poems chosen by P. L. Travers, photographs by teamgloria

darlings

while “winding down” (makes us sound like a Clock – *ironiclooktocamera*) this evening we listened to the Radio from 1977 (so Clever, these digital devices all connected to the interweb).

P. L. Travers (Pamela, as we like to call her) regaled us with her stories of magic and Mary Poppins and the Celtic Twilight and life growing up in Australia many moons ago.

and in a surprising twist (not that Surprising when one of course considers the Source) – she chose not Music (as is usual in the programme – and we use the British spelling advisedly) but POEMS.

how glorious.

and so we thought we’d list some of them here for you – together with a few photographs of our own which are no way related (as far as we know but with P.L. Travers would wouldn’t be surprised – and she did live in America for a while so perhaps she trod these paths too….)

Los Angeles Times: April 25th, 1996 
Travers often said her famous character sought her out.

In a 1970 speech at Scripps College in Claremont when she was a writer-in-residence, she said she “happened to be there at the moment [Poppins appeared] in order to take it down.”

Travers was also writer-in-residence at Radcliffe College from 1965-66 and at Smith College in 1966.

She was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1977.

Travers, who never married, lived in London’s Chelsea district, where she prided herself on her rose garden, complete with the yellow Mary Poppins and the crimson Pamela Travers roses.

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

home

T S Eliot 
Little Gidding

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.

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Cymbeline by William Shakespeare

“Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o’ the great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke:
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

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Chose Something Like A Star – Robert Frost

It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

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“This is our country, nowhere else and we shall not be outcast on the world.” John Hewitt, The Outcast

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and this is a photograph we feel sure P. L. Travers would have enjoyed – we turned round a corner (in reality, not metaphorically, but we know it’s hard to tell Here) and saw this man trimming a topiary! how delicious!

we were going to say Only In Los Angeles but actually topiary is terribly British but perhaps not that many giraffes at Chatsworth*.

what’s that?

you’d like a giraffe topiary in Your garden?

you have a garden?

why have you not sent us pictures (links please!) – we adore a garden (sadly we don’t have one – but there is a swimming pool and plenty of succulents-in-pots so we are not lacking in anyway)

back to You *winningsmile*

here’s where to buy a giraffe topiary frame of your very own.

*actually we must not slander Chatsworththe Duchess had a Christmas festive topiary Educational experience for the Public back in 2011

Table centre and topiary tree 2 and 5 December
Design a festive table centre with a nostalgic Victorian theme using elegant candles, berries, evergreens, cones, nuts and spices. This workshop also looks at designing a spiced topiary tree with cones, cinnamon, gilded nuts, fragrant Norwegian blue spruce and wonderful preserved fruits.

one last photograph from today –

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAah yes.

*sighs*

to live somewhere like that.

but in its natural habitat – in the south of France (this is a house in beverly hills which is contrasted with the house next door that looks like something from the Rule of the Medici family and the one over the road hails distinctly – but on a whole other scale – from Somewhere in the Shires of England).

but there again – we’d be happy anywhere.

that’s the point, right?

*calmBuddhaPose*

btw (as the Young People say) did you know there’s a new Film about P. L. Travers at the cinema soon?

guess who’s playing the charming yet feckless Father-of-P.L.-Travers drowning in the celtic twilight poetry of his own twisted glorious imagination?

who else?

quiet nights and slow mornings of writing inspired deliciously by others.

darlings

there’s something so completely delicious about turning-in-early and waking-up-rested.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwe had no idea how well we could feel.

you see it took So Long to get here since you-know-what.

but we regret nothing (well, there are a Few Things, but even those most probably Built Character – *coughs*)

cultural note:

just in case you were wondering what we are listening to on that digital device to the right of the photograph above….

it was Jennifer Saunders on a vintage edition of Desert Island Discs from 1996 and YOU can listen to that here.

because Jennifer Saunders has influenced us Almost as much as Noel Coward and Anita Loos.

for reasons that might not appear obvious at first but when you take-a-moment (and possibly scratch your nose or take what Eddie Izzard calls “strokey-beard-time”) you’ll see why.

or not.

sometimes we’re not sure why or who or what we’re doing at all.

and on other days (like today) it all seems delightfully possible and Most Delicious.

especially when we do a little Light Consulting (and pitching writing work) in the Morning and have an  e n t i r e  afternoon and evening ahead (interrupted most deliciously at 3PM with tea with-a-new-LA-acquaintance) with the Muses of the classical ancient world fallen-to-modern-day-Hollywood.

the adaptation is beginning – we’re still reading through the screenplay we wrote but today we start to flesh it out into a Novel.

EXT. DONAL BAY BEACH – NEXT DAY

Calliope emerges from the surf and walks up the beach, past couples making out on the sand, past the lifeguard station.

CALLIOPE
Donal Bay – center of the life coach business – where new muses are born, apparently.

She raises an ironic eyebrow, grins, and looks around.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
It’s time for the big reveal.

She touches the emerald bracelet on her wrist and one of the stones lights up.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
Showtime, baby.

A lifeguard stands up and sees her.

LIFEGUARD
Hey man, where did you spring from?

CALLIOPE
Man?

She looks down at her body and confirms she is female.

LIFEGUARD
It’s like you just appeared out of thin air.

CALLIOPE
The air isn’t thin. It is multi-dimensional.

LIFEGUARD
Do you want to grab a beer later? Can I have your number?

CALLIOPE
My number? First of the Nine.

She walks up the beach and into the grove of palm trees.

INT. DONAL BAY LIFE COACH INSTITUTE LOBBY – MOMENTS LATER

A very perky receptionist is trying to create order.

RECEPTIONIST
Everyone please take a number and wait your turn.

Calliope ENTERS. Everyone in the reception area is carrying a copy of the magazine with the “ARE LIFE COACHES THE NEW MUSES?…” headline

CALLIOPE
Good news certainly travels fast.

She walks up to reception.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
How do I become a “life coach”?

RECEPTIONIST
Please take a number and wait.

Calliope opens her hand and has the next number being called.

CALLIOPE
Bingo.

The receptionist giggles and points down the hall.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
A relief to see the charm still works on modern humans.

A man and a woman walk down the hall and do a double-take at how beautiful she is. Calliope beams.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
I simply adore being visible.

She checks her emerald bracelet. The light is flickering.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
I had no idea it would take so much energy.

She looks sad and turns the big stone off.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
Perhaps a little undercover work wouldn’t hurt.

People walk by her and don’t see her. She sighs.

EXT. DONAL BAY LIFE COACH INSTITUTE – LATER
Calliope has an armful of text books and CDs. She sits down outside the yoga studio next door and puts her hand on top of each book to draw out the knowledge, nodding occasionally.

CALLIOPE
Interesting principles. Remarkably familiar.

A couple of people walk by.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
No wonder they are not listening to us anymore. They are now pretending to BE us.

She leaves the text books on the table and turns around to see the yoga studio behind.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
At least yoga is still popular.

She looks around Donal Bay’s now almost deserted street. A pretty scene, twilight falling, twinkle lights in palm trees.

CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
I’m going to stay in Donal Bay a while.

INT. LAUNDRY ROOM – DONAL BAY APARTMENT BUILDING – NIGHT

A laundry room inside a partly covered garage under an apartment building four blocks from the ocean. JOHN, 35, is watching LIVY, 35, pretty but understated in yoga gear. Calliope ENTERS – unseen.

LIVY
You can tell we live in Donal Bay, there’s always sand in the dryer.

LIVY stuffs the laundry bag, dreamily.

CALLIOPE
She uses words – like music. I haven’t heard a human do that for so many years.

JOHN
So, back to dating…..

LIVY
I’m still a Venus Fly Trap for the Twisted and Depraved, remember?

JOHN
I do regret saying that. But I heard you had a crush.

LIVY
You did?

JOHN
I did. So spill.

They all EXIT, LIVY carrying her laundry in her arms.

EXT. BACK STAIRS OF APARTMENT BUILDING – MOMENTS LATER

At four blocks from the ocean, the view is inspiring.

LIVY
I am so embarrassed.

JOHN
This sounds promising already.

LIVY
She’s not real.

Calliope listens, with interest.

JOHN
You’ve lost me.

LIVY
She’s on television.

JOHN
What channel?

LIVY
Sci-Fi.

JOHN
Deeply interesting. Playing a human or an alien?

LIVY swats him with her laundry bag. Calliope gets closer.

LIVY
Human.

Calliope shrugs and looks up at the sky with a smile.

JOHN
Well, that’s a relief.

LIVY
But I can’t have a crush on someone on television!

JOHN
We live in Los Angeles. Everyone we know is on television.

They walk inside the apartment building.

dreaming of castaways and discs and books and luxuries #desertislanddiscs

darlings, good morning.

are you having a lovely sunday?

we found ourselves lying on the sofa with the morning coffee and a stack of books, listening to Desert Island Discs….(on air since 1942!) more specifically, to a vintage program/programme featuring the delicious and delightful and Very Naughty Australian Barry Humphries who understands a Few Things about having an alter ego, too, of course.

Desert Island Discs is one of those British Institutions which has now released its Archive (we adore the word Archive) including the choices (alas Not the programme, as yet) from Nancy Spain…..isn’t she smart and clever to include Maud from the redoubtable Joyce Grenfell (“Thank you, children”). 

this is the sort of publicity shot we would like to have for our next chapter.

especially with a lovely BBC microphone*

(*did we tell you we’ve made a few aural appearances on BBC Radio? it was Before we became teamgloria, when we still lived in England – and we never kept a taped copy – it Was a While ago – maybe when we enter the next chapter, we’ll ask the BBC if they still have it…..wouldn’t that be delicious?)

back to Desert Island Discs.

so it got us thinking….

which would be Our 8 choices?

will you indulge us? (if you’ve read thus far, we think you Might – and we bless you for that…)

here goes – with a little colour/color/explanation….but not a great deal as we don’t want to spoil it for the actual moment when we Do get asked.

1. A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procul Harum – we were Very Small when we heard this first and remembering clearly turning over the vinyl and seeing the words:

to be listened to in the spirit in which it was made

ah yes. there were Early Indications of our seeking solace in the dark arts of the forbidden and the destructive, even then.

2. True by Spandau Ballet – this brings back Nervousness about Boarding School – walking to the dreaded dances on a saturday night, clad in taffeta and awkwardly brandishing an Iron Lady lipstick from Miss Selfridge, just in case one had to snog someone later and replenish. (we actually wrote a very meaningful, for us, scene about this era in our movie script – awaiting our next chapter – called Emerald or Running from the Rain, depending on whether movie executives need us to be super-clear or allow euphemism and allusion)

3. La Wally from the soundtrack of Diva – when we first saw the film we collapsed into a heap of longing for Gitanes, running-away-to-Paris, having lovers, a floating blue tank and a bath in the middle of a loft, and gangsters and Love.

4. Texas – I don’t want a lover. (we’d rather Not go into Huge detail here but let’s just say when we played this track on constant repeat we Did want a lover and we got several and it was a case of we didn’t know which gender of lover we wanted – until we did – Enough Said, for now, darlings – giggle)

5. Sister Golden Hair by America – by this point in the (pre) teamgloria story we’d moved to the USA and spent a Lot of Time listening to the radio while driving down Ventura Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway and growing our hair long and getting slim and wearing denim and being a Tiny Bit glamorous and generally Very Californian. #goodMemories

6. Recuerdame – La Quinta Estacion – bringing us Almost up to date, darlings, this track reminds us of when we started doing Lots of International Travel and asked our colleagues in Foreign Lands (before we visited them) to do us a “soundtrack” and this one featured heavily on our Latin America journeys. Isn’t it just operatic and soulful and divine?

7. Super Junior – our first time in Korea blew our mind – we’d never been anywhere so confusing and exhilarating and so reminiscent of the mid-80s yet mixed with Bladerunner  moments and boy bands and girl bands that looked like boy (george) bands in skater skirts from Vivienne Westwood’s collections of puffballs.

8. the final choice (thank you for having us, Kirsty) would have to be one of the songs that inspired us to become teamgloria. We almost chose a Doris Day (as she’s the true inspiration) but nothing beats this one to sum up our happiness and Sheer giggly-ness and joy at becoming who(m) we are now (and becoming next).

So we also get to choose a book and a luxury (in the imaginary appearance on Desert Island Discs).

Book? It has to be a Noel.

and luxury?

an un-ending supply of moleskine and pens that-never-run-out-from-5-star-hotels please.

so we can write.

and we hope we have smuggled a pashmina in our hand luggage to this mystical mythical desert island so we can write on the beach as the waves lap our feet and the stars twinkle above.

not sure what colour/color/shade we’d bring – perhaps this vivid red one which we just bought for our trip to Madrid (as LaVieJetSet starts up again in a matter of weeks)?