Tag Archives: Martin Bell

What to look forward to?

Tuborg ad

All of it. (I feel like that old Tuborg ad.)

Although this is about the book festival in Edinburgh, and not Danish beer. We should be starting doing the rounds at Charlotte Square, roundabout now. It’d be nice with a soft start, but the first Saturday is rather full.

We knew we would only manage half the festival period, but which half? Actually, Daughter reckoned she could do all of it, but I know better. One or two specific people decided the matter for us, making it the first half. I’m sorry about the people of the second half. It can’t be helped. I wanted to see you too, but…

I have been racing through the delicious first chapters of Ribblestrop Forever! by Andy Mulligan. He will be here, and I want to find out all about Ribblestrop. On a more serious note Daughter is after Professor Frank Close. I hope I can keep up with this Higgs and LHC stuff.

Looking forward to meeting Chris Riddell for the first time, and also to seeing lots of people for anything but the first time. Sorry if I seem to be bothering you again. A couple of Swedes and a prize party and a speech in Parliament might also happen.

And stuff.

Chris Close and Martin Bell at the EIBF

Was a little taken aback at realising Chris Close, the photographer who does the artistic photos of authors, which he hangs all over the square (the pictures, not the actual authors), has been using my photo of himself to advertise what he does. That must be recognition. (OK, Son’s photo. Close enough. Sorry about unintended pun.)

(We are heading into the great unknown. Will be staying in possibly internet free zone, so blogging will have to happen as and when it can.)

Last day of EIBF 2010

Entrance tent to the EIBF

Some late thoughts on the last day of the book festival.

It’s actually been quite good listening to some authors talk about their books, when I haven’t read them. I tend to think that I want to reinforce my love for a book by hearing the author speak about it, but it can be refreshing to listen with no previous knowledge at all.

Press yurt coffee, EIBF

Gillian Philip booksigning

Poster at EIBF

Chris Close and Martin Bell at the EIBF

Yesterday's crop of photos by Chris Close

Philip Pullman in Charlotte Square

The photography guys at the EIBF

A C Grayling and the Swedes

VTB at the EIBF

Queue in Charlotte Square

Book festival mud

Garth Nix was one such writer, and Barry Hutchison and his Invisible Fiends was another. Tohby Riddle. Katie Davies.

Daughter has been inspired to think about which accent she’d rather speak. A Scottish one came high on her list. At least until she heard an Aussie accent from the ‘arse end of the world’, and I have to point out – very strongly – that it’s a direct quote from Simmone Howell.

I don’t often go round photographing posters, but in the London Review tent the one with the name Gilsenan on it caught my eye. Any ideas why?

As Daughter got excited about one Alan Davies, I realised I’d been to an event with another Alan Davies.

It’s been fun witnessing Chris Close taking his own brand of photographs of visiting authors, and then the next day to see the result printed out on canvas and hung somewhere in Charlotte Square. There was a sex discussion one evening, where Chris received complaints that he mainly takes pictures of men. His retort was that more women than men turn him down… And to be fair, they aren’t exactly beauty shots. Good, but more fun than pretty.

Having stood about hearing the press photographers addressed as ‘gentlemen’ for the last fortnight, and thinking of the female ones, I have hit on the prefect one-word solution. Guys. It seems to be acceptable to be addressed as guys by waiting staff in restaurants, so might work on both sexes of the press, too. Because there are two.

Unless you’re A C Grayling, who only got the ladies. We had this freelance Swedish photographer who turned up one evening, getting quite vociferous on sexism in general. And then we never saw her again. Couldn’t decide who had the best hair.

Best beard goes to Philip Ardagh (below), as always. He appeared to have ditched his towel, but I forgot to ask Philip about it.

There was the initial problem facing your VTB, when her Stirling broadband failed, but the spotty table in the tent was an OK place to work from, until the timely dongle saved the blogging industry.

The queues can’t be avoided if you pick a popular event. The hardest thing is to ascertain you are joining the correct one.

Mud failed to be a problem, because the sun shone far too frequently. Not grumbling. The ducks did, but maybe they never saw this little wet paradise in the corner.

Not getting up and going on the train every day will feel good. For a while. It will also be a relief not waking up to the nearby Stirling High School’s bell, which sounds much more like a warning that they are about to use explosives, than that they want the students to go to their classrooms.

Philip Ardagh at the EIBF

The case of the non-photogenic coffeecup

Geraldine's coffee

I’m quite pleased with my seal. The rabbit looked more like Arthur’s friend Buster, until I added more fluff round the edges. Debi Gliori taught me and one hundred children how to draw animals the Gliori way. She’d gone somewhat ambitious and bought 3000 pencils for this and other similar events. Babies cried and mothers helped their toddlers to draw seals, all on paper supplied by that bank.

She’d rested with a fiddling holiday in Shetland, but now it was straight back to shopping in Princes Street, followed by nine months of bunny-drawing for the new book.

Then the slowest book signer in the west spent the best part of two hours ‘doodling’ in people’s books, and I gave up every hope of speaking to her. But I gather she stopped feeling terrified after a while and stopped wiffling (whatever that is).

Lucky for us that this ‘middle-aged woman who laughs at her own jokes in private’ gave up all plans on becoming a princess, an astrophysicist (the mind boggles) or a doctor, to become a marvellous author and illustrator. Never mind that her kangaroo book is really about foxes. Much the same.

Debi Gliori

As Debi doodled in copies of Stormy Weather I bumped into Theresa Breslin, with beautiful borrowed baby in her arms. It was nice seeing Mr B again, but the poor man felt underdressed without a tie for me to admire, so he began planning what to wear next time we meet.

Swedish bag

Finding the press yurt surprisingly full I withdrew to the London Review café, where I encountered a random Swede. Ian Rankin was sitting around playing with his mobile, as always taller in real life than in my thoughts. Over tea back in the yurt there were tales of wasps eating wasps, which isn’t so charming. Also experienced my first shower, which happened minutes after I’d found a chair to sit on, with the rain coming from a clear sky.

Louise Rennison

We hung out for Louise Rennison, hoping that having an official photo call would mean no telling off this year. She was in the charge of Geraldine, so that was all right. Geraldine, on the other hand, had a wayward coffecup standing in the way of photography.

Michael Rosen

This was the closest I’ve got to Michael Rosen, but his event was sold out, so no luck on that front. He recited poetry while being photographed and delighted the paparazzi with his ‘eye special’. His event was pretty noisy, though, so we could hear him from outside. I managed to get myself to the front of the signing queue, surrounded by fans much shorter than me.

Martin Bell

Miguel Syjuco & Alberto Manguel

Olga Tokarczuk

The photographer was out catching Martin Bell who would be unrecognisable without his white suit. He stopped to chat to the photographers, which felt quite typical. While fishing we also caught Olga Tokarczuk and two gents by the names of Miguel Syjuco and Alberto Manguel. We have no idea who they are, but one of them carried a glass full of apple juice to the shoot. Or was it whisky?

This now has to count as a full working week completed, and the witch has grand plans for sleeping and generally catching up. Something will prevent this from happening. Before braving the train ‘home’ she had a nice dinner at Son’s new flat in a posh street. What’s student life coming to?