Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Tony Black Magic
A touch of Tony Black Magic! Amongst other busy things I have been doing I went to Tony Black’s book launch in Ayr last night. Well that was the excuse to try out a restaurant that HWMBI had been to with his workmates the week before. I think the last time we went out for something to eat was last October ( the two baked potatoes for a fiver at Morrison’s doesn’t count) and even though it was the five thirty special ( two dinners for £15) it was great that somebody else was making it and there would be no fights about who was loading the dishwasher. Rumours were, the veggie food was good. And it was. The place was almost empty as we arrived, only one other couple there. So the waitress showed us to the table right next to them. Why do they do that? As I looked up the woman sitting there was somebody I know, a nice patient who just said hello. Fifty miles away and I met a patient. Much more embarrassing is when it is a bloke who says loudly ‘ahh I bet you didn’t recognise me with my clothes on’. A reference to the day job I hope. They were already on their coffee and left quickly which I hope was nothing to do with us arriving. Another woman sat down. The restaurant had its tables so close together that even the skinniest person had to squeeze in between the tables causing you to lift your pinot (£5 a glass I thank you) just in case it goes the way of the Greek economy. She was then followed by a much older man, an old Ayrshire farmer I think who was having none of this bistro cuisine. He was mischievous tyke who muttered just loud enough for others to hear that he was not going to eat this grass. “Chives” said his companion (who I deduce might have been a younger sister), He complained there was no chicken. “It’s under the pastry” she said with the patience of a saint. “That’s not a chicken” he said. “Been a fermer for fifty year an’ I’ve never seen a chicken like that”. “Eat it anyway and be quiet”. “I asked for a beer.” “That is a beer.” “No in that glass it’s no.” And so it went on. He even asked the waitress how they got away with charging five quid for a ‘dod o bried’ and a ‘wee bit of vinegar’. Better off at the chippy was the clear inference. There was then an interesting exchange when the sister asked him “Did you let the dogs out”? “A’hm no dignifying that with an answer”. “Yes but did you let all the dogs out?” With the emphasis on the all. In my mind I was replaying that Specsaver add with the collie that gets an unfortunate hair cut. Tony was in fine form as usual, the wee Waterstones in Ayr is a good venue but he did need to be mic’d up to be heard over the buzz of the refrigeration unit. He was interviewed by Michael Malloy, renowned poet of the West Coast. But at least he had a mic. At Paisley library, three of my ‘fans’ decided they needed to have their ears waxed when they didn’t. It was just such a big venue that nobody at the back could hear me. Not read Murder Mile yet, HWMBI’s mum has it. She tends to knick the good stuff on the reading pile and the harder boiled the crime fiction the better, as it often is with these little old ladies who wear cashmere a lot. Tony appeared and was given flowers by a male fan and this male fan should get a job as Tony’s PR guy as he asked every question with lashings of marvellousness. Wish he would come to my launch but I think I’d miss the dogs abuse that I get from my own fans. There was much chat about kindle stuff and how it is affecting publishing. What people seem to forget is that people will soon get fed up with paying anything for a novel that has not been properly edited. All novel writing is a team sport, you need fresh eyes at some point. Amazon might be happy to get 1% of 500 books costing £!0. They will be equally happy to get 1% of one million e-books selling at a pound each. The reader doesn’t know until they buy it. There are people out there writing books and putting the first draft out for sale because they think that is how it works. The buying public are not that daft ... Sales of e-books in Japan are already starting to streamline into the normal ways of publishing. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I do not know. But any badly written book, or non-edited book, even the best of them, needs an editor! It’s a bad thing. Next week Uddingston and then the world. Next time the blog is about Alex Grey and I in the NCP car park in Dundee. Enough said.