The Tabernacle, West London
Do I have a giveaway for you. I warn you now – the relevance to sewing, knitting or crochet is hanging by a thread! Here’s the thread: I crocheted at the event I attended last night:
Yes, that is crochet, centre front! I forgot my camera, okay.
Last night I went to a Book Slam event at the Tabernacle in West London. My friend has been raving about these monthly literary evenings for the past couple of years and some of my favourite people have stood on the stage, but for one reason or another I’ve never been able to make a Book Slam. Then, last night I finally took myself there to hear David Nicholls do his last ever reading from his novel, One Day.
I love One Day. It’s easy to become cynical when a novel becomes a maahoosive bestseller and turned into a film. I’m not going to comment on certain elements of the film here. The general consensus is not good and I didn’t go to see it lest my fond memories of the book become ruined. I’m sure David Nicholls doesn’t give a fig whether or not I like the film – it’s certainly made him an awesome amount of money. How annoying, therefore, that he is still so damn nice.
But back to the novel. Ack. I fell hard for this one. David is the king of social observation and One Day covers almost exactly the same time that I was going to university and then moving down to London. His heroine arrives in London in the early nineties. She’s skint, a bit fat, insecure, unhappy. He was writing my LIFE, I tell you, with accompanying Tom Waits sound track and references to stone wash denim. Emma even ends up living in Walthamstow, forchrissakes! She goes to the same restaurants I’ve been to (there’s a wonderful set piece in what was the Atlantic restaurant), has a terrifying interview at a publishing house, dips into E17’s off licences when she’s miserable… Had David Nicholls been stalking me for the past 20 years, researching his novel?
I could write an essay about how much I love this novel, but you’d get bored. Instead, I’ll cut to the quick. After I’d watched the poet, Luke Wright, listened to the singer/songwriter, heard an extract from the actress and author, Sophie Woolley, and enjoyed one of David’s own short stories (and after I’d discovered that the two strangers I was sat next to knew an ex-colleague of mine) I joined the small queue of hyperventilating fans and asked David to sign a book. Not to me, you understand. No, I already have my own signed copy of One Day. For someone else. For a giveaway!
And then I thought, Why not make it two books?
And then I thought, Why not add the Lego Father Christmas key ring you got from the official launch of the Lego Christmas tree?
So, there we have it. The most awesome random giveaway ever! (To add to the randomness, that is a little pottery sausage dog you can see behind Father Christmas. I’ll save his story for another day.)
To enter this giveaway, answer the following question by midnight GMT Friday 2 December:
Which actress plays Emma in the film of One Day?
I’m going to end on a serious note. The evening closed with David reading an extract from the novel, a letter that Dexter writes to Emma from his gap year in India. It was lovely listening to it. Remember when we all used to write letters? Even people as shallow as Dexter? My uni friends and I wrote to each other all the time, my mum wrote to me, I kept up with old school friends via snail mail. Not any more. Not for a long time.
David’s reading couldn’t have come at a better time. I’d been thinking all week, drafting blog posts and scrapping them. I knew there was something I wanted to say, but I didn’t know how to say it. I’ve been blown away by the blogging over the past week: Tilly’s Marmite blog post on subscribing to blogs and Sewly A Harpist’s considered response, Debi’s wonderful look back over her blog career from the inception of My Happy Sewing Place (a gently emotional reading experience as I shared so many memories of Debi’s writing), Sarai’s generous thanks to her supporters and So Zo’s book recommendation. None of us get paid for this stuff. We don’t have to do it – read or write any of it. But the standard of blogging out there right now is extraordinarily high and the community… Well, it blows my mind.
Then as I listened to David Nicholls on stage last night, I realised what we’re all doing. We’re writing letters to each other. And I finally had my answer to Tilly’s question about what criteria makes me keep reading another person’s blog journal: I need to care. It’s like turning the page in a book. I want to know what the next chapter is…
Happy reading, everyone! This giveaway is open to readers and Lego lovers around the world.
Yes, I am wearing a Lego hat! Yes, I am an idiot!
FINAL NOTE Go here if you’re interested in what my last mystery book giveaway was.