ianmcdonald (ianmcdonald) wrote,

back to porridge

returned Monday from France, where, courtesy of my estimable French publishers Denoel (no handy diaresis shortcut on LJ, alas), and the even more estimable Gilles Dumay, my editor, I did an appearance (which sounds more exciting than it was) at Paris bookstore Scylla --this is a great shop, --20 sq metres, and books to the very ceiling. It smells beautiful. Shoppers have to shuffle round, which makes signings upclose and personal. Talked to great people many of whom I recalled from Utopiales last year.
(This was after the Scariest. Flight Evah --LHR-CDG on Air France. It suddenly seemed to run out of sky just over the channel --I saw a light attendant leave the cabin floor. Funnythe kinds of decisions that seem ovbvious --either spill my red wine all over the floor, or go down in screaming terror with a decent Bordeaux inside me... Well darlings, what else would you think I'd do?)
We were staying on the Left Bank, a part of Paris I'd never stayed in before (though I've been many times) --just off the Boulevard St Germain de Pres, which was central and very very walkable. slimmeroftheyea was with me (she was on a different, direct flight from BFS-CDG).
Then on to Utopiales in Nantes, which was excellent as ever --met China Mieville, chatted with Peter Watts and Caitlin (with much hilarity), shared a signing space with Larry Niven --all his books are still in print in France. Good signings --and many of them--, seeing much love for Le Fleuve des dieux. I ended up on panels about robotics, for some reason, but at least I did learn of the robot that eats slugs and digests them for motive power. Everyone instantly said, 'I want one of those.' Saw the big machines at les Machines de l'ile --including the replica of the Sultan's Elepehant, fondly remembered --and finally got to dinner in La Cigalle. Marvellous tilework and high-ceilinged ambience --and on a Sunday in November, all we had to do was dander in to get a table. slimmeroftheyea's French is more confident than mine (I understand a lot more than I can speak), so like a cowardly male I left her to do the talking. I do love Utopiales very much, because it feels like a festival --something I'm coming round to more and more as the way to go. At the games stand, the Kinect provided the biggest crowd and the most hilarity -- it's the fact that everything is done in mime that makes it much more entertaining to watch that the Wii. That has some degree of agency --this is Marcel Marceau. Masquerade: best costume, among all the cosplay stuff, which to be honest, is staring to feel a bit old and stale, was a marvellous costume for the Diva from the Fifth Element.

Back to Paris Monday for an interview for France Culturelle (spelling almost certainly wrong), the main culture radio station --and then back, with a hideous transfer through Heathrow, and WTF do they need do a biometric scan for at Flight Connections in T1? I had my identity checked eight times between Paris and bagagge reclaim at BFS (WTF do they need to check your ID entering bagagge reclaim?)

Anyway, just bloggin this to avoid going in to the office...
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