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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Lost, and it'll stay lost

...You may see a stranger
Across a crowded room,
And somehow you know...
Etc, etc.

These groaningly familiar lines from Rogers and Hammerstein's South Pacific speak of love-at-first-sight, plot fodder for Hollywood at its squashiest and for Mills & Boon. But not for me. Why?

In all my five novels Jack meets Jill or, rather, Jill meets Jack, but never in that traditional blinding flash.

One reason's obvious. Novels allow you elbow room so why swap growing realisation for Kapow! when you've chapters to fill? Perhaps too, because I've never been convinced... Perhaps... yes, how did things go when I first met VR (then VT) in 1959's endless hot summer in London?

A double date (blind for me): two journalists, two Charing Cross nurses, and an old, old van we'd borrowed. I remember asking VR/VT for her telephone number. Not having pencil and paper I used a penny to scratch the seven figures on the van's battered interior. But that was at the end of proceedings. What happened that evening? I'd no idea.

Timidly, shamefacedly, in 2017, I put that question to my spouse of 57 years. "We went to The Dove at Hammersmith," she said. Strange, a touristy pub on the riverside; a pub I later grew to hate after reading the landlord’s autobiography. "What did we talk about?" I asked; then, in an even more timid voice: "What were your impressions?" VR shrugged: "We drank a lot of beer."

And then, quite forcibly, I knew I'd reached an impasse. Even with long-married couples, especially with them, there are questions which cannot be asked. All I can say is we were married a year later. Thus, for me, the South Pacific assertion remains unanswered.


  1. A neat piece. Intersting to hear that your innate pushy journalist probing was thwarted for once, but then VR has had plenty of experience.

    I can confirm that the "Kapow" thing is not a myth - it happened to me once, but that's a long story, and it didn't result in my marriage.

    first of all I wondered why you had capitalised "Kapow". Research in my good dictionary was abortive. On-line I found it with many varied spellings in an urban dictionary with many different definitions, but no theories on derivation, and therefore no reason I could find for capitalisation.

  2. Sir Hugh: For more immediate identification. There's also some justification in suggesting that Kapow exists as a one-word sentence within a longer, more conventional sentence, albeit without the raggle-taggle necessities of complicated punctuation such as parentheses.

  3. Yes, that's how it happened with J. and me -- for me, anyway, it was love at first sight, and he certainly fell quickly too. Complicated because I was unhappily married to someone else and not the type to have an affair, so I had to extricate myself. But have never looked back.

  4. Beth: Based on the result I may infer it was a South Pacific moment. But inference is a poor sort of tool for such matters. The fact is I remember not a single moment of a life-changing event that is only exceeded in importance by one other: being born.