I started yesterday off with a good deed and I felt like was on a bit of a high for the rest of the day. A lady sat on the top deck of the bus as it moved along the route through Leith into Edinburgh. I noticed two tags sticking out from under her hair. I looked harder and noticed one was the product label, the other the half price tag.
For a few moments I debated whether I should tell her—one voice telling me to do the good deed, the other telling me to watch and enjoy the view—but in the end I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t just let her walk off the bus into the heaving streets of Edinburgh to be laughed at. She was most thankful and embarrassed when I pointed it out, but as I said to her: “it could have been worse—only I had seen it.” That was before I’d Twittered about the whole event on the Internet, mind you.
Starting the day off with a good deed made me feel happy. I felt like I was glowing on the inside. There was a hop, skip and jump to each of my steps as I walked to the office. I felt cleansed on a spiritual level. I was as merry and gay as I could be. Get the picture or am I overdoing it?
Spotted yesterday, this headline on BBC Scotland’s news website: Salmond Calls For Mackerel Action (say it out lout for full comedic effect).
I left my office sharp yesterday and shot up to Charlotte Square to meet my daughter. I’d bought two tickets to see teen author, Louise Rennison, Laura’s favourite author. I knew I would be outnumbered female to male, but was surprised by just how much. Of the hundred or so teenage girls, I was only one of three males in the audience.
Rennison holds great appeal to her fans and it’s easy to see why. She relates to them in a way I can’t imagine (I tend to get on with 5 year olds better), she talks to them at their level, understands them and they have their own coded language created through the novels. I only knew some of what was being spoken about because Laura sometimes reads Rennison’s books to me, so the Snogging Scale, Nunga-Nungas and Trouser Snakes came as no major surprise to me. Laura was in stitches for almost the entire hour.
What did surprise me was the ferocity of the stampede to the Signing Tent. We’d sat up the front-centre near to the exit but even before Rennison had finished signing off the mad rush was on. It was a primal fear, and through it I was able to connect emotionally to my cavemen brothers. I told my daughter to run ahead and I’d catch her up but she went the wrong way, so it was lucky I was able to get a place towards the front of the queue then let her in.
During the wait there was much Twitter activity, as a result of which I nipped outside for my first official Twitter meeting. @lisadempster has travelled from Australia on invite from the British Council and the Book Festival to attend the Bookcase Conference, which starts today. She’s the Director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival in Oz. We only had time for a brief chat before I had to go back in to take my daughter’s picture with Rennison, but we’ll get together again soon for a proper meet up.
Laura was near the front of the queue by the time I returned so we didn’t have too much longer to wait. She had two books signed: her favourite one, ANGUS, THONGS AND FULL-FRONTAL SNOGGING, and Rennison’s new one, WITHERING TIGHTS, which I bought for her before we went in. I never realised Laura had mentioned to Rennison how much I laugh when having her books read to me, not until we were walking away and Rennison shouted over: “Oh, you’re the dad? I just left some kisses for you in that book!”
Definitely my lucky day!
We headed home but I only had time for a quick shower and change before heading back up to Charlotte Square. No dinner; bad move. My evening event was with Alan Bissett & Lars Husum. Bissett I’d seen before and know some of his work, Husum, a Norwegian writer, was new to me.
Husum was first up to read from his novel, MY FRIEND JESUS CHRIST, which was a struggle at times but only because it was the third time he’d ever delivered it in English. Full marks to the guy for coping with the pressure he must have been under. Bissett delivered his reading from DEATH OF A LADIES MAN in his usual charismatic style, acting out the part with a highly polish oratory style. His delivery can have you rolling in the aisle one minute then afraid to swallow the next.
Bissett revealed that he’s been commissioned by STV to write a screenplay sequel to DEATH OF A LADIES MAN, but the most memorable moment for me was when he had referenced his previous novel, THE INCREDIBLE ADAM SPARK (about a boy with learning difficulties who thinks he’s a super hero) and a fighter jet roared over the tent during the nightly fly-past for the Military Tattoo at the Castle. It was a surreal moment that changed to hilarity when Bissett raised himself from his seat, arm outstretched in a Superman pose as though about to fly off. Superb stuff.
We were also treated to a brief preview from Bissett’s one-man Fringe show, THE MOIRA MONOLOGUES – it was fantastic entertainment.