. There’ll also be short readings from Maclaren-Ross’s witty and atmospheric work, juxtaposed with a discussion between his biographer, Paul Willetts, and the writer and stand-up comedienne, Virginia Ironside.

Paul Willetts wrote the biography of Julian Maclaren-Ross, ‘Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia’ and has edited several books about Maclaren-Ross, including Collected Memoirs, Collected Stories and Bitten By The Tarantula and other writings. Willetts also wrote the Paul Raymond biography Members Only, which is currently being filmed directed by Michael Winterbottom, starring Steve Coogan.

A night filled with celebrating one of our greatest local writers on his 100th birthday.

£15, includes a complimentary glass of Fontaine Absinthe

Limited number of tickets available, please book in advance at

or call The Society Club at 02074371433


Absolute Beginners

The Society Film Club is proud to present Absolute Beginners.

Set against the post-war Britain, a time in which pop culture is transforming from jazz to a new generation on the verge of the 60s, a young hip photographer (Colin) falls in love with an aspiring fashion designer (Crepe Suzette).

Directed by Julien Temple, Absolute Beginners features David Bowie, Sade, Ray Davies and stars Eddie O’Connell and a break-out performance by Patsy Kensit. The film has become a cult classic, mainly through it’s incredible soundtrack (featuring Bowie, Sade, The Style Council and Ray Davies).

Clive Jennings will lead a fascinating conversation with director Julien Temple, Eve Ferret, who appears in the film and Roger Burton, who consulted on the memorable styling, before the screening, with an audience Q & A afterwards.

This will be a Film Club Night not to be missed.

Doors open at 7pm, Q&A begins at 7:30 promptly – we ask that audience members arrive in time as this is likely to be a popular event. Doors close 7.25pm

Copies of the Colin MacInnes novel, Absolute Beginners, will be available for purchase on the night

Members £5 | Non members £10

My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta

Lots of chatter in The Shop today surrounding the screening of Lolita at Monday night’s Film Club.    Hope you are all coming.

Join us next Monday,  March 12th where The Society Film Club, in association with Penguin Classics, presents the 1962 classic Lolita, based on the celebrated and controversial novel by Vladimir Nabokov.

“How did they make a movie out of Lolita?” teased the print ads of this Stanley Kubrick production. The answer: by adding three years to the title character’s age. The original Vladimir Nabokov novel caused no end of scandal by detailing the romance between a middle-aged intellectual and a 12-year-old nymphet. The affair is “cleansed” ever so slightly in the film by making Lolita a 15-year-old (portrayed by 16-year-old Sue Lyon). In adapting his novel to film, Nabokov downplayed the wicked satire and sensuality of the material, concentrating instead on the story’s farcical aspects.

DATE:    Monday, March 12
TIME:     7pm
PLACE:  The Sanctum Hotel,  20 Warwick Street, Soho, W1B 5NF
Members: £5, non-members £10

Forthcoming films include:
March 19:  Black Spring Press night, Luis Bunuel’s Viridiana
March 26: Absolute Beginners