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Billy and Me

Billy and Me

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This book might not have the big WOW moment, but the writing is amazing, I got hooked immediately and sometimes less is more. Only the most hard-hearted could fail to root for Sophie as she falls for A-lister Billy and must take on the mad, bad world of showbiz. This sweet debut reminded me of Last Night at Chateau Marmont' Louise Candlish Such is the enduring effect of Billy Wilder. Through films like Sabrina, Stalag 17, The Seven Year Itch, Ace in the Hole, and the aforementioned Sunset Boulevard and Some Like it Hot, Wilder has infiltrated modern society and changed our sense of humour in ways we don’t often realise. Whenever we see the iconic image of Marilyn Monroe, her white dress billowing above the subway grating, we are looking at a writing and directing invention of Billy Wilder. When Audrey Hepburn still pops up in every other issue of Vogue, wearing the stunning attire of Sabrina, it is again the lasting influence of Wilder. Whenever an actor jokes, “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr DeMille,” they are quoting Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard. And though he was born in Vienna, escaped Berlin in the 30s and came to Hollywood with only a partial mastery of the language, his clear-eyed portraits of American romance and opportunism have somehow survived as definitive snapshots of his adopted homeland. Though I’d never even known it, Billy Wilder had scripted my family’s best joke.

One-hour special features classic clips alongside new performance footage, fan revelations and star stories plus a brand-new major interview with the man himself. Imagine: they meet, they hang out for like few weeks, then Billy gets a job in London and asks Sophie to leave her mom, her friend, her job that she adores and move in with him. If you're not sure how to spell a foreign word you use in your book, then google it! Google the shit out of it. Ask someone who knows the language. And then google it again just to be sure. These video diary-style anecdotes, sprinkled throughout the film, provide an intimate counterpoint to a major new interview with Billy Connolly himself, recording his reaction to the fans' stories, along with reflections on such topics as turning swearing into an art form and the underestimated power of laughter.There are very few written fragments by Billy Wilder after he arrived in the States. He did the introduction, in fact, to the biography of Emeric Pressburger [Emeric Pressburger: The Life And Death Of A Screenwriter], but when I spoke to Kevin MacDonald, Pressburger’s grandson, about it, he said “Oh, he didn’t write it. We had to go to Hollywood and interview him and transcribe it.” So he never wrote anything except for scripts from the mid-Thirties onwards. Jonathan Coe on meeting Volker Schlöndorff: “His house is very beautiful on a lake and has a very calm atmosphere and we had a long conversation about Billy Wilder that morning.” Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze Can Peter and Sophie just be friends? As someone who believes men and women can be friends I was slightly disappointed Peter tried to kiss her. I wanted them to remember Molly together. However it's not a major love triangle or anything more a misunderstanding. It's not the sort of thing that would ruin a relationship like Sophie and Billy's in my eyes. I believe this was a “if you like this, you may like this” library software recommendation. I instantly requested it for the cover alone. Then I took a peek at the synopsis and was reminded of another story . . . .

Though our book is finished, our relationship continues. Just the other day, a small miracle happened when Wilder agreed to a rare on-camera interview for The Today Show. I sat beside him in the NBC studio that was once the home of Johnny Carson, and listened as the interviewer leaned forward and posed what was clearly an important question. I'm sorry. I can see I'm out of kilter with most readers on this but this book just didn't work for me. Waitress and film star fall in love - that's fine. I use that too in one of my books. But this film star is just too good to be true. He's constantly smiling and laughing, using out of kilter phrases for his age, and is just so sweet that I couldn't believe in him. Yet I guess he's why the book appeals to so many. We all want film stars/pop stars to be lovely people and fall in love with ordinary people - just like us. Billy needed flaws. The only real hiccup came from something that wasn't his fault and even though he tried his best to sort it out, we have a heroine who aggravated me so much, I wanted to strangle her. It does get more enjoyable during Part Three and Four. Sophie starts to stand up for herself, she starts to realise that she isn't getting enough from him. We get to learn more about her past, which leads to her building a stronger relationship with her Mum. In the end she does end up pursuing her dream, which I am really glad about. Like I said at the start of this review, I would of enjoyed it a lot more without the romance. I found Molly far more interesting than Billy, I just didn't connect with his character like I did Molly's.

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The conversation, which ranges from exploring when Heidi and Chris first started supporting Leeds, to their stories and feelings about Bremner’s influence on their own lives, is captured in the video recording below. It was a memorable experience for all involved and was moderated by the our heritage Project Officer, Dr Karen Fraser. I wish I could make it to ten. Sad times. So the above is a really hazy way of encompassing all those niggly little things within the storyline of Billy and Me that sent me over the edge. That's not including grammar fails, excessive ellipses and unnecessary exclamation marks. Detailing a little of the events between the ending of the last book and the start of this one while Billy and Sophie fly to LA to see his family. I take to Lauren instantly just like Sophie does. Even after finishing the whole book I didn't take to his mum much at all. It's a shame his brother Jay wasn't in the story more too. AKT: I would love to see it too, totally. The switch to screenplay format when you go into Billy Wilder’s life is very interesting in the middle of the novel. I recently had a conversation with Christian Petzold about his new film, Afire, and we talked about how there are no German summer movies since Menschen am Sonntag, People on Sunday from 1930.

Talking of Billy. The heart throb. The irresistible cookie. The most boring character ever invented. EVER! JC: That was my suggestion, I mean it was and it wasn’t. It wasn’t because I suggested it that they did it, but obviously when he was their choice I was delighted that it had been my initial suggestion. I think he would be great, so I do hope it happens. Stand-ups Peter Kay and Adam Hills reveal how Billy inspired their comic careers. Billy's wife Pamela, no comedy slouch herself, talks about life with Billy from their new Florida home.

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Billy hated the idea, especially as, in his own words, he can happily provide for the both of us. It was difficult to explain that the thought of living off him and flying aimlessly through my days my days made me want to vomit. But he took it well, even if he didn't agree with it." One day the both of them fly over to Los Angeles and Sophie gets to meet Billy's big family for the first time. But all those paparazzi and people she thinks don't really want her there might not really be her thing. I adored Sophie May. She is a rather lovely, warm heroine who you will want to root for, confide in and will lend you her shoulder to cry on. I really liked how Giovanna managed to create such a wonderful character with the kindest heart. On the other hand, Billy. *swoooooooon* Billy Buskin is not your average snobby film star. No, fame hasn't gone into his head and made him a total knob, so trust me, you will definitely want yourself a Billy. Please fantasise your favourite actor/celeb as Billy. Don't worry, you're allowed to do so! ;) And then I wrote a biography, 20 years ago now, of a writer I very much admired called BS Johnson [Like A Fiery Elephant: The Story Of BS Johnson, 2004]. It was a really difficult book to write and a really un-enjoyable book to write. It came out well in the end but it took seven years and it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever written. In the end it left me with a feeling of dissatisfaction. I felt that the biography as a form had not let me get as close to him as I wanted it to. And I thought if I’m ever going to write about one of my heroes again then I want to do it in a novel, not as non-fiction. But I think it's unfair. A lot of the negativity associated with London was in Sophie's head. What happened in Kent when she was there? a) her father died. b) she and her mother stagnated in their depressive states for approximately 15 years. c) she found out her alleged best friend had cancer. d)she got papped there. Twice. Compared to the one time in London. e) her best friend died. I don't know about you, but to me, Kent seemed worse than London in this story. This is one of the many reasons I found Sophie to be an unreliable narrator.



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