Friday, December 09, 2022

What do Charles Dickens and Ray Davies have in common?


"The Turning Point" is about what Charles Dickens did in the year 1851. This was the year of the Great Exhibition. It was the high point of the Victorian Era. He was spending a lot of his time on semi-pro theatricals, on editing a weekly magazine and gearing up to write "Bleak House", the book that would transform him from Great Entertainer to Great Novelist.

He was mapping out the book in his head and chose the title from ten possibles. What I can't get over is that at the time in November when his publisher announced that the first of twenty monthly parts would come out in February he hadn't put pen to paper. Because I have some dim idea of what hard labour writing a book of any kind can be (and no concept of how much imaginative energy is called upon to write the way Dickens wrote), I am amazed that he could expose him to that amount of pressure.

Still, as Ray Davies told me ages ago, when I asked him about his run of sixties hits, which was the greatest hot streak in the history of pop, some people go looking for inspiration while others only respond to deadlines. 

Clearly Charles was like Ray.

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