Wednesday, 28 September 2011

History in the making

Just getting organised for tomorrow night's History in the Court event in London. Down on the train from Stirling at 10 in the morning, then back the following day after a breakfast meeting - at Fortnum and Masons no less - with Simon, my editor. Tickets: check. Toothbrush: check. Change of wotsits. What more do you need?

I'll probably try to work on the way up and down: a nostalgic return to the days when I wrote The Emperor's Elephant on the train back and forward between Bridge of Allan and Edinburgh. I didn't find it quite so easy the last time I tried it, but six hours in front of the computer with no internet access is just what I need at the moment. If I get fed up, I'll read one of the dozens of books in my ever-growing TBR pile.

Truth be told, I've always found London a bit intimidating. Too big. Too impersonal. Too many people. Too many bricks and not enough grass and trees. As the song says: I'm just a small town boy ... I can't breathe properly unless I'm within walking distance of the countryside. Last time I was down, I got  bit lost and had to ask directions. Three people ignored me, two just said 'Sorry mite' and walked past and the guy who eventually set me straight had a Scottish accent. What do you expect, I hear you ask? Well it wouldn't happen in Bridge of Allan or Jedburgh, or Edinburgh or Glasgow for that matter. It makes me uncomfortable to see so many people living their lives in self-imposed, self-satisfied blinkered isolation. Something quite 1984ish about it. If you dropped down with a heart attack would they help you, or just step over you?

Anyway I'll let you know how I get on in the next blog. With fifty-odd of Britain's best historical writers in one place at the same time there has to be something worth talking about.


Anonymous said...

On the train is the best place to both read and write. Have a good one. Wish I were going to the event myself.

Talli Roland said...

Hope you had a great trip and the heatwave didn't overwhelm you!

Bluestars said...

Yes, London is vast, and can be a bit "intimidating", the impersonal and self generated invisible force fields encasing most folks on the street is a survival mechanism common to all big urban conurbations. Ive found that cabbies and cops tend to know where things are if lost. And an almost exaggerated degree of personal ignorance of ones locale can help to generate collective sympathy in a subway car or bus depot. When in Rome do as the Romans do...(well sort of), having the presence of mind to write, (anywhere), is a real gift. best of luck. F. ;)