Yes, I am now launched once more upon an unsuspecting public. The event itself was bloody surreal, I was expecting it to be in some sort of big room at Kings College, but it turned out to be a United Nations-style lecture theatre, complete with raked seating, desks and little microphones for everyone. I meandered about down in the little round bit on the lowest level, babbling inanities into a radio mike -- like a beardy Mr Smith Goes To Washington.
Remember I told you (for which read 'boasted shamelessly') that Ottakar's in Aberdeen had sold over a thousand copies of COLD GRANITE? Well, I decided to mark this staggering achievement on their part with the creation of a new award: the Golden Rowie. All hand made from a big dod of wood that used to be a part of my house, a lump of Das Pronto clay I've had for years and a wee brass plaque. That bit I didn't make myself, so naturally that bit was a complete screw-up. I went to one of those little key cutting places in an Aberdeen shopping centre that also does house nameplates -- you know, the sort of place where they've borrowed their customer service manual from the Gestapo and crossed out all the bits that seem too friendly -- and asked them to engrave three lines of text. And it came back reading:
At the time I was all for taking the thing and ramming it up the moustachioed half-wit's fundament, before realising it was actually a lot more funny that way round. A perfect example of what happens when you trust someone with more hair on their top lip than the top of their head. And yes, that's a sweeping generalisation, but if you can see your own face reflected above their slack-jawed features, you know they spend more time polishing their head than using it.
Anyway, after about forty five minutes of mindless ramblings from beardy boy here, I whipped the crowd into a tumultuous, tumescent rendition of 'Happy Birthday To You' for Doreen, who made the mistake of telling me it was her birthday out in the hallway before we started, and then there was nothing left to do but drink wine and mingle! Well, for everyone other than me -- who spent the rest of the evening at the signing table, barely able to get down a lonely glass of wine for all the nice people wanting things signed. Including Janet from INoGITCH, who'd brought along a copy of the unabridged audio version of COLD GRANITE for me to scrawl on. I'd never even seen one of those before, so that was quite surreal. I'll have to go get Agent Phil to rattle some cages and get us a couple of copies. Provided he can see through his blanket of 1970's style hair.
Quarter past ten and it was a mad dash off to Pizza Express with Editor Sarah, Publicist Fiona, She Who Must Be Given Something To Eat Or People's Limbs Will Start To Go Missing, Mr James and Barbara. The latter two having come all the way up from Welsh Wales for the launch. Silly sods.
All in all a nice evening, even though we were too late at the restaurant to have more than one choice of wine, and no dessert. So there was no repeat of Agent Phil's cranachan wearing trick. In fact everyone was disturbingly well behaved -- clearly it's Agent Phil who leads us all astray, so fingers crossed he'll be able to make the next one!
I'll post some picks later, if I can get hold of any. Googling Brother had his camera with him...