Someday I’ll Find You

Long before the age of personal computers if one needed information of a general nature then the best place to start would often be the town library. In Corby our library, which had been opened by the Queen in the early sixties, was a rather modern grand affair situated on George Street. I can still remember the layout of both storeys and would spend many hours wading through the numerous volumes on numerous categorised shelves. There was a separate part of the library at the rear which was used by the many students attending the Technical College next door and whenever I found myself pouring over some boring old tome about office documentation or accountancy I would sneak off into the main library, primarily to search for books about contemporary music: one of my great loves in life. It was on one such occasion that I spotted a mighty beast of a book with a yellow spine called The Noel Coward Song Book which I immediately dragged from the shelf. I had been a ‘closet’ fan of Sir Noel for years but when one was growing up in Corby in the sixties and seventies one seemed to attain greater kudos by carrying a Led Zeppelin album under ones arm. Coward was a wonderful word-smith which was something I had always appreciated and this book contained the complete words and music in sheet size of fifty-one of Noel Coward’s most famous songs spanning four decades. It was first published in London in 1953 by Michael Joseph, and in many ways was a unique publication. It not only assembled the best lyrics and music of one of the most distinguished English composers of light music, it was prefaced with a characteristically witty introduction by Sir Noel himself. The book was illustrated with a full colour portrait of Noel by Clemence Dene, and contained over a hundred line drawings in black and white and four colour plates by Gladys Calthrop. However, the most fascinating thing about this lovely book was that it had clearly been signed by Noel coward on the title page. I immediately borrowed it and spent many hours at home reading his words then occasionally turning back to look in awe at the man’s signature. Anyway, much as I loved this book it had to be returned to the library which I duly did.
The following day came the tragic news that our town library had been burned down save the ground floor. My heart sank, and I was naturally and desperately saddened at the thought of all those lovely books going up in smoke including my lovely signed Noel Coward Song Book! If only I’d waited just one more day before returning it. Since then I have often thought about that book: that signature. This week, after something like thirty five years, I found another copy of exactly the same book signed by Sir Noel. I duly bought it. Cheers!!


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