Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Teenage Genius

I’m a lousy poster, but here you go, three individuals that crossed my radar and truly intrigued me, followed by the question: what the hell is it to hit brilliance in your teens? Blessing or curse?

Rowland S. Howard. I didn’t realize that he’d written one of my all time favorite Nick Cave numbers, the astonishing and achingly lush Shivers when he was only 16. Yep, sixteen. Check the link at the bottom for a baby-faced Nick Cave’s rendition of it in his Boys Next Door incarnation.

But bookery and not music… I’d have to nominate Raymond Radiguet and The Devil In The Flesh. He finished writing this book at 18, I read it at 18. Um. Just um. Radiguet was an amazing character and I first came across him in a biography of Jean Cocteau, one of his lovers. Cocteau said of him, "He was hard; it took a diamond to scratch his heart." Bloody hell. Who wouldn’t want that said about them? Talk about evil glamor. Radiguet must also have had, in between the alcohol and other distractions, one hell of a work ethic. By the time he died at 20 in 1923, he had another novel under his belt together with other works.

It’s a 180 in style and intent, but I also have to mention the incredible Georgette Heyer. She was a teenage wonder, although unlike the unfortunate Radiguet, she kept on trucking to bigger and greater things. Her first book, The Black Moth, was published at 19. My favorite of her many books, These Old Shades, was, according to my in-depth research (that is, Wikipedia) published when she was around 24. Yowzer.

There are more, most certainly, that could be on that list but that trio should do it for now.

I should also post a link sometime to Boys Next Door's cover of These Boots Are Made For Walking. It’s a hoot.

And now I want to reread The Devil In The Flesh. Right now. Not to mention Shades…

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