Up in Lights, co-written by Spitalfields resident Clive Murphy, has just been published as a Pan paperback, at the reasonable price of £7.99. The book tells the story of Marjorie Graham, who was born in Edinburgh in 1904. What makes hundreds of classmates experience the same education and go on to replicate the lives of their parents – but makes one child stand out and send her on a different way? For Marjorie, it was an urge to be a star of the stage which took her in a different direction.
As Marjorie left school, the 1920s offered a host of opportunities and she soon began to realise her ambition, as a chorus girl on the London stage. However, her life in the theatre brought her into the real world – a world just as varied as her old life in Edinburgh, but not so straightforward.
Marjorie’s tale – like the others in Clive Murphy’s Ordinary Lives series – is that of the social history of the 20th century, seen through the eyes of one of its participants.
Poet John Betjeman said of the book:
“Deeply moving and authentic, and compulsive reading. [Marjorie’s story] has the full gloom of Tottenham Court Road Underground Station and the precariousness of being alive.”
Those interested in biography and the history of women in the 20th century take note!