Thursday 21 September 2017

My culture life: Kate Beaufoy

Kate Beaufoy as Kate Thompson
Kate Beaufoy as Kate Thompson
Bette Davis

Kate Beaufoy also writes as Kate Thompson. Her most recent novel The Gingerbread House is her fifteenth and her last (Another Heartbeat in the House) was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards. A former actress, Kate was a recipient of the Dublin Theatre Festival Best Actress award. She lives some of the year in Dublin, some on the west coast and is a swimmer, a keen practitioner of Bikram yoga, and has a bewitching Burmese cat.

Film: All About Eve

Bette Davis

All About Eve is the only film in Oscar history to receive four female acting nominations. Bette Davis (above) is on top diva-esque form in this backstage drama of ambition, jealousy, vanity and hubris. It boasts whip-smart dialogue and some memorable one-liners: once seen, who could forget Davis's curled lip as she warns her party guests to fasten their seatbelts? The elegance of the costumes by legendary designer Edith Head matches that of the script.

Artist: Eithne Jordan

My favourite painting is an oil-on-canvas by my friend, the artist Eithne Jordan. In hazy shades of aquamarine and violet, it depicts an interior in her house in the South of France, where I once spent an idyllic month working on a novel. I first saw and fell in love with the painting when it was at the RHA but it was out of my price range. Upon receiving a windfall, I rang Eithne only to be told that 'the bedroom painting' had just gone into a show in Paris. I urged her to put a red dot on it for me before someone else did, and it now hangs on my own bedroom wall.

TV: Coast


I have been addicted to the series Coast (above) since it started. I love everything about it - Nicholas Crane's umbrella, Mark Horton's OTT enthusiasm, Neil Oliver's backward walking as he talks to camera in his gorgeous Scottish accent. I love the lush theme tune, the dizzying aerial photography and the endless waves crashing against jagged cliffs.

Book: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes


Dubbed the 'soubrette of satire', Anita Loos, a wisecracking, fast-talking Hollywood screenwriter, drafted this novel in a series of Harper's Bazaar sketches about a wannabe movie actress called Lorelei Lee. On publication, it became an instant bestseller. Fans included literary giants such as James Joyce and Edith Wharton. and the book is now firmly established as a jazz-age classic. When I reread it - as I often do to cheer myself up - it is inevitably with Marilyn Monroe's (above in the film) voice in my head. Who else could deliver the line "I can be smart when it's important, but most men don't like it" with such disingenuous panache?

Composer: Brian Eno

The perfect mix of hushed melodies and fragile, robotic lullabies, Brian Eno's Another Day on Earth was top of my playlist when I went through my cancer year. Like an aural security blanket it accompanied me everywhere; I fell asleep to it, woke up to it. I have only listened to it once since finishing my treatment.

The Gingerbread House by Kate Beaufoy is published by Black & White.

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