His wikipedia entry is more interesting than his celebrated, supposedly-comic, first novel, Lucky Jim, which I read cover-to-cover yesterday while recovering from the bends after a particularly strenuous deep-sea recovery mission which took me to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
Amis was by his own admission and as revealed by his biographers a serial adulterer for much of his life. Not surprisingly, this was one of the main contributory factors in the breakdown of his first marriage. A famous photograph of a sleeping Amis on a Yugoslav beach shows the slogan (written by wife Hilly) on his back "1 Fat Englishman - I fuck anything".
In one of his memoirs, Amis wrote: "Now and then I become conscious of having the reputation of being one of the great drinkers, if not one of the great drunks, of our time". He suggests that this is due to a naive tendency on the part of his readers to apply the behaviour of his characters to himself. This was disingenuous; the fact was that he enjoyed drink, and spent a good deal of his time in pubs. Hilary Rubinstein, who commissioned Lucky Jim, commented: "I doubted whether Jim Dixon would have gone to the pub and drunk ten pints of beer ... I didn't know Kingsley very well, you see. Clive James comments: "All on his own, he had the weekly drinks bill of a whole table at the Garrick Club even before he was elected. After he was, he would get so tight there that he could barely make it to the taxi."
Amis was, however, adamant in his belief that inspiration did not come from a bottle: "Whatever part drink may play in the writer's life, it must play none in his or her work. That this was certainly the case is attested to by Amis's highly disciplined approach to writing. For 'many years', Amis imposed a rigorous daily schedule upon himself in which writing and drinking were strictly segregated. Mornings were devoted to writing with a minimum daily output of 500 words. The drinking would only begin around lunchtime when this output had been achieved. Amis's prodigious output would not have been possible without this kind of self discipline.
Nevertheless, according to Clive James, Amis reached a turning point when his drinking ceased to be social, and became a way of dulling his remorse and regret at his behaviour toward Hilly. "Amis had turned against himself deliberately ... it seems fair to guess that the troubled grandee came to disapprove of his own conduct." His friend Christopher Hitchens said: "The booze got to him in the end, and robbed him of his wit and charm as well as of his health."(courtesy wikipedia.org)