Now ‘Opera’, having been well and truly launched, seems to be off on tour. In part with me, visiting real and virtual locations to promote it, but also with new owners to all parts of the globe.
First to Pembroke and its wonderfully scenic Coastal Path. Two copies accompanied their owners by train to Tenby and thereafter along the coast and came to rest at The Old Point House in Angle, alongside two pints of Gower Gold (left). You can’t quite see it in that pic, but one of them had even acquired an Ivor the Engine bookmark.
In the meanwhile, an author friend from Connecticut was running a competition in which people were asked to identify something in his photograph which did not come from the United States. The answer was the copy of ‘Opera’ sitting atop the pile of books on the lamplit table. I confess, I did not see it and (forgive me, Steve) I tuned out when the entries began discussing Robertson Screws. (No, me neither.) Then he confessed and I saw it. So did all the people who had tried to guess. But this was not the furthest flown ‘Oracle’. That must, at time of writing, be the copy in California, pictured by another friend, as it perched, with its siblings, on a rock above the blue sea of the bay. Not so autumnal there, as yet.
Closer to home, an ‘Opera’ went to Covent Garden, to be pictured in front of a costume from another opera, this time Verdi’s ‘Aida’. I particularly liked the fierce cats on the cloak which was worn by the King of Egypt in an earlier ROH production. But ‘Opera’ has also visited Harrogate, albeit after the Theakston’s Crime Festival has finished, but nestling next to a pint of Wainwright Ale.
I am promised pictures from Mexico and Australia, when their owners get there and I will certainly be posting some pics of ‘Opera’ in Spain. In the UK I have taken it, virtually, to Exeter (my talk for Devon Libraries) and Tamworth (Tamworth Book Club) and it will be going, live, to various parts of south London in the near future and, it is planned, eventually to Newcastle too. It has already been pictured on an LNER express, hurtling through the countryside.
Its next appearance will be at the Clapham Book Festival on 15th October in my own little corner of southwest London, where I, too, will be appearing. I can’t, in all conscience, mention it on the Literary Walks I’ll be leading, alongside luminaries like Graham Greene, Angela Carter and Kazuo Ishiguro, but it may get a mention during my interview with Abir Mukherjee, award-winning author of the Wyndham and Bannerjee crime fiction series, set in 1920s India. The walks take place on the afternoon of 9th October and morning of 15th. Abir is the first interviewee in an afternoon and evening of live author events. There are still tickets available for all three and much else besides, including Dame Jenni Murray talking with Elizabeth Buchan and Sir Anthony Beevor speaking about Russia with Dr Piers Brendon. So maybe I, and ‘Opera’ will see you there.