This is the foreword to the new e-book edition of CORONET AMONG THE GRASS just republished as an e-book on Amazon and Kindle.
It was a sequel to CORONET AMONG THE WEEDS and tells how I first met TERENCE and subsequently married him.
CORONET AMONG THE GRASS
I remember so very well when this delightfully funny book was written. Being Clever Drawers, I should do, but I’ll resist making any Clever-Drawer-ish sort of remarks here. All I will say that having just finished preparing this second volume of my beloved wife and partner’s youthful autobiography to me it is still as fresh and totally original as the day it was written. The one thing it is not is one however, is one of the things it was claimed to be when it was first published, that is brilliant. No – it is more than that. It is quite, quite brilliant.
Comedy is a hard task master. The great Mel Brooks once described it as sitting and staring at a blank sheet of typing paper until your forehead bleeds and that is something I saw every day when the young Charlotte Bingham was writing this slim volume. At the time I was out working as an actor (see below) and I would return home every evening to find the author sequestered in her first floor study surrounded by what is known in the trade as her crumples. Crumples are writers’ discards. They are the sheets of paper ripped untimely from authors’ typewriters either to be hurled furiously in the rough direction of the waste paper basket or trash can (U.S) or simply tossed aside on to the floor. This particular author’s habit was to rip and toss so that by the time I got home her study was ankle deep in a blizzard of crumpled A4.
These 150 odd pages took her six months and twenty reams of Croxley’s finest to write. A good day was a page. A moderate day was two paragraphs. A bad one was two lines. A stinker was a blank and a room knee deep in furiously crinkled paper. Yet what emerged from this blizzard of paper and furiously hammered keys was a work that floats like gossamer – that is as light on its feet as an angel dancing, that is as seemingly effortless as a Federer backhand.
Above all it is wonderfully and truly funny and I am not saying this without good evidence. This book was published over forty five years ago to great acclaim – not just from the critics who incidentally did actually love it but from the many thousand readers who bought it and sent it shooting up to the top of the Best Selling charts. Finally it was bought and commissioned as the basis for a television series by LWTV called No Honestly , starring John Alderton as CD (Clever Drawers) and Pauline Collins as Clara as the newly-weds. It was possibly the first major comedy series written by a husband and wife team and starring a husband and wife team and such was its success that at one point it even toppled the great Morecombe and Wise from the Number One spot.
There’s a scene in the famous and now historic Dick Van Dyke show where Dick Van Dyke who plays a television scriptwriter writing for an unseen actor called oddly enough Alan Brady comes into his office and has his suspicions roused when he finds screwed up typing paper in his trash can. His colleagues try to allay his fears by pretending the discards belong to them but Van Dyke won’t have it. ‘No,’ he says, examining the trashed script. ‘No you’re not fooling me. I know whose these are. These are Alan’s crumples.’ To this day I can still recognise Charlotte’s crumples. I only wish I’d kept them all because instead of just two editions of Coronets we’d probably have a whole shelf full to keep us so blissfully entertained.
Terence Brady Hardway House.
(P.S. I'm hoping to post a FREE READ page later today)