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Sunday April 10
|Peter Morgan (b. 1963) U.K. playwright, screenwriter – The Queen|
Peter Morgan discusses screenwriting Frost Nixon
Peter Morgan discussing the film The Queen and Queen Elizabeth / the British Monarchy
Born April 10
Monday April 11
|Clive Exton (b. 1930) – U.K. screenwriter, playwright – Jeeves and Wooster|
Read the obituary for Clive Exton in the U.K. Independent (2007)
Watch a scene from the first episode of the Jeeves and Wooster series, written by Clive Exton – Table of precedence or roulette?
Another scene from Jeeves and Wooster – a dogged search
And the happy ending at Totleigh Towers
Born April 11
Tuesday April 12
|Thomas Dybdahl (b. 1979) – Norwegian singer/songwriter|
Listen to / watch the music video “Love Story”
Born April 12
Wednesday April 13
|Drago Jančar (b. 1948) – Slovenian novelist, playwright, essayist|
Read the Wikipedia article about Drago Jancar and a bio here
Read excerpts from Drago Jancar’s 1993 novel Mocking Desire here
Born April 13
Thursday April 14
|Loretta Lynn (b. 1932) – U.S. country music singer / songwriter|
Loretta Lynn sings “Honky Tonk Girl” in 2008, first recorded in 1960
Read an April 2011 interview in the Toledo Blade
By 21, I had all four kids in school, then got pregnant with twins, so I said the next one’s going to be a litter, so I better stop right here.”
She would sing her children to sleep, and Doo would tell her, “You’re really good, honey. You’re really good.” After enough encouragement, she started to believe him and began singing in local clubs, eventually gaining the attention of Norm Burley of Zero Records, who signed her to a record deal.
Born April 14
Friday April 15
|Benjamin Zephaniah (b. 1958) – U.K. / Jamaican poet, playwright|
It all started, like so much else, with his mother. Having, according to his poem “Naked”, “read a poster on a/ hot tin street in Jamaica that told her/ that Britain loves her”, she came to Handsworth, where she worked as a nurse and married a postman from Barbados. If Britain loved her, however, her husband didn’t – or at least not enough to stop hitting her. “I remember,” says Zephaniah, “saying to a kid one day, ‘what do you do when your dad beats your mum?’ I just thought it was normal.”
In his children’s novel Gangsta Rap he describes the extraordinary facilities – recording studios, tailored coaching, etc. – made available to a trio of teenagers excluded from school, facilities that enable them to launch careers as best-selling rappers. It wasn’t, I presume, quite like that for him. “No,” says Zephaniah, taking a huge bite of falafel, “they just left us in the streets, so you had to fend for yourself.”
(Read the U.K. Independent interview here)
Benjamin Zephaniah music video, Rong Radio
Born April 15
Saturday April 16
|Gerry Rafferty (b. 1947) – Scottish singer/songwriter|
At the end of the 1970s he did his best work, a series of richly resonant albums that gave no hint of their creator’s inner troubles. Rafferty was born in Paisley, near Glasgow, an unwanted third son. His father, Joseph, was an Irish-born miner. His mother, Mary Skeffington, whose name would provide a Rafferty song title, dragged young Gerry round the streets on Saturday nights so that they would not be at home when his father came back drunk. They would wait outside, in all weathers, until he had fallen asleep, to avoid a beating.
The voice, redolent of both Lennon’s and McCartney’s, yet unmistakably his own; the music, a shimmering delta of sound; the songs, romantic yet pushily sardonic – all came to fruition thanks to Gerry’s gift of perfect pitch and an obdurate determination to stick to his guns.
These were the years I worked for him. I was his personal manager – employee, not svengali – visiting the record company in LA, accompanying Gerry when he was working, and running the small office we set up for him in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Sadly, my job was mostly to say “no” to people.
He did not want to have to out-platinum himself: he had money enough, and disliked being recognised. But behind an aggressive front, and a strong awareness of his own musical excellence, was fear. He turned down working with Eric Clapton, McCartney and others, telling Carla “nobody was good enough”. In truth, he dared not sit down with superstars without a drink or five. So he sat at home – now 300 acres of Kent farmland and a Queen Anne house in Hampstead, north London – and convinced himself he could work alone with Murphy. Carla said later: “He was just stalling for time.
(Michael Gray writing the
obituary for Gerry Rafferty – U.K. Guardian, January 4, 2011)
Mr. Rafferty’s 1978 album, “City to City,” reached No. 1 in the United States. One track, “Baker Street,” made the Top 10 in both Britain and the United States. So did “Stuck in the Middle With You,” a song Mr. Rafferty and Joe Egan recorded with their group Stealers Wheel in 1972. “Stuck in the Middle,” written as a parody of many of Bob Dylan’s songs, ridiculed a music industry cocktail party, complaining, “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”
(New York Times, January 4, 2011)
“Stuck in the Middle” music video
“Baker Street” music video
“Right Down the Line” music video (the Celtic wake interpretation?)
Born April 16