THE STORIES OF JOHN SLATER
Publication date: November 2010
Digital Book format: PDF (Adobe DRM)
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In the 1950s there was only one television channel (The BBC), one commercial radio station (Radio Luxembourg) and the BBC radio. It was in these media that John Slater started telling stories and he soon had a dedicated following who tuned in regularly to listen. He could be heard doing Housewives' Choice on The Light Programme and more serious story telling on The Home Service (the forerunners of Radio 2 & Radio 4). In the words of the compiler and editor of these stories Roger Slater 'The stories were written for him to tell and fifty years later, as I read them again, I could hear his voice as if it was yesterday. His first Television story was "Come On Steve", which had originally been written for radio and this introduced him to the difference between stories that are 'ear-catchers' and stories that are 'eye-catchers'. He could do things on the radio that would not work on television as television required an approach that would not work on radio. I have endeavoured to make as few changes to the stories as possible, while adapting them for reading, rather than listening to, and just occasionally I have bowed to political correctness.' 'The Long Journey Home' is strictly autobiographical and is the story of Roger's parents' return from France, in 1946, after a plane crash that killed 21 passengers. It was while he was recovering in hospital that John wrote his first radio story. Coincidentally, he also made a recording to finish his part in a film he had making before the holiday, called "Fire-Fighting in Aircraft"! More tongue in cheek biography appears in 'Blow Your Whistle Mr Levy': Monty Levy was John's father-in-law (but NOT a Tailor) and his Aunt-in -law was Ann, who's real name was Hannah. Other stories, such as The Belle of the Ball, draw on his experience in the film industry for background - The Star of India was a costume drama in which he appeared. John's first published story appeared in a national newspaper when he was thirteen years old - and its hero was his dog - it was 22 years before the next story was published and it again featured a dog. Was it a Spotted Dog, or was it a Dumb Animal? You can take your pick. John Slater described himself as a "heat of inspiration writer"; an idea came and it had to be committed to paper immediately; he couldn't start a story, take a break and then continue later. Scraps of paper, fly leaves in books, anything available was used to turn an idea into reality. He was a keen watcher of people. He started his working life as a commercial salesman, selling whisky, bicycles and cream cheese and throughout these stories the characters he paints are the result of his observations. Reality does not need sex, violence or drugs to make it 'more real'. Reality is what happens to all of us every day and the characters in these stories are real people, it's just that they find themselves in some unusual situations. The content varies greatly from late night reading, to children's television, but the joy of this book is that there is something for everyone who likes an old-fashioned tale.