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Double booking

23 June 2003

I hate being double-booked, but I will keep doing it to myself. It's bad enough when two events clash and you have to prioritise the one you'd rather not do; it's worse when you really want to do both. This weekend I had arranged to go up the coast through Friday night, to see the sun rise on Holy Island on the longest day of the year;

Ten minutes after sunrise on the longest day

but I had to cancel, because Friday evening and Saturday morning were the opening events of this year's Proud Words festival. This is the first and only lesbian & gay literature festival in the UK, and it's ours, and it has to be supported; besides which, it's the best fun around.

So I went to the launch party on Friday, for music and frolics and readings from, among others, Alan Hollinghurst and Patrick Gale, two of the finest writers in contemporary literature, and gay to boot. And then came home to entertain my friends for a couple of hours before they set off northwards without me, and so went to bed late and full of wine and whisky, which is the price you pay for double-booking.

Saturday morning I was up too early, to see Julia Darling (whom we adore) interview Alan; and then I stayed, rather against my expectation, for an afternoon workshop with Patrick. I haven't participated in a writing workshop for years and years, so that was interesting. We didn't actually get to write much, it was more the talking kind of workshop, but I find I have agreed to write up something that I spoke about, for reading at the last-night party. Their idea, not mine; I was trying very hard to keep low, profile-wise. Sigh.

It was a really good day, and one of those rare ones where I feel almost professionally gay, where my being gay is a qualification; I do sort of enjoy that, occasionally. So off for a happy cocktail afterwards with a happy couple of friends - I had a mojito, and I fully intend to reproduce it; I suppose I could look for a recipe on the net, but as far as I could judge it was rum, mint, lime, lime syrup and lots of ice, so how hard can that be? - and then home, thinking quiet night in. Went on thinking that till Harry phoned, and swept me away to North Shields for a mammoth curry with Louise and a couple of her friends. I'm unclear how many bottles of wine we actually drank, but it was certainly an unnecessary number; and this morning I managed to get myself briefly locked into his bathroom while the house was still sleeping around me, which has always been one of my nightmares. But I did get out and I did get home and all seems to be well or well enough, except that one of the local wild kids has spent the day climbing in and out of my back yard, and half-pulled the hose mounting off the wall in the process, and I find myself half-hoping that she finishes the job next time and breaks her scrawny neck in the falling after. I am not in a charitable vein, towards people who break into my back yard just now.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.