Lucy Caldwell: The Story So Far

Share

I read the most incredible novel this week. It's called Angel and is set around the turn of the 19th century, about a 15-year-old who lives above a grocer's shop but dreams that she is born of aristocracy fallen on hard times. Angel writes a preposterous book - all lords and ladies and champagne, peacocks strutting on lawns and butlers with white gloves - and although it is florid and ridiculous, a London publisher accepts it on the hunch that it may well prove to be a comic bestseller.

Angel came recommended by two of my literary heroines, one of whom I met on the film set of Blake Morrison's wonderful memoir, And When Did You Last See Your Father?. We were sitting in the green room sharing the literary sections of the Saturday supplements for a good 10 minutes before recognising each other. The scene was an award ceremony circa 1985; I was in a strapless, tight-bodiced, shiny black-and-fuchsia satin confection, four-inch stilettos, purple lipstick and eyeshadow and a back-combed side-ponytail. (I only admit this because the chances of anyone actually identifying me on celluloid are negligible. Hitherto, incidentally, the pinnacle of my acting career has been on Radio 4, as the sound of a corpse with rigor mortis being massaged prior to embalming. But that's a whole other story.)

So, this writer, who as she will be similarly unrecognisable shall remain nameless, sang the praises of Angel. As soon as I finished it, I e-mailed my lovely friend Nick, a playwright and literary agent. "It's devastatingly brilliant," I enthused. "And you'll never guess who it's by: Elizabeth Taylor, of all people, who'd've thought it?!"

Lovely Nick e-mailed back: "Um, Luce," he wrote, tactfully, "I don't think she's the Elizabeth Taylor you're thinking of..." It turns out that Angel, recently reprinted by Virago, is being made into a $15m film by François Ozon, starring Romola Garai, and is by another "Elizabeth Taylor" altogether: Buckinghamshire-bred, née Coles.

Thus was I saved from many an embarrassing faux pas in literary company. But I can't quite get over my disappointment that the book wasn't scribbled in violet ink by the star of Lassie Come Home, in between filming Cleopatra and Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?.

Following my own brief foray on to the silver screen, I rushed across London to meet a friend at a concert, having made a frantic and futile attempt to scrub my face clean with babywipes in a mirror-less loo. Luckily, it was Rachmaninov's Vespers, sung by two choirs dressed in purple, in a Gothic church lit only by candles. And so the matte pan foundation, mauve eyeshadow and indelible traces of magenta lipstick - worthy almost of Angel's imaginary excesses - didn't look so out of place, after all.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: A royal serving the nation

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
David Cameron met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko prior to the start of the European Council Summit in Brussels last month  

David Cameron talks big but is waving a small stick at the Russian bear

Kim Sengupta
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn