Sunday, 20 May 2007

Sniffing pages

After a few months of final tweaking and editing of my book, I find myself sitting like a prospective father in the corridor of a birth-clinic, waiting for my off-spring to see the light of day. I'm not anywhere close to having any kids, so I guess my ersatz-child for a while will be called Egon Schiele and/or The Pornographer: admittedly, not much of a name for a young child, particularly if it were to be a girl, but it'll have to do.

Having received a first copy a few days ago , I found myself doing entirely ridicuous things like sniffing pages and rubbing the cover against the soft part of my cheek. When an onlooker sees a young bloke sticking his nose into the pages of a book emblazoned with PORNOGRAPHER it is not always a good thing.

And all this was in Swindon: the site of my first engagement. Great fun and very rewarding. While Swindon may not always have the greatest of reputations in southern England with its fickle prejudices towards certain towns (...there's got to be a word for that; something with 'urban' in it probably...socio-urbanism or some such nonsense), it has a sparkling literary festival with the likes of Julian Barnes, John Major, Claire Tomalin... and some bloke who sniffs pages.

By the way, they smell like a cross between a Finnish forest freshly sprinkled with spring rain and HOMEBASE.

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