Thursday, 5 May 2016

Trouble over in Bridgewater by Janey Clamp

In my day job I meet some lovely people. As a self-employed interior designer they invite me into their homes and we build a brief relationship while I work at transforming their space. The ladies normally leave me to it when I begin to decorate - no doubt glad it hasn't fallen to them plus it's avoided the inevitable rows that normally accompany the process. The men, however, tend to hover. I realise there is a certain intrigue: mine isn't the typical job for a lady, but then again I have never considered myself typical. They sometimes seem bemused a) that I'm doing it at all and b) that I can do it.

Image courtesy of

During a recent afternoon, with the man of the house having installed himself into the said viewing position, I started a conversation. "What did you do before you retired?" I asked. It might have been simpler to list the jobs he hadn't done; but in amongst the printing and the driving and the teaching was hidden this gem: his used to be the backing band of a major artist back in the day. Whoa! I didn't expect that. I listened, spell-bound by his stories of being on tour as I weaved my own magic with the paint brush. He went into his study and put on an LP of them playing live on the continent. I stopped what I was doing as I heard a familiar man's name announced onto the stage. "Is this you?"

You see, what began to play from the all-over-the-house speakers (note to self: I need some of these) was the most incredible version of Bridge over Troubled Waters I had ever heard. This gentle unassuming man with his chalky-soft speaking voice and eyes that spring quickly to tears had sung in front of a crowd of thousands and the sound could melt the hardest heart. Never mind that the audience had paid their money to hear the "main man". This chap was pure gold.

Now here's the thing. When his producer happened to mention to the main man's producer that in his opinion this particular track was the best on the album, his reaction was to never allow this to happen again. Despite wowing the live crowds, he appeared on no future albums. Professional jealousy at its ugliest, I think.

So, what have I drawn from this with regard to my writing? Well, first, we should never judge a book by its cover, as Susan Boyle and my home-owner have so eloquently modelled. Second, even if we haven't played to capacity crowds, our stories are all worth telling - and hearing. And third, instead of biting down on sour grapes at someone else's success, let's join in the cheering. The heavens declare the glory of God, and so do we when we share in His creative process.

Jane Clamp is Creative Writer in Residence on the BBC Radio Norfolk Sunday Breakfast Show and on the Thought of the Day team at Premier Radio. She is currently editing her first novel and will be at Scargill House in June!


  1. Phew, that's quite a story Janey. Thanks for sharing. And for the reminder that we bring glory to God when we rejoice at someone else's success. x

  2. Great story. And a good message!

  3. ??This is dated 5 May ...???
    I enjoyed it anyway!

  4. Great story and a good reminder of who we are writing for