Wandered into Soho this afternoon with Harry in search of camera shops (yes). Checked out The Photographer's Gallery and loved the Bert Hardy exhibition. Meandered here and there, each step a gesture of defiance to my hangover, and then, in an attempt to find a particular camera shop, found that we'd retraced our steps and were in Bury Place, near the British Museum.
In Bury Place there is, of course, a fine bookshop - no less a place than the London Review book shop. Never able to resist bookshops, especially ones that sell proper books, I declared to Harry and my hangover that we would enter.
I approached the table of new hardback fiction and scanned its offerings. Flack was not among them. C'est la vie, I thought, because I always think in French whenever something I've written is not where I'd like it to be. On y va, I said to myself, because it's the only other French term I know.
Soon enough, I'd found some O'Brien short stories and also spotted Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin. I'd heard of this book a long time ago and was happy to add it to O'Brien. And then, as I approached the counter, what did I see but Flack's Last Shift on the very same hardback fiction table I'd scoured earlier, but atop a display tower, beaming proudly toward any and all-comers?
Needless to say my hangover apologised for making me so blind and I mentioned that I'd written the book to the booksellers, Claire and Charlie. I offered to sign it, too, assuring Claire that "I really am me". How could she doubt such a concrete demonstration of selfhood? No one could, it would be as futile as trying to fire a cannonball from a spud gun.
It's been a great 24 hours or so in London. Tomorrow I'm heading to Monocle 24 to chat about Flack, and then it's back to Wiltshire to see Caroline and the two beauties pictured here.