Singing Duo: The Captain & Tennille; Novelist: Graham Greene

Peter CatesREVIEW POTPOURRI

by Peter Cates

The Captain and Tennille

Love Will Keep Us Together/Gentle Stranger
A t M- 1672, seven-inch stereo vinyl 45, recorded 1975.

The Captain & Tennille

This highly successful duo, married for 39 years until 2014, were both keyboardists, Toni Tennille playing with the Beach Boys for one to two years and jokingly referred to as the only Beach Girl in its history! Meanwhile Daryl Dragon was the son of the Capitol records conductor, Carmen Dragon, whose LPs have given me much listening pleasure for over 40 years.

Love Will Keep Us Together was not only a megahit for Daryl and Toni but a first class Neil Sedaka composition superbly arranged and performed. Finally, one of my favorite five sides from the ‘70s. The B side went in one ear and out the other!

Graham Greene

The Human Factor
a novel; Avon paperback, 1978, 302 pages.

Graham Greene

I am an admirer of Graham Greene the writer, 1904-1991, and have been since I read the 1951 End of the Affair 40 years ago. I just finished the above novel for the third time, itself one that has also stood out in my mind since my first reading of it, almost 40 years ago just after its publication. Both books deal with different forms of treachery, a favorite Greene theme; the compulsion to do it; the knowledge of its terrible effects, not only on one’s life but the lives of those one loves; and, in the end, the sense one has been damned irrevocably in the aftermath.

End of the Affair dealt with a selfish, very hateful man who has an affair with a friend’s wife, won’t take no for an answer when she ends it and causes a tragic death through his manipulative behavior.

The Human Factor deals with two intelligence clerks for England’s MI6, its own CIA, who read and assess mostly minor stuff from branch offices around the world; they are friends, but soon run into trouble when the boss spies smell a leak. The older friend, Castle, is a traitor; the younger colleague, Davis, is not but he is reckless, drinks and talks way too much and take reports out of the building to read at lunch. To protect himself, Castle deviously sets up Davis, and more treachery with a high cost in relationships with family and friends ensues.

Greene further had a unique gift for filling an often ordinary scene with fear, simply by using a tinkling cocktail, a damp morning waiting for a bus or noticing a butterfly struggling to fly on a village green picnic.

To close with a quote: “From the window on the 12th floor of the great gray building, Castle could see the red star over the University. There was a certain beauty in the view as there is in all cities at night. Only the daylight was drab.” There is very little comfort in the fiction of Graham Greene and what little there is will quickly prove an illusion.

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