Pop Speaking could not hope to get off to 2014 on a better footing. 

This post is very very special to me. Chris Mann is not only one of the top authorities on pop culture of today, he's the definitive voice on Three's Company, the male star of which, John Ritter, inspired this blog. He has been kind enough to spend a lot of time and effort sending me some invaluable information as well as three previously unpublished photographs.  

Chris Mann is the author of "Come and Knock on Our Door" and consulting producer of NBC's 2003 hit telefilm "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Three's Company' ". I'm very humbled and grateful that he has put so much time and effort into giving me such wonderful answers to my in depth and probably quite searching questions. 

Chris, you’ve been in love with Three’s Company for a long time, for longer than I have.  How did you fall in love with the show?

Thank you, Gaynor, for this opportunity to share with readers of your fun and insightful new blog. It's so cool to know that "Three's Company" has moved you so meaningfully -- and that its magical reach still extends to the other side of the planet, no less! Like you, I started watching when I was a young child, primarily because of the late, great John Ritter. 


Peter Anderson Interview - The Unspeakable - Conflict of a white South African in the apartheid years.

While browsing through Twitter one day I came across the fascinating account of Peter Anderson

When I heard about his novel The Unspeakable, I knew this was a man I needed to talk to. Any South African and indeed anyone with an interest in the compulsion of indoctrination and the wheres and whyfores of why a group of people will act in the way they do needs to read this. 

It's the mid-1980s, the era of so-called reformist apartheid, and South Africa is in flames. Police and military are gunning  down children at the forefront of the  struggle.  Far from such action, it seems, a small party of four is traveling by minibus to the north of the country, close to the border with Zimbabwe. Their aim is to shoot a documentary on the discovery of a prehistoric skull that Professor Digby Bamford boasts is evidence that "True man first arose in southern Africa". Boozy, self-absorbed Professor Bamford is unaware that his young lover, Vicky, brings with her some complications. Rian, the videographer, was once in love with her, and his passion has been re-ignited. Bucs, a young man from the townships, is doing his best not to be involved in the increasingly deadly tensions. Told in the first person by Rian, it centres on the conflicted being of the white male under apartheid. Unlike many of the great novels of the era, it renounces any claim to the relative safety zone of moralist dissociation from the racist crime against humanity, and cuts instead to the quick of complicity. 

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Has it ever happened to you that you're browsing through your local library and a gem jumps off the shelf at you - you end up wondering how it is that although you've been a member of the library for so long, you haven't found this one previously? That happened to me recently and the book wasLadislaus Lob's Dealing with Satan. And that is how the golden thread of humanity tweaks us through literature. 

Ladislaus Lob is Professor Emeritus of German at the University of Sussex in England.  He is also one of 1700 people  saved from the Holocaust at the age of eleven by Rezső Kasztner who was later accused of collaboration and assassinated before he could hear that his name had been cleared.
Lob's book (variously known as Dealing with Satan / Rezső Kasztner's Daring Rescue Mission (Jonathan Cape) and Rezső Kasztner: The Daring Rescue of Hungarian Jews (Pimlico and Kindle) tells the poignant, personal, in parts touching and always astounding story of this rescue.

"Two months and a day after my eleventh birthday the gates of Bergen-Belsenconcentration camp closed behind me. It was 9 July 1944. Five months later, with the Second World War still raging, I crossed the border into neutral Switzerland, stunned but alive and safe."

Orchestrating our interview across the continents has had its challenges and Prof Lob has been refreshingly friendly, professional and courteous with me.

 It's my pleasure to bring you this interview from which I hope you may extract much to enrich your life today.  History must never be forgotten. 


Joy Fielding is a Canadian author living in Toronto. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her books have been published in multiple languages worldwide.  I came across her book The First Time recently, and the title struck me as it was the first time I'd read her work. I was immediately taken with it and wanted to chat with her straight away, as the book involves a cause that is close to my heart, Motor Neuron Disease, which I recently spoke to the J9 Foundationabout. 

Joy's new release, Shadow Creek is in bookstores now. Order you copy today!


Felicity Davis is the author of Guard a Silver Sixpence, a book which explores self-identity through historical exploration over five generations:

In 1903, in the mining town of Barnsley, a brutalised wife called Emily Swann lashed out at her violent husband. Her actions brought tragedy and scandal in their wake. Her children were shamed, her family broken apart.

Over one hundred years later her great-granddaughter Felicity, also a victim of physical and psychological abuse, set out to uncover the secret history of her family in the hope it would heal the scars of her own childhood.

As Felicity discovered more about her mum and nan, and was led back to Emily herself, she came to see how all these women had all been caught in a damaging cycle, endlessly repeating the mistakes of the past. And she knew that she, at last, had the power to break free.

Guard a Silver Sixpence is the heartwarming story of an inspirational woman who learned that anything is possible if you can lay the past to rest.

Also check out her blog at -

In South  Africa, Guard a Silver Sixpence is available at Readers Warehouse.

I’ve just read Guard a Silver Sixpence, and I came away from it wanting to know more about the inspirational woman behind it. I felt a connection.

It’s this connection which ties in with the strongest theme of this blog, which concept I first heard about in an interview with actor John Ritter done in the late 70s – that there’s a golden thread of humanity which connects us all – across generations, across continents, across gender and race.  John Ritter said he would like to be remembered as someone who tweaked this golden thread. Felicity’s book ties in phenomenally with this, as she metaphorically walks through generations of her own family to find out more about herself , and break the cycle of abuse for herself and future generations.

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