I’d have considered it a bonus if the microphone had been working, but I will get back to that piece of equipment further on in this post.
Coming face-to-face with Ilya Kuryakin was good. He and that Napoleon Solo were among the first people I ‘met’ on arrival at the Holden Gallery, for the official opening of the mcbf. Their colleagues Mr Bond, The Saint and Modesty Blaise were also present, albeit only as exhibits in the new Graphic History of the Future, which by happy coincidence also opened last night.
I mingled as best I could. Ran into the Bag Lady of Chinley, so it’s a small world. The other Bag Lady, Iris Feindt, was there wearing new spots, and Liz Kessler and friend mingled, along with Vice-Chancellor John Brooks and Carol Ann Duffy.
As I went round snapping Captain Scarlett and the Thunderbirds and all those other lovely posters, we were treated to steel drums by the Steel Rockers. Very nice!
Then the speeches began, and I apologise for being short, and some distance away. I clearly should not have allowed myself to be lured off-course by The Men From U.N.C.L.E. and instead sat myself down on one of the chesterfield sofas. At the front. Would have been better than standing at the back. Vice-Chancellor John Brooks began by saying what a good idea this book festival business is, praising Kaye and James, and thanking people, left right and centre. Then the Dean took over with more worthy comments on all of the festival happenings.
James and Kaye carried on, telling us the background to the festival, which I already knew about. They thanked people. (There should be a limit to how many people you are allowed to name and thank in any one speech.) I’d like to think they thanked me, if only in spirit. The reason I don’t actually know is that we couldn’t hear the first four speakers. The microphone wasn’t doing what it was put there for. I caught words here and there.
But what do I know? Then came Carol Ann Duffy, and I’d say the microphone was as scared of her as I am, as it instantly sprang into working order. (Could it be the way it is with animals? They sense who is boss.) Carol Ann either read a rude poem, or she didn’t. I’m not sure.
After Carol Ann we had another three speakers, but since the poor microphone lost the will to live soon after, I only suspect that they all talked about the exhibition. I wandered off to commune with Ilya. The children who were present drew on the walls, but they were allowed to. I pondered joining them before chickening out on grounds of old age.
Once the speeches were over and the chesterfields were free, I sank down in one to rest, startling a gentleman by airing my antique mobile phone, and enjoyed a brief chat with Liz Kessler. In person, not on the phone, I hasten to add. The Steel Rockers played some more and Carol Ann joined in dancing.
I wanted to catch Kaye and James together for a photo, and this is what happened. James reckons it describes their working relationship perfectly, but I’m guessing the camel had something to do with Kaye’s dreamy state. James kept flapping his speech in front of him. I’m guessing he was hot.
In-house blogger Kevin and I agreed to make things up for our posts, on account of our deficient hearing. He promised to back me up on all that I’ve said here. Or else!
Iris seems to want me to get her another bag. I’m not sure. She might be crazy. I’ll find out.
Now we just need to be ready bright and early for MMU Plaza for a whole Saturday full of authors and events. And children. Young readers.