Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The book-signing

Yesterday was Book-signing Day, so Ms Fab and I found our way to Ely, avoiding drainage ditches and wrong turnings. After praying to the God of Parking Spaces, (distantly related to the God of Green Traffic Lights), we found a space that was within walking distance of the cathedral, and was at a good angle for not scraping paint off the adjacent car. 

We had a meal and, after arguing a bit over who was paying the bill, we joined the queue outside the cathedral. The sun was out, the cathedral was looking pretty spectacular right next to us, and we spent a happy hour or so people-watching. There were lots of women with fabulously coloured hair, and we wondered how colourful we could go without getting told off at work. We planned who to mug for their shoes and tried to have a nose at the books people had brought to be signed. 

There were 1200 people going, so the girl in the bookshop told us, and only 138 of them were in front of us. I know this because, as we went in, we were each given a raffle ticket which gave us our place in the book-signing queue later. We managed to get great seats not far from the front, and enjoyed a talk, a question and answer session and two readings from Neil Gaiman. The book that was being promoted was The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but he also read from his upcoming children's book, Fortunately the Milk... , which was very funny and which will be bought the second it's published. 

Queuing for the book-signing took a while, but Ms Fab and I spent the time criticizing the modern statues (Jesus, over the pulpit, looked sadly like an Eastern European puppet, we decided), and recommending books to each other. As the queue wound its way into the choir stalls, we admired the carvings and wished we had Mr Chaos with us to translate the Latin that was beautifully inlaid around the tombs. 

(Photo: Ely News)

Irritation of the evening was a self-important little man who kept pacing up and down the aisle saying, 'Please, COULD you all just keep to one side? Just in case....' In case of what, he didn't, or couldn't, say. It was a bit pointless, as we were already lining up nicely, in a typically English fashion. Ms Fab and I thought he was just after attention and tried to think of official questions to ask that he wouldn't know the answer to. We decided that he'd probably wanted a clipboard or set of keys but wasn't important enough. After his third pacing, Ms Fab was getting fidgety - she's not one to take orders without asking why and then arguing with you. I started wondering if she was going to get us thrown out, but we'd finally reached our destination. Books signed, we managed to find the car park and arrived home just before midnight. 

It was a rather special evening. Being surrounded by 1199 people who like the same books as me was brilliant. Ms Fab has planned a new wardrobe based around other people's shoes and I finally got my signed copy of Neverwhere.

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