Sunday, December 10, 2006

Another step on the road

The build up

Last time I was a long way from home. This time I was on home turf …

The posse arrived early at the Crow and helped to set up the book displays and the drink – with care to give equal prominence to both.

Jon at the Crow

The bit with the speeches

Proceedings started with a small experiment – a show of hands if you fitted into each of the following categories:

1. Author

2. Work in publishing

3. Blogger

4. Member of a writers’ group

5. Member of a reading group

6. Involved in the sale or distribution of books

7. Ever read a book!

The results were a perfect illustration of what had brought this disparate group of people together on a cold December night; although many people raised their hands several times, the only thing we all shared was a passion for books.

The guest authors

Vicky Blake & I found plenty to smile about

Martin Millar with Skint

Kate Bousfield, Derec Jones, Sarah May, Victoria Blake and Martin Millar were all there. Mark Crick didn’t make it unfortunately – though he did phone from somewhere on the motorway between Manchester and Crystal Palace.

There was a very welcome unexpected addition to the guest list when Zoe Fairbairns arrived. I remember reading Benefits and being blown away by it when it was first published back in 1979. 27 years later, it’s still in print. The book captured the zeitgeist to perfection and propelled Zoe into iconic status. I could easily have been struck dumb at meeting one of my all-time heroines, but wasn’t given the opportunity … Zoe, like all the other guests, was warmth and generosity personified.

Not only did I meet Zoe Fairbairns, but she's holding my book! My cup definitely runneth over .

The bloggers

Then it was time to introduce the bloggerati. Among those who had travelled from afar to be there were Minx from Cornwall, Skint from Cardiff and Cailleach from Ireland. Sadly, Sharon wasn’t able to make it after all. Next time …

Derec Jones aka Skint with Rhian

Once again there was an unexpected newcomer to the list – one that symbolises the power of the blogosphere. Enthusiasm was sitting at home idly blog-surfing. He hopped through some links and came across this post on Britblog and from there arrived here.

‘That’s just down the road,’ he thought. ‘And it’s now!

He jumped on a bus and was a welcome addition to the throng.

The blog stats

Source: Sifry's alerts/Technorati

  • There are 57 million blogs worldwide

  • 100,000 new blogs are created every day

  • The total number of blogs doubles every 230 days

  • There are 1.3 million posts each day

The main event

Derec Jones then introduced the catalyst for the whole evening, Kate Bousfield, who wove her inimitable spell over all present by reading the prologue from Coven of One.

Minx - note co-ordinating book and underwear

The important footnote

Meloney Lemon drew people’s attention to an Amnesty International leaflet publicising 10 December as Human Rights Day. Many of you will know that the issue of people trafficking ranks very high on my political agenda and was the subject of Trading Tatiana. In case you’ve forgotten, the
UK has so far failed to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings. If you haven’t already done so, please put pressure on the government to perform this minimal step.

The conclusion

Glasses were clinked, credit cards were battered, the till pinged, books were signed and all the authors sold copies of their work.

Organising the evening had been a short but steep and intense stretch of road. I can honestly say it was worth every scrap of the energy put in.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to a successful and entertaining evening.

Now for the next step on life’s road …


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. Wish I could've been there.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your organisation and warmth Debi - without your input, it wouldn't have been the same!

It was a great evening, and I hope there are many more... ;)

BTW, just started reading Nirvana Bites - very funny!

Unknown said...

57 million blogs?! Yikes, is there really so much to say?
Nah, cancel that, of course there is!

So glad the evening was such a great success.

Anonymous said...

There's an awful lot I could say about people trafficking, but sadly I would only get myself in trouble at this point in time. If only it were as simple as signing pieces of paper though.

Glad the night was a success, and sorry I couldn't get there. As I've said to Minx...make sure I get 6 weeks advance notice next time!! :)

Debi said...

John - we wish that too!

Cailleach - it was great to meet you. I have just one complaint - NOT ENOUGH TIME!!!

Aty - since you wrote that there will have been another 100,000 ...

DBA - I don't think signing pieces of paper would magically sort everything - but it seems to me a pretty minimal step.

Anonymous said...

It's the greed of people in the perceived rich world and the poverty of those in the poor world that leads to trafficking. You can sign as many pieces of paper as you like, but until people raise up out of their own selfishness we'll get nowhere, despite the many ineffective EU, UN or whatever motions in place. Sadly this is a topic I have seen the darker side of, more than most.

Debi said...

Is there a lighter side, Lehane???

You're right in that the root causes have to be tackled but in the meanwhile, don't we have to do everything in our power to make a difference, no matter how small?

Anonymous said...

It shouldn't go without saying that none of it would have happened without you Debi: fantastic job, well done!

P.S. did we discuss image rights?

Marie said...

Thanks so much for posting this, Debi. I wish I could have been there. You all look like you had a fab time.

Debi said...

tee hee, Jon.

Wish I could've seen your face when you popped in here and saw ... your face ...

Anonymous said...

You're quite right, there isn't a lighter side and that wasn't particularly well put by me. What I mean is that I have seen the ugliness and tragedy of it first hand and on a regular basis.

The trouble with people doing small measures is once they've done that, they think they've done their bit, so to speak. Look at all the pop protests of recent times. People doing the nice easy bits, but whatever changes?

No, people have to get properly involved and stay involved to make a change. It needs more than signed pieces of paper it requires a radical change of lifestyle for us.

S. Kearney said...

How many blogs? Geez .. suddenly I feel like a tadpole in a ....
We'd want to be selective then on the future blogmoots ... how many chairs in that bookshop, Debi?!

Anonymous said...

Looks like it was a great evening, Debi. Thanks for all the photos and the words - I feel like was partly there now.

Saaleha said...

Well Minx did say thet she never leaves the house without matching underwear and why not let it match the book. But the pics look great, at least now I know what some of the fellow bloggers look like. Glad you guys had a great time.

Debi said...

Thanks everyone. We're well aware of the support of people who weren't able to make it as much as those who did. It's greatly appreciated!

Lehane - this is b-i-g. You make a good point re the radical changes needed. I really want to pursue this in a different arena ... I'm sure the opportunity will arise.

PS Verification is yblgge. Why blog? Huh! D'you really need to ask???

Julia Buckley said...

Great photos, looks like fun. Wish I had gone.

You and Minx both look very foxy!

Unknown said...

'Foxy' - heh, love it.

Anonymous said...

Lovely to see a good time had by all! (And really annoyed I couldn't make it in the end!) It looks like it was a great night. My best again, to all of you.

"Stand We At Last" from Zoe Fairbairns was one of my "coming of age" reads. Some things we don't ever forget, eh?

Also, how strange to see the pic of Vicky Blake and think that she's just as I imagined (and I assure you I've not seen her in person or in another pic before)! Looking forward to reading more of her work too!

Debi said...

Hi Julia - thanks for the com(pli)ment!

Cfr - every word you say makes it clearer you should have been there ... thank so much for your support from afa

Anonymous said...

Thanks Debi! And guess where I am tomorrow? Yep. London. Never at the right time for other things though... (And never enough time to plan them, either!)
I guess I might see you again sometime in the next decade.