Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Always something there to remind me...

While the sound quality is annoying to our modern ears, the performance by Sandie Shaw is still daringly original. The way that Shaw uses her body language is not that of a hyper pop singer, but true to the lyrics of the song. Her studied reserve, folded arms, vacant face, avoidance of smiling and her sad, heavy eyes, betray the true and deeper meaning of Hal David and Burt Bacharach’s lovely-but-lonely lines. There is a failure to get over a former lover and her irrepressible-and-irritating memory dredges up thoughts of their love affair; “I walk along the city streets you used to walk along with me, and every step I take recalls how much in love we used to be…how can I forget you?”

The tightly folded arms let us know that she is trying to contain the memories, control herself and her emotions while resenting that she still wants to be with her old boyfriend. But even though the relationship is in the past tense, she admits her current feelings, “I was born to love you”, and clings to a hope that the fire of their love will be rekindled, “if you should find you miss the sweet and tender love we used to share, then come back…”

The song spent three weeks at #1 in November 1964.

For a version of the song with much better sound quality:

Monday, 16 September 2013

The best blog on Agatha Christie's Poirot that you'll ever find

While looking up crime writer Sophie Hannah, who has been given the go-ahead from the Christie estate to write the new Poirot novel, I found this gem of a blog, Investigating Agatha Christie's Poirot.  It's a must read for all Christie fans.

Eiric writes this blog and does a fine job of assessing the TV adaptions of Poirot. As I am a TV producer, I find his assessment of the TV versions to be very insightful.

Here is an excerpt from Eiric's take on the episode Taken at the Flood

Setting a distinclty 1940s novel in the 1930s isn't easy. Guy Andrews makes a series of major and minor changes to Christie's story... First, Andrews adds a subplot involving malicious phone calls to Rosaleen that was not in the novel. Second, Lionel the doctor becomes a morphine addict, and David Hunter has made Rosaleen/Eileen an addict, too. Lionel steals some of her morphine, and consequently prevents an (added) attempted suicide from her part. Third, and most importantly, Hunter deliberately impregnated Rosaleen and forced her to have an abortion. As a 'simple Catholic girl' (in Poirot's words), she was so traumatised that she would do anything he said to make it right again. Fourth, Andrews adds a suggestion of dynamite to the denouement scene (a result of making David an engineer, which I will come back to shortly). Finally, an execution scene is added, in which David Hunter is hanged while reciting 'Your Baby Has Gone Down the Plughole'....
Some of these changes are a result of the fact that the episode has been set pre-war rather than during WW2. Consequently, the script writer has tried to come up with ways of explaining the crime (in the book, the explosion was blamed on an air raid - here, it is said to be an accident, a gas explosion) and the title ('Taken at the Flood', a quotation from Shakespeare) is supposed to refer to the opportunity the air raids provide for covering up the crime...

Perhaps would-be producers of an Agatha Christie TV series, should take serious note of Eiric's reviews!

You don't have to say you love me

Another Dusty Springfield classic that I discovered on You-Tube. This song is credited with causing Dusty's star to rise, it was a #1 hit in the UK.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Will you still love me tomorrow?

The first in a re-discovery of old love songs to be posted on this blog. Performed by Dusty Springfield, the song was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

How did you meet your husband? How did you meet your wife?

When I was four-years-old, and pestering my father about how he met my mother, he would always recount the same humourous yarn: "I was a timid university student, and walking along some trees one day, when suddenly, a woman clad in bear furs jumped down from a branch and hit me over the head with a club. She knocked me unconscious and then dragged me away..."

It was some years before I learned that my parents did not meet that way.  But I'm still fascinated by how couples first met.

I want to begin a series of posts, each post will be dedicated to one couple and their unique story. Firstly, it can be told from the point of view of the woman (ladies first) and then from the point of view of the man.

Would you be interested in doing an interview on how you met your husband or wife?   If the idea tickles your fancy, then leave me a comment and include your e-mail. You'll hear from me very shortly. You never know - maybe your story could inspire someone and help them meet their husband / wife.

Each couple would visit this blog, share a photo of themselves, and answer 3 - 4 questions.

Where, when and why did you meet your wife/husband?

What was your first impression of your wife/husband?  What attracted you to him/her?

When you were first talking to each other, did you have any false impression of your wife/husband?

Did you make any mistakes that you thought were unforgivable?

After they have visited my blog, they may post the story on their own blogs and post a link to this post and the Love for Beginners blog on their blogs.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Sunday Times short story competition offers you the chance to win £30,000

At this time of blogging, you have about two and a half weeks. Your word count is 6,000 words or under. You don’t need to be Irish or British, and the competition is open to everyone from every corner of the world. But, you must have been published in the UK first.
The SundayTimes EFG Private Bank Short Story Award is a determinedly international prize that aims to celebrate the finest in short fiction, and is open to any writer from around the world with a record of literary publication in the UK.”
Entries must be in English.  
*Dead*lion is 27 September 2013
This year the judges are David Baddiel, Sarah Hall, Matthew Evans, Professor John Carey and Elif Shafak.
Prize: The best short story will garner you a cool £30,000. The five runners up will get £1,000 and their short stories will be published online.
The longlist will be out in February 2014.
The winner will be announced in April 2014
Last year Junot Diaz won, his short story was entitled Miss Lora. The competition has a reputation as a magnet for attracting literary heavyweights. Hilary Mantel and Emma Donoghue previously entered this competition. 

Personal note: I’m quite sure that I would never win this competition, but ode to be on the longlist! That would be amazing, and not to sound too corny, but like a dream coming true in itself. 
The Judges

of the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award