Little moments to cherish

Or as TS Eliot had it: these fragments I will shore against my ruins. I was just thinking about this time a year or so back when I mentioned to these mates from Stoke about how I’d done this reading to promote a new publication and how useless it was, no one had come and we hadn’t sold any books.

‘What do you mean, “reading?”‘ the first mate asked.

‘You know,’ I said, ‘You go to a Waterstones and read a bit of your new book to the audience and then there might be a few questions and you sign copies.’

There was an embarrassed silence. Then the son of the first mate said, ‘What, and people go out of their houses for that?’

‘Not many people go out of their houses,’ I said, ‘That’s why the thing is so bleedin’ useless.’

‘You can’t blame them for staying at home though can you,’ said the third mate, with due feeling. ‘Bloody hell, what a waste of time. And what’s Waterstones, anyway?’

I was sort of expecting them to slap me on the back at the end, as if to say, ‘C’mon thickso, we were only taking the piss, we know what a literary promo reading is, we weren’t born yesterday.’ But they never did. The reactions were quite genuine. If I’m ever feeling miserable I just think of that scene; it never fails to make me chuckle.

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13 Responses to Little moments to cherish

  1. OS says:

    :)

    OSx

  2. makemeadiva says:

    Working in the community has plenty of those moments (love the TS Eliot phrase).

    Standing like an idiot in a shopping centre on Saturday morning with a load of fruit and a globe whilst shoppers ignore you.

    Standing like an idiot at a “fun day” with a load of marketing gumph whilst fun people ignore you.

    Standing in a primary school with a load of balloons whilst your own kid presses the disabled button to open the doors for people, and the parents ignore you (and her).

    Bastards :-)

  3. Daftburger says:

    In Stoke you’d be better doing it in Weatherspoons!

  4. Stephen Foster says:

    Haha; that would be a good audience.

    That reminds me of when I was invited to do a reading at the new Victoria Hall ‘grand opening day.’ There was a hell of a lot of stuff going on, and my bit was to read my story on a half-landing next to a Punch and Judy show.

    ‘Will that show be on when I do my reading?’ I asked.

    ‘I think so,’ said the lady.

    So I said that wouldn’t do and instead read it out in the hall itself, from the stage, on a Val Doonican stool with a mic. The hall holds 3,000; my audience was 10 which included my family and two others who my family had brought along. They decided to sit at the very back, about half a mile away, but even from that distance I could hear my Auntie Mildred gasp when the story had a very bad swear word in it.
    Half-way through my reading a tour party snaked across the back of the stage, in through one wing, out through the other, some of them vaguely looking at me as if to say: what is that nutter doing there talking to himself…

    I had driven up from Bristol in order to perform at this event.

  5. Stephen Foster says:

    I don’t really like to ask, but what was the globe for?

  6. makemeadiva says:

    To hide behind if I saw anyone that I knew?

  7. Al says:

    Today’s blog has brought me out of “lurkerdom” as it caused me to laugh.Hard.

    I’ve also been lurking on AWAG for forever and a day(as Ghostie).

    Stephen, I’ve read a fair few of your books now. I think on AWAG I put a very short review of the first one I read:”Strides” where I said I really enjoyed it apart from the fashion obsession!

    Since then I’ve read “Walking Ollie” which was very good(and I prefer cats!)BTW…Your blog post when Ollie died brought tears to my eyes.

    I also found much to identify with in “She stood there laughing” ( QPR fan for my sins).

    I’ve just finished “From Working class hero…” which I absolutely loved.Got through it in two days flat.

    It’s inspired me to buy “Cracks like broken skin” and “Along came Dylan”.

    At this rate, I’ll have read em all before too long!

    What’s in the prodcution line?

  8. Stephen Foster says:

    Welcome to the blog Al, you sound like an excellent person with a finely-tuned literary sensibility : )

    I’m trying to write a novel is the answer to the Q. I’ll do anything to not get on with it at the moment…

  9. makemeadiva says:

    Drawing someone out of lurkerdom is a right achievement Foster.

    http://makemeadiva.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/lurkers-welcome/

    Champagne all round \o/

  10. Chiffs says:

    Another reading story – my ‘audience’ is 7 people in a massive aircraft-hanger bookstore. One gets up and leaves the second I begin, another gets up and helps herself to a book on the Self-Help shelf behind me. Then leaves. Remaining 5 fall asleep. At the end, answering a question about spouses, I ask a woman whether she’s ever had the same experience with her husband, nodding to the man next to her. She looks sideways. That’s my sister, she says.

  11. Stephen Foster says:

    I’d like to comment on your link but that would rather destroy the conceptual beauty of it…

  12. makemeadiva says:

    Readings like that seem like a cruel form of marketing for authors :-(

    Is there a union, perhaps you could strike!

    Although I expect with an appreciative audience they are rather good.

  13. OS says:

    These stories are the reason blokes from Stoke don’t know owt about wot a reading is. It seems they are a majority: an overwhelming majority. Daftbugger is right, although I reckon Wetherspoons might spoil the ambulance.

    Welcum to the blog, Al. We’re just waiting for boyo Bernie to join us now, but God help us with the language filter if he does. ;)

    GGOS. Hon Umb. (POC)

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