Noele’s Favourite Things

From Scotland to Neil Sedaka…


There are so many places, thinking back over the years, that I have loved. One of my earliest memories is the beach at Aberdeen and Macduff – in those days, so clear and clean. We’d never heard of pollution!

When I was a teenager in London during the war, working in the theatre, the blackouts, air raids and all the tragedy of war was around us but London was still a gracious lady, although battered by the blitz – not the overcrowded uncomfortable place it is today.

The same applies to New York, when I was studying television at the university in the 1950s. The city I loved has virtually disappeared. I love the beaches of the West Indies, too,  but they are also becoming a victim of political change and oil pollution.

Scotland changes least and I value my pilgrimage back to my roots more than anywhere else.

My favourite books would need an article to themselves. I’m not all that keen on novels; my bookshelves are full of biographies and autobiographies of famous people, mainly in show business. My favourites are those of Katherine Hepburn, Bing Crosby, Jack Benny and many of the great modern composers.

Other peoples’ lives fascinate me, as do books on the early civilisations such as Créte and Ancient Greece. Mind you, that doesn’t stop me being absorbed in a lot of exciting paperbacks, such as Jaws, the 87th Precint stories by Ed McBain and a recent hit Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less – great fun this last one. My one request is that whether it is serious, biographical work or a thriller, it should be good, authentic, honest and well-written.

My music range is from the classics to the Bee Gees. I am also asked many times my favourite music composer and it is an almost impossible question to answer. I love Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Charles Aznavour, The Amadeus, Maria Callas, Rita Hunter and Bob Dylan – oh and Neil Sedaka! I saw Neil in concert recently and he was quite marvellous.

From Noele’s column in Revelle Magazine.