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James Inverne (Author of Inverne's Stage and Screen Trivia)

I've always loved the way it captures Ian Fleming's view of Tiffany Case in just a few lines, the sense of a woman damaged by men. Don Black wrote those words to John Barry's music, and I was interested to know how he'd dug so deep into the character and the situation to be able to distil it so brilliantly.


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Page 73 of Wrestling With Elephants provides the answer: Indeed, since the original Moneypenny retired and Q died, he's now the only link between the Connery days and the Brosnan era. That's his secret in a nutshell: Stars and styles come and go and, when they're gone, Don lustres on. Black's first musical was a show about premature ejaculation, which, predictably enough, didn't last long.

Wrestling with elephants : the authorised biography of Don Black

But he's kept going ever since. It was Alan Jay Lerner, author of My Fair Lady, who turned me on to him, when I was in the middle of a long they-don't-write-'em-like-they-used-to moan and Alan interrupted: It's a lyrical tour de force. What I like about Black is that, on the one hand, he's worked with Broadway legends like Jule Styne composer of Gypsy and Charles Strouse Annie , and on the other, British show-business being what it is, he cheerfully accepts the naffest of gigs.

I was on the phone to him a few years back and asked him what he was working on these days. This was around the time when Barrymore had either just left his wife or just reconciled with her or just reconciled with the fetching young lad he'd left her for before he reconciled with her: I would have thought Black was one of the showbiz figures least in need of an "authorised" bio.

If he's got any illegal appetites, sexual or narcotic, they've been superbly concealed his entire working life.


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      A book that has been read and does not look new, but is in excellent condition. No obvious damage to the book cover, with the dust jacket if applicable included for hard covers.

      Baby Elephants

      No missing or damaged pages, no creases or tears, no underlining or highlighting of text, and no writing in the margins. Some identifying marks on the inside cover, but this is minimal. Very little wear and tear. With frank and entertaining tales of Black's experiences as one of 's regular songwriters, the trials and triumphs of musicals such as Tell Me On A Sunday and Bombay Dreams , and featuring fascinating accounts of his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Jackon, Elaine Paige, John Barry, Denise Van Outen and many more, Wrestling With Elephants chronicles the astonishing life of the first British songwriter ever to win an Oscar.

      The Boy From Hackney. Barry Black And Born Free. Salaam Bombay Working With Rahman.