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Wednesday, 3 June 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. 

This is a series of very, very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #47 – 3 June 1957

On 3 June, 1957, Noel Coward returned to Britain from the West Indies amid criticism that he was living abroad to avoid paying income tax.  He arrived at Southampton on the Queen Elizabeth liner dressed in a black tweed jacket with a white diamond pattern, dark trousers and a black and white check bow tie.

He brushed off questions about tax evasion saying he was "disgusted but entirely unworried" by talk of him being a tax exile.  Earlier in the French port of Cherbourg, he told one reporter he found the whole issue embarrassing and the talk of money "rather vulgar".

"I am an artist and am delighted to talk about the my plays and my acting and my work generally but not about my money affairs," he said.

In the 1950s, Noel Coward's career was on the wane and it was at this point he developed a cabaret act that revived his fortunes.  Although principally revered as a playwright, responsible for around 60 productions, he was also an actor, composer and songwriter.  In his last years, Coward lived with his companion Graham Payn in Jamaica where he built a retreat called Firefly Hill.  The house is now a museum to his life and work.

Noel Coward was knighted in 1970 and died at 72 on 26 March, 1973.

Source: BBC

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