Well, in chronological order, I first met up with my agent for the first time in the 13 years he’s represented me, which was nice. And I’m glad to say we get on well. Discussed various possible projects. Intriguing. All good.
Then on to Berkeley Square for the do. Chatted to various names and faces, authors and illuminati of Random House: some not what I’d expected at all, some exactly as I expected because I met them last year and even the year before. The waiters bearing trays of nibbles retain their extraordinary ability to walk through a room packed to the gills with people and still not quite come near enough to offer food to anyone. Fortunately the wine waiters haven’t mastered this art, though I told myself I was only feeling light headed because it was very hot and I had given blood 24 hours earlier.
Retrieving my bag from the cloakroom wasn’t as straightforward as you might expect, as the numbered ticket had come loose and was sticking to a woman’s handbag. Cloakroom lady took some convincing it wasn’t mine. I identified my own bag visually, and to prove my ownership I told the lady that if she looked in it, the first thing she would find was a blue jumper.
She opened the bag. She pulled out the jumper.
“It’s black,” she said sceptically. The cloakroom was quite dim.
“No, it’s definitely blue in the right light,” I assured her. She remained sceptical as though I had made a not quite lucky guess. I can only assume the cloakroom was full of bags stuffed with jumpers removed by their owners in advance because they knew how hot the party gets (actually, that could be true). I performed a further feat of clairvoyance by naming the book I was about to pull out of the bag before I had actually looked at the cover. She remained sceptical, possibly suspecting braille, but in the end she let me take it.
I could have pointed out that it was probably the only bag present emblazoned with “Networkshop 36, 8-10 April 2008, The University of Strathclyde” but I was too taken with my own cleverness and I really wasn’t thinking very clearly by this point.
The only name I will drop is John Dickinson, who writes very worth reading grown-up kids’ fantasy. He sought my views on our mutual publisher’s intended new science fiction line but got away before I could complain that his father was responsible for giving me nightmares when I was 10. He might get that a lot.