15 September 2004
So I went to Manchester, and I did survive it; indeed, I enjoyed it. Wasnít really given much option else: whatís not to enjoy? Listen, it went like this: I travelled on the train, three hours of reading a wonderful book (still on Neal Stephensonís The Confusion - hey look, itís a looong book, okay?); I met up with the Tell Tales crew, who by now are a bunch of mates; we checked out the venue, which is full of lovely Chinese things, then went to Chinatown for food; and so back to the venue, to the gig. Which is not full, but full of friends, and I really enjoyed both my own reading (hey, look, I dunno what it sounded like, but I just enjoy reading...) and everybody elseís, and the music really does make a difference; and then afterwards I went out for a drink with mífriendínícolleague Rosie. Which was lovely: we are divided by the Pennines, and see each other all too rarely. And thence back to the excuse-the-expression hotel, which is this deeply seedy dive off Piccadilly. Tell Tales is a budget operation, we take what we can get; which in this case is, ooh, the nastiest sleepover Iíve ever had? In my life? Itís not that the rooms are not en suite, so much as every room does have its own washbasin; and mine at least smells like generations of gentlemen (I excuse the ladies, for reasons of practicality) have used it in lieu of en suite. And thereís a single bed, into which I as a single man do not fit; and the bed lies hard against the radiator, which is radiating all too eagerly; and at some indeterminate time in the middle of the night someone starts practising the saxophone, at which they have no skill at all; and it was all vile, all the way through to the Nescafť-and-toast breakfast, and because I really, really did not care, to be frank I enjoyed the whole experience thoroughly.
And I went shopping this morning, and then found a quiet cafe where I could drink real coffee and do some work. My agents both sides of the pond have taken to nagging me into doing a young-adult fantasy series; and so happens Iíve been nursing this lovely idea for a year now, since we went up to Orkney last summer. So in I dove, and have begun it. Should surely be doing other things (the how-to-write guide, the ghost story, the next vol of Selling Water...), but whatís the point of a wonderful phrase like displacement activity if you donít keep it live and fresh and active...?
© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.