Theresa Talbot and the storytelling genes – 19 October

A real livewire entertained the club last Wednesday night in the shape of Theresa Talbot. Well, what do you expect from someone whose dad told her bedtime stories about the clicking of the death-watch beetle in their walls and how he’d repaired Santa’s sled when it broke down on the roof of their tenement? And as for her Mum, she took telling stories i.e. lying, to new heights. So I blame her genes. Whatever, we had a helluva good laugh over all Theresa’s tales of working at the BBC and trying to get hold of Andy Williams, of her tweets which caused uproar in the traffic and travel news and of her various husbands.

 In between all that, she has produced two books, one fiction and one non-fiction. Where does she get all that energy? It must be the genes again.

 Penance, her novel, began when Theresa read a newspaper report about a disturbance at Magdalene House in Maryhill in 1958. This was a ‘home’ for girls and women accused of immoral behaviour where they were set to work in the laundry to atone for their sins. The book follows journalist Oonagh O’Neil as she tries to unravel the secrets hidden in the institution while dealing with her own problems.

 This is What I Look Like is a series of articles about her life as a radio announcer and the chair of the Beechgrove Garden’s Potting Shed and the situations she found herself in, all told in her inimitable style.

 It was to supposed to be a question and answer session with Nigel supplying the questions but he really didn’t need to and it was simply a case of wind-me-up-and-set-me off while the anecdotes and reflections just flowed from her tongue. You can’t imagine her ever drying up on the radio.

 She also demonstrated chutzpah in getting the job at the BBC (an overheard conversation on the number 66 bus started her off) as well as her forays into setting up an independent company to make programmes and in her attempts to become a published author. Maybe we could all do with some of it. Or is it all in her genes?


 Ann Burnett

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