Thursday, July 5, 2012

Song in the Wrong Key ~ Simon Lipson Guest Post

Thank you for asking me to contribute a post.

Let’s be clear. I’m a man. A British man. British men don’t talk about sex, even when we’re doing it.  It’s awkward, embarrassing, unseemly, so much so that we go red just thinking about it. Unless we’re hopelessly drunk, in the pub, with our equally pissed drinking buddies and spinning stories about our conquests. ‘I laid that girl from the 99p Shop.’ Bald facts; no details. We omit the tender stuff and focus on the bawdy boasts. It’s about how ‘fit’ she was, how many times you did it, how ‘dirty’ she was. And, in this desperate attempt to impress, the lying gets out of hand. If put to the test, none of it would…ahem…stand up. British men are comfortable with the cheeky seaside postcard version of sex, the double entendres, not the reality. So, against this background of buttoned-up British maleness, I had to steel myself when the subject of sex…ahem again…came up in my book.

In Song In The Wrong Key, the protagonist, Mike Kenton, is married to the beautiful Lisa, but their sex life has long since stagnated. It only raises its head when Lisa comes home from work stressed and prickly and in need of some release. Like a lot of men in long relationships, Mike has learned to treat sex with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude. Nice when it happens, but not essential. More important to him are his family unit, his comfy middle class existence, a good supply of chocolate and watching the football on TV. When writing the sex scenes, I avoided the graphic detail. I do understand that many readers enjoy the titillating detail; maybe some of them get off on it. And I certainly dealt with sex in a more graphic fashion in my first book, Losing It. But that was a dark psychological thriller and the tone somehow allowed for it. Song In The Wrong Key is a piece of contemporary humorous romantic fiction and, while I mention various sexual encounters, I’m more interested in describing the mood surrounding them rather than erect nipples, loaded testicles and sexual secretions. To be honest, it was less a case of feeling embarrassed about writing it (even knowing my teenage daughters would read it) than feeling that it didn’t fit with the tenor of the book. How could I slip into a serious description of intercourse against a backdrop of sarcasm and comic riffing?

When Mike is made redundant and finds himself sitting at home on his own with very little motivation, his increasingly fruitless internet search for a new job soon becomes demoralising and it’s only a few clicks from a recruitment website to He’s a man, and what follows is natural. But I think I’ve described it with typical British reserve and an eye for the silliness and embarrassment that comes with middle aged self-pleasuring. It’s a guilty secret. Again, there are no graphic details, merely the fact of his recurrent visits to sites with which he becomes all too familiar.

I hope Song In The Wrong Key will make you laugh, cry and root for the hero. It’s about real life, real people and real situations. If you’re after romance, it’s all there. If erotica’s your thing…well, I still hope you’ll enjoy it. You just might need to look elsewhere for your kicks!

Song In The Wrong Key Blurb

Michael Kenton is a middle-aged man living in middle-class comfort with wife Lisa and daughters Millie and Katia. Drifting complacently towards retirement, Mike's world is turned upside-down when he is thrown unexpectedly onto the career scrapheap. 

While Lisa's career sky-rockets, Mike slobs around in his track suit playing guitar, rekindling his teenage love affair with pop music. Knowing Lisa wouldn't approve, he plots a secret 'comeback' at a grimy Crouch End bistro where music executive Ben, desperate and out of time, asks if he can enter one of Mike's songs into the Eurovision Song Contest. With nothing to lose, Mike focuses on Eurovision but quickly finds himself staring down the barrel of low level fame. His crumbling marriage now page five news, he must choose between his musical dream and mending his broken family, a task complicated by the re-appearance of ex-love of his life Faye. 

A laugh-out-loud comedy about love, family, friendship and Euro- tack by acclaimed stand-up and comedy writer Simon Lipson. 

Simon Lipson Bio

Simon Lipson was born in London and took a law degree at the LSE. After a spell as a lawyer, he co-founded legal recruitment company Lipson Lloyd-Jones in 1987. In 1993, Simon took his first tentative steps onto the comedy circuit and has since become an in-demand stand-up and impressionist across the UK, as well as a regular TV and radio performer/writer. His broadcasting credits include Week Ending, Dead Ringers, Loose Ends and Fordham & Lipson (co-wrote and performed own 4 part sketch series) on Radio 4; Interesting...Very Interesting and Simon Lipson's Xmas Box on Radio 5 and And This Is Them on Radio 2. He is also an experienced voice artiste who has voiced hundreds of advertisements as well as cartoons and documentaries. His first novel, Losing It, a thriller, was published by Matador in 2008. Simon is a columnist for Gridlock Magazine ( next novel, Standing Up, will be published by Lane & Hart in Autumn 2012. 
Twitter: @SimonLipson

Buy links – paperback and Kindle:

My show, The Accidental Impressionist, is on at the Camden Fringe 20 – 23 August @ 8pm. Everyone welcome! Details and tickets here:  


Shah Wharton said...

Great to meet you Simon. I'm a fellow Brit and can totally support your idea of how British men talk about sex. Hilarious. All the best with your book(s) - you are a bust boy and many fingers in different pots. Good for you.

Shah X

Simon Lipson said...

Hi Shah

Great to meet you too. Thank you for your good wishes. The book's selling well but, unless there's an unexpected Shades of Grey tidal wave, I'll be playing the long game in the hope that momentum will gather over time. You never know.

Simon x