Psychotherapy? Freudian theories? Witchcraft? Supernatural? Detective stories? The Roaring Twenties?
Last Tuesday, BBC4 (of course, who else?) was showing Mark Lawson's rather fascinating interview with Dame Diana Rigg and one of the Mrs Bradley Mysteries in which she had starred in 1998-99.
I enjoyed the Mystery so much that I did a little research and have discovered yet another author I had never heard of.
Move over Agatha Christie, here comes Gladys Mitchell!
Diana Rigg, in full-roaring 20s regalia, was superb and positively hilarious as the psychoanalyst and author Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley, an emancipated, rather pompous amateur detective.
So now I have a new mission: find the books and the box set opf the series!
Who said it was Christmas soon? ;-)
GLADYS MITCHELL WIKIPEDIA
I was quite chuffed to find out that another of my favourite writers, Christopher Fowler, had dedicated to Gladys Mitchell one of his "Forgotten Authors" colummn he's been writing for The Independent. You can find it below:
The research journey
I have been doing quite a lot of research these past few days for my second book, "The Book of Thoth".
It is really exciting, because you just go from one thing to the other in no particular order and you keep taking notes. I don't know about other writers, but I actually get even more ideas when I do research after stumbling across some bits of info I think would be quite good to use somewhere in the book...
So over the past few days, it's kind of gone thus:
Favourite cigarette brands in the 1920s
Abortion in the 1920s
Electricity and electrification in the 1920s
Midnight bath and other antics in the Roaring Twenties
The history of vegetarianism
George Bernard Shaw was an outspoken vegetarian!
Oh, look! G. B. Shaw received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925, just when my book starts! I have to put it in there...
His wife Charlotte really was a strange woman...
How do you say "family" in Egyptian? Answer: Makhaut. Sounds good. Let's use it!
Oops, end up on the bonkers rambling website of a God botherer waffling on about the conspiracy theory of the Illuminati. Oh, it is quite interesting, even though it's been written by a religious nutter
There's a wikipedia link explaining the conspiracy theory HERE
The Victorian dining-room
Decorative plaster mouldings in the Victorian house
That was rather fun, wasn't it?
Are books dangerous?
That is the question asked by A BLOG ON THE WRITERS AND ARTISTS WEBSITE.
The definition of "dangerous" is, much like "right or wrong" - how I loathe the phrase! or "moral values" completely flexible and subjective. I am pretty sure that what I consider as being OK would send quite a few people into spitting and hissing fits.
Most of the stories my mum was reading to me every night when I was a little child are now considered as "dangerous" or "inadequate" (full of lying, stealing, cruel children and of course the usual diet of incestuous royal relationships, cannibalism, domestic violence, infanticide, gruesome murders, etc.). Oh, and some of them had princes and princesses, old-fashioned tales of downtrodden housewives and weak females, you know, the type that are now supposed to "show girls the wrong role models".
*cough* I'd be intrigued to see who those people think is an appropriate female role model? Bitterness incarnate Germaine Greer?
Now. I am the most non-violent and squeamish person you can think of – not for me grisly horror movies or the Dungeon of the Torture Garden – and I am quite proud to be the kind of woman who, er, is all but a victim of her sex, believe you me. I've never believed in prince charming and I can’t stand anything “domestic”. The books I have read haven't turned me into a victimised housewife with a penchant for gratuitous violence and perverted sex.
I am completely and entirely against banning books because, say, they are not suitable for Young Adults – Young Adults, pray, not even little children! As an ex-teacher, I have always been gobsmacked by the (faux) naivety exhibited by parents and people in general regarding “young adults”. Are they made of cotton wool? Are they so weak and innocent and pure that you need to ban some books to protect their precious little persons from the corruption of the big bad world? If only parents knew what their kids are up to behind their backs…
I grew up in a small town dead in the centre of France, where nothing ever happened. I had a rather idyllic childhood and I remained a rather “unspoilt” teen.
I was quiet, shy, artistic and politically aware, but more importantly, despite being all snug and comfy in my safe little world, I loved books. And I read loads of them. And not only children-orientated books… From the age of six, I have always had free access to the bookshelves of my parents, my grandmother and my parents’ friends.
And books taught me LIFE, because I wasn't going to learn about it in the real world, at least not just there and then. They taught me about THE WORLD. They taught me about evolution, the human condition, periods and pregnancy and birth – I didn’t like that bit at all! – love, hatred, sex, ambition, history, prehistory, other countries, other cultures, other civilisations, other eras.
After the age of ten - even earlier than that - I read adult books. I remember an erotic book set in China in the world of concubines – even then I knew it was badly written – or one in which a young French girl gets raped by a playboy GI in 1944 France and gives birth to a boy she then locks up in an attic. I read about the incestuous relationship of a brother and sister, I read Agatha Christie’s detective books, and so so many more.
This complete lack of any censorship opened my eyes to the world, shaped my opinions and taste, taught me to choose and to think and most of all, they inspired me to write, to seek self-expression in everything I do.
No book should be banned, all should be available to everyone, at any time, in any place.
People who ban books wants to narrow your horizon, hide things from you. They want to shape your brain the way they think is appropriate so they can manipulate you.
That's why they want to ban books, because they are AFRAID.
Punctuation saves lives...
The importance of books
Here! Another cheeky image for today... Once again courtesy of JOOLZ DENBY.
I have spent the last 30 mn writing a lovely blog about it and stupid Weebly stopped working in the middle of it... Next time I write a long blog, I will do it on a Word document first. Bloody thing.
Replace "artist" with "writer" for me!
So you'll only get the picture at the moment!
The artist and his eyesight
I am listening to a programme just now about the French painter Monet. I didn't know that he had been losing his eyesight.
What a coincidence: the artist at the centre of my - as yet - unpublished debut novel, "I Am a Muse", has gone blind and it changes his work and his relationship with his wife and muse. The difference is that Monet managed to cope with it. My character cannot.
If I have to self-publish the book, I will probably have to work on a fourth draft, just to make sure it is at its best! That's the first few months of 2012 sorted, then!
The link to the programme is here: REPAINTING GIVERNY
Warning: contains strong French accents!
I read Jerome K. Jerome's infamous book when I was 11 and in French. Since then, I have studied English at secondary school, University and been living in England for 14 years. Already, within the first pages, I could recognise a lot of cultural references I couldn't possibly have been aware of at the time... The language is simply delicious! I am going to enjoy this immensely...
But before I do sit down and open the book again, a lot of writing has to be done!
I have now planned the next four scenes or so of The Book of Thoth, and have to get them down on paper.
The Fitzrovia Radio Hour
We really enjoyed ourselves on Saturday... We went to see The Fitzrovia Radio Hour at our local theatre, and it was fantastic!
The Fitzrovia Radio Hour consists of "original radio plays of the 40s and 50s performed and recorded with cut-glass elegance in front of a live studio audience, with live sound effects."
The actors/singers/"sound engineers" were obviously enjoying themselves as much as us, but watching them proved absolutely exhausting... How do they do it all?
The (original) tales for the evening were: "George Albion and the War of the Roses", "Nazi Firemen in Westminster", "He Should Have Known His Place" and "House of Clocks". All these linked with original ads for whisky and restorative tea.
After all this, the actors most certainly were in need of restorative tea: the whole show is choreographed and timed to the second; the stage is full of the most crazy props: cabbage, grapefruit, door locks, bags, teacups, toys, musical instruments, bits of wood, etc. and it can get messy, especially when a "death" is involved!
The actors not only play their parts as if they were acting out for the radio, but also act it out on the stage, with funny little touches that add to the already perfectly planned chaos!
They have quite a lot of dates coming up, including an evening at the Royal Albert Hall in London!
So go and have a look at their website, and try to get a ticket, you won't regret it!
More on Wikipedia here: THE FITZROVIA WIKI
The company's website: THE FITZROVIA RADIO HOUR
Palace Art Fair
At a loss about what to do the weekend of 8-9th October?
Thengo to the Fulham Palace Art Fair in London!
"The first Palace Art Fair was a hit with visitors enjoying the quality and
variety of the art on show, the beautiful venue and the friendliness of the
Palace Art Fair which is smaller and more intimate than some of the huge London
The Palace Art Fair showcases just over 100 contemporary artists across all
media who exhibit and sell their work direct to the public. This keeps the
atmosphere informal, and provides a wonderful environment for first time art
buyers or for collectors to seek out up and coming artists.
A beautiful cafe in the Georgian wing of the palace with an outside terrace
provides an area to relax and contemplate potential purchases whilst enjoying
great seasonal food and drink."
PALACE ART FAIR WEBSITE
We will most certainly go and then have a little walk around the area...
I think therefore I write.
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