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Monday, August 04, 2008

Sue Pollard and Def Leopard and J. K. Rowling

I had the delightful pleasure of being introduced to the the wonderfully effervescent Su Pollard last night and our short time together cemented an idea that had been running around inside me old brain-box for some time. That she is as bonkers as a box of frogs on Acid. I don't mean of course that that notion about her had been with me for a time but something else.
But why? I, as most of you, will remember her as the dotty chalet maid Peggy Ollernshaw in Hi-de-Hi and I am not in the least surprised that she has somehow reinvented herself as a charming loon with that distinctive voice. What other way could she go after the series ended twenty years ago? Go on to play Ivy Teasdale in the sitcom; You Rang, M'Lord of course. Like attracts like.
I can see how easily it must have been for her to realise that she had struck the Golden comedy nugget and over the years, merged those fictional characters into her own personality. After all, we all wanted to meet chalet maid Peggy last night. And we did. Even through there was not a camera in site. I was waiting for her to mention that she had always been as mad as a box of frogs on acid. Or the equivalent at least. Never a depressed moment.
And then there is Def Leopard, wining and un-purposely expressing themselves about how much music meant to them around the time they were infants. I just had the impression that they were supposed to say that, as if uttering those things actually justified their wealth, talent and fame. I did wonder if they would have thought the same thoughts or expressed the same words though had they failed in their musical efforts and became motor-car salesmen, insurance advisors and mangers of MacDonalds instead.
I hear J. K. Rowling (as an author of which I do not envy at all) had the plot-line of all seven books in her head when she wrote the first one. I do not doubt that. What I do find hard to swallow is that she would have written book two and the rest had she failed to get a publisher for book one. I know of no mortal man or woman who would spent fifteen years writing 2,000,000 words, all for them to be parked on a hard drive somewhere and never to be read by an exited face. She exists because she exists in other words. She is famous because she is famous, not because she invented Harry Potter.
So what am I on about today? Lost intentions that's what. For every one person who has has luck bestowed upon them, there are probably hundreds or thousands who lay dead beside the road, clutching their novels, their songs, their art, their poetry. Each one probably, having the potential, once the back-room boys get on it, of becoming just as special in our hearts and lives as any other celebrity. Yet, such is life and that's the way the system works. We can't all be famous!
So what is my point? I'll tell you what it is. I wish people would be more honest. I wish people would say; Christ! If it wasn't for that incredible stroke of luck, of being in the right place at the right time, I too would have probably become a lowly-paid cilvil servant, shuffling papers around at my local town hall. Or, I had no talent at all when I was a kid! The fact that I am here doing this and earning a fortune is a fluke.There is only one celebrity I am aware of that has become that honest and that is Bob Hoskins. So that's what I want them to admit. Because greatness has been thrust upon them, they believe they are great and have always been great. And many...most...and I am one of them...are not.
George Handel (1685-1759) breaks my theory. Damned infant!
I do inherently believe that we grow towards not only on our strengths and weakness' but also on other's opinions of us. There have been enough experiments to prove this assumption as well. And that is why we ultimately fail...or succeed. Believe in someone today. For God's sake, just do it.


Marie Marshall said...

JKR - you will gather I'm not a fan of hers. to me she a) has SUFFICIENT talent, b) has a propensity for hard work, and c) was in the right place at the right time. The HP takes were derivative (it has to be said), but also different. However, it's this thing of not writing book two I'm talking about. I have written two novels, neither of which has yet been published. Finishing the first felt such an artistic achievement that I didn't really care about that. Nothing could have stopped me from writing the second.

In fact the second was written as an answer to a challenge by a bunch of HP fans. "If you think JKR is such a 'bad' writer," they said, "Then write something better yourself."

The result was a story of a girl from an Essex comprehensive school who finds herself plunged into a parallel world, where her school is silent and empty except for about a dozen other kids with extraordinary powers and a strange task given to them. HP it wasn't, but it kept the 12-year-old daughter of my chief challenger quiet and made her finish her homework for several nights on the trot. Then I realised that it was too short, and added two more parts to it, not knowing whether the whole would ever be published. I am still waiting.

Now I have notes for my third novel. I'm damn well going to write it too, and if it stays on my hard drive, never mind.

Marie Marshall said...

I don't know how the typos got in to my comment. For:

"The HP takes were derivative (it has to be said), but also different"

please read:

"The HP books were derivative (it has to be said) but nevertheless sufficiently different to anything else that had been on the market for some time that they succeeded notwithstanding."

I must have saved the wrong draft before I copied-and-pasted. Sorry.