RLF work in the morning, then ‘being an author’ at a Careers Event at UEA. Takes place in the Lower Common Room (LCR), where they have gigs at night. Very gloomy, with a low ceiling, lots of temporary tables where people advertise their wares, reps from the local paper, journalism courses, etc. My friend John turns up, says someone has just asked him if he is Trezza’s bloke. At first I have no clients, and then there is one, and there there are several. Two fresh faced boys approach looking like refugees from Love Story, fresh faced, scholarly, preppy. They are very sharp, sharp enough to wonder if they are really too young to be wanting to write novels and poems. I could be their dad. Easily. Then two Gothic types, also boys. A paper plate of conference food is given to me while they sit beside me, for me to look after, for someone else. Two drying triangles of sandwich, two mini-Scotch eggs, two skewers of dry brown material, which must be chicken satay sticks or something, half a tomato. ‘That looks repulsive, doesnt it?’ I say to the Gothic boys. They disagree, noting that effort has been taken with ‘the arrangement.’
It is time to leave. I have a meeting to attend. A race meeting. I catch up with my mate Ben for the first, in a bookies where we lose on the first. Then I lose on the second, narrowly avoiding a big catastophe by not backing the horse Trezza has phoned up to advise, which comes second, and very nearly wins. To be fair, her advice did arrive after the start. Then I meet up with Philip in the Quebec. He has taken Along Came Dylan up there with him, the only paperback on view alongside a spread of Racing Posts and tabloids. Philip is showing it to the barstaff: Look – this pub is mentioned in this book. They are feigning to be impressed but are not really. In Coral across the road I stick a lump on 5/1 favourite Witchita Lineman, persuaded to do so, even though I have lost on him before, because AP McCoy on his back, as he was on the other occasions. Witchita Lineman puts in a stinker, clouting 3 fences hard on his way round the three miles, but is still in some sort of contention over the last, though seven or eight lengths behind the leader and the second and has no real chance of winning. But he reels them in and in and ever closer up the hill, and does them on the line, taking it by a short head. It’s not often enough that I can be found leaping and punching the air while watching a telly in a boozer on a Tuesday afternoon. As I leave the Quebec to cross the road to collect, I hear John McCririck crank up the hyperbole: Only one man on the planet could have won it from there! Good old AP, Champion Jock & punter’s friend. Bookies beware: the Foster pockets are loaded with vouchers for the rest of the Festival.