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.
(For just a little bit too long).
Geoff D: 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.