Saturday, 18 January 2014

Some excitement at last! (Not THAT kind of excitement  – don't be daft.)

"How the hell did you manage that?" says Greg, yesterday morning, when I tell him that I've succeeded in persuading The Boss to give me the rest of the day off.

"The usual tactic," I say. "I appealed to his ego."

Greg nods, as if that makes perfect sense: which it does. (An MP's ego might as well be a Trojan horse, given how easy it is to make use of it for your own purposes. Jeremy Paxman should try it sometime.)

Anyway, then Greg unwraps the first of the day's Twixes, and starts munching, while looking very thoughtful.

"But how did you link you going to see your book being printed to Andrew's ego?" he says, after a few minutes of highly-concentrated chewing. "That must have taken some doing – especially as Andrew doesn't even know you've written a book."

"And you will never tell him," I say, "or you are dead. And, anyway, it was easy. I just told him I'd been invited to see a book being printed, by a famous company that employs an awful lot of people, and prints millions of books a year. Including things like MPs' autobiographies."

"That last bit was genius," says Greg, which I'm rather inclined to agree with, though I don't get time to say so, as then Andrew marches into the office and starts yelling about how late his train from London was last night. I decide now would be a very good time to head for the railway station myself.

"Tell them their bloody trains are crap when you get there," shouts The Boss, as I grab my coat and make for the door.

I don't, of course, as there's no point insulting people when you don't need to, especially not when my train ends up running on time. Andrew's right about how bad the tea from the buffet car is, though, but I get another, much nicer cup once I arrive at Clays of Bungay, which is somewhere in Suffolk, I think..or is it Norfolk? It's very flat around there, anyway, and the skies are huge.

Clays prints J.K. Rowling's books, as well as other well-known writers', so I don't know why they're being so nice to someone as unimportant as me. I feel a bit of a fraud being there at all, so I stand outside for ages trying to get up the nerve to go inside, as you can see from how tense I look in the photo I persuaded a passing stranger to take by pretending to be a book-loving tourist.

Greg says I have to include it here, even though my smile is "obviously fake".

"Photos are far more interesting to readers than you wittering on interminably about politics, panic attacks and the usual suspects, Molly," he adds, though I'm not convinced he means pictures of me, especially not since I got my new glasses.

(Max chose those, because he said they were "practical", but now I've seen how bad they look, I realise I should have ignored him. Like Paxman, he will overlook the importance of ego.)

Anyway, once I do finally walk into the building, everyone's very kind, and I get to spend hours wandering around, being shown all the stages a book goes through during its printing process – which is fascinating.

So fascinating, in fact, that it deserves a blog post of its own, so I shall write one as soon as Greg stops looking over my shoulder – but, in the meantime, suffice it to say that I had no idea how complex the construction of a book could be. Now I know, I think we should all be buying lots more of them than we currently do.

Except for MP's autobiographies, of course. There are already far more than enough of those, especially now that Andrew's thinking of writing one.

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