On Thursday 24th, I could be found in Manchester’s FAB Cafe for a World Book Night event. (The alert amongst you may recall that World Book Night was actually on the 23rd. This, however, was a Fashionably Late World Book Night celebration.)
I had never been to the FAB Cafe before, and it turned out to be beautifully-appointed underground geek lair, complete with Daleks, Cybermen and sci-fi memorabilia. Indeed, my first reaction upon seeing it was to remark “Eeeheeheehee!” or something similarly eloquent, then run around like a madwoman photographing everything. I would defy anyone not to do the same.
The high point was the readings given by local authors and poets, including R A Smith, D A Lascelles, Tony Curry, Sarah Grace Logan, Anna Percy, Dermot Glennon, Zach Roddis and Jackie O’Hagan. There was a lovely mix of tones and subjects – gritty cynicism, macabre humour, dryly witty and subversive feminism, historical fantasy, and sheer chutzpah. I pitched in as well, giving a reading from the soon-to-be-published Cuckoo Song for the first time.
A far better and more detailed account of the evening can be found here, on D A Lascelles’ blog.
Ed Fortune (columnist and correspondent for Starburst Magazine) suggested that he record an interview with me, to be transmitted for FAB Radio International‘s The Bookworm programme, which he co-hosts with Ninfa Hayes. I agreed, and we found a small, quiet-ish cloakroom at the back of the bar in which to conduct the interview.
I couldn’t help noticing that the door clicked to behind us with a disturbing air of finality. Sure enough, it was an auto-lock. We were trapped in the cloakroom.
We gamely went ahead with the interview, ignoring the possibility that it might only be broadcast posthumously, after the discovery of the dictaphone with our skeletons months hence. In the interview (which can be found here) you may notice a slight hint of panic in our voices.
Fortunately the FAB Cafe staff were on the ball, and came to let us out…
Many thanks to everybody involved for letting me come and play. It was lovely meeting you all!