All the faces, all the voices blur…

28 03 2014

I’m a huge Cure fan.

As a wee young thing, I was so in love with Robert Smith that I dyed my hair black (and also part of the bathroom carpet) and had a collection of suitably-Smithish clothes. I was in the Official Fan Club, and still wear the enamel badge with pride. I collected every snippet of information about The Cure and Mr Smith that I could find – and back in those days, they were proper snippets. Snippets that had to be snipped out of music mags because in those days there was no such thing as the internet. I knew all the words to all the songs. I spent hours in my bedroom with its red light bulb, playing Cure albums on my dodgy old record player (or if I couldn’t afford the album yet, playing cassettes that I’d recorded from borrowed records by positioning a little tape recorder carefully between the speakers for optimum sound quality). I perfected the art of singing in his voice (well, I thought i did!), and could do every little squeak and oooh and ow and knew all the really quiet almost-hidden words that most people didn’t notice. I was once mortally wounded by a silly girl at school who rubbished the lyrics to “In between days”. I’ve seen them live loads of times, the last time being a few years back at Wembley, when I dyed my hair black again, spiked it up, donned Smith-ish garb, then sang and cried and screamed my way through the gig, totally oblivious to the shame of my other half and his mate who I’d practically forgotten were sitting next to me.

One of my favourite Cure songs is “Charlotte Sometimes”. It was a while before I discovered that there was also a book called Charlotte Sometimes, and as soon as I could I hit the local library to search for it. I found a copy, and can still remember the shiver of delightful spookyness I felt when I read the first line of the book and it was the same as the first line of the song! And it didn’t end there, lots of lines kept popping up that were in the song too…

Anyway, back to the point of this post.

A few years ago, I stumbled across Penelope Farmer’s blog, and in doing so came across a couple of posts she’d written about “Charlotte Sometimes” and The Cure. I was reminded of them today after my auto-pilot reply to a Tweet:


So I thought I’d share them with you here. Part 2 brings a tear to my eye – and probably will to anyone who’s as big a fan of Mr Smith as I am. It’s a lovely, lovely story – enjoy!

Penelope Farmer on The Cure – Part 1

Penelope Farmer on The Cure – Part 2

Now go away and PLAY THE CURE!



13 01 2013

Back in December last year, I blogged about a line from an audiobook causing me to burst out with one of those impromptu snorty-belly-laughs on a rather busy train. The book I was listening to was ‘The Naming of Dead‘ by Ian Rankin, the 16th Rebus book. I’d been working my way through all the Rebus books since watching that most excellent Alan Yentob Imagine programme about the author on the BBC. As mentioned in the belly-laugh blog post, I’d read a couple of Rebus books donkey’s years ago, and remember the series with John (phwoor) Hannah from telly back in 2000. By the way, I really hope that documentary gets repeated at some point – I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in the creative process. My other half, who’s a singer/songwriter, enjoyed it too, and it sparked much discussion on the similarities of writing stories (which I’m trying to do) and songs (which he does most excellently).

Anyway. All this Rebus catching-up (17 Rebus books, and the two Fox books) was prompted – after watching Imagine – by a desire not only to read the stories, but also to see how the author’s style had developed since Rebus made his debut back in 1987. But that’s not what this post is about – although I will say it was hugely fascinating witnessing this development, hugely enjoyable thanks to the excellent narrators (James McPherson, Bill Patterson etc) and hugely interesting to hear the author’s introductions which were included with a few of them – particularly the one about Robert Smith, having been a massive Cure-head since my yoof!

This post is about worry and relief, and the 18th Rebus book, ‘Standing in Another Man’s Grave’.

If you’ve read ‘Phantom‘, the latest Harry Hole book by Jo Nesbø, you’ll probably know why I was worried. If you haven’t, then… er… tough!

But having just finished ‘Standing in Another Man’s Grave’ today in the bath, I’m delighted to make this announcement:


And that’s it.

Well, not quite. I am of course now left in the slightly distressing situation of having run out of Rebuses. I’ve just started listening to ‘Doors Open‘ (after watching the excellent TV version over Christmas), and have a few more Rankins to go after that, but the problem still remains.

I’m Rebusless.

So Mr Rankin, if you’re out there… Pretty please?!