"Agatha, what are you doing here?”
“You invited me for the weekend, remember?”
“But how could you be so cruelly literal, darling?”
Stephen Wallingford & Agatha Dewsbury
Stephen Wallingford died intestate in 1990, aged 86, and has in recent times become a cult figure. He appears in numerous biographies about the 1920s and 1930s and was the model and inspiration for the 1938 dramatic novel by George Headland Those Beautiful, Beautiful People. In his early youth he entertained his friends at his family home of Arches and it was here he lived for many years until his death. He was photographed by many of the greatest artistes of his time and become one of the typical images of 1920s and 1930s "beautiful" young people. He would be seen with painted lips, powder on his face and gold dust sprinkled through his hair. But putting aside all the endless parties and various love affairs, Stephen was actually a very lonely man. Disowned later in life by his two sisters he survived on the friendships of few people including his mother and socialite and fellow writer Agatha Dewsbury. Like Stephen, Agatha sought freedom and expression in her writings and published works which are all still in print today. Later in life Stephen became a former shadow of himself, a recluse, obese…Agatha remained young, the ultimate party girl, a drunk, a loser in love.
But there is one small problem.
Stephen Wallingford and Agatha Dewsbury did not exist, nor did any of his contemporaries featured in this book, for the brutal reason that he was never born. The stories are fake and the news never happened. This is something new and strange - a fictionalized retrospective, part interview, part biographical about unreal people set in a real world.
Simply Divine brings Mark Binmore's first novels together in one divine publication.