Tag Archives: Stockport Plaza

Marnie and me

Fittingly there were riot fences outside the Plaza (at least we were spared the scaffolding, which would have ruined what is a perfectly nice Art Deco cinema) when Marnie Riches and I finally met up for ‘coffee.’ Our reputations preceded us and all that.

We’d been trying to find a mutually agreeable time for about three months (some people simply pop over for a cuppa ‘right now,’ whereas we faffed around online, synchronising our diaries) with plans being scuppered by all the travelling people engage in these days.

The Plaza, Stockport

Knowing what an Art Deco Queen Marnie is, I felt that the least we could do was drink our ‘coffee’ in  suitable surroundings. The Plaza met with her approval, but I regret to say the toilets were too fake. Nice, but only half pretending to be the real thing. (But at least they weren’t orange…)

So, I had the Earl Grey while Marnie had as frothless a latte as they could muster.

And we talked.

We got the Swedish connections out of the way early, except for a lingering Scandi noir. We talked houses. It’s refreshing to moan in good company.

Marnie asked about my blogging.

I asked about her books. She has written a lot of stuff, and recently had the first Time-Hunters books (under the name Chris Blake) published. There are more of those coming. Marnie is also working on a middle grade book.

And there is the Scandi noir in the drawer. Or possibly more than one. I lost count of the noirs. They sound interesting; somewhere between YA and adult. ‘Older YA’?

When there were only a few minutes left of her car parking, Marnie upped and ran (as a non-driver I forget about these limitations) and I also upped and departed, only a wee bit more sedately. Found myself a bus that was running so late that the driver didn’t charge… (I actually had a train ticket to travel home on, but a distinct lack of pedestrian crossings in town meant I was unable to make the train in time, hence my defection to the bus.)

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Bookwitch bites #73

How about we go totally miscellaneous today? I feel all higgledy piggledy, completely lacking in plans and any greater pictures.

This lovely pirate photo appeared before me only yesterday. It’s really Marie-Louise Jensen behind that mask, and I gather the handsome young assistant pirate is her son. I wholeheartedly approve of people who make full use of their children, and junior is to be admired for agreeing to be dressed up. The event was for Marie-Louise’s new book, aptly titled The Girl in the Mask.

Marie-Louise Jensen

In fact, authors who dress up to ‘go to work’ in support of their work are to be admired. Normal people just have normal clothes to fret over. Have you even considered what it must feel like to get on the bus dressed like a pirate?

Stephen Davies (of Ouagadougou fame, if you recall?) also has a new book out, which is anything but masked, seeing as it’s called Goggle-Eyed Goats. I’ve not read it, and am very intrigued about Stephen’s comment re polygamy. That’s  not your typical topic for a young child’s book, but no doubt reading it will reveal all. Sort of.

I am busy missing book events here. Friday night saw Joan Bakewell at the Stockport Plaza, launching yet another new book. It’s an adult novel, so I know nothing. The reason I heard about the event was that Mrs Pendolino mentioned that her father, being childhood pals with the beautiful Joan, was wanting to go along and renew the friendship. I hope he had a good time.

And I probably won’t be going to Formby. At least not this Thursday evening, because it’s a long way and it will be dark. But I do want to. I have been meaning to visit Tony Higginson’s bookshop, and the weeks and months are simply slipping by. The fact that I won’t be there is no reason for the rest of you not going, so do pop along if Formby is within your reach.

Tony is offering a Night of Crime, for a mere £3, at six o’clock on Thursday 15th March. The ‘criminals’ are two favourites of mine, Kate Ellis and Martin Edwards, who both write crime novels, and they do it much closer to home than Formby, so perhaps I should ask them round for tea instead of haring across Lancashire in the dark.

Actually, once you start looking for events (not) to go to, there is no end of them. Although I am not totally ruling out Stephen Booth, another fairly local crime writer, at the library in Dukinfield on Wednesday. That’s at ten in the morning, so will require getting out of bed. I know they all do, but not as early.

I’ll think about it. I am always more willing the further away it is in time…

Sam’s day

You don’t really have to worry about what to blog about after meeting an author. Something is bound to pop up, every time.

So there we were, on my hall floor, trying to cellotape Sam Mills’s suitcase handle back together again. We were on the third roll of tape by the time it almost seemed to work. And I don’t know what happened after that. I called upon the services of the Resident IT Consultant to take our visiting author away, along with her suitcase and her emergency egg sandwich. I’m guessing she went the same way all the rest of them did…

My sleuthing hasn’t gone well this year. I only found out about the winner of Key Stage 4 in the Stockport Schools Book Award, and that’s Sam with Blackout. We decided to meet up, so I went to her hotel. Only, her train ran late (what a surprise!) and we had omitted to exchange mobile numbers, but with the assistance of Lucy Coats and the hotel, we were reunited.

In fact, I took matters into my own hands and told her to stay on the train until it stopped outside my house and spirited her away for a cup of tea, before the cellotape incident. I had also omitted to hoover (for longer than you really want to know), so Sam’s careful avoidance of dropping biscuit crumbs on the floor was extremely unnecessary.

The biscuit was a meagre offering for someone who had not only won an award, but whose birthday it was. I should have baked a cake. I would have, if I’d known. But at least I foisted some surplus books onto her, into her crippled suitcase.

What did we talk about? And who? Wouldn’t you like to know? Incest, sex and swearing, mental health, book awards, school events (I’m sure Sam’s two schools today will be just fine) and a few other things. I’m very pleased for Sam, seeing as we met at the Lancashire Book of the Year in June, where she was the eternal bridesmaid, as she put it.

Sam Mills

This way I didn’t get to see Sam in her posh frock, but at least she has her Rapunzel hair for a true princess look. She claimed to have chopped a bit off, but you wouldn’t know it.

Here’s hoping the event at the Plaza was every bit as special as all the winners – and the voting children – deserve!

Stockport School Book Award

‘What happens next?’

That’s what Philip Caveney’s daughter kept asking, once she’d made her Dad write a children’s book for her. He presented her with one chapter a day, each time hoping she’d tire of this and leave him alone. But she liked what he wrote, and before long, so did Philip himself. He likes children’s books the best these days because feels he can do whatever he likes in them.

Philip Caveney at the Plaza

Not only has Philip’s Night on Terror Island just been published, but he had a whopping big launch party at the Stockport Plaza yesterday. Very suitable, launching a book set in a Stockport cinema in a Stockport cinema. Something like 500 children turned up, and Philip’s talk went down a storm. He also read them the bit where Kip ends up being shot at while ‘visiting’ Dillinger inside the big screen.

Who’d not want to read the book after something like that?

Even I sort of wanted to read it, despite the fact I already had. The lovely and efficient Clare at Andersen had invited me to come and meet Philip (once she’d worked out I’m not within cycling distance of her office, she’s good at keeping track of my whereabouts), so I turned up at noon for a brief chat in the Plaza’s café. Didn’t find them to begin with, but once I saw Elvis I knew I was OK.

We’d met before, and he sort of remembered me. We both wanted a cheese and pickle sandwich, while Clare and Philip felt more ‘beefy’. There was much hilarity and gossip over lunch, but I’m afraid I can’t share all of it. Elvis likes chocolate and isn’t above stealing other people’s. ‘Pill boxes’, with and without content, were admired.

Philip Caveney at the Plaza

Unsurprisingly, Philip has a passion for films and the cinema. Night on Terror Island has already had some film interest, and Philip would like Max von Sydow as Mr Lazarus. Good choice. Swedes can always be relied upon, and we agreed that Max von Sydow (interesting to hear how his name sounds in English…) looked old forty years ago, and he still looks old.

I was wrong yesterday. I said in my review of Philip’s book that it had to be set in the Marple cinema. Turns out it’s the other one. Oh well. And there will be more books. The second one has already been written. Wonder what film(s) they’ll almost get killed in next time?

Elvis and I talked bladders, while half of the audience needed to deal with theirs, well before Philip even got started on his talk. This is what happens when you have hundreds of young readers. They were shown the exciting trailer that’s been made, and by the time Philip had told them all about Dillinger, and having the maths ability of a hamster, the audience were more than ready to ask questions. No shyness at all, which is how we now know Philip’s middle name is Richard. Well, someone had to ask. But don’t call him Dick.

Philip Caveney at the Plaza

To finish, there were prizes to be won and boxes of books to be carted back to the schools. Philip had already signed a whole lot of them, or he’d still be there signing away.

Philip Caveney at the Plaza

Now that is what I call a book launch!