Trash. Rubbish. Disposable or disposed of. Your trash could be my treasure – or vice versa – but we all know sometimes it’s just what you need. What you have to have, along with soft-centred chocolates in the afternoon. Trashy movies can be so bad they’re simply bad, but also so bad they’re good. But it’s no good when there’s nothing offering. Changing channels and all I can find is cooking shows and infomercials…what am I to do?
It’s obvious. Read. Thank goodness for the Opp Shop and its shelf of $1 bargains. I passed by Lace and Scruples and Destiny and others of that ilk. Only the best of high class trash for me. I remember as a teenager devouring Georgette Heyer novels and running out of titles; a friend suggested I try Barbara Cartland. Well, I read one or two but quickly realised that I just couldn’t do Cartland…she was too trashy.
So, my day has been devoted to sinful novel-reading. I started with The Two Mrs Grenvilles by Dominick Dunne. Here’s the first paragraph:
The room was filled with the heady scent of roses past their prime. Pink petals fell from swollen blossoms in a Chinese bowl onto the polished surface of an ormolu escritoire…
(Isn’t that fantastic? Say it out loud – ormolu escritoire – and don’t even bother about what it actually is). The book continues for a lush, luscious and totally fabulous 375 pages of decor and name-dropping. Not to mention sex, scandal and socialites and of course, murder. The thing is, this is trash but so well-written, so perfectly done, it’s like watching a movie only better.
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne de Maurier.Please, don’t anyone get insulted if I say de Maurier wrote trash. I think she’s a wonderful writer and the biography by Margaret Forster reads like a novel. Would it sound better if I said she wrote ‘tosh”? Or ‘tripe’? ‘Cos this is amazingly, wonderfully, seriously ripe and ridiculous. First-person narration by an unwordly misfit a la Rebecca but this time it’s a male. Sense of doom from page 1 (uncle makes child look at decayed body on gibbet, for starters). Dripping with detail and description. Takes itself seriously (absolutely no laughs). Femme fatale. Suspicion, obsession, madness and murder…or is it? I saw the movie once – Richard Burton played Phillip and Olivia de Havilland was Rachel – but as above, the book’s the thing to immerse yourself in when you’ve just got to have high-class, fabulous rubbish to read.