I started feeling a little more like a writer the other day – as opposed to feeling like somebody who spends a lot of time sitting in front of a computer monitor, trying vainly to ignore the xbox and tv sitting about three feet to the left – when I received a letter inviting me to, of all things, a civic dinner at Glasgow’s city halls. The dinner is the launch point for a Glasgow-based literary festival taking place over the second half of February, called ‘Aye, Write’ (this is a lot wittier if you come from around here), designed to do the usual things promotional events of this sort are intended to do: make Glasgow look like a hotbed of creativity – which it can be. Sometimes.

I only heard of this thing through somebody else, since apparently it’s been primarily promoted via local newspapers like the Evening Times and the Glasgow Herald, neither of which I read (I usually stick to the Guardian these days), so I only heard about it relatively late in the day. But they were after at least 150 local writers, and naturally I wanted to get in the act. Several phone calls and a couple of emails later, it turned out they’d actually tried to contact me, but for various reasons hadn’t been able to get my details in sufficient time to ask me to participate in whatever it is they’re going to be doing.

Mind you, the upshot of this is they asked for my contact details in case anything turned up they could invite me to, and hey presto there’s an informal inaugural civic dinner with the Lord Provost. Which should be … interesting, since I have no idea what this kind of thing might be like. It might be cool, or it might be utterly horrendous, I have no idea. But it’s informal, which means I can drag myself along as my usual scruffy self. If it had involved – I don’t know – ties, or suits, or something, forget it: I don’t do drag. So I’ve got that to look forward to over the next couple of weekends.

If I haven’t been blogging with quite my usual frequency recently, put it down to all the hard work I’ve been carrying out on Wonderland. This is by far and away the most heavily researched thing I’ve done, ever. In the space of five pages, I had about four large reference books open at various points, and a dozen websites tabbed across my screen in Firefox, while I delved into the mysteries of – nazi art thefts of the second world war: a street map of Los Alamos: a description of a museum, in Los Alamos, dedicated to nuclear energy and weaponry: induction and training procedures for US Army troops in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s: the flora of Tibet: an expedition, also to Tibet, carried out by SS officers towards the end of the Thirties: and the reasoning and method behind modern art techniques. So – busy, really.
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