The Honorary Consul, Graham Greene

‘The opening sentence is the key to the rest.’ In Graham Greene’s The Honorary Consul, there‘s a scene where hostage-takers, among whom are a poet and a novelist, are writing a press release and there’s a discussion about how to grab the media’s attention: ‘Something with colour and dramatic effect. Something the press will have to print on its own merits.‘  Up to now I’ve only had two rules: 1) don’t say ‘award-winning’, 2) don’t say ‘critically-acclaimed’.  From now on, expect more arresting Chico Chica blurbs. (‘Expect’- there’s another one. A lot of blurbs start with that.)

You can’t get more typically Graham Greene than The Honorary Consul . The story is a thriller set in Argentina interwoven with Catholic theology which I struggle to understand. There are lots of memorable characters including a precious, pretentious and unsuccessful novelist. Greene will always tell a good story most of which have been made into popular films. He makes no claims to being literary even though his books are regarded as classics. In the paperback edition I read, here was no introduction written by an academic giving the plot away. The reader gets stuck straight in the violent upheavals of 1970s Latin America.

This week sees the start of the World Cup and we hear how South America is now democratic. It was in the 1980s when I started to become interested in South American music, in particular samba and bossa nova. In London, there was a latin music boom and an interest in the culture generally. I never really liked the magic realism stuff, preferring to see the continent through the eyes of outsiders. By far the most important was Joseph Conrads, Nostromo but I also enjoyed Louis de Bernieres’s The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman

There will be lot’s of South American influence in the five songs Chico Chica have selected to record this summer. They may already be familiar to some readers because they are part of the current show. They are: Casa Flamenco, Red River, I’m a Playgirl, A Scientific Fact and The Happy Pain of Love. The challenge now is to find a date when everyone is free. 14th July looks to be the best prospect.

We have got some great new shows coming up: we will be taking part in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Earl’s Court Festival on 26th-28th June – details to follow. Then there is the Chico Chica Annual Picnic on Hampstead Heath on 29th June:

Chico Chica have been doing a fair bit of private work which we really enjoy. By private work I mean house concerts. They are really easy to organise, and you don’t have to have a piano. (Excuse me while I get my salesman’s hat): Email me at tom (at) for a quote. Chico Chica – the one stop shop for all your latin jazz cabaret solutions. Keep calm and listen to Chico Chica.



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