Well, I finally made it back into Aberdeen on Wednesday: a trip to the big city to see Revenge of the Sith with Christopher and Kim. I had hoped, in my vain, egocentric madness to see Union Street bedecked in posters for Cold Granite. Yea, yea, I know, but it was going to be one of those ‘local boy makes good’ moments, seeing the main street in my home town covered with adverts for my book… Or it would have been, if they hadn’t all been replaced with promos for Sin City and Sugar Free Ribena. Now I like fruity blackcurrant drinks as much as the next red-blooded man, but it isn’t really the same thing. Not a single poster remained. Not one, the whole length of Union Street. My fifteen minutes of local fame come and gone, without my even noticing. Ah well, just have to wait for the same time next year I suppose.
Whilst in town I kept my promise to Agent Phil and apologised on bended knee to the manager of Waterstones for sneaking into his bookshop and signing a copy of CG in secret when no one was looking. He demanded reparation in the form of signing every other copy in the store. Nice guy – even nicer when he told me CG was their number one selling book at the moment (in Aberdeen at least, only number 6 in Scotland). We even managed to sell a copy whilst the signathon was underway, but I wasn’t a great deal of help to the woman who wanted to know where the psychology section was, or the one who wanted to know if I could check on a book for her. Hello? Sitting at table with big pile of books, writing my name and drawing chainsaw-wielding teddy bears on the title page? Unless the bookstore is highly unethical and forces their employees to don false beards and forge author signatures, it’s pretty unlikely I work here. But I suppose you never know. I used to wear bright single-coloured shirts to work in an effort to relieve the monotony, and was forever getting asked in Pizza Express if I could fetch someone a new fork, or the bill if I dared to get up for a pee (it being frowned upon to do so at the table). And if I had a pound for everyone who came up to me in B&Q asking where the screwdrivers were, I’d have three quid by now. Maybe I just look like someone who works here, regardless of where ‘here’ may be? I must have an ‘employee of the month’ face.
After Waterstones it was down to Ottakars (yes, I’m a signing slut) to see how the book was doing for them and doodle on some stock if they wanted. And ended up buying Altered Carbon as it came highly recommended by a denizen of the cash room who shall remain nameless, buried away in the bowls of the Trinity Centre. I was going to pick up The Touch Of Ghosts, but they didn’t have it in, so John will just have to whistle for his 12% until later.
By the time I escaped from the breezeblock dungeon it was hammering down outside, rain bouncing off the pavement and road and people. None of whom seemed to notice. I guess after a couple of years in Aberdeen you just stop noticing the rain so much.
The rest of the afternoon was spent speaking to the police and the city council planning department. In book 2 there are certain events that border on the libellous in the same way that setting fire to a nun borders on naughtiness. So I had to make sure I used a name and job title that bore no resemblance to anyone, living or dead, currently working in the planning department. Which was a pretty surreal conversation to be having with an attractive young lady planner. “Hello, you don’t know me, but I’m looking for a fake job title and name, so I can make stuff up about sexual deviancy in the planning department…”
And as for the film? Well as someone who knows what it’s like to suffer the slings and arrows of negative reviews, let me just say that before the film we had pizza.
And now I suppose I’d better get back to the editing…
*and no, that’s not a typo