This is how it began. My sister Anna, a brilliant and witty writer, suggested that we should try to write a romance novel according to the guidelines published by Mills & Boon. Not as easy as it sounds, apparently. She created a finely judged opening paragraph and sent it to me. And, intoxicated by the stylistic possibilities that are simply not offered by my usual literary output of press releases on Bedfordshire’s latest social housing project, I have taken up the gauntlet. The idea is that we will take it in turns to develop the story, in full view of you, dear reader.

We are taking this project seriously, but I am already acutely aware that writing about simmering desire with one’s own sister might be possible only with tongue tentatively in cheek. We have agreed not to discuss our plot ideas, so the novel will unfold as unpredictably to us as to our readers. This could lead to trouble later on, but for now it seems a very liberating way to start.

Who knows where this project will take us? To the dizzying heights of publication by the world’s leading romance brand? Probably not. But wherever we end up, it should be fun getting there…

Monday, 21 November 2011

Part 19 – Musical Interlude

That adventurous Middle-aged Matron has Tagged me. This is the first time I’ve been tagged, and it’s not like it was when I was a lad, when it meant being chased and caught and then you’re ‘it’. No, Adventures of a Middle-Aged Matron has suggested that I share my most thrilling music, a jolly idea started by Mammywoo and passed on by Flossingthecat. So here goes: a bit of a rag-bag.

You want thrilling? I give you a 100-piece orchestra and an augmented operatic chorus in full flow. Not enough? Throw in a children’s choir. How about some visuals? Try serried ranks of slightly sinister-looking angels holding fairy lights. I give you the Prologue from Boito’s opera Mefistofele. It’s a bit slow-build, this one (which adds to the thrill when it all lets loose), but if you’re impatient, skip to about 5 minutes in and prepare to have your socks blown off by a combination of monumental music and a gloriously lavish, camp staging.

Now for something completely different: Hello (Turn Your Radio On) by Shakespears Sister. I never could make out what it’s about, but you don’t need to understand the words to be thrilled by great music, otherwise no one would listen to opera. The guitar solo is amazing; the video’s brilliant, too. This is as near to cool as I get.

This one’s all about carefree student days and early romance (Reader, I married her). The most thrilling days of one’s life.

Finally, this is what I listen to as I sit down with a whisky when the daughter’s finally gone to bed. As all you parents out there will know, that’s a truly thrilling moment.

Since I am new to this tagging game, I'm not sure of the etiquette of tagging people to whom I haven't been formally introduced. But as an avid admirer of the magnificent Mammasaurus and Crystal Jigsaw, I'd love to find out what they thrill to, musically speaking.


  1. You want thrilling memories? What about Shirley Temple and early birds up the willow tree?

  2. oooo thank you for tagging me - I shall pop on my thinking cap!

    You have quite the varied selection there!

  3. I do appreciate you tagging me, really I do!

    It would take an awfully long time for me to upload or download (can never remember the right term) music onto my blog because my connection is so very poor. 0.39mb to be precise, and that's on a good day. Blame BT.

    CJ xx

  4. Well, CJ, I suppose living in the most glorious part of England has to have some disadvantages....

  5. Well, I got this one wrong: the original post suggested just three songs (not choruses, not Serenades), and for general well-being, not necessarily thrills. Never mind. Better luck next time.

  6. Like the choice of music, especially the Sibelius. But I have to confess to getting sidetracked by the Mills & Boon journey you're on! I have already read parts 1 & 2 and it's great fun! Will continue reading.

  7. Thanks, Flossing. There's nothing a bit of Sibelius can't improve.