Sunday, 15 August 2010

Festivals 2010: Wet books and Englishmen

Day 4. Children. Actual, honest-to-god children, barely large enough to open a door. It's not nice, as a)a photographer and b)a man to be asked to point a camera at children. People get hysterical and assume the worst. On the bright side, the Imagination Lab is run by my friend Sian who is able to make anything acceptable. "Hello kiddies! This is my friend CHRIS, do you know what that is hanging around his neck?" "A CAMERA," they chant. "That's right, and he's here to take pictures for the Book Festival. So if you or any of your parents don't want to be in them you can sit over there and he'll not take your picture." Genius.



This first kiddies event was Bookbugs, and I was in awe of the performers' energy and enthusiasm.



After a few miraculously dry days, the skies went dark and wet. The nice thing about Edinburgh though is that it often looks lovelier just after a rainshower.



Onto Jeremy Hardy then, who pointed out only half in jest that his followers, mostly Radio 4 listeners, were a rather fragile fanbase. Since the Book Festival is basically Radio 4 listeners, this was a bit close to the bone. I hear the goal is to get Radio 2 listeners...



A couple of behind the scenes glimpses for you here. Firstly, "Anon's Colin Fraser" who is operating the @EdBookFest Twitter account (he's usually on @AnonPoetry). Here we see him editing a recording to post on AudioBoo.



And here's one of the big containers out back. This is where books come in from the publishers etc. in preparation for an author event, before going back if any are unsold. The amazing thing is that it's constantly in motion. The boxes of books never look the same from one hour to the next, which left me with an urge to set up a month-long timelapse next year. Somehow.



Signings, signings, Ian Rankin photocall...



David Shrigley sharing book space with Barack Obama...



Signings, signings...



Alastair Darling's event should have been dramatic, but due to a slip by his press people, everybody knew what he was going to say before he got there. What I did enjoy were the salute from Brian Taylor:



...closely followed by a mimed moustache from Mr Darling:



David Shrigley was a bit of a disappointment to me. Nothing to do with his work, just that he was a bit tall, clean and well-spoken. Perhaps expecting a mangled stick figure to come to the Book Festival is a bit much?



And then the day closed. I pointed a camera at someone whose face seemed familiar and afterwards realised that it was David Bishop (former editor of 2000AD, tutor of a well-respected Creative Writing course at Napier University and more, I'm sure) and that Anna from Edinburgh City of Literature had popped up in the background. Nice!



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