I’ve never really been involved in book launches before, but for the new version of Wild Wood we had three. The first was organised by the publisher, Golden Duck, in the Slightly Foxed bookshop in Gloucester Road, London. It is a terrific, lovely old-fashioned bookshop, and even more weirdly is opposite a restaurant called Wildwood. Either a good omen, or (less likely) the opportunity for a breach of copyright action.
It was graced with many literary names, among them Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye, and Richard Ingrams, the former and original editor of that mighty organ.
An extraordinary number of people crammed into the basement room, and drank fizzy wine, red and white still wine, and a small barrel of bitter brewed and donated by Greenfield Brewery, of Saddleworth, to commemorate the occasion. It was called Daisy’s Special, and went down a treat.
The next one was in West Didsbury, Manchester, at the Albert Bowls and Social Club, where I’ve been a member for years. I gave a short, nervous reading from the book, Daisy’s Special was supped in heroic quantities, and Eliza P Songstress sang a song about the book that she’d composed especially. She’s a bit of a genius, and wrote it, complete with tune, about twelve hours after I asked her to. Later she was persuaded to sing another of her songs, this one about telephone sex. A versatile lass!
Finally, we held one in the Uppermill Con Club (where I’ve never actually met a Conservative, fortunately, given the them of the book), which turned into a bit of a musical riot. Eliza P started off with her song, then Mick Collins of the Hometowners became the unofficial MC and organised a sing and play around. The food table was massive and overflowing, and Tony and Mary Harrall of Greenfield Brewery came and had a pint as well.
Back up the hill at eleven o’clock the fun took on a different turn. Sean and Sadie’s two pigs – mother and ‘baby’ called Sausage and Bacon – had broken out of their sty and were laying waste to the Yorkshire Moors. There an ancient breed called Iron Age apparently, noted only for escaping and biting. It took Sean, me and Dave (plus a handful of shrieking females) to get them ocked up in the barn for the night. And they didn’t even buy a book!
So – in the future, more launches. Even more pigs, perhaps. Everybody welcome…