Thank you, Jo, for inviting me to take part in this fabulous blog. Music, as well as books, has always played a major part in my life: from growing up with German folk songs and classical music to marrying a part-time DJ. From Saturday mornings listening to Children’s Favourites and Sunday lunch over Family Favourites on the radio and teenage years those of the 1960s and 70s, to right up to this very day. Thus love, life, family and memories are sealed by music – the happy and the sad. So, where to begin? A German song or the first 45 single I bought (Adam Faith)? The Beach Boys, Moody Blues, The Faces, or Keith Relf’s Renaissance? …The list is endless.
For my first choice, I’ve picked music from the late 1960s. What an era it that was with so many fantastic songs and bands out there. Living in London and having a music-mad boyfriend who became a part-time DJ, I was spoilt with shows, nightclubs and concerts and discos a constant happening. One big favourite was Fleetwood Mac. I’ve chosen the instrumental Albatross because it bringing back happy memories of warm summer days and sultry nights, of being allowed to stay out all night for the first time to attend a midnight concert at the Lyceum Ballroom, London where Fleetwood Mac, among many others were playing that night.
It was also back in the 1960s I came across folk singer Ralph McTell, a prolific and gifted songwriter whose style invites you into a unique world, weaving narrative that tugs on your heart, songs and music that are significant, poignant and sometimes amusing. It’s impossible for me to pick a favourite but this one, Let Me Down Easy, holds particular meaning from when my first marriage broke apart. However, Ralph’s music and songs have always been there for me, and always will be.
When I moved to Gloucestershire in the mid 1970s, I thought I would lose the concerts I habitually frequented in London. Thankfully, I was wrong. Bristol has two fantastic concert venues, the Colston Hall and the Hippodrome, and I was fortunate to attend both many times to see and hear Ralph McTell, Status Quo, Queen, Stevie Millar Band, Rod Stewart and the Faces, Mike Harding, Inspirational Choir and many, many more. It was at this time I also met (at a dance) the man who is my husband now for 40+ years, and no play list would be complete without “Our Song”. For us, it’s Just the Way You Are by Barry White. I was never a great fan of Barry’s but this song says it all. It has to be his version, mind. The original and other covers don’t do it for us.
The 1970s and beyond has been filled with wonderful singers, bands and music. George Michael, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd, the Eagles, ELO, Stevie Wonder, Abba and so much more. Amongst all of these the passion for classical music held strong, with many a summer evening enjoying what became a family tradition of open-air classical picnic concerts. Milton Keyes Bowl provided a regular location for music, song and fireworks. From Duxford airfield to the majestic grounds of Berkeley Castle, we much preferred listening to the Three Tenors than the Three Degrees. One piece in particular was a firm favourite of my family, one which we also played at my father’s funeral: the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni. From its melancholy start to the heart-tugging end, it took many years before I was able to listen to this again without the tears welling. But time heals.
Throughout all of the music world there is but one singer who can make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. He came to the fore about 20 years ago with a voice often described as “The voice of an angel” and “If God could sing, he would sound like this.” Who? The one and only Andrea Bocelli, of course. His songs helped me through long convalescence when I was first struck down with a now life-long medical condition. His songs also bring back wonderful memories of holidays shared with my mother and two beloved sisters, of lying on sun-drenched Greek beaches with the beach bars close by playing his CDs. Utter bliss. Again, it difficult to choose which song from the many. Bocelli often duets with other singers, ie Celine Dion, Sarah Brightman, John Miles, his wife and even his son, but last year he duetted with another of my favourites: Ed Sheeran. A double whammy! Thus for my last shout I have included Perfect Symphony. Oh my, those hairs are on end again.
Music, in particular, classical music, is at the heart of Kit Domino’s forthcoming novel: White Stones, a haunting story of love and music transcending the barriers of time, featuring a relatively unknown real-life composer and one of his works rarely heard in the UK. In no way a frightening read, this novel may change your mind about the supernatural and how the world around us works.
Due for release on 1 June 2019, it is available for pre-order on Amazon as an ebook, and will be available in paperback shortly thereafter.
Excerpt from White Stones
Disjointed notes faded in and out. Gone one moment, there the next – faint strands of music drifting up from downstairs. Cursing herself for having left the radio on, Penny Cornwall tossed down her book, threw back the duvet and reached for her dressing gown draped across the bottom of the bed.
On opening the bedroom door, the music became a fraction louder. Chords rose and fell, but the bars were incomplete, vague fragments of sound that lacked coherence. Head tilted, she listened for a moment before groping the wall for the light switch. The narrow stairwell flooded with harsh cold light.
As she reached the last few treads, one foot poised in mid-air, the music ceased. Her heart and mood lifted. He’s back!
“Harry! I didn’t expect you home yet. Why didn’t you ring? I’d have waited up.” She hurried down the remaining stairs. “Harry?”
No answer came. The only sound was the steady ticking of the grandfather clock by the front door.
“Harry? Harry, is that you?”
Skin prickling with fear, all thoughts transformed into the shape of someone lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce on her. Shivering against the cold sweat now trickling down her back, a vision played out in her mind. Of Alex, her estranged husband, creeping about in the darkness. Hiding. Waiting. Ready to pounce. Choosing this night, knowing she was alone, to break in and drag her back to London. Punishment for running out on him.
“Alex? Alex, is that you? Don’t do this to me!”
The solid oak front door shook in its frame, straining against a force trying to wrench it open. Her eyes flew first to the top bolt, then to the bottom one. Both were firmly shot.
If it isn’t Harry or Alex, then who the hell is it?
“I know you’re there, I’ve got a gun!”
Kit Domino’s childhood was spent in West London alongside the banks of the River Thames, with Richmond, Kew and Osterley parks as her extended playgrounds. Living in South Gloucestershire, and now retired, she spends much of her time writing and reading, and travelling, especially to the Greek Islands which inspire much of her work. She writes in several genres including sagas, timeslip and mystery/paranormal. In 2004 she was shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize with her 1950s London story Every Step of the Way.
As well as a keen gardener, Kit is a keen cook and food blogger as well as being an international selling acrylic artist and tutor.
White Stones: https://amzn.to/2W8adMH
Every Step of the Way: https://amzn.to/2u8lOlj
Kit’s Kitchen: https://kitdominoshowcase.wordpress.com
Kit Domino Art: https://kitdominoart.wordpress.com/
You will also find Kit on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram