Page 130. " A skeleton key to Bluebeard's chamber. "


Public DomainBluebeard - Credit: Gustav Doré

 Bluebeard is a character in a story of the same name, written by Charles Perrault in the 1600s. Bluebeard is a wealthy nobleman who murders a succession of wives and hides their bodies in a locked chamber. He forbids his latest wife to enter this chamber, but one day when he is away she unlocks the room and discovers his grisly secret. Horrified, she locks the door and retreats, but she has got blood on the key and this gives away her deed to Bluebeard when he returns. The story ends happily when the wife is saved from Bluebeard by the entrance of her brothers, who slay the murderer.


Page 131. " the winged horse Pegasus "

Public DomainPegasus - Credit: (artist unknown)
 Pegasus is a winged horse from Greek mythology. Although he refused to be saddled, Pegasus was eventually captured by Bellerophon, who slipped a golden bridle over his head whilst he drank from a spring.

Page 138. " a coat of many colours wrestled into the dirt "

This refers to the biblical story of the coat of many colours given to Joseph by his father Jacob.


Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.

Genesis 37:3

Page 141. " The wine bar, otherwise known as 'A Touch of Southern Comfort' "

This is a comedic play on the words 'Southern Comfort', which can refer to several different things.

At its most straightforward 'A Touch of Southern Comfort' sounds welcoming and warm. However, in the UK there is an unofficial 'north-south divide', with northerners and southerners mocking and ridiculing one another. Southerners (e.g. from London) joke about the starkness of the northern climate and the austerity of its people, hence the expression 'it's grim up north'. Northerners (e.g. from Yorkshire) mock the 'soft' and pampered southerners who can't seem to get by without their daily luxuries.

So a wine bar in Yorkshire that calls itself 'A Touch of Southern Comfort' is mocking either the north with its starkness, or (more likely) the inability of southerners to get by without the luxuries of home. Or possibly both.

Another interpretation of the phrase is that it refers to the (southern) genital area, and that 'southern comfort' means sexual activity. The bar may, or may not, be a gay bar: we have to keep guessing.

Southern Comfort is also an alcoholic drink: a type of whisky liquor.

Page 141. " the Simon and Garfunkel songbook "

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel are singer-songwriters who in the 1960s were known as the popular singing duo Simon and Garfunkel.

Bridge Over Troubled Water was a number one hit song for the duo in 1970.

Listen on Spotify: Bridge Over Troubled Water



Page 142. " Gail Right "

Gail Right may be so named for her truthfulness, or (in jest) because she is so wrong as a partner (compare the ubiquitous use of 'Mr Right').

Page 142. " a Tammy Wynette tape "

Tammy Wynette was a famous American Country and Western singer.

Stand By Your Man was the most popular and successful song of her career.

Listen on Spotify: Stand By Your Man



Page 146. " the new edition of Proust "

Marcel Proust was a French essayist, critic and novelist.  He wrote the longest novel of all: In Search of Lost Time. Its seven volumes total almost 1.5 million words.


In Search of Lost Time on Book Drum