Near the end of The Denniston Rose novel are the words of a song about her. I called it a West Coast Ballad by ‘Anon’ but actually I made it up. At the launch the family sang it to music Laughton had composed in Victorian style. Bill Manhire (my creative writing tutor) was at the launch and he said to me – ‘Oh so that was the inspiration for the novel!’ I was pleased that he fell for the ruse as he’s a poet.
Later when the Illustrated version came out there was an amazing launch down at Wesport which included a concert at which a local singer/songwriter sang his version of a Denniston Rose song and Laughton and I and my son Tim sang our version.
A few years later another singer/songwriter Lanae Hill asked permission to record her version for a CD she was bringing out, using her words. Of course I said yes.
Now this year a fourth version has come out composed by Dave McMillan, acknowledging the inspiration Laughton and I were when he was training to be a teacher many years ago. He has uploaded it onto Spotify.
Interesting that in Lanae’s version her lyrics say ‘Everyone knows… the Denniston Rose.’ And in Dave’s version he sings ‘Nobody knows ….the Denniston Rose.’ Both true I think.
The photograph is of the page in The Illustrated Denniston Rose and Heart of Coal with the sheet music of Laughton’s original version.