Tuesday, 12 June 2012


Crikey 1: The Olympic Opening Ceremony idea looks as if it might conceivably not be shit.* Danny Boyle is not an idiot.

(I love this comment on BBC website: How false. Most people in the UK do not live in this idylic world. It should portray the inner city slums, the crime, and all the different forms of predjudices that we are famed for. Yeah!)

Crikey 2: Edgar Wallace is a name I must have heard some time, but I knew hardly anything about him before idly googling yesterday after I had listened to the third of the excellently crisp JG Reeder series on Radio 4 Extra. His Wikibiog is bloody long, but it's really worth the time. I particularly dropped my jaw at the cock ups he made when he was working for the Daily Mail. Some extracts:

Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (1 April 1875 – 10 February 1932) was an English crime writer, journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and playwright, who wrote 175 novels, 24 plays, and numerous articles in newspapers and journals. Over 160 films have been made of his novels. In the 1920s, one of Wallace's publishers claimed that a quarter of all books read in England were written by him.

As a result of this extreme intoxication, Richard Horatio Edgar and Polly ended up having a "Boris Becker broom cupboard" style sexual encounter, which everyone was too drunk fortunately to notice.

Superstitiously, Edgar viewed any "economising" as a sign his luck was about to end.

However, at this time Edgar hired a new secretary, a timid, quiet 15-year-old girl named Violet King. Whereas Ivy had tolerated Violet's predecessors with relief, she perceived that Violet would be her successor. Ivy knew that as Violet matured from girl to woman she would be more ideally suited to Edgar's temperament than Ivy herself had ever been. Ivy also knew that when Edgar inevitably became adulterous with Violet, he would condemn himself over his betrayal of Ivy.

There is a famous anecdote [citation needed]** in which Sir Patrick Hastings, a visitor to his home, actually observed him dictate the novel The Devil Man in the course of a weekend. It became a standing joke that if someone telephoned Edgar and was told he was writing a novel, they would promptly reply, "I'll wait!".

Thus, by 1929, Edgar's earnings were almost £50,000 per annum, (equivalent to about £2 million in current terms).

His diet consisted allegedly of over 20 cups of sugary tea and four packets of cigarettes a day, to which he attributed his writing success with the wry comment that such a regime should provide "'sufficient inspiration for anyone'".

At the time of his death, Edgar had been earning £50,000 a year for over two years, yet incredibly was indebted for more than £140,000 and did not have any cash to his name.

Posthumously, Wallace's most famous work would be one he never got the chance to see: Out of the many scripts he'd penned for RKO, Merian C. Cooper's "gorilla picture" would have the most lasting influence, becoming the classic 1933 King Kong.

As far as I can tell, there isn't an even vaguely recent biography. This is crazy, surely.

 * Context: I think the Olympics will be smashing. I just hate the opening/closing ceremony nonsense. I'm all about the games.
** One of my very favourite examples of 'citation needed'

1 comment:

becca.wickens said...

There was also a running joke in the 20s about people waiting for "the noonday Wallace".