We went to the pub near his flat in Hartley Road, after he had looked in to skim the post: it included an invitation to speak at Cambridge University and a county court summons for non-payment of a grocery bill. As I recall it was for a diminutive amount compared with the size of the unpaid phone bill. Ray was already writing for Queen, Town and New Society, among others, the aggregated income from which came to about £1,000 a year.
Ray calculated that he needed about £5,000 to preserve the freedom to write what and as he pleased. But he did that anyway. His flat was open house whether he was there or not, a kind of refuge or sanctuary for many, some just hanging out there until they found a place of their own. He listed his guests as follows: "One MP, two boxers, three BBC producers, four tarts [that's what he said], dozens of journalists and dozens of immigrants."
He wanted a classless society in which people looked outward towards each other, not upward or downward. He cared intensely about people, and about his writing. He put the two things together in a way that is still quite rare. ( Ian Mayes )