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Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Back home


Got back late Monday from nine days in tropical, northern Queensland. Bliss!

There are a couple of stories (involving crocodiles) from this trip that I'll share in a later post, but the first thing I've been trying to do is re-establish some sort of routine. It went to pot for a few weeks before our escape north, what with the book getting released and a rush on at work and the dreaded lurgy that knocked me for six (well, four perhaps) and...

But how wonderful it was to open my e-mail and, amongst the 80+, get a batch of enthusiastic responses to The Snowing and Greening of Thomas Passmore. Not only that, but Mike French posted a tremendous review at The View From Here and Revish, and Fossfor created an illustration that superbly captured a scene from the book. Also discovered today that the Daily Mail Online featured The Snowing and Greening, although the review (a paraphrase of the blurb followed by a one line crit) didn't recommend it: "Promising though this (storyline) sounds, the narrative darts down far too many lyrical dead ends"!

Never mind, I don't expect everyone to 'get it'. That's just the way it is, and it's fine. It makes every other review so much more delicious.

However, The Australian Times put together a very substantial response, based around a recent interview. So, all up, it's been a good couple of days, even if the temperature has been about a hundred degrees cooler in not-so-tropical Victoria.

PS. The pic shows the only place in the world where two World Heritage sites meet: the Daintree Forest's Cape Tribulation (Captain Cook had a tough time here after ripping a hole in his boat) meets the Coral Sea of the Barrier Reef. Pretty special.

23 comments:

Jane Turley said...

Well Mrs A and I concluded that either The Mail reviewer hadn't understood it, hadn't read it or hadn't reached the end....

The "Greening" scene is wonderful and I would challenge any reviewer to say otherwise..

Btw.. Our next book for our book club is the TSGTP. Oh hee, hee, hee... I may get a whole post out of that one! Now you know we usually have music and nibbles to accompany the theme of the book.. what do you suggest PB??

the Amateur Book Blogger said...

(@ JT: Oh what a fab idea - music & nibbles that match the book - our book club is just debating whether to do nibs at al or not... a new idea, I must tell them!)

OK - back to TSAGOTP - I think it is great to have your cover out there Paul - some people are more into "lyrical" than others. A lot will read it anyway - and a lot will just have seen the cover and not read the text (as I did initially, ahem.). I think it's great to have it been on the Mail as a cover picture.

All the reviews / comments were in a different style / tone than would appeal to me at least - I am sure they are very experienced and a professonal in what they do, just doesn't reach me as a reader, in their comments. Subjective. I'm happy for you!

Queensland looks wonderful - look fwrd t the Croc Dundee stories!

Paul said...

Jane: music and nibbles? Hmm, you've got my brain chugging on this one. The easy response, as far as music is concerned, would be to suggest (yawn) Vivaldi's The Four Seasons because of the theme, but I don't think classical music would suit it (even though I once tried writing a whole MS whilst only listening to Mahler's 1st symphony---alternated between sombre and tally-ho!).

All the same, there is an album I listened to heaps when editing TSAGOTP and that is Emilie Simon's The Flower Book. I was thinking at one time of making a promotional video for the book and would've loved to have borrowed the rights to the track Fleur de Saison from this album. It's got a great rhythm. However, I'd never downloaded the lyrics before you asked this question nor seen Emilie Simon's own video clip for the song, but having done that this afternoon, this is definitely the background track to use. To see the clip click here. It's quite bizarre how appropriate it is. You might also enjoy the clip for Desert: click here for this.

As for drink and nibbles, that's easy: mulled red wine for that wintry feeling, and Cadbury's Cream Eggs for that spring and Easter-like sense of rebirth. (Good advice for a chocaholic?)

ABB: You're absolutely right, it is great to have the cover on the Daily Mail Online page. This sort of coverage is superb to have, and I know only too well that, whilst any approach to literature, paintings, music, etc, is very subjective, the non-lineal and lyrical nature of TSAGOTP is more likely to generate polarised views. That really is fine by me, and I have been pleasantly surprised that I've only taken this one negative response to date. Even then, I am indeed delighted and grateful that they've taken the time to give the book 'the time of day' as it were. Much better than being ignored!

Paul said...

Jane: the first clip doesn't work with the code embedded for some reason, so please try copying and pasting the code directly instead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxzuySFUAu4

Jane Turley said...

Well I'm up early and have already checked out those videos. They are both great and soo appropiate for TSGTP (Have a shorter title next time will you PB?!) I particularly like Fleur de Saison but as I don't speak a word of French (Which is why I didn't work out "Fat Tuesday" either!)I didn't understand a word!However, the video could have been made for your book! And the more funky music is more suited to the music of that period in England.

Funny how music can be really inspirational; it certainly puts me in creative moods, particularly sad/thoughtful music. Hip hop music just makes me want to dance! If I want to be depressed I can always listen to Charles Aznavour sing Yesterday ( Not the Beatles song) and the lyrics... Oh boo hoo and tears just thinking about it! (It's on You Tube)

You once tried writing a whole MS to Mahler?? Man, are you lucky to be alive - Don't do it again! Mrs A would be impressed though as she is really big on classical music. I'm really small on classical music which is why I've got Earth, Wind and Fire and Edwin Starr on over at my place. Hoorah!

Cadburys creme eggs in October? Nope they won't be on the market till at least...January. Perhaps Mrs A could make a batch of her own choccys instead; I shall have to ask.

Well...I suppose I can take back that Rolf harris CD now...

Paul said...

Yep, it's good to have a beat when writing. I particularly like a bit of chill-out --- Ministry of Sound are a favourite because the words don't intrude with the words in my head. Nothing like getting up and having a bit of a dance between paragraphs.

However... time for you to emigrate. In Oz, we're able to get hold of Cadbury's Creme Eggs throughout the year, thank goodness. One of my favourites.

Charles Aznavour, eh? Very under-rated. Great voice. How about Jacques Brel's Amsterdam for something a little more rousing?

And a promise: next title is down to four words!

mrs a said...

Mrs T if you listened to Mahler 1 you would hear that it is sad and thoughtful, as required, also odd and uplifting. Like most of Mahler!

Why are people so anti "classical" music? Actually I am thinking a lot about this at the moment because people will happily read arty new novels, see arty new exhibitions, go to arty new films etc etc but write off art music as for posh people, or for intellectuals, or something... Newsnight Review hardly ever covers this stuff, and the Observer has an entire supplement devoted to all kinds of music - except classical. People seem threatened by it, make excuses not to listen, feel they don't speak the language, haven't earned permission to listen and react as they want. Yet they feel more comfortable with all the other art forms. But if they were to let themselves listen without prejudice they could surprise themselves. End of rant.

Jane Turley said...

Oh Mrs A, I do love it when you rant! What will PB say when he sees us monopolizing his blog! Maybe he will rant too!

Now of course, that was a joke Mrs A, I accept that Mahler is indeed thought provoking although (cough,cough) I admit it is sometime since I listened. I'm afraid I just can't get out of my seventies disco gear! And I look so fetching in my flares and sequinned boob tube.

I am surprised at The Observer. Have you queried why Mrs A? Maybe you could even submit a piece?

Now can you lay your hands on an Emile Simon?

PB, Unfortunately, this is the one window in the year when there are no eggs! There is just a brief period when they've sold them all and restock after Christmas.Hmm... so there are some advantages to living in Aussie land then, despite the ball and chains and Oh yes..the glorious weather.. and The Barbara Cartland Book Throwing Contest...

Paul said...

Nice one, Mrs A and Mrs T. Is it because we've become so accustomed to visual stimuli and that classical music hasn't, on the whole, aligned itself to that? After all, the power of the viedo clip to sell music is phenomenal. Case in point: my son took very little notice of Beethoven's Ninth until he heard it accompanying the film 'A Clockwork Orange' and then he loved it. Perhaps the presentation of classical music needs to reflect the age we live in a little more effectively so that we associate additional images with it (without dumbing it down). Having said that, Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons' has been over-exploited so that it's become little more than a cliche... But having said that, I was introduced to Carl Orff's wonderful 'Carmina Burana' through the Old Spice advert! Went out and bought the album afterwards. Hmm, food for thought. This is going to be popping in and out of my thinking for the rest of the day!

Paul said...

Following on from the above thread, Mrs A and Mrs T, it occurs to me that you might also enjoy following the Snowing and Greening dance motif and have a flamenco night! As an art form, it is after all not only timeless but represents passion, fire, mournfulness, and comes with its own nibbles menu: tapas, paella, white wine, olives, soft cheeses.

I embedded a clip (see link below) of some pretty cool flamenco dance moves into an older post, which, with sufficient wine, your evening might move towards! Enjoy.

http://paulburman.blogspot.com/2007/12/journey-at-words-notice.html

mrs a said...

Another issue is lyrics. Pop music is largely vocal, and has words. That's what people respond to and "get". iPods always deal in "songs" even when you are downloading a symphony.

Classical music is much more instrumental therefore there is not the instant connection to what's going on in the composer's head. And when it is vocal there are barriers - foreign languages, trained operatic voices, the kind of texts chosen. I was interested in your earlier remark PB when you said you liked Ministry of Sound because it didn't interfere with your words.

But you are right - the presentation of non-pop (I don't like using the term "classical" because as a pedant that should only technically refer to the period c.1750-1810 but I'll get over myself) requires a sea change. We can't expect people to just turn up to it any more - there are too many other choices readily available. I think a change in language is required - people react to music on an emotional level and they need to feel free to do that with classical, without being lectured about key signatures, sonata form, the fact that Rattle's interpretation is superior to Masur's or whatever. But how to find a way of doing that that doesn't ignore the fact that a deeper knowledge will also enhance the experience. (I'm talking about getting past the usual classical pops now.)

Flamenco is the answer! Especially if , after quite a lot of sherry, we can do flamenco singing, which is only truly successful when the veins on your neck are bulging...

Paul said...

Good points, Mrs A---definitely food for thought---and I never knew about the time span that defines the 'classical' period, so thanks. I'm not surprised such a strict definition exists, but had never come across it before.

But now I want to put some music on, and am torn between so many choices, so I'll probably settle for listening to the magpies outside the window instead!

gary davison said...

Any review will do, Paul! Do they know how long each sentence, paragraph, page and chapter took? Eh, eh? Do they ***k! And like we care. Maybe a little, then. Just getting a review must feel surreal. I know this whole being published business does to me. Can't wait to get back behind the computer, disguise on, just me and the characters, and a whole new adventure. Anyway, I think the bloke got it all wrong, so that evens it up!

Mike French said...

late into the party - just back from a short break at Center Parks - is it to late for a creme egg?

Paul said...

Thanks and good luck with your new adventure Gary. (I'm getting engrossed in my new adventure too!)

Mike, it's never too late for a Creme Egg. (Which Centre Parks? Went to the Sherwood Forest one in '95 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Hope you had fun.)

Swubird said...

Paul:

Welcome back to your lair.

I read the interview and looked at the illustration. Very, very interesting. In my humble opinion, you are an inspiration to anyone who ever dreamed of writing a book.

Happy trails.

Paul said...

Cheers, Swubird. You're being a bit generous there, but I appreciate your kind words. Thanks.

Madison Richards said...

Seems to me everything is off to a smashing start! Lots of good reviews, press releases, etc. can only mean exposure and that's what a book needs, right?

A heart dose of good luck with everything Paul! So glad you got a bit of a vacation in there as well...A needed stop along the journey, I'm sure.

Best Wishes,
Madison

Madison Richards said...

(...that would be "hearty"... a "hearty" dose of good luck)

:)

Mike French said...

Whinfell Forest, Cumbria twas ace Paul!

Paul said...

You're right, Madison: that's exactly what a book needs, I think. Thanks.

Glad you enjoyed your break, Mike. Good places for family holidays, eh.

Stella said...

"the narrative darts down far too many lyrical dead ends"

What in the world does that mean...?

Btw, re: the croc warning sign: they need to warn CHILDREN not to play with CROCODILES? WHo are these fearless kiddies?

Paul said...

Stella: I'm not quite sure what it means, but I'll try and make sure it never happens again! And yes, we breed them tough in these 'ere parts. The land of Crocodile Dundee, don't ya know.