Just got back from a wee party in London for those of us on the Penguin crime list to have a chat with some reviewers, bloggers, twitters (?) and mess about with some indiscriminate others.
One interesting character lived on a house boat on the Thames but was from Clydebank… and he and I turned out to be the informal cabaret for the evening. Our task was to find the most difficult sentence for an English person to say in a Glaswegian accent. The answer is … ‘Oh there’s been a murder in my corduroy underpants!’ The word curly wurly also provoked a fair degree of hysteria amongst those who pronounce the word grass with more than one A in the middle.
I met old pals like Tim Weaver, Mad Chris, Slightly More Sane Chris and totally Absolutely Barking Chris ( he had claimed he had another event to go to but ended up having so much fun with our corduroy underpants that he decided to hang around.) The lovely Barry Forshaw was there. If you watch a lot of TV you have probably seen him on things like the A to Z Of Crime Fiction speaking words of wisdom. It turns out that we are interviewing the same authors at different crime festivals over the summer so he is going to give me the heads up re good questions or not! And what to avoid. Nicki French was also there. I had walked past her/ them at various venues and said hello but had never been formally introduced. She was a really nice person, funny and witty. Totally understanding that to me, with my sense of geography (north being up and south is down!), Suffolk was somewhere ‘over there’ while vaguely pointing with a glass... in the middle of Soho, Suffolk must have been somewhere to the left. I did gain some respect by knowing much about the famous horses of Suffolk.
I did my training in London and lived right in the centre for five years. I don’t know if I am older or if London has changed, but it seems so much dirtier now, bins and rubbish everywhere, the homeless everywhere. There is still the interchangeable Glaswegian, dark brown skin with nicotine, raddled face singing somewhere near a tube station entrance. This time he was outside the embankment staggering up the middle of the road, singing Amazing Grace. He was holding the tune better than any X Factor contestant and a nifty dance while negotiating the kerb. If he was cleaned up a bit he could represent an independent Scotland in Eurovision.
He’d probably do quite well...
I’m saying nothing about Englebert. I know the age of retirement is going up but what next? Sean returning as James Bond. Joan Collins in Miss World? Brucie on yet another series of Strictly.
Small people were in the house last week – watching TV and asking who this old geyser was. Tom Jones I replied. And who’s that they asked.
Nearly as good as somebody at work asking me how many Beatles there actually was.
The catalogue is out for the next book The Blood Of Crows and it is available for pre-order on Amazon. The book after that is going well. Working title is The Night Hunter.
Off for a busy time with events next week.