To the Travel Bookshop in Notting Hill for the launch of Any Human Face. Hugh Grant seems to have ceased employment there, so the paparazzi were not in evidence as I mingled before the event, trying - and failing - to look elegant on a sweltering evening. The very quaffable Italian wine, provided by our hosts certainly oiled the wheels, and I had the great pleasure of meeting Charles Lambert in the flesh for the first time. I also met Anne (A.C.) Tillyer, whose intriguing collection of short stories, An A-Z of Possible Worlds, comes, BS Johnson style, as a boxed set, and Simon Barraclough who read poems with an Italian connection from his collections Los Alamos Mon Amour and Bonjour Tetris.
The event was introduced by Charles's agent - and a considerable poet herself - Isobel Dixon. Simon read some of his thought-provoking poems first. More of these anon - suffice to say that I was ashamed not to have read his work before. Charles read three passages from early in the novel, one for each of the three narrative threads. I enjoyed revisiting the book, and people I spoke to who hadn't read it were very intrigued- they were hooked by the thriller aspect, and reeled in by the superbly evocative language.
All in all, a lovely way to spend a balmy summer evening in Notting Hill.