My cultural life... author Claudia Carroll
Claudia Carroll was born in Dublin, where she still lives and works as a theatre and TV actress. She's also a top 10-bestselling author in the UK and a No.1 bestselling author in Ireland. To date, she's published 14 novels, four of which have been optioned - two for movies and two for TV. Our Little Secret is out now, published by Avon, (HarperCollins) and her 15th novel, Secrets of Primrose Square, will be published in hardback in the UK and Ireland this summer. Claudia stars in the Irish hit comedy BOOM? by Isobel Mahon running at the Gaiety Theatre from March 26-31.
Without a doubt, Casablanca (above). Because it's got everything. It's an epic love story, a comedy, a musical in parts, a spy espionage thriller and a bromance. To think that when it was filmed, the war was still raging and no one knew who'd win? Now that's courageous filmmaking, although apparently they wanted Ronald Reagan to play the Humphrey Bogart part, so I'll just leave you with that image.
Painter: Tom Ryan
My Dad loves artist Tom Ryan - and for an, ahem, 'significant birthday' I celebrated recently, he gifted me one of his paintings. It's a gorgeous picture of a hotel in NYC that our family stayed in one time and it's all very Noo-Yawk-y and cool and I just treasure it. A happy memory of a very happy time.
Photographer: Cecil Beaton
I always used to think of Cecil Beaton as the aul fella who photographed the Queen Mother and made her look like a giant marshmallow in human form. Then I saw an exhibition of his in London and it just blew me away; his photos of Marlene Dietrich (above) and Twiggy and the swinging Sixties are just so achingly cool. With not a marshmallow in sight.
Play: The Unmanageable Sisters
I saw The Unmanageable Sisters at the Abbey last week and it completely blew me away. You know when you come out of a show and you just want to punch the air, then tell everyone you know to go and see it? Yeah. That. All I can tell you is that it's set in the 1970s and involves Green Shield Stamps, (remember them?) a girl's night in and some of the sharpest observational comedy you'll ever see. Pure theatrical magic.
Author: Jane Austen
Anything and everything by Jane Austen, (above) because if you ask me, women's commercial fiction began with her. If Jane was alive today, my guess is she'd be a screenwriter living in Brooklyn and writing Greta Gerwig-style meaty roles for the ladies along with bang-on sketches for Saturday Night Live. To think that she wrote Pride & Prejudice at the age of 21? I could barely cross the street at that age.
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