Saturday, September 4, 2010

Today’s Blog delayed by a seven hour power cut. Is that what in America is known as an outage?
Been reading a book by Jonathan Kellerman called ‘The Murder Book.’ The title tells you what kind of book it is and it is one of the many that visitors leave behind when their holiday ends. Set in L.A. and Hollywood, a great read, though I did find the subplot of our hero’s love troubles a wee bit tedious in the end and a good many pages could be cut without loss if the author didn’t go into so much detail as to what each character looked like, facially, bodily, and with descriptions of entire outfits; male and female. Also place descriptions, rooms for example, just a tad too much. Interesting that he made his co-hero, a detective with the LAPD, a gay man and the reaction to him of others in the force. He did finish up with the possibility of our hero (not the gay one) starting a new love-life which is interesting. I wonder if in a new book he carried that through.
Going back to the computerised brain, our friend Helen Papadoyianni tells me that Daphne du Maurier wrote a short story ‘The Breakthrough’ written in 1966 which is about this very subject. I would love to read it.
Still talking about books, the proofs of Chris’s biography of George Leybourne titled ‘The Heaviest of Swells’ have arrived and swell it certainly looks, terrific in fact. Hardback with a beautifully designed cover, evidently Lightningsource in England were unable to print it because of the colour illustrations of which there are quite a few and it had to be printed in the states. An expensive book to produce it is not going to sell cheap.
Ellis Ashton, then president of the Music Hall Society back in 1981 or 2, or whenever didn’t know what he was going to start when he casually mentioned that whenever he saw Chris perform he thought of George Leybourne.
George Leybourne? Who he?
He be Champagne Charlie, the man said and that is how it started; firstly the one man show and then twenty odd years of more research and a great deal of hard writing and finally the book, well the first half. It is so detailed it is in two volumes.
And so to Moris Farhi’s last book, “A Designated Man.” Billed as a fable it is set in a mythical Mediterranean island off the Baltic coast and he must have written it with the not too distant mainland wars and ethnic cleansing very much in mind. It is a book that should be read by every power hungry, power drunk megalomaniac, religious or secular, despot or Ayatollah who causes death and destruction and who makes life a misery for millions before their golden statue, like that of Turkmenistan’s late strong man, Saparmurat Niyazov, comes tumbling down.
It is a great read and a fascinating book revealing all of Moris’ humanitarian sentiments. If I were to place it on a shelf alongside which books would I place it? George Orwell’s “1984” and his “Animal Farm”, Huxley’s “Brave New World”, H.G.Well’s “Time Machine.”
In style it could possibly be compared to the best of Truman Capote; not “In Cold Blood” or “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” but perhaps “Other Voices, Other Rooms.” A really terrific achievement and very moving.

PS: In the early hours the other morning, ten to one to be exact, I was lying in bed reading this book when there came what I thought was a heavy hammering on my bedroom door. ‘Yes?’ I called out thinking it was either Chris or Douglas but there being no reply I got up and opened the door to survey the kitchen. Nothing there. Evidently Merrill woke up barking like fury just at that time so what could it have been? Both of us with our hackles well and truly up. Very much an Edgar Allan Poe moment.

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