This is a brief post to alert you to the interview I did with Radio Gorgeous which is now up on their website as a podcast. *
Just before Christmas, on a wintery afternoon, Jo Pembroke and I sat in the John Snow pub in Soho, near Carnaby Street and talked – and talked. In the background you can hear the end of the lunchtime rush. Of course we discussed Chelmsford, mods and rockers, the Corn Exchange and music – and the interview opens, like the book, with the haunting organ chords of Green Onions. But the conversation ranged far and wide. Jo steered the conversation to Heybridge Basin in Essex where my dad grew up, Leytonstone in London where my mum was born, Woodford where the World War ll bomb fell on their house, then their meeting in the boom town of Chelmsford, where I was born and grew up. Then on to Birmingham, Leicester and Tours, before landing back in London. It’s all here
The picture that accompanies the interview is me in our back garden on the Woodhall Estate. On the left of the picture is our shed. People who have read Beyond the Beehive will know the importance of a shed in the life of a young person who wants to keep a secret. Behind me stretch the other houses on our block and far in the distance, on the right of the picture is the beginning of the shops. Important for chips, the purchase of wedding presents, the Off Licence and Sally the Baker’s. Plus the all important grocer’s.
I am wearing a black dress and a red beret. And for real fashion aficionados, the shoes were black patent with Louis heels and a flower detail. An interesting combination for a wedding outfit, and the basis of not a few jokes. But I take comfort from the fact that my niece (whose image is on the front cover of the book) saw this picture and asked me if I still had the dress as she liked it. Or possibly because she was about to go to a fancy dress party.
* Friend M writes ‘Last night …. could not absolutely could not get to sleep. Cup of tea etc and then I found Radio Gorgeous and you being interviewed! After that I was ab… z z z z z’
The general prospects are as grim as two weeks ago, but in the meantime, in between time, there is art.
Yesterday idly scrolling through films that might be on at 2 o’clock, to finish before a 6pm dinner date, I noticed that La La Land was on. There’s been so much advertising and trailing of the film that I was worried it might not be much cop – but I liked the sound of it (romance, Hollywood, romance) and Peter Bradshaw gave it 5 stars in the Guardian! We didn’t book, just strolled in to find an enormous queue. It was a special preview in a packed cinema. It was just before the Golden Globe awards last night – and we agreed with their verdict. It is a lovely, feel good, romantic, smiley, quirky movie. There’s music, dancing, jazz, love and Paris. Ryan Gosling – now almost forgiven for the dreadful Nice Guys – has a lovely smile, and Emma Stone is a great wannabe, vulnerable, wide eyed, insecure and with another lovely smile. Mia (Emma Stone) works in a coffee shop on the Warner Lot and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a pianist who wants to open his own club. The story of their meeting and the start of their relationship is just what you want in a love story – unpleasantness, a bit of misunderstanding, hesitation, unity against a harsh world. And then they start dancing! The film tips its hat to the old Fred and Ginger movies, with a trip to la belle France (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort ) and of course there is more than a nod to Singin’ in the Rain.
Damien Chazelle the director also directed Whiplash. JK Simmons from Whiplash and Law and Order (and the underated but very satisfying New in Town) has a small but pivotal role. It’s always a pleasure to see those actors you vaguely recognise from your own living room.