a good day @ the litfest
Stoke Newington was as weird as ever, but a bit livelier than this. Late on in the afternoon there was some kind of demonstration by children, with whistles, which looked as if it had been organised remotely from a 1940s dystopia (ie, a real one, not some contemporary wank to make the narcissistic target audience feel even more central to everything so they’ll buy the book). At one point I imagined a conga line of women dressed very successfully as Edith Sitwell 1938 passing the beer tent, winding around for a bit, then leaving the way they had come; or that might have been real. Lots of sexual challenge & side-eye there, & let’s face it some very direct looks too. Anyway, in addition I met, as you do, many people I only know from Twitter or email, & was stunned–as one always is–by how real and nice they were, including the dedicated Andy Miller (already looking forward to his Springsteen concert) & one other (they know who they are); much of the Influx Press Lot inc the emergent Kit Caless the redoubtable Gary Budden the spritely Gareth Rees; my as-it-were cohort from the Unreliable Guide to London, Yvette Edwards, Courttia Newlands & never forgetting the steely-eyed Giant Rat of Sumatra, with whom I was able to celebrate briefly the Brent Confluence. The men’s loo had two stalls, labelled 24 & 25. I wondered what had happened to the other twenty three, not to say 26 & on. There could never have been space for them there, so they must be distributed through the building or the continuum, perhaps at random, a kind of concertina of lavatories stretching across empty space etc. After that C & I strolled back across the marshes in the gentle evening warmth etc etc to Walthamstow with Julian Richards & Lara Pawson–whose soon-to-be-available new book is a crushingly honest memoir of war, war correspondence & personal mayhem, This Is the Place to Be, from CB Editions, buy it–to have dinner at their place with Will Eaves and Charles Boyle, two of the most intelligent & entertaining men in publishing as presently constituted.