Fabulous news, darlings! This week sees the release of the 25th Anniversary Edition of the best book ever: Shaun Considine’s Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud.
The new Gala edition has additional material including a chapter on Mr Considine tracking down missing (stolen!) photographs of Bette, Joan and other goddesses taken by the late, great photog Milton Greene. And – not to spoil the story – there’s tons of new images in the book to boot.
The Divine Feud isn’t just our favourite book; it is constantly professed by Bette and Joan fans as the best bio on either of them. If you have read it, you’ll know just how good it is and want this new edition for all the extra stuff. If you haven’t, you will definitely want this glorious tome in your lives, quick smart.
You can buy the print edition now and an ebook edition by Little, Brown will follow on the 29th January.
Now, altogether: (Joan) ‘Bette! Bette! Over here!’ – (Bette) ‘Christ! What a SILLY bitch!’
Read our interview with Shaun Considine here
Note: we were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Shaun Considine in April 2015. Since first interviewing him for The Ethel Mermaids, Shaun and I had become incredibly close. As is the way these days, this friendship was developed online. We would email each other, sporadically. He’d send me a bit of news on his latest ventures, or a story remembered that he knew I’d appreciate. Stories about Julie Newmar, Judy Garland and the like. I loved hearing them and I always loved hearing from Shaun. He had projects that tragically weren’t completed when he died. He had written a follow up to his book Barbra: The Woman, The Myth, The Music (for which I wrote a chapter). Most excitingly, he had written a script based on his most famous and well-loved book, The Divine Feud, taking key moments from his biography. He was shopping it around and his dream cast, he told me, would be Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore. He wanted a woman and/or gay director/producer. Because he would give me sketchy details about himself and his life, I wasn’t sure to what extent this script was seen by the right people at the time of Shaun’s death. It is bitter-sweet then to know that Ryan Murphy is basically making Shaun’s film as his television series ‘Feud’.
I’ve no doubt that Murphy will do an amazing job. It’s been acknowledged that Shaun’s book is the source material. And there’s no reason why Murphy and his team couldn’t have come to the idea themselves. They probably didn’t know that Shaun had wanted to do it. If they did I would hope that they would ask for access to his script and maybe use it if they could, in some way. I’ve no idea who handles Shaun’s estate now. Even though it breaks my heart that Shaun didn’t get to do his film and didn’t get to see his work turned into a project by one of the most exciting and important creatives of our time, I would hope that he would approve of the idea that someone else was doing it. And that he’d at last have got the more mainstream recognition he so deserved for his incredible work.
I miss Shaun so much I can’t even say. He’s one of those facebook friends who comes up on invite lists from time to time and it rips at my heart to see his presence there as if I could just drop him a line. And then I remember that he didn’t really do facebook because he mainly got inundated with messages from young men chatting him up, apparently. I would, instead, have dropped him an email and maybe he’d reply, sometimes he wouldn’t. He was so private and so piecemeal with what he shared, but I did know he’d been ill in those last couple of years. He’d disappear from communication for a few months and return to say he was suffering from a case of getting old, no details. Just more wonderful stories. And he said the loveliest things to me. I miss him, I love him. It was an absolute privilege to have known him.
– Corinna Tomrley