Wednesday, 8 May 2013

A rose by any other name

Caroline tells everybody she hasn't read the book. That didn't stop her from thinking that she should decide what the title should be.

When you start committing anything to virtual ink, you have to give the file a name. I collected together the emails, video clips, camera phone snaps, Sid's files, Caroline's notes, and my investigations into a folder called Bluebell, the name Caroline had given herself when she wished she was someone else.

When I had stitched the diverse material together, written the links, split it into chapters, and put the events into a coherent order which they seemed to have lacked at the time they happened, I racked my brains for a title that would sum it all up neatly. I made the mistake of asking Caroline if she had any suggestions.

After a couple of glasses of wine she becomes quite attached to her super-confident alter ego, Bluebell. She decided Bluebell Saves the Eurozone would be perfect. I pointed out that, whilst she had a part of play in the great events surrounding European integration, it was stretching things a bit to attribute the success of the project to one woman's strange relationship with a prominent banker.

"Okay then," she said, Bluebell Goes Banking."
"That could be easily misread or misunderstood," I said.
"If you didn't want my opinion, why did you ask me?"
"How about Bluebell the Honey Trap?"
"Robert, you're not suggesting..."
"I'm not suggesting anything except a snappy title. You travel a lot. What about Caroline Takes Off?"
"Ha bloody ha! My clothes, you mean. I think you shouldn't lose the politics. If you want snappy, how does Euro Bondage strike you?"

The level of argument deteriorated and Caroline, still not completely comfortable with the role her friend Antonia plays in the book, said words to the effect of If you're dismissing all my suggestions why don't you ask Antonia what she thinks? To which I replied, grabbing my phone for effect, All right, I will then.

Antonia was delighted to be asked her opinion, but said she needed time to think about it, and why didn't I call in tomorrow on my way home from work. I asked her to just say the first thing that came into her mind and she said Strip Time, Caroline, referring to Bluebell's debut performance at Spanish Knights. For some reason, Caroline was even less happy with this suggestion, so I thanked Antonia and rang off.

"The trouble with you, Robert, is that you're just shameless. Most people would try and cover this all up, not make it public. But you have this ridiculous ambition to be a writer and you won't let anything stand in your way, not even my delicate sensibilities."

A Delicate Sensibility would have been wildly misleading, so the book became Shameless Ambition.

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Who are these people?

The world is divided into voyeurs and exhibitionists... It takes one of each to make a good marriage.

Robert and Caroline Fanshaw are an ambitious young couple trying to make their way in a complex world.

What happens when their private affairs collide with world events and the big issues of our times? Drama, comedy and x-rated scenes.