I wasn't at the launch below but at a dinner for our other author Maureen Gibbon whose uncompromising book 'Thief' is also published this month. I was one of the early champions of the novel which divided our office quite starkly between those who shrank from its no holds barred look at sexuality, and desire and those for whom it struck a chord - or in my case, a whole organ recital.
It's a disturbing book, hard to read and difficult to put down and Maureen, whose real-life events inspired the novel, has been doing the rounds of radio and newspaper interviews that most authors would give a kidney for. It makes my afternoon at the East Tilbury library look fairly shoddy. If you remembered that the most famous thing about East Tilbury is that there was a Bata shoe factory there once upon a time, you might think that my previous sentence was a pun. Indeed not. There are no puns in East Tilbury - only punishment. Not that Maureen has been given an easy ride by all her interviewers, but to hell with them. The arsy one was a man and what do they know about what goes on inside a woman's head?
Granted, not that much happening in mine that particular evening. Giving my best impression of airhead, honed from years of practice, I sat at the table with Maureen, Jenni Murray from Women's Hour whose every velvetty sentence seemed to herald a really interesting 'coming up next' introduction which kept one constantly in thrall, Maureen's New York based agent who looks all of seventeen but is actually closer to my age than most women would acknowledge outside of a border crossing- though if I looked like her I'd cheerfully confess to being a serial killer, and some clever woman from the FT with a handshake like having your fingers caught in the doors of an elevator.
Mr T sat amongst us nine women managing not to look like a Russian gangster. I drank too much, too quickly and left early, therefore missing the ensuing fun that seemed to have gone on until four am and included a transvestite banjo player.
Ah life, I'm always somewhere else when it happens.