We caught up with Paul Sands who wrote the original 'Bless 'em All' including the songs which blend seamlessly into the music from the era and asked him some very important questions...
What is your background?
Born in Hammersmith in 1951, no one imagined I’d be a genius. And so it has turned out.
What was your inspiration for the show?
So many millions died in that war, I thought, what a tear-jerker, I’m going to make a fortune.
What audience did you have in mind when you wrote the show?
Glitterati, Kings, Queens, World Leaders, Gwyneth Paltrow…
What sort of venue / production did you have in mind and has it worked?
I had in mind a packed Madison Square Gardens. The present venue seems to be somewhat smaller, but I can cope.
Did the songs or the story come first?
When I put pen to paper, a magical thing occurs. Words seem to appear and in my head birds twittering melodies that seem to fit the words. My hands glide over the piano keys and breathtaking harmonies float on the breeze. Out pour the songs and the amazing story. I fall back, exhausted, as if God has passed through me. My head is empty but my heart is full. A miracle.
What was your process for writing the songs?
Divine guidance (see above).
Are there any plans to record the songs from the show?
Some songs get recorded thousands if not hundreds of times. I feel that this is likely with all the songs in this show.
How did you meet Tracy?
I was wandering dejectedly down Regent Street when a glowing apparition appeared, moving towards me. At the last moment, someone stepped in between, asking if I had change for a fiver. And that was Tracy!
How would you describe Tracy’s interpretation of your music?
Tracy is by far the greatest singer and entertainer in the world. Why she is not recognised as such is something that even the Archbishop of Mumbai cannot comprehend.
How would you describe the show to someone who knows nothing about it?
A couple of musicians shamble on. A spotlight picks out a woman. She sings of a world gone by. You will gasp, you will cheer, you will laugh, you will cry and someday, like our boys in the trenches, you will die.
What are you working on next?
I am used to hearing the voice of God but, strangely, I’m presently inhabited by an unqualified and not necessarily competent therapist called Rupert Alves, a 54-year-old with long stringy hair who seems intent on curing the barmy.