I was invited to visit the studios of Monocle24 yesterday and whizzed to Marylebone (just off Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes used to hang out [should I say ‘used to’ or will that upset people?]) to spend half-an-hour on air with the lovely Georgina Godwin, presenter.
As it’s nearly St Valentine’s Day we talked about romance and romantic fiction, whether men read it, who buys it for them, whether it’ll get them chatted up on the Tube if they’re reading a book with a pink cover, what we can all learn from Fifty Shades of Grey (!) Why is romantic fiction such a huge seller? Is that likely to change?
Also, what a splendiferous organisation the Romantic Novelists’ Association is and what a fantastic set of shortlists there are for the RoNAs (Romantic Novel Awards) this year. Which is an unsubtle little gloat that I’m on one of them with Dream a Little Dream … Sorry. Ought to be modest and self-effacing and I do try but fail spectacularly …
I also got to choose four romantic music tracks to play during the programme, which felt deliciously Desert Island Discs-ish. So I chose:
Stardust, by Nat King Cole, in memory of my dad. When we lived in Malta he gained a promotion and bought a record player. Each member of the family was allowed one record to go with it and he picked an Nat King Cole album, with Stardust amongst his favourites.
Substitute, by Frank Turner. His lyrics are just so amazing. Often his songs are political or contemporary-life observations but this song is about how music is his substitute for love and it’s so wistful that it clutches my heart.
Letter to Hermione, David Bowie, because I never fell out of love with his early stuff and this is such a romantic song. All about lost love. Ahhh.
Dream a Little Dream, by the Mamas and the Papas, not just in shameless self-promotion but because it’s a fabulous song and it celebrates a memorable Romaniacs kitchen party at the RNA conference last year – the results of which could be seen on YouTube but the clip seems to have disappeared, now.
It was a great afternoon. And one of the most remarkable things about the Monocle 24 offices? Their loo seat is heated. Seriously! All loo seats ought to be made this way, especially when you come in from a wet winter afternoon. I really want one of my own now. I’m putting it on my Christmas list .
I didn’t try the douche thingy, though. No. Tried it before. Didn’t like it.