Saturday, February 09, 2008
I know, I know. I really shouldn't be posting this kind of thing on a site where children are likely visit, but when the original uncensored version popped up on my screen, along with several other doctored classics, courtesy of a depraved collector friend, it made me laugh out loud. LOL. I suspect that this is actually quite rare, and that when people add LOL to their online messaging they really mean 'quiet chuckle' or 'knowing smirk'.
There certainly hasn't been a lot of laughing out loud from me this week. I've had a car accident, (minor altercation), a visit to the dentist, (molar extraction) and a failure to meet any of my current deadlines (major dereliction). General apologies to those who are still waiting for signed and/or illustrated copies of Winter Wood. I will get there, I promise.
London was good, though. I got taken to tea at Liberty, and interviewed by the very lovely Nikki Gamble for Write Away. It was quite an education - and education is a field in which Nikki is a specialist, as it happens. Together we learned a good deal about the assembly and operation of Sony digital recording devices, including, eventually, which way round the batteries go. I know that my publicist, Nina Douglas, was very impressed. It was wonderful, she said, to watch the professionals at work. After the interview we had a few minutes to spare, so Nina and I went and looked at the price of a Liberty raincoat. That was an education too.
Then it was off to Harrods, where I had an interesting phone call right in the middle of my signing session. The caller introduced himself as 'the bloke from this morning'. What?
'It's the bloke from this morning.'
I thought that maybe This Morning! was a new celebrity publication, along the lines of Hello! Although it could equally have been a minority interest magazine, some kind of sister paper to Milkfloat Monthly, perhaps. Turns out it was the man who ran into the back of me on the way to the station (see car accident above). He was ready to talk about insurance. Er...not right now.
In the evening I went to a great little independent bookshop just off Leicester Square, and signed some copies of Winter Wood for them. Goldsboro Books is well worth a look, folks. About ninety percent of their stock is signed, which means that they can sell for cover price. The proprietor told me that this is how they keep going. He said that there was no point in even ordering copies of the final Harry Potter, when Tesco's were discounting them at below cost just to get people instore to buy more frozen chicken. How can independents compete with that? I felt guilty then about doing signings for Waterstones (which is what the Harrods bookstore actually is). Once the big chains are monopolising the retail market, they'll effectively be controlling the kind of books that can be published. The range will become narrower, and the middle ground will be all. It'll become like TV, where ratings figures rule the output. I foresee more and more celebrity chef books, but precious little catering for those with broader interests. What price poetry then? Or short stories? Or Milkfloat Monthly, for that matter? Not a lot to LOL about.