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Saturday, 8 May 2010

The Sunday Roast

"Off With Your Heads!" Does Madame de Farge Really Have A Boat-full Of French Bananas?

Golly Madame! You're not giving away any official state secrets here are you! LOL
I'd recognise you in a crowd anywhere! "There she is folks! The one with the cherry on top!"

This week's interview is with Madame de Farge
who writes the blog,
Bateau de Banane .

Thank you for the interview

A very warm welcome to you and your followers

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

Mostly from a shameless sense of self publicity, which is hidden carefully behind a veil of anonymity. But mostly because I enjoy writing as a form of catharsis. It allows me to display my terrible alliteration, pay-off lines and baffling titles and all within the confines of 480 words.

I also started because I live alone during the week, as I work away from home. So, starting the blog stopped me feeling lonely. That sounds very self-pitying, but I am not the most sociable of creatures and wanted to be rather more creative than just sitting in the pub, gossiping after work. I'm not very good with hobbies and rarely keep up with anything for more than a year. Just not very good at putting in the effort, so I suppose that I was also looking for something that I could do as and when it struck me. But I also prefer structure in my life, so wanted something that would force me to stick to a framework. All very complicated. In my dim and distant youth, I had been involved briefly in the world of fanzines and knew that I could write, but had forgotten how after so many years of writing for work.

Oh, and I enjoy it. That's rather important too.

What's the story behind your blog name?

It's all because of a drunken escapade in France on holiday three years ago and a unfettered desire to translate Glasgow street songs and phrases into French. This post in September 2008 explains it, entitled Unaccustomed as I am To Public Speaking. And the name trips off the tongue rather nicely. There were all sorts of other, pretentious names, but a vote by chums decided it. My nom-de-plume is for much the same reason. I don't particularly like Dickens, but always liked the baddies, so Madame DeFarge seemed ideal. I don't knit.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

There's all sorts of replies that I could give. It's the ideal way for me to show off my talents to an uncaring world, the perfect way to spend a dull evening in London or Derby and it's cheaper than being in the pub.

But that's all nonsense really. I like writing. I like reading. I like connecting with perfect strangers through their writing. So, it's ideal for me. I've 'met' some wonderful people through this medium and although we might all be very different in real life, they've been a source of inspiration to me. Within the confines of the blog world, I consider some of them to be chums.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Write about what you know best. In my case, it's myself, which seems very self-centred, but it works for me. And don't measure yourself by followers and comments. Some of my favourite blogs have few followers but a loyal readership. That's more important. And never feel guilty for not blogging. We do all have a life to which we should attend.

As for the actual writing, for me, structure is very important, so I stick to roughly the same length for every post. I'm not sure how many people think about structure, maybe they just write. But my writing at work is very structured, so I bring the same habit to the blog. It provides a useful framework for me. I like a beginning, middle and end. So, unless you want to write a stream of consciousness post, I suggest that you think about what you want to say and how you want to say it.

I also don't finish a post if I can't get past 250 words. It's a quirk, but if it's not flowing, then it's not worth it. I've now realised that I must sound very sad. So many rules.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

I tend not to read 'serious' blogs. I prefer funny or observational blogs, but that's more because I rarely feel comfortable with serious posts. People write for all sorts of reasons and blogging can be akin to the confessional. However, there's a few significant for different reasons, some sad, some funny, some insightful.

Kevin Musgrove at his blogs Commonplaces and Tales from Helminthdale is always wonderful and makes me want to write like him. He wrote a very moving post Layers Of Regret and I could have cried for the ache in his words.

Another one that made me howl my eyes out was this one from The View From Macy, a lovely, unsung, blog. The post that got to me was I may have graduated from St Maggies.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

Significant is a loaded word. I'm not sure that any of them would ever count as significant. They are there to be enjoyed and to add a chuckle to someone's day. I don't like writing serious posts and try to avoid them wherever possible. I have written a couple when I've felt miserable, but they don't sum me up. Actually, I tend not to write when I feel miserable. It sucks any creative thoughts right out of my head.

My most significant one is way too personal and it's about someone else, so I won't mention it in detail. However, it meant a great deal to me and still does. It was a very rare foray into a demonstration of real feelings.

If I had to choose one that does sum me up, I'd probably go for Me? Myself? Aye just because it's a perfect example of my approach to blogging. And it still makes me laugh.

If you were to suggest two blogs for roasting who would you pick, and why?

Neither of them would probably wouldn't do it, but Jimmy Bastard and Kevin Musgrove .

Jimmy is rather well known in the blogging world, but it's entirely deserved. We have a nefarious past association apparently, but he's a fine chap and I miss him when he's not around.

Kevin is, well, wonderful. He is inventive, has better titles than I could ever imagine and is enviably dry in his wit and humour. I am a shameless fan.

That concludes the formal aspect of the interview but it would be nice to get to know you a little better while you are slowly turning on the roasting spit. So while you are screaming in agony above the open fire here are a few more questions for you.

Pick three things you can't live without (no you cannot have ice cubes to cool you down)

My MacBookPro, my finely tuned sense of comic timing and my regrets. There's plenty of other things and people crucial to my life, but I wouldn't want them becoming bigheaded.

If you could live your life again who would you be, and why?

Myself, but with fewer mistakes and regrets. To paraphrase Gershwin 'Oh, how I long to be the gal I used to be”. I've rarely felt the urge to be anyone else. I'd like to be happier, but suspect that I never would be. Blimey, now I sound a real misery guts. My point is that I am content enough with my life and to live with all the nonsense that shares it with me. However, at a push, I'd like to be 5'8''. Always seemed to be a good height.

You have been given a wonderful talent from above. This causes you to make your mark on humanity and be world famous. In which area would prefer: a best selling novelist, a brilliant artist, a gifted musician, a fantastic singer, a charismatic leader, anything you choose, and why?

I'd like to be able to play the organ. I've always wanted to do that. I played the double bass at school, but was never really that musical. So, if I could pick any talent, it would be to be a great virtuoso on the organ. And this is entirely serious, which is most unlike me as you know. I recall hearing Widor's Toccata being played at my graduation and just wanting to be able to do it myself. Just being able to know how to do that would be wonderful. I imagine being in Canterbury Cathedral at night and playing something really loud. It's so exciting to hear, but it would be even better to be the person that could do it.

(Love the organ and Widor is fantastic - also Bach's Toccata and Fugue - and yes it would be wonderful to play it well)

If you were an ice cream cone, which flavour would you prefer and who would you most want to lick you?

It would have to be Dime Bar Crunch from Equi's in Hamilton. And as for the licking, well, anyone who likes Dime Bar Crunch, although I may have to restrict access. It would be a joy to provide such pleasure to them. Assuming I didn't melt too quickly. There's nothing more annoying than having ice-cream drip down your cone and get your hands all sticky.

(You win a star for the best answer yet! LOL)

Describe in one sentence your perfect day.

Waking up without an alarm, being with someone I love, eating ice-cream, walking on a beach, thinking up the perfect blog post title together with a superb pay-off line.

(May every day be your perfect day)

If you were a fictional writer which one would you be and why?

It's bad enough thinking about being a writer, let alone a fictional one. If I could be a real writer, then I'd be Stephen Leacock or S.J. Perelman. Both superb and sort of what I aspire to be. Well, as they're both dead, maybe not entirely like them. But they wrote in a way that I would love to be able to do.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

There are so many to chose from, but I think that one would certainly be when I was at university, flouncing out of a students' council meeting, swearing never to come back (for reasons lost in the midst of time), and not being able to open the doors through which I had intended to make my dramatic exit. It loses something when you have to nip back to ask if anyone knows how to let you out.

(Lovely! LOL Didn't a certain famous playwright observe, "They have their exits and their entrances!" LOL)

And finally if you have answered all these questions I invite you to ask me one in return - it's the least I can do. OK fire away!

If you didn't blog, would you feel a sense of loss?

If someone had asked me that question a year ago I would have said a resounding "yes". I would have regarded it akin to having an arm amputated. However right at this point in time I would not mind a short break from blogging which I have not actually had since January 2009 - so I think I am overdue for one. Of course I have to continue with The Sunday Roasts but lately I am not writing much and cannot devote much time to visiting and commenting, alas because I have a lot of things to do in real life. But in answer to your question I would feel a loss because blogging is very addictive and I do not want to desert my bloggy friends..

Thank you again for the interview and it is always nice for the readers to know a little more about fellow bloggers - hence the beauty of The Sunday Roast. Please tune in regularly.


Today's Sunday Roast with Madame de Farge is the 115th in a weekly
series of interviews with bloggers from around the world. _________________________________________________

This interview will feature in The Roll of Honour
for all published Roasts. To view press

Next week, The Jules at The Gravel Farm
(No doubt he will be 'stoned' again! and wearing his snorkel LOL. See him next week to find out what I'm talking about!)

To end - by popular demand I have been asked to roast my pet budgerigar, Mickey, who has featured in several of my posts. Hope he does not end up as a burnt offering! Preview of forthcoming attractions!! LOL


  1. What a delightful interview Eddie. It was a real treat meeting her and hearing her points of view.
    Thanks ever so much!

  2. I love Madame DeFarge. She was one of my first "finds" and she never disappoints.

  3. I enjoyed that interview and it is good to see another lady who is heavily camouflaged! Thought I was the only one!
    I would say it is never too late to play anything...... so learn the organ, Madame de Farge!
    Must pop over & see her blog now!
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  4. smiles. you picked another good one eddie....madame defarge is a great writer..i enjoy my visits to the banana...smiles.

  5. Another good interview. Thanks for bringing us another interesting blogger!

  6. Really enjoyed this roast, not least because I am a big fan of Madame's work. Most of my posts are nostalgic and light hearted but not nearly as good as hers!

  7. thsnks for the interview with Madame...very informative and quite a boatload of fun!

  8. what a delightful interview, sugar! MdF is one of my favorite bloggers and a real pal o'mine. i'm also very glad to have found y'all because of her. i'm looking forward to y'alls interview with the jules as he, too, is another favorite. xoxoxo

  9. And now I know why I love Madame de Farge so much!! She approaches a post methodically!! Just my kind of writer! She is brilliant! Love, love, love the story behind her name and reasons for blogging! Such fun to hear her thoughts about her blog! Her humor is wildly creative...and sure to bring a chuckle! Can you tell I am a fan?

    Eddie, my friend, you are one of the most committed and faithful bloggers I know. If anyone deserves a break from posts, it is you! We completely understand! But I must say, whenever you post, you are rather exceptional :-) And thus, the humble host demonstrates his prowess with the literary pen! And so whenever, you post, I will be here to read...

    Thank you both for this fabulous roast! With love and appreciation, Janine

  10. What interesting and delightful answers. I enjoyed it. Thank you.

  11. Fabulous interview!

    The Madame's newbie advice is exceptional...I had to read it twice, and I intend on following that advice. I also find it intriguing that one of the three things she couldn't live without is her insightful, for without our regrets, we have no way of bettering ourselves.

    Eddie, I do miss your amusing posts, but know you have your hands full. I hope you occassionaly have time to post about your own adventures, but in the meantime, we all enjoy the roasts!

  12. Terrific interview Eddie. Thanks for introducing me to a new blogger. I will definitely check out Madame de Farge's blog. She has a great wit, a fabulous hat and loves her MacBook Pro like I do mine :-)

    Happy weekend.

  13. I am utterly entertained. Thoughtful, smart questions and thoughtful, smart answers.
    Love it.


  14. More proof, not that any is needed, that going bananas in blogdom is a hoot ;)

  15. I'm a fan and it was good to learn a little more about her. Excellently done. I'm off to follow a link or two.

  16. put a lot of time into your blogging...and into your roasts. I commend you highly for that. You find wonderful talents and share them with us, and I thank you for that, too.
    This is a great roast...loved Madame de Farge's answers to the questions....shows a wit that is tremendous. Thank you for introducing me to Madame de Farge.
    I hope that you have time and take time to do what is best for you, Eddie. If you gave up blogging, there would be an emptiness that couldn't be filled by anyone else...but that is selfish of me to say because I have given it up briefly a couple of times myself. I find that I miss the genuine friendships and bonds that I have made through blogging....enjoy posting my photos and my 'one-liners'...and enjoy so much knowing that there are those that care about me and what I have to say and appreciate the fact that they know that I care about them too. Those things are hard to leave...but one must do what is best for one's healthy, one's family or whatever the reason might be. If you take a rest or break, please know that Jackie will be here...anxiously awaiting your next story, video, and smiling face.
    Thank you again for a wondeful roast, my friend.
    Maria....You are in my prayers every are Maggie and Eddie. Thank you for your sweet words to me, Maggie. You are a precious and loving wife.

  17. I miss Jimmy too when he's away. Will check out Kevin, thanks for the tip.

    Do I fit into the category of a "perfect stranger?"

    Good grief, I've always known I am perfect but it is nice to hear it from you.

  18. Anyone who lists a drunken escapade in France as the genesis of their blog title can't be all bad!

  19. Enjoyed the texting post - funny stuff.

    I'm intrigued by the fact that you count the words of your posts. I have no idea how many words I am writing.

  20. I am obviously underprivileged having never met your delightful subject. And she keeps her humor despite being thrust clean through with your roasting spit!

    There is SO MUCH to like here and now I have to come back when I can backtrack to her and all her links. Without doubt, my overall psyche is in need of the laughs I know I have coming.

    Thank you, dear Eddie, for introducing us! She probably won't like me much, though. Having nothing to say rarely stops me from writing OR speaking. And I NEVER know where I'm going with my writing so I'm always surprised when I get there.


    P.S. Take breaks! I'm planning one this summer just to see if I can actually get bored. I've never achieved it yet.

  21. Thank you all for your valued comments and for supporting The Sunday Roast. Much appreciated. Smiles ~ Eddie

  22. I want to thank all those who read and commented on this roast. I'm very grateful to have been asked and very grateful to have been treated so gallantly by Eddie. Sorry not to have posted this sooner, but slight problem of new government to deal with.

    Thanks again and look forward to seeing some of you over at my place!

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. OK Madame we heard you the first time LOL
    It was a pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you


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