Thursday 12th — go to my first IMPAC award dinner at the City Hall — mostly out of curiosity to know who goes to these things and also — in truth — because this is the first year they’ve invited me. Moment of mortification ensues when lady at reception looks completely blank after I say my name. “But I’ve confirmed,” I squeak. Jaysus, and I’ve got on my nice formal frock and everything.
(Side-note: this is actually the second time this has happened to me in a month — very nearly didn’t make it in to a Duke Special gig either- not pleasant. Happily, not wearing formal frock on that occasion, though. That would have been too much.)
Anyway, said lady tells us that we are fine to go in and we’re at table 21. Later, she runs up and says that she has found my name and we are actually at table 12. “Ah, we’re grand at table 21,” we say. “Table 21 is Siberia!” she hisses. Turns out we’d have been sitting by ourselves. Oh. Anyway, table 12 is Joe Duffy table — now, being honest, I’ve always wanted to, ahem, talk to Joe, but I’m on the wrong side of a ten-person table, so this isn’t going to happen. Joe looks very disgruntled with the whole evening, but I think — and not to be rude — that’s just the way his face is arranged.
Rawi Hage makes a good speech — although everyone else speechifies for far too long.
Friday 13th — good god, a haze of reading…
At 2pm or so, it’s interview number one: Tobias Wolff (great new short story collection just out) at the Morrison Hotel. We’d met before for his last book, Old School, so thankfully the ice is already broken and all that. Discover that at Stanford, where he lectures in creative writing, not all students pay to take creative writing courses; the college pays them — take note, TCD.
Arrive home to discover that my internet is gone. Ring BT person — he says it won’t be back up until Monday — wot? Appalled.
No time to think about it: must read Phillip Gourevitch’s brilliant Standard Operating Procedure — a horrifying account of what happened to prisoners in Abu Ghraib — and finish Damon Galgut’s extremely fine novel The Imposter — it’s a story about Adam, a South African writer who encounters a person who claims to know him from school — but Adam can’t remember a thing about him. Put books down at 12, eyes bleeding only slightly…
Saturday 14th — interview Philip Gourevitch and Damon Galgut — who were both in Dublin for the Writers Festival — together on my show. Retreat for granny-like nap afterwards — Phantom needs a futon.
Sunday 15th — Finally see The Lives of Others — brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
Monday 16th — Internet is still gone. Ring BT. “You promised,” I say, sounding a little tearful. But tears do not work with BT representatives. Haven’t they heard the stats on internet addiction? Don’t they know what they could potentially be doing to me? “It will be fixed in day or two,” Olga from BT says. I hang up, sulking ferociously.
Tuesday 17th — Work frenzy. Think about going to badminton and think of brilliant excuse not to go. Week after week, am coming up with uniformly excellent excuses — excuses: top marks; badminton; no marks.
Wednesday 18th — Olga calls. “Is it back?” I say. “No,” Olga says. “Credit Control has decided you must pay 125 euro as deposit for name transfer on bill. Internet back tomorrow or day after.” “Wot?” Meet Jim for coffee. Jim administers friendly lecture about not updating my blog enough — too dejected to explain internet situation. On plus-side re internet, am discovering interesting amount of free time… hmmm…
Thursday 19th — Finally get new albums in from Beck, My Morning Jacket, Fleet Foxes and a few others. but for some reason, the songs I can’t stop listening to are from an old Q magazine compilation — a quiet one with tracks from Death Cab, Evan Dando and Big Star. Return home after work…
In celebration, here’s Death Cab: