Saturday, 15 October 2011

Red letter day

Today is a red letter day: our second Moffat Book Event. Some of us met yesterday to take Julia Eccleshare out to dinner at Brodies. Having a distinguished guest, doyenne of the children's books world from London made us very proud of Brodies, which exemplifies the 'centre of unexpected excellence' quality of Moffat. One of us likened Moffat to Brigadoon, which I was lucky enough to be taken to see in a London theatre by my theatre-loving parents in the 1950's. The whole experience made a great impression on me, half-understood, a little frightening. There is an analogous town in Russian folklore, called Kizhi - a fairytale city that emerges from a lake fully fledged and functioning, then disappears again just as suddenly. The mention of Brigadoon has made me want to know more, to revisit the story - it was made into a film, I think. Why did it enjoy such success? Was there any connection in the mind/s of the author/s with Kizhi? I mentioned at dinner that I had heard Vidal Sassoon on Desert Island Discs and how moved I was: by his gentle voice, his delighted laugh, his lack of bitterness at a terrible childhood, shunted in and out of orphanages by failing parents, wartime evacuation somewhere pretty unsympathetic. But he has emerged from it all, apparently as peacefully fulfilled as a Buddhist monk. We used to share a tiny coffin-sized lift in 1961/2 when he had the flat immediately above mine in Curzon Place, Mayfair. When I first saw the bronze name plaque V. Sassoon, I assumed he was the elderly racehorse owner, Sir Victor Sassoon. then I began to see Roger Moore, Terry Stamp and Albert Finney and realised this must be another V Sassoon. Finney went on to marry, or to have a long partnership with actress Diana Quick, the granddaughter of a local builder in Dartford who my father worked for before he started his own business. When she was promoting her autobiography the year before last at Borders Book Festival in Melrose, I bought a copy, asked her to sign it and took it down to my mother as a present. Back to Vidal Sassoon: a friend went to have that famous asymmetric haircut at the salon in Sloane St, and we were all terribly impressed. I went to The Ginger Group just across the other side of Knightsbridge, the Hyde Park side, tucked under a building that straddled oddly a narrow lane. Before that, as a teenager I had gone to Evansky, a salon in Mount St, or thereabouts, the other side of Hyde Park in Mayfair. Then I went to Leonard in Upper Brook St. I must write my memoirs if only for my grandchildren; try to evoke that vanished world

1 comment:

  1. I have always thought of Moffat as being my Brigadoon ... it especially has that feel as one approaches Moffat on the A701 from Edinburgh and looks down at the first sight of the town when it's rising out of the mist on an autumn day ... but then, Brigadoon is one of my all time favourite films starring Gene Kelly and I'm romantic at heart, so the storyline very much appeals to me!