Belated Birthday Celebrations to Three of my Favourite Ladies
Around this time of year, I close into the last of my immediate family’s birthdays and it has been a busy busy few months. My dad’s birthday is in September, brother’s is in October, big sis is in November, me and my twin’s birthday is the week before Christmas, then Christmas flew by and now we are coming up to my mother’s birthday at the end of January.
Whilst reflecting over the barrage of birthday, lists, pressies, wrapping paper and card buying, I remembered some of the birthdays I had missed in 2015 and boy, did I miss some biggies! So in the New Year spirit, I would like to reflect over the milestone birthdays of some of my favourite women. My own belated celebrations to some of the faces that have shaped and influenced the world.
September 15th 1890
2015 was the 125th anniversary and celebration of the life of one of the worlds most famous mystery writers. There are far and few people I would like to think do not know the wonderful Agatha Christie. Most people know her either from her fantastic selection of books or from David Suchet’s portrayal of one of her most famous characters, Hercule Poirot in the ITV television series.
Christie published her first novel in 1920 with “The Mysterious Affair At Styles” (which also introduced the character Poirot) and was an instant hit. Each new release went from strength to strength and the rest is history! Her novel “And Then There Were None” is one of the best selling novels of all time having sold over 100 million copies and has been recently adapted for television in an absolutely fantastic three part drama by the BBC.
Many of her novels other have been adapted for tv, be it one off seasons such as Partners in Crime featuring Call the Midwife star Jessica Raine and Little Britian’s David Walliams or long running classics with her famous elderly sleuth, Miss Jane Marple. As well as her books, Christie also wrote plays, holding the record for the world longest running play with “Mouse Trap”.
Agatha Christie’s legacy of murder, mystery and thrillers are enjoyed by all, influencing thousands of aspiring writers and 1971, was honoured by the Queen, giving her the title of Dame Agatha Christie for her contribution to Literature. Considered one of the best selling
authors of all time, Christie is the Grandmother of crime novels
16th October 1925
On the subject of sleuths and murder… this moves me well onto my next birthday gal, for we all know good ol’ J.B Fletcher, mystery writer extraordinaire of Cabot Cove, Maine. Yes. Murder She Wrote. (One of my all time favourite tv shows and am currently working my way through every episode) Angela Lansbury began a life long relationship with the character Jessica Fletcher in 1984, with the show spanning over ten years and twelve seasons!
Lansbury is one of the great actresses of our time playing iconic roles such as the apprentice witch Miss Eglantine Price in Disney’s “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”, her fantastic, unhinged Mrs Lovett in the first stage versions of “Sweeney Todd” and of course, Mrs Potts in “Beauty and the Beast”; with her rendition of the title song going on to win the academy award for best original song.
Her first film performance was in the 1944 movie Gaslight and was followed swiftly the year after with the release of “The Picture of Dorian Grey”, earning her two Oscar nominations and a golden globe award.
As well as a career in film, Lansbury also went to Broadway in the late 50’s and has continued on the stage over the last 60 years, her most recent production in London’s West End with Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” in 2014 ( which I may add, was fantastic to see her prancing around a stage when she was just about to hit 90). This won her an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2013 the Academy awards bestowed Lansbury with a Honours award and in 2014 she was promoted from a CBE to becoming a Dame. Still going strong at 90, I cannot wait to see what the next year has in-store for the great Dame Angela Lansbury.
Alice (From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) 1865
Lewis Carroll’s fantasy story of a girl named Alice falling down a rabbit hole must be one of the most well known tales of all time. Chasing a fluffy white rabbit with a waistcoat, Alice follows him down the rabbit hole and finds herself in Wonderland, meeting strange and peculiar characters along her journey, such as the iconic Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and of course The Queen of Hearts.
The story has been adapted many times, in film with Disney’s classical Alice in Wonderland and Tim Burton’s more CGI approach; but also for video games such as American Mc Gee’s Alice, a psychological horror game and Alice: Madness Returns.
One of the biggest influences the story has had, would be that on general day to day culture and artists. Be that fancy dress, tea parties, drug culture and food. The list of illustrators and artists who take inspiration from the story is endless, some of which include fashion photographers Tim Walker and Annie Leibovitz.
The British Library currently hosts an exhibition showcasing art work influenced by Lewis Carroll’s tale which even includes work by Salvador Dali.
Alice is a story that is one of the greats of children’s books, which will carry on influencing creative minds and be re told for many more years to come.
Words by Molly Caenwyn