I always listen to ‘Sunday’ at 7.10 a.m on radio 4 (my aural safety blanket) and usually turn the radio on earlier and listen to a person herding sheep in the north of England, or dairy farming in the West country. And my rural self makes a brief but fervent appearance – only in my mind of course. I think ‘Ah that’s the life close to the earth in touch with reality’. And I straighten up from my computer and do a couple of exercises in preparation for my rural being. I feel sentimental about sheep – even though my only experience of them was very smelly indeed and they seemed cumbersome beasts with little charm or sense – I remember not caring for the bullying tactics of the sheep dog either so perhaps I was having bad day.
Robert Elms, during my interview with him last week asked why I had written my novel ‘A Blues for Shindig’. I told him that in part it was because of a remark that Colin McInnes made in his ‘City of Spades’ when he referred to the women who associated with black men as ‘Silly white girls’ the remark offended me(and while I quite understand that we were of no interest to him, to dismiss us all was a tad harsh)but it certainly was not the only reason I wrote my novel. Much of the book is centred in Soho, where I worked in a sleazy club, and though I have read a lot of books about Soho they all appear to have been written about a Soho that was inhabited almost exclusively by white middle class men with artistic aspirations who led a bohemian life.
Mo was interviewed as part of the ‘Whose London’ on Soho on Robert Elms’ show, on the 4th February 2014.
The interview starts at 1:34:00 into the show (9 mins long), which you can jump to by clicking on the time bar whilst it’s playing.
Click here, to listen to on BBC London’s website.
(Note: you may need to update your Adobe Flash Player.)
It is one of our usual conversations, the words crash or slide across the room, mostly landing in the wrong ears, but it doesn’t matter. We’ve had the same conversations a hundred times before and though the subjects are different the words are all familiar. Some words land on the table and stay there among the empty glasses and old butts. A couple hit their intended target. A fluke.
Molly thinks to herself that one of these days the words will rebel, jump up and bite back at the mouths that treat them so casually. She is the only one who can see them squirming on the table, raging against the foul injustice of being abused by these idiots when they could have had the good fortune to be in the mouth of somebody like Gore Vidal. THEN they would have been valued, written down as gems and made immortal. Earlier in the evening animation had lit up the chat. Words, swollen with their own importance that had been flying across the table, are now deflated, they slither.
I have always been a dog person and never been afraid to say so, in fact I have declared it loudly all my life. I like the neediness of dogs, their exhibitions of affection, their unrestrained joy at seeing their ‘owner’ – but most of all I love to see them demonstrating their joy at being let off their leads and galloping along ahead, tail wagging in ecstasy, I find this a great incentive for walking joyfully rather than trudging. I see little point in walking for the sake of it. I am definitely a sloth in this respect. The result perhaps of being taken for Sunday afternoon walks as a child, in Sunday clothes when the climbing of trees and fighting my brother were banned.