Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Du 'Ave A Du Maurier

Back in the 70's there were a whole load of TV ads for the aperitif Dubonnet [which I have never tasted, although I understand the Queen is very fond of it] The slogan, always in a french accent, was "Du 'Ave A Dubonnet" I suddenly thought about this last week, as I was reading some short stories by Daphne Du Maurier. 
At the beginning of March, I listened to an afternoon play "The Years Between" by Ms DuM [link here] It was really good, a bittersweet yarn set at the end of WW2 - and made even better because the male lead was Roger Allam. He has such a glorious voice, which appeals to females across the generations [I appreciate him as Thursday in Morse, Liz enjoys Mannion 'In the thick of It' and Rosie is fond of 'Sarah and Duck'] So I was in a DM frame of mind, and spotted this book in the Library
I fall asleep easily at the moment- so short stories are a good reading choice.These are 6 tales, first published in the early 50s. [now a Virago Modern Classic] The introduction tells how Alfred Hitchcock was a friend of Gerald DuM, Daphne's father, and followed the young writer's career with interest. He took 3 of her stories [The Birds, Rebecca and Jamaica Inn] and turned them into successful films. 
The Birds was originally set in Cornwall [DMs county] but Hitch transposed it to California [and he messed about with other details too, for 'cinematic purposes'!] It was interesting to read the original story - I think I preferred it. Four of the stories are of similar length, and one is almost twice as long. They have clever, alarming twists, and leave the reader pondering [or shivering]. Half are written in the first person - I enjoyed those most, I think. These are classic Gothic Tales at their best
Yes they are dated in style and vocabulary- but the sloppy prose, and casual profanities of so much modern 'chicklit' irritates me. Sitting in the deckchair after Sunday lunch, soaking up the sunshine and Vitamin D, I revelled in these characters and plots. Short - but by no means sweet *****.
Back to the Dubonnet - one of those ads featured that lovely music "Shepherd's Song" from Chanson D'Auvergne by Canteloube. Tony Osbourne Sound recorded it with soprano Joanna Brown and it got into the charts. At the end of the ad, a french farm cart trundles down the road, with a sleepy, bearded peasant sitting on the back, dangling his feet. [older readers may recall this image] The peasant played by a young musician called Richard Stilgoe earning a few quid as an extra. Now Sir Richard Stilgoehe has a glittering career behind him. Among other things, he has worked on the lyrics for both Starlight Express and Phantom of the Opera. He got his knighthood for charitable works. His dad and grandad were both water engineers, so he has done much to provide fresh water in the third world. In fact, all his royalties from S.E. go to help communities in India have fresh water. Not quite as much as Abba's Chiquitita, or Barrie's Peter Pan - but a fair amount nonetheless [over £150K p.a.]
Du Maurier, Dubonnet - do enjoy some music... [it is Tony's orchestra plying, but I could not find a clip of the original advert, sorry]


  1. "Sarah and Duck" is one of my favorites, too! :D

    1. It is good fun, I watch it with Rosie. Didn't realise you get it in the USA too.

  2. Ah, Ange, you have brought tears to my eyes...my parents loved these Songs From the Auvergne, and had the record. I remember them listening together. Of course, I live not far from part of this beautiful region now.

  3. It looks beautiful - maybe one day I will get to visit


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