An Evening In Which There Was Much Rejoicing

Yesterday I went to London for the Forbidden Planet mass-signing. I more than half-expected the event to be a mildly embarrassing experience but it was, in fact, totally cool – as can be seen from the picture of us below all looking extremely intelligent and impressive:

Group Photo with Bunny Ears

Tom Lloyd, Jaine Fenn, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Joe Abercrombie, James Swallow, Suzanne McLeod, me, Mark Chadbourn, David Devereux (or, as I am now calling him, Multi-Talented Genius Party Man).

I signed a few books and met some lovely people. But I think everyone would agree that the highlight of it all was my Amazing Hat. And the Party Rings.

The Three Princesses of Fantasty Fiction

Just for clarification’s sake I want to make it absolutely clear that the reason I appear to be sticking my tongue out in the photo below isn’t because I’m having to concentrate really hard on the gargantuan task of signing my own name, but because it was very hot and dry in that book basement and I was sorely in need of my lipsil. Just so’s we all clear on that . . .

After that it was off to the Phoenix for the estimable David Devereux’s launch party in celebration of his new book Eagle Rising. Much rejoicing ensued . . . especially on my part when I was allowed to wear Dave’s flying jacket again. I think it is, quite possibly, the best jacket. In. The. World. So – many thanks to Dave, both for the invite to an awesome event, and for the loan of your ridiculously comfy jacket.

The only downside of the evening was that I was quite shocked, upset and distressed by a – quite frankly – absurd suggestion from Marcus Gipps that Dr Who is superior to Merlin. The whole table seemed to be with him on this (with the possible exception of Tequila Guy – about whom there was some confusion) but that doesn’t change the fact that he was sooooo wrong. But – this horrible mar on the evening aside – there was mostly just a lot of rejoicing.

Finally the staff tried to chuck us out of the Phoenix – but a sudden blizzard meant that we were all snowed in, trapped inside the pub for a total of five days, during which time we ran out of food and were forced to eat Joe Abercrombie. And there was much rejoicing.

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Coming Out Of The Closet . . .

Aha ha, I know what you’re thinking! But, no, I am not, in fact, announcing lesbianism in this, only the third post of my new blog. (That sort of thing is better left to at least the fourth post . . . Only kidding! Or am I . . . ?)

No, my dirty secret is this: for many years – ever since I started to take a perverse pride in being fiendishly unpopular at school – I only read magazines that were about classical music or politics or philosophy. If I saw one of those women’s fashion magazines, I sneered down my nose at it. I liked to think of myself as above that girly stuff (yes, I was quite pretentious, actually).

But not any more. Recently I have admitted – to myself and to my family – that although I love skeletons and spaceships and coffins and klingons as much as the next geek, I also – every once in a while -quite like flicking through a woman’s magazine. There, I said it. And furthermore, I like those little miniature bottles of perfume you get in airports. And I like Paul Frank monkeys and I like having lots of shoes and I like the scented beads they put in the shopping bags at La Senza. Yes, sir, I am a girly girl now – I even drape strings of flowers around my skeleton, Erin, sometimes if I’m feeling extra specially floaty and feminine.

But what has all this got to do with anything, you say? Well, I’m gonna tell you: this is a post about hatboxes.

I was watching Adam’s Rib yesterday – one of my all time favourite films – Adam's Riband there’s this scene where Spencer Tracy’s character brings home a present for his wife, played by the glorious and resplendent Katherine Hepburn. It was a hat. But it wasn’t the hat that caught my attention so much as the box it came in – an actual, honest-to-goodness, perfectly circular hatbox with ribbons and tissue paper and everything. Why don’t they do those anymore, I ask myself?

In Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, the Pythons conclude that: “people aren’t wearing enough hats.” I am with them on that, and I submit that the underlying problem behind this problem is that you don’t get hatboxes anymore. Which just causes problems for everybody.

 So there it is. The sole purpose of this post is, in fact, to express my sadness and regret at the fact that hats don’t come in hatboxes anymore. And because I’m no longer ashamed of the tiny little side of me that isn’t 100% geek, I ain’t even embarrassed to express that regret here on this blog for the whole world to see.

 Please, world, bring back hatboxes.

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