The Croydon Waterstones Book Group is a great idea. It is a chance to meet up with some new people who share a fondness for reading and talking about what they have read. Also by linking up with the shop it gives access to some of the writers.
Tonight we had the pleasure of meeting A L Kennedy to talk about amongst other things her novel, Day. I was a bit apprehensive as I generally make a point of avoiding meeting artists and heroes. Shuffling up and saying 'I loved your book, album, sculpture, goal against Brighton' has seemed a short route to a boil my head cringe. My taste in music is partly to blame. My favourite band is The Fall and avoiding trying to make friends with Mark E Smith has proven as sound policy.
My apprehension about tonight was sharpened because it was a small group, and I was fortified with only one glass of wine. Denied safety in numbers or drink I felt exposed.
It actually turned out way better than we could of hoped for. A L Kennedy was funny, charming, sharp, every bit the person you would want the writer of Day to be. She had that gift of being able to talk naturally to a group of people she had never met.
In one of the weekend papers they do a questionnaire for celebs that asks who would they invite to their dream dinner party. People cheerily reel off names like Ghandi, Morzart and Les Dawson. I have absolutely no idea who I would invite.
Well I do now. If I could fetch A L Kennedy along it would not matter who else turned up, decent conversation would be assured.