Thursday 11 March 2010
After the late one last night I am only able to muster up four hours sleep for today. Expect mania.
Things begin badly as on autopilot I brush my teeth instead of putting my contact lenses in meaning that I forget to have breakfast and now with a minty taste I am unable to do so.
In addition to this I find myself late leaving the flat this morning and as a result I wind up racing to get to the station on time for my train. Typically just to assist this all cars I encounter appear to be driving that extra bit cautiously today meaning I feel eternally stuck.
Invariably I wind up comfortably boarding the 6.59AM train on yet again the lightest/brightest morning of the year so far.
Once again National Express are mob handed at the barriers (seven strong) seemingly most interested in everyone holding/possessing a ticket today. Perhaps they should put a bit more effort into the running of their train system/service first in order to justify such measures. Bad PR peoples.
It is 7.57AM as I step across Liverpool Street station towards the tubes this morning. It only feels like mere hours since I was last here. Actually it was.
I feel deflated today, victim of an anticlimax.
From here the morning is an ache, an exercise into how far I can push myself before I just begin screaming/hurling abuse at all around me.
On cue the consultant trots in and with it a series of queries I do not have the patience or passion to answer today. He then asks me how far I am into the new company’s accounts for January. I tell him that I have not finished them because I am still awaiting his nod on the December accounts. Does he really not see just what a nuisance he is?
In the end that sad truth is that I fear the highlight of the afternoon is when I make The Girl laugh to the point that she accidentally spits out biscuit over her desk with a nasty splodge attaching itself to the spare printer. Disgusting. At the moment she is beginning to say that my laugh is infectious. I wish my work ethic was.
This afternoon turns out to be the day that the winding up of one of our companies gets made public and appears in the London Gazette meaning that we now get bombarded and inundated with calls from various vulture companies looking to offer their financial services. You just know they have no idea who they are contacting when they call asking to speak to a silent director. The penny always drops.
Eventually 5.30PM arrives and with it comes a dash to Foyles on Charing Cross Road in order to see the HANIF KUREISHI Q&A and talk.
In the end I get there easily even with enough time to try and buy some tickets to see the Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware event in May. It would appear that I am early for tickets as they don’t seem to have even been printed up yet. Thankfully the guy behind the counter is more helpful than I would ever be and with it I manage to snag a receipt for a couple of tickets. Score.
From here I head upstairs to The Gallery to where the HANIF KUREISHI event is taking place. When I arrive the room is already filling up. Nobody here is cool.
KUREISHI is a class act. The conversation delves into the origins of his latest book, a collection of short stories. In the process of the grilling he covers both where the stories come from a publishing standing and at an inspiration/idea level.
Early into proceedings he reads the story that “got him banned at the BBC” which focuses on the story of a Muslim cameramen who records hostage executions. With the story KUREISHI puts himself into the mindset of a peripheral character in the piece, of a person who is witnessing such horrors and taking it all in his stride. What is he thinking as this all takes place? Ultimately it is just a job for him, one that may compromise his ethics but at the same time puts food on his family’s table. It would seem this would be a concept to horrid for certain powers that be to conceive but as KUREISHI says he like to tread unexplored ideas with his work. If nothing else it keeps it all fresh and interesting.
On the whole he is very depreciating and comedically grounded while at the same time carrying himself like a person that has it all worked out, like the cat that got the cream. In a good way.
Almost immediately he clocks that he is in a room of wannabe writers, of people yearning to accomplish even a whiff of what he has.
A lot of the focus is about family and how you spend your entire life in one variation of it or other. He is extremely honest and frank, verging on revealing to the point expressed intrusion, which I guess is the key to his appeal for me, what makes him so witty and humorous. Elsewhere he expresses a fondness for Morton Feldman and how it is much to the chagrin of his family.
KUREISHI describes writing as being madness coupled with control and talent, with the highest importance being placed on the control aspect. He offers that is always remains a version of insanity but once it begins paying the bills it is at this point it becomes acceptable. Similarly when talking about the process of writing these days he feels his approach has now changed to the point that he now wants to get his writing down to two words a page as opposed to the overblown, hyperbolic expression every writer engages in at the beginning. He is pretty correct these days in wanting efficiency from his writing and getting to the point as fast as possible. Also in admission he states that he knows a book is almost finished at the point he gets bored of the concept and how he rushes to get it finished before it runs the risk of boring the reader also. This is truly informed knowledge he is sharing tonight (much like when I saw him at Latitude).
From here a Q&A occurs in which the quality in line of questioning varies but always KUREISHI remains accommodating and open, refreshingly modest. Throughout the Q&A I spot a gorgeous lady staring at him in wonder and afterwards I see her approaching him and I am sure she is some kind of literary groupie.
I don’t hang around for the book signing, instead I am tired and really want to get home tonight. Eventually I find myself on a train heading home where I am sat opposite a handsome couple curled up together both reading books, terrible books at that. I think this is all that I want from life though.
When I get home thankfully it is not too late although soon I am falling asleep not long afterwards.