Sunday, September 6, 2020

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One Hundred Views of NW3 by Pat Jourdan - Book Blitz



One Hundred Views of NW3


Arriving in London with £5, Stella rapidly begins hopping from one disastrous job, bedsit and boyfriend to another. All the time she is trying to paint pictures and write poetry. At last she gets a place in Hampstead but various men distract her from reaching the goal of holding an exhibition. An ever-changing group of friends moves her along from place to place. After each drawback Stela moves on, disaster after disaster, while the tally of of pictures shrinks to 36. Set in the heady days of 1960s Swinging London, this vividly charts one girl's track through the untidy years at its height.

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Excerpt
Stella and Dave have met and fallen in love at a party in Hampstead where they were working as bar staff. It is New Year’s Day. (This was a working day in England until the 1970s.)

They woke to a warm January morning.
“It’s like spring,” Stella said contentedly.
“No wonder! This thing’s been on all night” Dave said, standing next to the arty oil stove with its black casing and decorative legs. He switched it off and wriggled into his clothes, “You want some tea?”  Yes, she did. He shambled off to the kitchen, empty now as the others in the flat had gone off to work already. It was New Year’s Day now, still a work day and only the unemployed and students were left, and that covered both of them. Dave and Stella had spent the night in a combination of reading T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland and making love. The sex was easy but the poetry was more of an effort. That was as much as she could remember, it was rather a blur. The book was still there, shoved under the pillow of his single bed. Her black waitress dress was slung over the bottom of the bed along with the rest of her scattered underclothes.
They had met at a party in Hampstead Sports Club where they were both working as bar staff.  If you could fall in love at a sink, washing wine glasses, then anything vaguely romantic was possible.
“Look, can you hurry up? I need more clean glasses right now!” she had said, and then really looked at the classic tall dark and handsome lad next to her. A Buddy Holly lookalike. He pulled a face and then grinned,
“OK, that’s as soon as the next tray appears.” After that they started to work in harmony with each other, while strains of bright music reached them from the dance floor. The party went on until two in the morning when the special drinks licence ended. During the tidying up, after draping wet towels across the taps and sorting out the broken glass into the bins, Dave turned to Stella and said,
“Do you know the wild feeling where you can have anything you want, and then you give up the belief and you can’t have it?” It was nonsense but   she deciphered that he as talking about herself and himself leaving the place together.
So after tidying up, Stella searched around the crowd and said a rushed goodbye to Dot. She went off into the New Year’s Day pre-dawn cold wind with Dave. They walked past Dot’s flat over the chess-players’ café at South End Green, the café windows empty now in the grey light.


Author Bio
Pat Jourdan trained as a painter at Liverpool College of Art -some of her paintings can be seen on Saatchi.com. Always balancing writing with painting, she has won the Molly Keane Short Story Award, second in the Michael McLaverty Short Story Award, and various other prizes. One Hundred Views of NW3 is her fourth novel.
“ I am used to producing a painting from start to finish and self-publishing gives the same creative possibility. It has the same excitement, the change from private to public.”


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