Tuesday, February 12, 2008


There's been a bit of controversy over my our short story competition at the Willesden Herald. Articles have appeared in national newspapers, The Sunday Times and the Telegraph as well as Guardian Online etc etc (and there are quite a few etc's). I'm not going to say much about it, I'll just give you a link to the February archive so you can see for yourself, if you're interested. For a while, the WH blog page was getting over 250 visitors per hour.

It's been strange to have people telling me about the competition as if it were a great big thing that I had nothing to do with, as if there were some mysterious powers behind it whose sandals I wouldn't be fit to tie. I've been hushed and shushed, people have complained about 8,000 people being upset (an extra zero added from 800) etc. You can see how the ancient hero tales were worked up till, as I think Flann O'Brien said, forty teams of youths could play handball against the width of Finn's backside.

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's your noble call, Dad

Giuseppe di Stefano - Catari, Catari (Core 'ngrato)

Dad had a lovely voice, powerful. He used to sing this. It was his party piece, this or Golden Earrings. "It's your noble call." That's what we used to say when it was somebody's turn to sing or give a recitation ("There's a green-eyed yellow idol to the north of Katmandu" as likely as not). And it was a noble call - a very good name for it, however it originated.

Christy (dad) used to sing it in the English translation, which goes "I'm calling, calling you/ my beloved what can I do?/ Under the stars and moon beside the ocean/ You promised to be mine" etc. and he would put in a verse in the Italian in the middle, if he didn't stop early, which he mostly would. In this video, Giuseppe di Stefano is very like my dad singing it, and he even looks a bit similar.

I feel now that Dad must have known this version, not Mario Lanza's as I previously thought. Lanza's rendition is not very like Dad's version.