My Remarkable Childhood of Music Legends and Mayhem; the WM Interview: Tiffany Murray's New Book, Set in the Hazy Welsh Summer of 1977, Was Inspired by Her Childhood Spent Listening to Famous Rock Musicians Practise in Her Welsh Borders Home. the Novelist Shares Her Fascinating Story with Catherine Jones

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), March 12, 2010 | Go to article overview

My Remarkable Childhood of Music Legends and Mayhem; the WM Interview: Tiffany Murray's New Book, Set in the Hazy Welsh Summer of 1977, Was Inspired by Her Childhood Spent Listening to Famous Rock Musicians Practise in Her Welsh Borders Home. the Novelist Shares Her Fascinating Story with Catherine Jones


Byline: Catherine Jones

interview Tiffany Murray's new book, set in the hazy Welsh summer of 1977, was inspired by her childhood spent listening to famous rock musicians practise in her Welsh borders home. The novelist shares her fascinating story with Catherine Jones AS an only child Tiffany Murray was accustomed to hairy men with guitars and black Marshall amps arriving at her borderland home.

Aged six, she was standing naked in a fishpond - nothing out of the ordinary for a rural child - when a limousine turned up at the Victorian mansion her mother, Joan, shared with her boyfriend at the time.

"County house available," Joan had put in an advert for The Times to drum up some money. "Rehearsal bands. No heavy rock."

Back then, Tiffany - now 40 and the author of a new, second book, Diamond Star Halo - didn't know she was witnessing the arrival of Queen.

The clash of drums and the strum of guitars was a world away from her upbringing.

She had a Great Dane called Cleo and kept a pet bantam in a shoebox at the foot of her bed.

When the band arrived, Tiffany had to decamp to the barn so the roadies could have her attic room.

"Our barn wasn't a luxury conversion," she says. "This was the English/Welsh border of the mid-1970s. It was rats and wet walls, not the World of Interiors."

A senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Glamorgan, Tiffany was told as a child that if she annoyed the bands she had to go away.

And she recalls the British rock group setting up in the house's vast hall, where the acoustics were excellent.

She would sit on the gallery above, her legs dangling from a 20ft drop, listening to the bands practise, resentful that they had come and taken over her patch.

"Mum says Freddie Mercury was a lovely, though shy, man who didn't mind when our cats wandered in," says Tiffany, who remembers the man at the piano as having "fleshy lips and feathered black hair".

One day, Freddie turned to the listening child and asked her if she liked the song they were practising. "It's fantastic," she said, having just heard Bohemian Rhapsody.

When Queen went to record A Night at the Opera at nearby Rockfield Studios, they said 'Can we have Joan to do the cooking?' and Tiffany and her mother took residence at the legendary studios - experiences which have inspired her new book.

She recalls the tantalising dishes - suckling pig and chilli con carne - her mother would make for bands like Motorhead, Squeeze, Simple Minds and Bad Manners. Showaddywaddy was Tiffany's favourite group.

No wonder she felt inspired to write a music-themed novel which acclaimed author Patrick Gale says, "made me smile and feel that life just became several degrees more enchanting".

Described as a seductive story of obsession, loss, love, family, magic and rock 'n' roll, Diamond Star Halo, features a protagonist named Halo Llewellyn, who learnt to walk to T-Rex's 'Get it On' and ends up falling in love with her charismatic adopted brother, Fred.

"When I started writing this book, I was quite nervous about trying to write about something I love so much," says Tiffany.

"When I was little, my step father, Fritz, would play music.

"We would listen to The Flying Burrito Brothers and JJ Cale and that's when I fell in love with the sound of those voices. It's definitely Fritz who educated me in that way."

There were many bands who came to stay and rehearse. Traxx had dyed orange dreadlocks and let her sing "Mary Had a Little lamb" into their microphone.

And Black Sabbath made an appearance too.

But Fritz, who had a huge impact on Tiffany - arrived in her life when a band called Horslips, Ireland's leading rock group of the time, arrived to practise. They called her Tiff and played the flute.

One day, the police showed up, alerted by the Irish number plates just down the road from the SAS base. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

My Remarkable Childhood of Music Legends and Mayhem; the WM Interview: Tiffany Murray's New Book, Set in the Hazy Welsh Summer of 1977, Was Inspired by Her Childhood Spent Listening to Famous Rock Musicians Practise in Her Welsh Borders Home. the Novelist Shares Her Fascinating Story with Catherine Jones
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.