Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A fantastically awkward encounter

Just got back from The Connecting Worlds event at this.

It was an excellent evening, with four moving and entertaining readings. Two of them really brought home the sadness of exile. (Especially a very touching poem from Chenjerai Hove about how you forget to appreciate lovely things when your world is filled with horror). Two of them were really funny.

But I don't want to talk about that. I want to talk about the gloriously awkward conversation I had with the last reader Geoff Dyer.

After Dyer's reading (typically amusing, with a cruel cliff-hanger relating to an involved encounter with a monkey that is probably going to force me to buy the book, the sod), there was a lot of milling around and shuffling home kind of activity. I was keen to get back to the nest myself, mindful that my girlfriend was home alone with a teething baby and that my bike didn't have any lights. So I'd tucked my trousers into my socks and got out my helmet when my friend Nathan waved Geoff Dyer over and introduced him to me and said:

"Geoff, this is Sam he’s a massive fan of yours."

Geoff Dyer remained cool, but a brief flicker in his eyes told me he had the fear. Nathan had just landed him with a stalker. With weird trousers. At this point, of course, Nathan walked off.

Geoff D: I’m glad there’s one here. Fan, I mean.

Me: Hahahahahahaha.
(For just a little bit too long).

Geoff D: Er.

Me: Er.

Geoff D: I see you're on your bike.

Me: Yes my machine is out there.

(I indicate some bike stands visible through the glass front of the building. I have no idea why I called it a 'machine').

Geoff D: Nice weather for biking. Bit windy though.

Me: It’s okay. When you're going downhill.

Geoff D} (Silence)
Me } (Silence)

Geoff D:Are you coming to the dinner?

Me: No. I’ve uh got a wife and baby back home.

Geoff D: That’s nice for you. Cosy.

Me: Er, yes.

Geoff D:Well, goodbye.

Me: Goodbye.


John Self said...

Heheh. Brilliant, perfectly Dyeresque! Andjac also Jordisonish.

Clare Dudman said...

Heh - I've had so many conversations like this. You've captured it perfectly. Really hilarious.

Sam Jordison said...

Haha. Thanks. It was kind of fun, in a humiliating kind of way. I got the impression that Geoff Dyer was revelling in the awkwardness too... Like he was writing the dialogue in his head ever so slightly before saying it... Of course, he might have been thinking nothing of the sort, but it's fun to imagine.

Curiosa said...

Searching my memory banks, I think you have done me rather too much credit here, Sam. As I remember it, you had just tucked your trousers into your socks AND put on your helmet, at which point I gestured Geoff over and...

Me: Geoff, this is Sam. He likes your stuff.

Geoff: aaah, hello (in that great sort of sleepy, just on the verge of a yawn voice of his)

You: hello

Me [actually drawing attention to your helmet and socks]: as you can see, he has prepared himself for the encounter...

at which point I departed and, crucially, remember thinking "ah yes, well done, Nathan, your work here is done..."

Although I may have conflated this.

I also had a really embarrassing brief chat with him later, in which I managed to mention both scabies and ringworm.

Sam Jordison said...

haha! You definitely said I was a 'fan' ... Not entirely untrue, since I very much enjoyed both his talk and the one book of his I've read... But then again, I have only read one book and attended one talk.

How did your chat go? Is that going to appear on your blog?

Curiosa said...

It must have been 'a fan of your stuff' -- I distinctly remember saying 'stuff', mainly because afterwards I thought it was dumb of me...

I may well blog the scabies and ringworm conversation, before too long... look forward to that. Hmmm.

Unpub said...

Hi Sam,
I don't have a blog or twitter and am reluctant to publish my email address (Call it Paranoia).
Sarah Crown already has my email for the Poetry Blog Anthology - I'm happy for her to release it to you?.
Or should I email her and ask her to forward it to you?

Sam Jordison said...

Ah sorry, I didn't explain that very well. I moderate comments, so you can send your email and I won't publish it...

Dave Lull said...

Hi Sam,
I don't have an e-mail address for you thus this comment.

Stanley Middleton has died:

"Ross Bradshaw remembers and reflects on Stanley Middleton, Nottingham’s Booker Prize winning author, who died on Saturday 25th July."


Sam Jordison said...

Oh how sad. Thanks very much for the update.

(BTW if you want to email me, leave a comment with your address... I pre-moderate comments, so it won't get published).