On Monday just gone I got the train into a very wet looking Newcastle. I was there for the book launch of, “Even More Tonto Short Stories” which was to be held at The Lit & Phil which is a stunning library. Of course regular readers will know that I, myself, Me am published in that very book so it was all a little bit exciting. I’ve been pretty much on the go since September having had something on every night and a play on each month. So as soon as I checked into my Travelodge I fell asleep. And for anyone who is considering staying at Newcastle Travelodge, if you stay in room 258 you will have to walk a good 2 miles to get to your room and that journey will also involve a lift. I jest you not. And a glass walkway of which you can leisurely look at the office buildings that surround the hotel. Even in your room you can see them too. You can look at them. I chose to wave. They did not*.
Then I went to the event and listened to some people read their stories out which was utter loveliness. And then went out drinking after only eating a pepperami a few hours before. I don’t know why I happened to have a pepperami, my only conclusion is that I bought it from a shop. I have no desire to try and reason with myself why I bought one, but I did and I ate it. This is not advised if you want to feel chipper the next morning.
This was the Lovely Helen Lynch who read some of her story out who later joined in the drinking (to a certain degree, liquid but not alcoholic). She also teaches medieval literature at Aberdeen University and plays in an all-gril ceilidh band. She was carrying her whistle when I met her AND when I said goodbye. Lovely. And I also met the wonderfully sweet Elizabeth Husher, and when I say wonderfully sweet I mean easy to laugh at. In a nice way. And like me, this was her first time being published. Then we were introduced to this man who had compered the evening and then we all didn’t stop drinking.
I laughed an extreme amount in Newcastle (London+tiredness+hungover+rush hour= distinct reluctance to laugh) and I spent the evening with some Lovely people. Most of the laughing was induced by the man above, I realise I’ve not named him. The man above, Jamie Rothwell, was extremely funny, in a good way. Which helps because that’s part of his job. He’s also Welsh but don’t hold that against him. My night (or shall I say early morning) ended with me watching Jamie reading Elizabeth a short story involving Erasure on a bed in a hotel that used to be a carpark. At 3am in the morning. Thinking back to it, it sounds extremely sordid. And I’m not saying it wasn’t. I think I wrote something about being touched inappropriately in Jamie’s copy of the book. So chances are I may have a flashback several years from now where I’ll panick at the sight of a Welsh man holding a pepperami singing Erasure. (Y’never know, it could happen).
I left Newcastle the way I found it, raining and hungry.
A big thank you to Stuart Wheatman of Tonto Books for being the publisher man for the whole thing and Caroline Smailes for picking my story to be published.
*And before you say it, I did open the curtains before I waved.