Suzi Feay: The party's over, it's time to call it a day...
Sunday 08 March 2009
Will the downturn of the economy mean an end to books parties? This is a famously sociable industry – we do bashes like bankers do bonuses. Over the years, I have partied on houseboats and Thames cruisers, on the platform of a disused Underground station, high in the air on Tower Bridge, in churches, in embassies, a medical museum and the reptile house of London Zoo. (Eeek.) However, the recent Orion authors party at the Victoria and Albert Museum, though glorious, felt a bit like the end of the Roman Empire, the glamorous, decadent and doomed all sipping their last glass of champagne.
Fortunately, a party doesn't have to be opulent to be fun. Two recent London launches featured sweeties rather than champers; Love Hearts and Refresher chews at Richard Milward's do at the Amuti Gallery in Woburn Walk, Blackjacks, Fruit Salads and fizzy flying saucers at the Charing Cross Road launch of Christopher Fowler's memoir Paperboy (Doubleday). The very young Milward read from his droll new novel Ten Storey Love Song (Faber) with his head encased in a cardboard box painted to resemble a block of flats, his mouth and nose emerging cutely from the door flap. He looks as though he can barely remember the Eighties; Fowler in contrast took us back to the Fifties and Sixties. He read out his list of "Childhood things I hated": biscuit barrels in the shape of thatched-roof cottages, Cilla Black's high notes and "10.30pm – the time Britain closed down every night". The "Childhood things I loved" were equally grisly: Heinz Kidney Soup, being allowed to carry a knife, glue and matches, and the exchange: "Ten Senior Service, please." "Certainly, young sir."
How to begin to do justice to Fowler's jaunty yet harrowing story of growing up with Greenwich's answer to the Addams family, in a semi-derelict house filled with spare motorcycle parts and throbbing with unspoken emotions? Later, the family moves to another house of horror in Abbey Wood, and dad gets even weirder and more reclusive: kind of like Fred West but without the home-made porn and murder. Salvation for young Chris came via the local library, the comics shop and the cinema. This is The Boy That Books Built wearing National Health spectacles and sucking on a sweet cigarette. When times get tough, we need more books, not fewer. Anyone for a bowl of Heinz Kidney Soup?
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe in bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Revealed after 75 years of secrecy: 'Fifi' the glamorous WW2 special agent who tested British spies' resolve
- 5 Hitler’s food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Laurie Lee's Rosie: What is it like to inspire a writer's work and be immortalised on the page?
Doctor Who series 8: Time Heist pictures revealed ahead of episode 5
The Walking Dead season 5 air date, trailer and season 4 recap
Well this Star Wars 7 leaked set photo of Adam Driver changes everything
Pharrell Williams says 'Blurred Lines' criticism is 'out of context'
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter