MAY’S MINIATURES – S.01 E.09: Angus Wilson – ‘Raspberry Jam’ (1949)

Ahhhh eeeekkk grotesquerie welcome in May’s Miniatures…! Numero nove!

Now, this isn’t a “nasty tale”. But it conveys something of what Hannah Arendt called the “banality of evil”. It was written by Angus Wilson and published in his first volume of short stories, The Wrong Set. Born in 1913, he was a gay writer in the days before, during and after the Wolfenden Committee Report of 1957 and the eventual decriminalisation of homosexual acts in England and Wales in 1967 due to the amendment to the Sexual Offences Act, brought before Parliament by Leo Abse and Lord Arran.

Wilson published the astonishing for its time Hemlock and After (1952) and such thorny, incisive portraits of a changing Britain as Anglo Saxon Attitudes (1956) and Late Call (1964), both of which were adapted for television over the following four decades. This is a complex, atmospheric and disturbing story which depicts the results of a combination of nostalgia, paranoia and alcohol. And, no, it isn’t entirely “feel good” fare…

This episode is broadcast on YouTube here, on Tuesday 4 August 2020:

Subsequent analysis of this story will follow.