Sunday, July 24, 2005

He's Back

Mes Amis

First, off cheers to the wonderful double act of Canon and Ball for their cheering comments; suffice to say, I will show them, but only in the metaphorical sense. There will be no weenie waggling. I reckon this might disturb agents/publishers/passers by.

I have returned back to lovely Scotland after spending three rather fun days in Harrogate (and the surrounding area) where so many people were so very nice and friendly and where much drinking was done by all except me who had to drive back to his caravan every night (next year I book early and get in the damned hotel!).

Jane (my agent) is the most wonderful person, so enthusiastic about everything, I just don't know where she gets the energy. Emma (the lovely editor) was absolutely fantastic at encouraging me to get right back on track after my minor setbacks (despipte the major changes, I know they're right about these things that need done, so now I just have to sit down and do it!).

Not only that but every other person in the place was so friendly. I walked in knowing only Jane and Emma's voices from down the phone and thought, "My God, what am I doing here?" but then I started talking to people and most of them didn't walk away like I'd just followed Ray and Charlie's advice. Stuart Macbride (who made an excellent appearance on the Fresh Blood panel) was there and spent a lot of time making sure everyone thought Dundee was scummy (Its just city envy from one who lives in or at least near Aberdeen). I also met a lot of fantastically friendly writers, editors and just plain people. Among those wonderful people were Simon Kernick whose book was up for award, also, and Donna Moore whose debut, Go To Helena Hanbasket, sounds absolutely wonderful (and is available from Point Blank Press sometime soon, I do believe). I am very much looking forward to reading it. Even among some of the real big writers (that Billingham fella's very tall, ho ho!), there were no real egos out to play. Or none I encountered, anyway.

And who knew Mark Billingham - winner, by the way, of the Crime Novel of the Year Award for the excellent Lazy Bones (his later two books have blown that one out the water, though, in my rather humble opinon, so goodness knows what kind of awards they'll get!) - was actually Sean Connery, Humphrey Bogart and Woody Allen rolled into one strangely schizophrenic package (for the fantastically funny Foul Play Raymond Chandler special on the Friday evening, which also featured barnstorming multiple performances - and slightly more stable accents - by Stella Duffy)?

Really, everyone and everything was great fun and I plan to do an update on the CSS wesbite with my full thoughts on everything about the festival. But, my advice for anyone attending is to be as close as they can to the venue. The bar is where its all at, mes amis. Trust me on this. But don't miss the panels and events, either. Philosophy conferences could learn a lot about holding people's attention by studying these! Because as informative as they were the vast majority were greatly entertaining, too.

That and Harrogate is a lovely wee place. Lots of flowers. And support your local bookshop, too, folks: anyone in Knaresborough (real close to Harrogate) should visit their local independent coversave Books who are fantastically friendly. Really, there just ain't enough independent bookshops here in the UK.

And so, mes amis, to bed... (really, I doubt this post even makes sense I'm so damn tired after the drive back)

Au revoir

Russel

15 comments:

Ray said...

I still say you should've shown everyone Little Russ. It would've made an immediate impression and people would remember you as someone very, very gifted.

It worked for me. But I was younger then and completely out of it after a kitten-huffing binge.

Russel said...

It would have been a talking point, for sure..

Maybe in Chicago...

(If that doesn't get people worried I don't know what will...)

Jennifer Jordan said...

It's certainly a good way to make a 'point' during a panel.

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

Russel,

Please do not pull your willy out on a public street in Chicago. Though it may sound cool, time spent in the Cook County jail is only cool in The Blues Brothers movie.

Trust one who knows....

Charlie Williams said...

Don't listen, Ray. A bit of "porridge" would set you up for a long and fruitful life as a crime writer. Look at Eddie Bunker. Um...

My only concern would be that you would go in the sex offenders' unit, which does not always lead to a later life as a celebrated "been through the mill" tough guy.

Anyway, glad you had a top time at Harrowgate. Hoping to go along myself next year.

Stuart MacBride said...

Lies! All lies! It was Fife I was making fun of – you were the one trashing Dundee. All that coke has clearly addled your brain. Next year, stick to the beer. Much better for you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Russel

It was great to meet you at Harrogate.

I am glad you didn't show me Little Russ. And you seemed so normal as well! Is this your Oliver Reed-style party trick?! I sincerely hope it is a tattoo....

Yours



Phil

John R. said...

Great meeting you, Russel.

And if you must introduce "Little Russ" at a panel in BCon, try to make it one with lots of cat mystery people in attendance just so I can see the looks of horror on their faces and play "count the coronary"...

Russel said...

I do apologise, Stuart. You were very equal opportunity in your making fun of places (you laid into Dundee as well, though, although at least you weren't as cruel about it as others: a certain other, larger Scots author, I discovered, has certain plans for the city that involve it not being there any more).

Phil - *now* you see why I was sticking to the coke! And no tattoo, I'm afraid (although next time I get a few beers in God only knows...).

And great to meet you both down at H'Gate. I'd probably still be skulking around looking "feral" to quote the ever observant Mr MacBride!

Russel said...

John, great to meet you, too.

I'm doing a panel on short stories with people who've been in AHMM and EQMM and who swear far less than me (I've been doing my research). This may be the ideal opportunity if we can coax enough people into the room with free sandwiches and the promise of talking cats who play chess (or maybe we could just paint over the strips of some of this illegally smuggled beard badgers and pretend they're the cats). Although Jon has got me worried about me seeing the inside of a Chicago prison (In Dundee, everyone has their bits out on the street...)

One of the above statements may not be entirely accurate.

Anonymous said...

As one of the 'just plain people' it was really nice to meet you Russel. And I never got to see Little Russ either. Damn.
Donna

Russel said...

Hi Donna

Welcome! (In fact welcome one and all!) Good to meet you the other day. I hope you had a good time yourself at the fest; it all went by in a bit of a blur for me, but I'll know how to take advantage next year.

I have a horrible feeling Little Russ is taking on a legendary staus all his own...

that girl said...

I wish to inform everyone that THIS MAN SHMOOZED MY MOTHER. Seriously, its true.
I informed her of the little russ plan but she just laughed and said I was making it up.
Little russ has a restraining order anyway so bigger russ knows he can't touch his zip within 20 feet of a bottle of bud without getting whipped off to prison.

Russel said...

"whipped off" tee hee hee...

Hey, I was not "schmoozing" your mother and little Russ has no plans for her, either. Its just that Big Russel charm that makes all the ladies swoon.

that girl said...

you did.
all i can say is
CREVICE CREVICE CREVICE