Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Agatha Christie and Funny the Way it Is

I listened to a radio program last Sunday on the CBC Radio One program called "The Sunday Edition" which in its 3rd hour featured Agatha Christie. We all know that her name is synonymous with the crime mystery novel. However, did you know, according to Wiki, that she has the distinction of being the best selling author of all time, right beside Shakespeare and trailing behind only the Bible? Quite an accolade!

Not only did she write sone of the most famous crime novels in all time, she was also very prolific. Aside from the 63 detective novels for which she is best known, and 163 short stories, she also wrote a series of romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, 19 stage plays, 2 autobiographical works and some poetry. Her stage play, The Mousetrap, holds the record of the longest initial run in the world and is even today being performed at 10s of thousands of playhouses around the world!

I am always very interested in learning about people who are well known and understanding what made/makes them tick. I am not particularly a reader of crime fiction, but of course everyone has read (or watched at least a TV re-run of) Murder on the Orient Express or one of her other well known novels or the film adaptations, so I was particularly interested in understanding more about this woman who was able to be so prolific and creative in this genre.

It was an interesting hour long interview/discussion which included some recently found audio recordings, left behind by Agatha after her death in 1976 and recently found by the late author's grandson as he was clearing out "stuff". There were 13 hours of autobiographical thoughts and reflections which have been used by the Christie biographer, Laura Thompson, who has recently published her book, Agatha Christie an English Mystery.

The hour provided a great deal of insight into the person and the major bookmarks in her life, for instance, the heartbreak that led to her disappearance for 10 days in 1926 when her husband confessed infidelity and left her for another woman. She was from an era long gone, BritishMiddle/Upper Class of the Victorian era. I found it quite intriguing to hear about her life.

If you would like to listen to the hour long program go here.

Funny the Way it Is
Those of you who read my blogs regularly might recall that I attended a Dave Mathews concert last month. Go here if you want to read the blog about the band and the concert - please note that I have updated that blog with the lyrics of the feature song - I was remiss for not including them earlier. They are so poetic and convey something which I can relate to.

His new album, Big Whiskey and the GooGrux Kin and the song, Funny the Way it is has been getting a good amount of air play.

His songs are all musically complex and interesting, even if you do not get the same sense of the music from his recordings as you do from a live performance. His band is known for live renditions which are long and very improvisational and so the recordings of his songs (unless one of the "live from" concert albums) are decidedly inferior to those you might hear live.

I am also attracted to Dave Mathews the song writer as his lyrics are very poetic (which is why I went back and added the song lyrics to the previous post). Aside from the song itself, the lyrics of this song focuses on the vast differences in the human experience at any given moment in time. There are great contrasts in the quality of lives being lived and feelings experienced by individuals and yes, funny the way this is...

Funny the Way it is
Dave Mathews from

Lying in the park on a beautiful day
Sunshine in the grass and the children play
Sirens pass and fire engine red
Someone’s house is burning down
On a day like this
And evening comes and were hanging out
On the front step and a car goes
By with the windows rolled down
And that war song is playing
Why can’t we be friends?
Someone is screaming and crying
In the apartment upstairs

"Funny the way it is"
If you think about it
Somebody’s going hungry
And someone else is eating out
Funny the way it is, not right or wrong
Somebody’s heart is broken
And it becomes your favorite song

The way your mouth feels
In a lovers kiss
Like a pretty bird on a breeze
Or water to a fish
A bomb blast brings a building
Crashing to the floor
Hear the laughter
While the children play war

Funny the way it is
If you think about it
One kid walks 10 miles to school
Another’s dropping out
Funny the way it is, not right or wrong
On a soldier’s last breath
His baby is being born

Standing on a bridge
Watch the water passing under me
It must have been much harder
When there was no bridge just water

1 comment:

  1. I have yet to read a novel or a short story by Agatha Christie, but I will invariably sit down when a film or other production based on one of her tales appears on television. For whatever the reason, I do not enjoy reading mysteries, but I cannot stay away from the visual productions. Ms. Christie must have been a fascinating person to sit down with and discuss her work and the craft of writing.

    Neither have I been a particular fan of the Dave Matthews Band, but I do enjoy the music when it happens to come around on the radio. Thanks for the musical insight, Peggy.


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