All Over Bar the Tweeting

3 June 2013

 That’s CrimeFest over for this year. In fact, although I signed up in time to get to sit on a panel, I felt a complete fraud.

My fellow panellists, Jeffrey Siger, Xavier-Marie Bonnot and Stanley Trollip (Stan standing in for the wounded-in-action Peter James) were comparing travel stories in the green room before the panel started, and not one of them had an easy journey to Bristol without multiple flights, stopovers at airports and a touch of jet lag. Mine was a mere two hours, and that included the ten-minute taxi ride from Temple Meads station.

Of course, we rocked the house. Jeff and Stan are seasoned panellists who don’t put a foot wrong and never fail to entertain. Moderator Martin Edwards steered us with his customary aplomb. Xavier-Marie charmed with his tales of Marseilles. Apparently it’s not a French city at all. It’s an international Greek/Italian/French city riddled with crime, smuggling and some fantastic food, set between the Mediterranean and the mountains. France starts behind the mountains.

I burbled and managed not to swear, so that was all right. However, I did swear, discreetly, when people started to ask why my books weren’t there.

But once our panel was over, it was like being let out of school. There were some great panels taking place and sadly with two or even three on the go at a time, there was no hope of seeing every one of the ones I really wanted to get to.

There was some fine company and I finally met the mysterious Mrs P, RavenCrimeReads and Karen of Eurocrime. Mrs P looks nothing like her twitter profile picture, in case you might have been wondering.

There were a few more people I wanted to catch up with but didn’t manage it, although they flitted past in the half-light of the Marriott’s bar.

It was great to meet my blogging companion Barbara Nadel at long last, by her own admission as common as muck, and enormously irreverent and entertaining company.

Then there were the lovely people who buy the books, the ones who make the whole thing possible.

Plus there was a meeting of the fledgling Icelandic chapter of the CWA as we gathered a few more members who either have an interest in or a connection to that volcanic lump in the north Atlantic.

That was followed by a curry with the visiting Icelanders and a few other fascinating characters, before back to the bar and staying up later than a venerable grey-haired gentleman has any business to be doing.

More panels, some (relatively) serious, some laugh-out-loud entertaining, then a gala dinner with a surprisingly decent piece of hake and the awards being dished out to the deserving ones, including the first Petrona Remembered award, in memory of blogger Maxine Clarke who brought a peerless insight and intelligence to her fine reviews, as well as being a huge Scandi crime fiction buff.

And then it was all over bar the tweeting.

Next year? We’ll see. I’m not sure if there’ll be a book to promote by the time CrimeFest comes around next, but I'd hope so. In any case, if it’s as enjoyable a weekend as this one, I’d be daft to miss it.

nb. Pic up there of Jeffrey Siger, Stanley Trollip, Martin Edwards, Xavier-Marie Bonnot and moi shamelessly stolen from Mrs P’s blog








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