You wouldn't think it to look at him, but today Agent Phil is another year older. 25* and he doesn't look a day over 57. Sadly his birthday fell too late to actually happen during the Harrogate festival this year so we've not been able to buy him a huge round of birthday drinks, but given the state of all our livers following the last four days, that's probably just as well.
Yet again Harrogate was a great festival of drinking and talking rubbish and eating too much and sometimes going to panels to break up the monotony of hedonistic excess.
- Cheering for Allan Guthrie as he staggered off looking stunned with the Theakston's barrel o'fun** on the first night
- Catching up with people I haven't seen for ages, and meeting new ones.
- Seeing several of the county's top crime writers launch into playground antics with associated injuries (Simon Kernick nearly crippled Agent Phil in a game of 'slapsies')
Hours of sleep: 2
- Seeing Val McDermid being interviewed by Mark Lawson. Which was interesting enough to keep my knackered brain awake after only two hours of lousy sleep and a great deal of the night staring at the ceiling wondering what the hell was wrong with my brain - didn't it know I was knackered?
- Going for lunch with Simon, JamesO and Agent Phil at the Loch Fine restaurant and finally having THE TOWER OF FISH!!! Mmm, fish in a tower... What could be better than that? And then watching Simon and Phil deface nearly every photograph in the festival programme with a black pen: blacked out teeth, extra glasses, scars, arrows through the head, and willies everywhere. Childish, but very, very funny.
- Catching the Snobbery with Violence panel where it was David Roberts versus the rest of the world.
- Going out for dinner and eating far too much.
- Meeting Laura Lippman - who is scarily lovely and went out of her way to reassure me I hadn't made an unmitigated tit of myself during the Foul Play. She's a wonderful liar.
- Hearing John Rickards tell the same anecdote back-to-back twice. He was terribly, terribly weaseled at the time though.
- Calling it a night before Agent Phil did his soon to be legendary running and jumping monkey impersonation. Apparently it was quite spectacular, in a simian sort of way.
Seeping pills: 1
Hours of sleep: 6
- Waking up when the alarm goes off at half seven not having spent the night feeling like someone in the lad of nod hated me.
- A full Scottish Breakfast with Christopher Brookmyre and Al 'Horror Bollocks' Guthrie.
- Seeing my panel not crash and burn. This was thanks to the excellent participation of Michael Marshall, Zoë Sharp, Simon Kernick and Caroline Carver. Stars one and all, even if we did loose a couple of audience members when we started talking about cannibalism.
- Going back to Loch Fine for yet more fish, but no defacing of photographs. Even if there was a lag between courses of about three and a half years.
- Heading out to a fancy hotel for dinner with the HC crowd, then having to sit in the dark for fifteen minutes while everyone else ate their desserts because James Twyning*** convinced the hotel staff it was my birthday. Eventually the waiter comes in with my summer pudding, into which has been inserted a mortar-bomb-style firework. Everyone sings happy birthday. Which is nice, if about four and half months too late. Daft as spanners, the lot of them ;}#
- More hanging around in the bar.
- Being swept up in an unexpected hug from Alex Barclay that managed to rearragne about three of the vertebra in my neck.
- Hitting the snooze button... then getting my quarter to eight alarm cramp. Right down my left thigh. Like being wired up to one of those nasty tens machines with extra teeth-gritting and pain. Then limping for the rest of the day.
Herbal sleeping remedies: 2
Hours of sleep: 6
- Watching the 'What Really Gets Me Going' panel and doing a lot of laughing as Mark, Val, Christopher, and Daphne had a damn good rant about pretty much everything.
I'm already looking forward to next year. But I think my liver will need a bit of a breather before then...
* This is either shameless flattery, or a barefaced lie, depending on how you look at it.
** And yes, I actually do mean that.
*** If he's not going to spell my name right, I don't see why I should spell his.
Labels: events, ramble