Sunday, 23 October 2011

Points north and others

The Anarchist Book Fair in London on Saturday was well-attended and perversely well-organised: there was even a crèche for tiny anarchists. Plus film, discussions, etc., and a lot more tattoos and piercings on show than at the poetry book fair.

Chris Power’s continuing online-Guardian ‘Brief Survey of the Short Story’ looks at Denis Johnson this month. This is such a good series.

During this coming week I head up to Scotland for the launch of J. O. Morgan’s Long Cuts at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh on Thursday – from 6.30, and Rocky himself will be there – and then the book fair at the same place on Saturday. Everyone welcome. (Though obviously, those within striking distance of Edinburgh will find it easier.)

A rare trip out of London, and about time. I’m driving, because books are heavy and it gives me an excuse to digress on the way up or down. The car radio is bust, and it doesn’t have a CD-player, but it does have a tape thing and I’ve stocked up on cassettes from an Oxfam shop. And on the whole – meaning, dodgy generalisation coming – I’ve found out-of-London publishing folk not just friendlier and more open and interested but also more downright efficient than the London lot. (I’m not talking the London small-press people here, so maybe it’s a small press/big publisher divide rather than a London/‘the regions’ one, but still.) In London there’s so often a we-are-the-universe assumption, attitude, reinforced by the media, that needs to be negotiated before you can properly start talking. It’s patronising and it’s silly and any truth to it is surely long outdated.

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