Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Tour (Part II) - Minneapolis

Mes Amis

There's a picture I forgot to put up last time, which I found in central park. It was the warnings they forgot to take down after Jay Stringer left the city:

Anyway, ahem, now that's out the way, I can continue coverage. Starting with Minneapolis, where I was booked into the wonderful Normandie Inn, a spectacuarly lovely building in amongst, well, the trappings of a midwestern town. Minneapolos is a lovely place, but its very laid back in so many ways. Just as well, because I was about to get lost.

Very lost.

I figured, from a glance at Google maps, I could walk to Once Upon A Crime in Minneapolis, where I would be doing an event that evening. It was a good plan and I was in early enough for it to work.

Except this is Russel "Columbus" McLean you're talking to here.

Of course I got lost.

A 45 minute walk took me the best part of three hours.

On the way, of course, I was past the university of Art which had some bizarre tee-pees outside and a strangely mosiac deer. No, I was at a loss to explain either, but then I'm no art student. This was nice and distracting, of course, but I quickly realised I still had no idea how close I was to the store. So I kept walking.

And walking.

And walking.

Turned back twice before figuring that I had to be on the right track.

And then I saw this car:

And realised I was there. Oh, hallejulah, I was there!

Pat was there in the shop when I walked in, and looked up when I spoke as thought wondering were these real words coming out of my mouth. But indeed they were and once she realised I wasn't speaking gobbeldygook, I was merely Scottish, she was delighted to realise I had made it. Pat was immediately welcoming and we chatted for a while, and I ended up staying even longer when I got chatting the wonderful Jessie Chandler whose first novel is, I believe, coming out later this year from the sterling chaps and chapesses at Midnight Ink.

However, I had to leave and get prepared at some point. So a quick snack and shower at the hotel (Jessie drove me back, which is probably for the best) and I was raring to go. Or not. I get very nervous before events, so I was kind of pacing like a caged animal. However, it was all good nerves and surely Pat and Gary wouldn't let anything bad happen to me?

Anyway, that was when the McLean struck out and my plans to get to the store went awry due to unforseen circumstances. A back up plan formed by the medium of public transport which went bad and then a cabbie who didn't seem to know the city. I was... five minutes late. People were getting anxious. And yes, I did say people. For a small but select group arrived to hear me talk. I think it was more of a round table discussion, but that worked well for me, and most folks laughed at my jokes. This was where I added a whole new routine to the tour, one of my favouirite gags about how God created Scotland (next time you see me, ask me if you dare). I think most folks enjoyed themselves. I know I did, and I look forward to getting back Minneapolis if they'll have me!

After the event, most people stayed back to have books signed and I got to see the pulp stash at the back of the store. If I'd had more money, I'd have been in heaven and spending like a demon. But they have such cool stuff there and now I know, I'll be back with more cash next time!

Afterwards, a terrifying gentlman introduced himself as The Nerd of Noir. Yes, the sultan of swear was in attendance and so we went for drinks at a very cool wee bar just down the block before driving back to the hotel and - whaddaya know - getting exceedingly lost along the way...

As I drifted to sleep in the Normandie, I realised that the next morning I'd be jumping early on the Hiawatha Line and back to the airport. So for now, I said,

Au revoir

to Minneapolis...

No comments: