The real Dylan Thomas?

January 29, 2017

It’s been great being involved with the new International Dylan Day. 14 May each year has been designated Dylan Day to mark the first time his play for voices ‘Under Milk Wood’ was performed in public in the USA. It’s a direct lift from Blooms Day, an annual event inspired by one of the lead characters in Ulysses, by James Joyce. We're going to celebrate it this year with an extra tour and extra Dylan content.  Book now for 13th May - the Saturday before the day.  We also have some ideas about recording a new play about Dylan, but more news of that later!

Last years poster.

In the past, much has been made of Dylan’s drinking and philandering. Many assume he drank himself to death in New York. The first rock-n-roll poet. We like our legends to burn bright and die young!

But doing the research on Dylan, for his ‘role’ in The London Literary Pub Crawl in London, I came across one or two inconsistencies in the legend. The hospital where he died are still loath to talk about his death, but the autopsy showed no signs of alcohol damage to his organs. It looks like it may have been a combination of air pollution and a bungled medical diagnosis.  

If you check out the video page on the site, you’ll see a short film made by Griff Rhys Jones about Dylan.  Many of the people who remember him are now rather elderly, but there is one particularly interesting recollection about Dylan coming out of The Wheatsheaf, (one of the pubs we feature, of course) having had just a half-a-pint of beer.  He was completely sober, until he saw a publishing acquaintance coming towards them, when he suddenly started acting drunk.

I think Dylan was so determined to be a successful poet that he was aware of the notion of the drunken artist and aware of what might today be called, his ‘brand.’  That’s not to say he was a perfect gent - I’m sure he wasn't - but most first-hand reports of Dylan tend to be mainly favourable.

So I don’t think it was the famous “18-double whiskies” that finished Dylan off.  I think it was an overdose of Morphine, given by a Doctor unaware that Dylan was asthmatic.

As we say on the Literary Pub Crawl, Dylan was the Michael Jackson of the 1950′s.  Killed not by booze, but medical neglect. Michael Jackson died young, but he lived more than Dylan’s 39 years.  And as you can see from the short, silent, black and white newsreel on our website, his wife Caitlin, was devastated.  

Dylan did go gentle into that good night.


David Bowie - another London star, in the tradition of Beethoven?

January 11, 2017

We're used to writers, artists and stars in London.  In the last few months, we've literally bumped into a Doctor Who, a Beatle, a Downton Abbey Lady and the most famous female author in the world!  We've also been asked not once, but twice, to provide a 'secret' performance tour for A-list Hollywood actors and their teams!
But Nick, our writer, remembers early days of Bowie in South London and we thought this might be of interest.  

It's by 
Andrew Frayn, a Lecturer in Twentieth Century Literat...

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A Modern Dickensian Celebration this Christmas

December 2, 2016
As you will know if you've been on the London Literary Pub Crawl, we are passionately enthusiastic about our unique bit of central London. Soho and Fitzrovia are arguably unique in the world. They are part city-centre, part artists enclave, part architectural delight and part hedonistic hot-spot.  

Fitzrovia, once known as East Marylebone or North Soho, is particularly attractive to us. One hundred yards from the busiest shopping street in the world I love the fact that some Saturday afternoon...

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Viva USA!

November 17, 2016
It's hard as a writer not to be effected by politics. George Orwell's life long literary mission was to make political writing an art form and he certainly achieved this. But I like to think I'm an optimist. What has happened in the USA, with the election of a reality star and businessman to the post of President, needs watching by all free thinking individuals. But we also need to understand how many in the world no longer trust 'them' - and see increasing globalisation changing their worlds...

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Autumn in the Pub with Hemingway.

November 6, 2016

So the clocks have gone back in the UK, marking the end of British Summer Time. It used to depress me a bit - the long dark nights and lack of sunshine. But actually, London takes on a different quality in the winter. But it is still quality! It's a good time for walks around some of our fantastic parks and heaths and pub wise there's a few little gems to check out.

Favourites have got to include The Dove on the riverside in Hammersmith in West London. You will have seen this pub if you've eve...

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About Us

Nick Hennegan Hello. I'm Nick Hennegan and I started the London Literary Pub Crawl. Most of the blogs on here will be by me. I've always written but my first theatrical success was an adaptation of Shakespeare's 'Henry V'. I founded Maverick Theatre in 1994. This pub crawl is really more a promenade theatre performance than a tour and I'm running it with a bunch of enthusiastic local actors and writers. I love sharing my passion for the area and the artists. I also present a radio show on Resonance 104.4fm - London's Arts Station. It's called 'Literary London' and is on Fridays at 7pm (and repeated Weds at 7am.) If you haven't visited us in London yet, I hope you'll come soon. And feel free to leave comments or email me at nick @ - I reply to them all and I love to hear from you.


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