Finally hooking up with the Champagne was a mini adventure in itself.
A gift from my (brilliant, lovely, etc) publisher to mark publication of The Book, it was originally delivered to me c/o Adam Street before embarking on a ridiculous up-country relay, ending up in a rather excellent Edinburgh restaurant where Richard O’Connor had thoughtfully arranged for it to be put on ice.
There really is no better start to a long weekend – or end to a long journey – than a bottle of decent Champagne on arrival follwed by a fine meal and excellent company. Especially when that company includes Richard, Robert, Stephanie, and a songwriter from D.Ream. Surely, Things Could Only not Get Better.
And yet they did. My Book Festival talk thing was a blast – and pretty well attended, especially given that James Harkin and I were programmed against Irvine Welsh. (”What are you two talkin’ about?” “Footba”” What are you two talkin’ about?” “Ideas and technology.”)
Specifically, James was talking about his excellent book, ‘Big Ideas‘, and how some big ideas (the Long Tail, metrosexuality, citizen journalism…) require the use of a finely tuned bullshit detector. I was talking about how all of my ideas require the very same. It was an hour-long gig ending with a signing, during which a nice chap called Paul asked me to sign a copy of London by London. You want meta? I got meta.
Aside from being a great chance to talk about The Book, and about ideas generally, the event also gave me access to the ‘authors’ yurt’ – a vast Bedouin tent full of whisky and wine and coffee and finger food and Will Self. Oh, and they booked me in to the Bonham, a rather splendid boutique hotel just a stone’s throw from Charlotte Square.
And did I mention it was a paid gig? Seriously – if I knew being an author was this much of a blast, I’d have spent less time learning to drink and more time learning to write.
But it wasn’t all ‘work’, ‘work’, ‘work’. With Rob, Stephanie and Richard in town, there was plenty of time for fun and culture. Highlights for me were an excellent talk on Ian Fleming by Charlie Higson and Ben McIntyre and a surprise appearance by Rich Hall at Best Of The Fest. It was Rob’s first time at the festival but I suspect it won’t be his last, especially as a certain girl is now living in town. I think I might try to arrange a trip back north for Hogmanay.
First, though, I have to get this bag mission finished. Thank you to the frankly astonishing number of people who emailed suggestions on the perfect hand luggage. I have some excellent leads from both ends of the luxury spectrum (I’m favouring leather at the moment because it looks prettiest) and, given that today is a bank holiday, I’m going to do some research and shopping tonight. Not least because – inshallah – I’m back on a plane at the end of next week.