Friday, 13 July 2012

Guest blog - Simon Lipson, Song in the Wrong Key

I bring you something slightly different today. I was giggling to myself when I read Simon's post, so this book is going on my to read list!

Michael Kenton is a middle-aged man living in middle-class comfort with wife Lisa and daughters Millie and Katia. Drifting complacently towards retirement, Mike's world is turned upside-down when he is thrown unexpectedly onto the career scrapheap. 

While Lisa's career sky-rockets, Mike slobs around in his track suit playing guitar, rekindling his teenage love affair with pop music. Knowing Lisa wouldn't approve, he plots a secret 'comeback' at a grimy Crouch End bistro where music executive Ben, desperate and out of time, asks if he can enter one of Mike's songs into the Eurovision Song Contest. With nothing to lose, Mike focuses on Eurovision but quickly finds himself staring down the barrel of low level fame. His crumbling marriage now page five news, he must choose between his musical dream and mending his broken family, a task complicated by the re-appearance of ex-love of his life Faye.

A laugh-out-loud comedy about love, family, friendship and Euro- tack by acclaimed stand-up and comedy writer Simon Lipson.


Thank you for inviting me to write a guest post on your ‘sensual, sassy, sexy’ blog. As I write those words, I realise I’m sniggering inside, and not because there’s anything intrinsically funny about them. I’m just your bog-standard buttoned-up Brit who finds the very idea of physical intimacy a bit embarrassing. So I thought this blog should be about my approach to…shhh…sex.
This is about the halfway point on my blog tour and I’m enjoying it immensely. I know it’s not exactly sun, sea, sand and (ooh-er, missus) sex (there I go again) but it’s been fascinating to discover so many saucy blogs hosted by perfectly normal, respectable women with large followings of a similar ilk. This is an entire strand of womenhood I’ve never encountered before! Not to my knowledge anyway. More’s the pity.
Erotica and fantasy romance are not normally on my reading list, which is not to say I look down my nose at them. On the contrary, I’m a live and let live merchant, someone who believes people should read for personal pleasure, not because some reviewer or that woman in Sainsburys says a book is worth reading. Each to their own. But I’m curious as to why so many of the bloggers who have so kindly offered to host my tour run blogs with erotica/romance/fantasy as their central theme. Song In The Wrong Key is determinedly realistic. It’s about a man, Mike Kenton, whose life implodes when he loses his job. Suddenly, his previously sound – if unspectacular – marriage is under strain, and he risks losing everything he holds dear if he can’t find respectable employment somewhere else. In the meantime, he is ‘discovered’ singing in a dingy Crouch End bistro and is given a once in a lifetime opportunity to have his music heard by a massive audience at the Eurovision Song Contest. Arguably, this is as much of a fantasy as anything you might encounter in more dedicated fantasy books, albeit I tend to think in this X Factor age anything is possible.
Meanwhile, as Mike’s marriage crumbles, he rediscovers an old flame on Facebook and some old feelings are stirred up. Romance? Certainly, but again of the prosaic it-could-happen-to-anyone variety rather than knights on white chargers sweeping girls off to caves-cum-castles in the mountains. The question I had to ask myself was how far could or should I go when describing the erotic details of the sex act. I realised early on that I’m not comfortable writing about it with a straight face. For a start, I’ve got two teenage daughters and I knew they’d get round to reading the book at some point. And what if I described some sexual act or position unfamiliar to my wife? She’d wonder where the hell I learned it. But, more than any of that, as soon as I started writing words like ‘erection’ and ‘nipples’ and ‘lick’ I got a bit schoolboy-giggly. Pathetic, isn’t it? I’m a grown man. Even so, I toned it all down, became suggestive rather than explicit, sought out the comedic rather than the erotic.
Maybe my erotica/romance blog hosts can see something in Song In The Wrong Key that I can’t. Maybe, amid all my obfuscating and fudging and joking about sex, they perceive some erotic undertones that say something about the author! Either way, I hope those of you who decide to read it aren’t disappointed by the lack of graphic action. It should make you laugh and maybe even shed a tear. As for knights on white chargers…you may have to look elsewhere!

Simon Lipson was born in London and took a law degree at the LSE. After a spell as a lawyer, he co-founded legal recruitment company Lipson Lloyd-Jones in 1987. In 1993, Simon took his first tentative steps onto the comedy circuit and has since become an in-demand stand-up and impressionist across the UK, as well as a regular TV and radio performer/writer. His broadcasting credits include Week Ending, Dead Ringers, Loose Ends and Fordham & Lipson (co-wrote and performed own 4 part sketch series) on Radio 4; Interesting...Very Interesting and Simon Lipson's Xmas Box on Radio 5 and And This Is Them on Radio 2. He is also an experienced voice artiste who has voiced hundreds of advertisements as well as cartoons and documentaries. His first novel, Losing It, a thriller, was published by Matador in 2008. Simon is a columnist for Gridlock Magazine ( next novel, Standing Up, will be published by Lane & Hart in Autumn 2012. 

Twitter: @SimonLipson

Buy links – paperback and Kindle:

My show, The Accidental Impressionist, is on at the Camden Fringe 20 – 23 August @ 8pm. Everyone welcome! Details and tickets here:  

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