“Victoria is currently researching her next book about rescue dogs – and was delighted to interview the bestselling author and dog lover – Jilly Cooper at her home in Gloucestershire. Jilly was charming and fascinating. Naturally, they talked about owning rescue dogs: both women had childhoods filled with canine family members. Jilly also talked about her writing – and how the beloved dogs fit into her very busy life. There will be a chapter all about Jilly in the new book.
This interview came about because a mutual friend, Judy Zatonski, “put in a good word” for Victoria. Judy makes beautiful, bespoke greetings cards – Jilly is one of her “customers” but, more importantly, a close and treasured friend.”
Thank you Jilly, for a funny, entertaining – and thoroughly enjoyable interview.
Victoria took part in a BBC4 documentary called Biggest Band Break Ups and Make Ups – screened at 9pm on a Friday evening. It was, as the title suggests, all about famous bands and duos – their ups and downs, their creative clashes and personal resentments. Victoria was interviewed on camera in early February by Assistant Producer Chloe Campbell, about the partnership and relationship of Simon and Garfunkel, as depicted in her book: Simon & Garfunkel, the Definitive Biography – available on Kindle.
Chloe’s painstaking research and relaxed interviewing manner were impressive; also, she kept the bottled water coming – you get very thirsty when you’re being interviewed for two hours. Producer Guy Evans and Chloe put together a fascinating documentary and Victoria was very proud to be asked to take part.
Victoria and David attended The Simon and Garfunkel Story at Richmond Theatre, as special guests of Dean Elliott, the show’s producer and star. To say they are a tribute band is inadequate. They are very talented and have become very popular – indeed, it was tricky to catch up with them at a local venue, but all things come to those who wait. Next year, it’s South Africa – and London’s West End!
Although months and months into the touring, when many shows start to get tired and jaded, this show is still as fresh as a daisy. Dean and Jonny and their wonderful band are still performing with energy and enthusiasm. They still talk to the audience warmly and intimately as if they did it all for the first time yesterday.
The back screen, showing pictures from the period – some of the duo, some of America itself, works as a counterpoint to the music: sometimes ironic, sometimes poignant – and while it does all this, it never detracts from the centre stage. Even if this isn’t the first time you’ve seen the show. Truthfully, you could see this show again and again and it would still retain its sparkle, its originality, its sheer entertainment value.
This time I noticed more details: how wonderful the lighting is. When Dean and Jonny come onstage as Paul and Artie at Central Park, the silhouette-effect is quite stunning, quite tingling really – like seeing a moment from the past flash by you. There was a kind of gasp from the audience. It also struck me – and maybe it did the first time too – just how excellent a guitarist Dean Elliott is. The band members are masters of their instruments – and Paul Simon compositions really do challenge the musician – but they also perform well as an ensemble.
They all work so hard – belting out the upbeat songs and sweetly singing the ballads – and you wonder where they get their energy from. Long may they continue. Meanwhile, don’t miss out. Book some tickets. These guys really do know how to keep the customers satisfied.
Victoria talked to the group – 30 plus women – about her writing career, the people she has interviewed and the ups and downs of being a feature writer. It all went like clockwork – what an organised team they are. Janet Short did the booking (almost a year previously because they are so booked up) and was very warm and welcoming, aided by Leader Chris Raymond and Treasurer Jean Morley.
Victoria sold and signed copies of her books and was treated to a cup of delicious coffee and two chocolate biscuits. It was a wonderful evening. Victoria thanks the team – and all the ladies for being so friendly, so challenging in their questions – and such fun
Victoria talked to the Twickenham Gardening Association about her journalism, poetry, her rescue greyhounds and the famous people she has interviewed. Though she is a poor gardener herself, she has interviewed some excellent ones: Susan Hampshire, Wendy Craig, Isla Blair, Gayle Hunnicutt – and she has met Alan Titchmarsh – at the Savoy Hotel, no less. She had hopes of chatting to him about her plants, but he was constantly surrounded by women who had the same idea.
Everyone was very warm and welcoming – and Victoria appreciated the coffee (plus a choc biscuit and a hob-nob) – and the lively discussion after the talk. The audience was very interested in journalism and asked some challenging questions. Afterwards, Victoria signed copies of her books.
Victoria was accompanied by her friend Janet Marcantonio, who did the bookselling and the driving – and was, as always, very supportive. Many thanks to Mike Collas who organised the event so well – and to Eileen Collas for being an excellent “hostess”.