More Jots on Inside Daisy Clover: The Musical

The story so far: Cantara, ex-ASCAP solfeggist, ex-porn star and screenplay writer, has fallen hopelessly in love with John Wilson, conductor of an English classical/swing orchestra, and has vowed to create something beautiful for his sake. Accordingly, she has pulled out of a dusty drawer the novel-based libretto for a musical she’d written years ago to please a handsome composer she had been in love with at the time—who eventually died of AIDS—and is now attempting to write the music he might have written.

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From the novel Inside Daisy Clover, the 13 year-old Daisy:

I like going down to the old pier at Venice, which is a rotting dump like every other place in this whole area, but has this booth for recording your voice. You’re supposed to use it for sending messages to loved ones overseas, but I pay my twenty-five cents—saved up from baby-sitting wages—and I go inside and face this old man with a nervous twitch who works the machine, and I SING!

There’s no orchestra or anything, of course, and sometimes it feels like a hopeless battle against the surf and people screaming on the Big Wheel and the old man’s twitching left eye—but I can sing songs I like and then go home and put the disk in my Oriental casket, which I paid a dollar for because it has a key and I like to lock these things up.

So far I have recorded: “I’ve Got Five Dollars“—”Isn’t It Romantic“—”They Can’t Take That Away from Me“—”Let’s Do It“—and “Love Is Sweeping the Country“. The only trouble is, I can hardly play them afterwards. We don’t have a phonograph. However, I occasionally baby-sit in a trailer with a phonograph—and then I get to play them very softly, without waking Baby. Also, I don’t want anyone to know about this whole thing. I can’t explain why, except that a person is entitled to privacy, and sometimes you just can’t let people in on a thing without them trying to take over. 

The songs I sing are ones that I really and truly like. They make my palms sweat…

© 1963 Gavin Lambert

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Inside Daisy Clover: The Musical!

This was my favorite novel at 15—the story of a Playa del Rey beach waif who becomes a star of 1950s movie musicals. Author was British-American screenwriter Gavin Lambert. I wrote the book for a stage musical based on Daisy years and years ago to impress a gorgeous young composer I was in love with but it’s been in my drawer all this time. Maybe it’s finally time to take it out and dust it off… (When he died of AIDS I was heartbroken and had a mild breakdown.)

Inside Daisy Clover