Tuesday, October 31, 2006

oh my goodness...

I've discovered youtube.com at long last, and on it I found this. Roby Lakatos, live on Prinsengracht. Fiddle fetishists can find a whole new range of displacement activities to stop themselves getting on with their next book. At least I can now pass this off as research: Gypsy fiddling plays a part all its own in my book no.3. Then again, nobody should need an excuse to swoon over something as utterly, gloriously mind-boggling as this guy's violin playing.

And if Lakatos isn't your cup of string tea, you can also watch Heifetz galore and even some footage of Jacques Thibaud playing Szymanowski......

Heck, and I thought chocolate was addictive.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Eh-oop, I'm about to leave for Sheffield, where tomorrow I'm taking part in the Readers' Day at the Off the Shelf Festival of Writing and Reading. Hodder & Stoughton is sending five of its authors (Sophie Hannah, Martin Davies, Margaret Murphy, Robert Douglas & yours truly) and one of its editors and we're going to spend the day talking about books! The day includes lunch, fun and bookwormish goody-bags for all.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Singing for snorers?!

Apparently learning to sing can help stop you snoring, because it strengthens the throat muscles.

Maybe I'll have to pack hubby off to lessons. But when you weigh up the noise of snoring against the noise of hubby belting out his new exercises on a daily basis, which would cause the greater distress? I can cope with the violin, but...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


... is now available to pre-order from Amazon.co.uk. Treat the blurb there with a little caution - Ali is only three (not four) when the story begins, and the plot traces her development from talented child to young woman and professional musician by way of some distinctly thorny relations with those close to her - most notably, her complex and repressed mother, Kate, who perhaps loves her not wisely but too well...

A lot has gone into this book. I was never a child prodigy, but I've experienced that pressure to some degree, the Russian scales, the need to please, the weight of expectation, the conflicts over schooling, the magic of making music at intense and overwhelming summer courses, the longing for a mentor, the loneliness until you finally meet your soulmates... The book represents, simultaneously, none of my own experiences and all of them.

The hardback will be out from Hodder & Stoughton on 8 March and the paperback sometime in the summer. A Dutch edition is also to be published by De Kern in the Netherlands in due course and we're keeping fingers crossed for sales of rights to publishers in Germany, Denmark and the States, among others.....

Monday, October 23, 2006

Google searches #2056

Some more of those wonderful Google searches that have produced hits on my blog, and what answers I can give:

DO YOU HAVE FULL LIPS - home cooking makes a difference.

GEORGE ENESCU DENTIST - A new career for Romania's finest violinist, composer and pianist, mentor to Menuhin, icon to generations? gosh.

JENUFA OCTOBER 20 WHAT HAPPENED - The Kostelnica murders the illegitimate baby in small-town Czechoslovakia. Jenufa has to marry the boy who loves her instead of the boy she loves, even though he'd slashed her cheek with a knife in Act I, and hope is finally restored. It's not a bundle of laughs, but it's still one of the great operas of the 20th century. If they changed the story, I'd like to know.