Sunday, 5 October 2014

Nesta Wyn Ellis: from politics, journalism and biography to songs, stage and film.

She was the most famous author of the 1990's, splashed across front pages and plastered across inside pages too, and a favourite of TV shows for her revealing biography of John Major and a subsequent collection of mini biographies of "Britain's Top 100 Eligible Bachelors." These two books were all about Sex, Power and Politics and Sex, Power and Money. She denied being John Major's Mistress while Edwina Curry believed this was true
After a decade of inconvenient celebrity, of being stopped in the street for autographs and written about in a way she thought distorted her character, Nesta Wyn Ellis decided to live in Paris. She returned to the uk last year after 13 years. 
At once, she set about editing and organising the publication on Amazon Kindle of some of her novels. One, 'The Banker's Daughter' is a title well known to the public, already issued in hardback and paperback and still available from Internet bookshops world-wide
Some reviewers compared it, due to its tale of passion across a class divide, with DH Lawrence's famous love story, 'Lady Chatterly's Lover.' Currently, there are many who say this wonderfully plotted story of obsessive sexual passion set against a taughtly drawn background of Westminster politics, crime and City of London banking is far more tittilating than Fifty Shades of Grey.
Lioness Books is also publishing three novels Nesta wrote in Paris. One of these "Three Days in September," is the book version of the screen story she is now producing and will direct.
Set mainly in Paris, 'Three Days In September' tells how a singer who follows her elusive love there, is compelled to resolve shadowy issues from her past, when, in Paris, she meets a second love: the encounter moves the story forward into a confusing miasma of haunting visions.
Nesta's songs and theme music will bring a beautiful subtext to the story, enhancing the subtle shades of grey of the Parisian Autumn and Winter scenes and the deeply melancholic mood of this drama of divided love.
Locations have been found, some key actors identified and distribution and production finance are being coordinated.
Work on the musical score now dominates Nesta's agenda. Some songs that she has already performed at London and Paris concerts and the Edinburgh Festival in English and French have been recorded on earlier albums. Now, songs composed in Paris and London form the body of work that will be part of the film score and tracks for the latest album she is preparing.
Hard on the heels of this comes the actual production work and directing of scenes for 'Three Days In September' in London, Germany but mainly France (where Nesta, a fluent French speaker, has already worked on productions for internationally based companies with her 'Paris Production Services' facility).
A half hour interview in the Face to Face series from ITV Wales appears on October 23rd. A tour of Nesta's career from her political and journalistic days to her singing and film production developments will keep audiences engrossed with the life of this unusual and versatile talent. Meanwhile, she is completing work on a version of her life story that covers those most startling years from the late 1970's in Africa, America and London to her departure, shrouded in mystique, for another life and a story, yet to be revealed, in Paris.

Links to Four novels by Nesta Wyn Ellis published by Lioness Books on Amazon Kindle"

The Mistress

Three Days in September

The Banker’s Daughter

A Love Is Like A Day 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Iron in the Soul: David Cameron's destiny.

During my now celebrated interviews with John Major, I asked him, "When did the iron enter into your soul?" The answer is in the biography I wrote. But I now want to ask that question of David Cameron: and I'm going to second guess the answer. The rather flabby Mr Please All PM of recent years has suddenly developed grit and vim of the sort that only comes after the iron has entered into the soul. It happened while he agonised over the outcome of this Scots vote. Did it matter that much to the English? No, it was just an exercise somewhere else. Not quite a far away people of whom we know nothing, these purveyors of salmon and scotch, proprietors of North Sea oil, seemed to turn Cameron from polite yes man into a sudden superman.
If he hears Boris barking at his heels or senses worse to come at the in/out EU referendum, or thinks he's found a way of leaving Nigel Farage without a foot to stand on, and Ed Milliband with 40 fewer MP's he has now risen from his couch and is beginning to look like a leader rather than a follower of pubic opinion.
He'll bomb Asil and try to win a Tory coalition on English Rule and maybe he'll win the next General Election. I still doubt he'll remain as leader after that, unless he shows real determination to lead the country out of the EU. And he may still need to be pushed hard to do that. Meantime, I have been watching and waiting anxiously for this decent and chronically indecisive man who waits to see what people think before he leads them forward, to discover that leadership is more than managing the results of market research.
Has he found the way? I think so. I thought he found a way in 2010 when he came to an agreement with Nick Clegg after a ten day wrangle that ended in the Coalition. This was artistry of the possible at work, I thought, as I watched from my eerie above the Louvre and was pleased with them both.
Cameron is a negotiator and a diplomat but real leadership needs a rougher gift of uncompromising conviction in one's own rightness and the firm determination to win the day.
Seeing a nation poised on the edge of calamity with constitutional reform as the unavoidable agenda for the next few years, Cameron may have tempered steel out of that iron newly in the soul. At last the flab has become firm muscle. On your horse, boy! History may yet award you the prize. Not only Britain, but Europe, needs to be led out of a floundering mess of indecision, excess government and false notions of union. The poor economic performance of the EU and its member states is due to a system of government and economic management that is too cumbersome to function effectively. Sweeping reform is needed to simplify government to allow real growth through fresh enterprise; and where better to start than at home, from the ground up. Constitutional reform is the way to release the forces of economic dynamism that are now trapped among layers of bureaucracy. But the reforms must be good ones. There is no point in adding another layer of government to soak up more taxes and generate busybody laws.  The aim should be to reduce not increase government and to ensure its relevance to present day patterns of economic activity.
The common good is to be found in new political structures that reflect a true sense of participation in regional and national life, in the roots that choose their expression in a sense of identity with origins and traditions, no less the tradition of Parliamentary democracy. As George found his dragon, David may have found his Goliath, while Cameron is discovering his destiny.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

So, what next, Dave Nick and Ed?

Is this the week the reality principle sets in for the EU? And for the political leaders who support the massive fiction that they can actually govern their countries without being told what to do by the Brussels Commissioners and the Committees that dream up newer and better ways of diminishing personal liberty?
Yes. This is the week that will go down in history as the undoing of the European master plan for a toxic super state to end all others.
In an earlier post on my Paris blog site ( headlined " A Walk in the Woods" I described how I got lost in the Forest of Rambouillet and found the house, now a museum, of Jean Monet, founding father of the European Union. As I reported then, I was moved by the sentiments expressed by Monet, De Gaulle and Winston Churchill in the letters they wrote to each other in those days before World War 2. The idealism, the belief in a European Union that transcended nationalism, the hope that this union would end war in Europe.
My belief in the European dream, which also inspired me to stand in the first European Parliamentary elections, had however dwindled to a mere 'If only." Now, I've hardened my determination that the uk should leave the EU, as its own interests are seriously threatened.
If the only means of doing this is to vote for a politician who is listening to the pulse of opinion, then we do it regardless of the rest of the package.
I fear that the Cleggs, Camerons and Millibands of this world think they know better what the demos wants. But now, a voice has been heard --which however dodgily connected to far right sentiments-- does actually show that its owner has been listening to what all us ordinary folks are saying.
Let's not try to educate the voters at this point. Let's just listen to their heartbeats.
As I came out of Tesco last night carrying my bottle of Cava, I paused to chat to a guy who works there.
He was preparing to risk the rain on his bike, as was I. After our comments about cycling in tropical downpours we turned to the EU elections. I had missed the close of poll on my return from Paris but he had passed his polling station on his return from Ibitha and cast his vote. We discussed UKIP. I said I dont mind foreigners, I just dont like Brussels telling us what to do. He said he had been to eight countries already this year so foreigners were not a problem. What he disliked, he said was not being listened to.
So it's the arrogance of the Dave, Nick, Ed types that, frankly, get's us onto Nigel's ticket.
Will these ear-plug wearing party leaders respond? They must now know the options. The number one item on the Agenda is getting the uk out of an expensive catastrophe which, alas, is will get worse.
Too swift enlargement of the EU is one mistake, but the common currency is the major reason for the EU's failure. I warned John Major about the disaster of being part of the ERM in 1992. He stepped back after Black Wednesday. But I suspect his belief in the common currency had not faltered. Cameron, then Special Advisor to Chancellor Norman Lamont, quickly found another job when Major fired Lamont in May 1993 for saying he sang in his bath after the UK left the ERM.
So, to get back to my question, what next, Dave, Nick and Ed?
Clearly, if you read the rhetoric from the other side of the channel, whatever they say as palliatives about border control and immigration, the juggernaut of political and fiscal union is still rolling. Regardless of the impossibility of harmonizing disparate economies, the conventional party leaders still want one United States of Europe. And it's this obsession with competition with the US that is driving Europe to disaster. Thanks to the failure to understand the nature of the Federal Union as opposed to nations with thousands of years of cultural individuality, this is doomed. Thanks to the Euro, the failure of EU economies is keeping the world in recession.
So, will Dave, Nick and Ed get the message? Or will they persist in their support for central, undemocratic control of all European nations. More Governance, better Governance, said my French EU loving lover. In other words more and more central control of banking, finance and law.
Grab the lifebelts say I. The Titanic is going down.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

When "the Toffs" went "Rotten"

My new blog does not replace my Paris blog Rather it adds the dimension of my life in the uk after 13 years in Paris. I will be commenting on lifestyles, politics, personalities, arts, love and new trends as well as giving my views of how London and the uk have changed during my absence.
Here, I am posting a review of a book by a British author who is well worth reading.

The Whitehall Mandarin by Edward Wilson
published by Arcadia Books Ltd on May 15th 2014

Those were the days when ladies wore gloves. Arcadia Books’ cover for Edward Wilson’s, “The Whitehall Mandarin” shows an elegant, gloved woman walking into a Whitehall Office. The days were also those when public and private standards were collapsing and when, as Wilson’s protagonist Catesby remarks to his devious boss Henry Bone, “The toffs have gone rotten".
Much of Wilson’s gripping story centres on Vietnam where he served with US Forces prior to renouncing his citizenship. It also focuses on the UK Ministry of Defence where leading players are pawns in a complex game of lies and betrayals woven around the Mandarin’s enigmatic figure.
The early 1960’s were also the focus of Wilson’s 2013 novel, “The Midnight Swimmer” which plays on secret events behind the Cuba Crisis of 1962. As the plot of The Whitehall Mandarin unfolds we revisit Cliveden, scene of erotic parties, where a nubile young stripper from Murray’s Cabaret Club, Christine Keeler, played a key role in the demise of Defense Minister John Profumo and the fall of Macmillan’s government.
Cliveden in the early 1960’s is an alluring point of attachment for the English dimension of this singularly shocking tale, shocking because of the revelations its author makes about the inner corruption of crumbling political institutions. The elite running that world were, it seems weakened by amorality. The story opens us to an understanding of how the ruling class of Britain of the time became corrupted. There are mentions of Kim Philby and Guy Burgess by the fictional characters. In life as in fiction, privileged people who should have been more grateful to their country were working to undermine its fabric. Sexuality and secrecy about sexuality except between members of a special coterie, was one of the subtle raisons d’etre for this undermining of the Establishment. Homosexuality, in those days a criminal offence, had to be a secret and its practice led to other secrets and to vengefulness against the established moral order. A sexually deviant motif lies at the heart of Edward Wilson’s story where it plays its subtle undercurrent of sinister sounds under the melody of the main plot to its denouement.
The suspicious sudden death of Hugh Gaitskell and his replacement as Labour leader by Harold Wilson, plus the latter’s role as a suspected Soviet front man comes under scrutiny. While the suspicion about Harold Wilson, the suspected fellow traveler, is dismissed perhaps for legal reasons, that dismissal fails to convince the reader that Soviet collaboration among those high in politics and in espionage, was not a part of the rot affecting the British Establishment. The left and the right wings of the British ruling class seem to have been equally corrupted, to have suffered a failure of belief in the system that gave them their privileged lives. During the evolution of this story, we find ourselves doubting the trustworthiness of senior MI6 operators, civil servants and politicians. We become aware of the venal international manipulations that laid the foundations for the Vietnam War. A scene with an unnamed President (clearly Johnson) at the White House cues the reader about the close involvement between British and American leaders and secret services over the reasons for and pursuit of the Vietnam War.
This story is a natural sequel to “The Midnight Swimmer” which leads us along the mad precipice when the Kennedy Brothers in their embroilment with Castro and the Cuban Mafia almost brought civilization to its end.
This is a work of fiction with well-drawn characters and a deftly constructed plot but it reads at times like a documentary. Wilson, an academic, has researched his subject deeply but imparts much private experience and knowledge throughout his story telling. He is clearly writing about what he knows and there are only rare moments when a flight of imagination intrudes into this narrative that otherwise convinces one of the authenticity of the author’s material, his characters and his storytelling. When one reads Edward Wilson one feels sure one is only one step away from the truth of what really happened in that place and time. The result is a chilling conviction that history as it happened is not what we have been told.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Who Turned Off The Effing Lights?

Back in Blessed Blighty but I cant see what the eff I’m doing. Do I qualify for a blind guide dog to help me find my way around the house?
It seems someone has blundered? I cant buy a light bulb that will give me a decent light with which to read a book, write a music score, cook a meal or find any object gone missing since sundown.
Apparently the EU has decreed that light bulbs must be tamed in their emissions to below 100 watts. This is to “Save The Planet”. I am not sure this is best the way to do it. I ride a bike to save the planet and keep my legs fit to whistle at, but I’m being suffocated by traffic fumes wherever I go, and find other riders lit up like animated Christmas trees (batteries still have to be charged) and no sign of an electric car charge point in my neighbourhood if I choose to opt for  a hybrid.
I re-established residence in Blessed Blighty a few months ago but, since then, my French light bulbs have gradually been popping. So I have had to replace them. But whereas the French bulbs will give me up to 140 Watts, I’ll be lucky to get 70 Watts out of the British equivalent.
I suppose I should be reading on a Kindle. But I don’t have one. Despite being a Kindle published author I have not invested in one, preferring something I can read in the bath without risk of electrocution. Do I therefore have to read with a Kandle?
As for cooking, searching for objects or files and other normal tasks of a civilized society after sundown, I am baffled by the problems.
In the supermarket and some other public shopping areas I will find dazzling white light.
But at home, it seems I have to bumble and fumble, write music and find black underwear in some kind of officially acceptable gloaming.
The first light bulbs I bought here in Waitrose turned out to be so feeble that I took them back. With their usual graciousness, Waitrose did this. I later found some slightly stronger ones and at better prices—probably old stock-- in Tesco.
Now I realize I am fighting a losing battle to light up my house, so I am asking my Paris based lover to buy up a few 100 plus watt bulbs and bring them over with the consignment of champagne and the naughty undies on his next trip.
Oh, are you surprised about the French having proper light bulbs? Yes, Paris is still in the EU. But it seems the only country to take seriously and obey the EU edicts about light bulbs is—guess who—the UK. Another one to add to the list of conditions for staying in, David, dear. If you must.
Well all I can say at this point is, that in or out of the EU, I want light bulbs that give me light. Not only that but I want to buy new lams and these seem to allow nothing stronger than 40 watts. Watt? Clearly, I will have to plug in more lamps until I have something resembling a film set with which to get on with my night’s work. The alternative is to spend £200 a time on LED lights that enable me to read without eyestrain.
Who allowed this idiot ruling to pass into law? Blair or Brown, maybe?
Assemble the firing squad asap, if you can find the criminals. And revise the law.
Right now I have plugged in some Christmas lights (350 Watts and French) that I did not use at Christmas, in order to give me enough light with which to find my way to bed.
Welcome back to Blighty—if you can find the door.