It’s Spring and I’m Acting Like Less of a Bitch

It’s spring, it’s spring, it’s spring, it’s spring. (Imagine me doing a pee-pee type dance as I say that.) I’m so excited it’s spring.

Yesterday was such a lovely day at work. Meeting Lady Bohemia, my lovely cafe lunch, then I spent the afternoon talking to Loraine and preparing for next week’s conference call, where I shall outline my plan to increase Conspiracy’s sales. (So far, it’s just a few readings and one minor festival, but I’m going to get him marketing himself on the internet if it kills me. Or more likely, if it kills him.)

As I walked home from work, I passed students with bare legs, and the pubs were overflowing. The birds were singing and it was still light outside. It’s amazing how a little sun and the smell of fresh air can lighten the mood.

As I walked home, I decided that I wanted to go out. I wanted to go to a party and stand on a balcony drinking cheep beer from a plastic cup while talking to people I had never met before. The doldrums were gone, and I wanted to go OUT!

Once in the flat, I was incredibly happy to discover that we’d been invited to a birthday dinner in Broughty Ferry (a little town just up the road). I’d never met the birthday boy before, but Pete had hung out with him on several occasions, and PoshPhD and CoolTrous were part of that whole set.

Pete, PoshPhD, CoolTrous and I took a taxi out to the restaurant. Someone said that the restaurant is only open on the weekends, and it’s in the front room of this guy’s house. That he’s a plumber by trade during the week. But he loves cooking so much he opens his house as a restaurant on the weekends. I don’t know how much of that I believe, but the restaurant was definitely converted from the front room of someone’s home, and the whole thing was quite casual. We arrived at 8pm and stayed the whole night. That’s how this place seems to work, you just have the table for the night. And the food was absolutely delicious. Three courses with those little amusing bouches in between (that’s a phrase I learned from Goatee). And loads and loads of wine. Then after dinner whiskeys, and Irish coffees.

The food was a set price so we just divided up the check (including the birthday boy’s portion) and it was just over £200 for Pete and I. Pete said he didn’t have that much cash on him, and he didn’t bring his debit card. He said he’d pay me back. I got a credit card for travelling last summer, just for emergencies. And I’m still paying the emergency of continuing to travel even after I ran out of money. So, I figured what’s another £200 and I put it on the card. 

Except for handing over £200, the whole restaurant thing was pretty good, although it started off a bit strange. There were four people I’d never met before at the dinner, and because they’d met Pete, but had never met me, they thought Pete was the one with the job and I was travelling. Suddenly, I felt like a tourist in Pete’s life.

He’d met them through PoshPhD and there’d been a few afternoons while I was at work that they all hung out smoking (except for Pete who doesn’t smoke), drinking strong coffee and talking about designy, arty, postgraduatey type stuff. Of the four, two were postgraduate students, one was an artist, and one was a musician (he was the birthday boy). They were all quite posh, so I think the artist and the musician kind of had parental funding which allowed them to get on with being artistic without having to worry about silly inconveniences like rent and paying for food. Of the two students, one was in the sciences and the other was studying law.

As I didn’t know anyone (and I don’t really know PoshPhd or CoolTrous as well as Pete) and everyone was talking about things that I found either incredibly pretentious or just not in my range of knowledge, I felt like I was back sitting at the grown-up table, pretending to be a big girl while the adults talked.

But then once they figured out I wasn’t on a gap year like Pete, and I actually worked, the scientist asked what I did for a living. My response, ‘I’m in publishing. I work for a literary agency’ completely turned the whole thing around. It’s weird how people project who they think you are based on your profession. Like, because I’m in publishing, to these people, I’m suddenly well off, educated, artistic and quite erudite. (There word, not mine.) Suddenly my opinion matters. While this totally isn’t fair, and you shouldn’t assume someone is a certain way based on what they do for a living, this time it totally worked in my favour.

They asked me a few questions about my job, then Law and I got into a discussion about language rights as ebooks go global. Will their be separate contracts for UK and US rights, or will there be one big English rights contract? Or even, global rights? I don’t have the answer to this, but his opinion quite interesting. Law believes that as more books go into eformat, the publisher will drop away, thus allowing the author to own total copyright and therefore global rights. I agree with this to an extent, but publishers must always exist. Maybe not in today’s form, but no one person can be a good writer, editor, book/layout designer, marketer, publicist and accountant. All these skills are needed for a book to be a success. And the more and more books that get uploaded to Kindle willy-nilly, the more these other skills will be necessary for a book to stand out in a crowd. Cue the publisher.

But anyway, I digress. It was a good conversation and it broke the ice for me with the group. As the night went on and we drank more, we all loosened up. We talked about normal things: telly and pop music, first loves and favourite places for travel.

After we shut down the restaurant, we piled into a local pub. The place was heaving with the middle aged, but by this point we were so stuffed with food and booze didn’t care. Someone suggested that everyone but the birthday boy put £20 into the kitty, so I put in £40 for Pete and I. Then someone went off and got us a round of drinks and shots. These old guys saw us doing the shots, chimed in with a round of ‘Ehhhhssshhhh!’ (you know that noise happy drunk people make) and came over to join us. They were all pretty old, like in their 40s, but one was actually kind of fit.

Pete was talking to PoshPhD, in fact, he spent most of the night talking to her. It was funny, I wasn’t jealous. Now, I can’t lie to my bloggy followers. You all know how jealous I can get, but for some reason I wasn’t jealous of Pete and PoshPhD. I guess it’s because Pete’s kind of laid back and will talk to absolutely anyone. (In Christ Church he had a forty-five minute conversation with a homeless guy about alpacas. No kidding, he really did.) So, the fact that he spent most of the night talking to PoshPhD (or Miss NoBra, as I should have named her) didn’t bother me. Plus, I’m still not really sure what’s going on with our relationship. Some days he’s like a boyfriend, other days he like a mate, and some days he’s just the guy sleeping in my flat. So, when Mr FitMiddledAgeMan started chatting me up, I didn’t mind so much. It was flattering. But as soon as Mr FitMiddleAgedMan offered to buy me a drink, Pete swooped in. Literally.

He came over, picked me up, threw me over his shoulder and said, ‘Ugh. My woman. We go to cave now.’ And he took me out the pub.

I couldn’t help but laugh, and he was laughing the whole time. He was jealous, but not in an ‘I’m going to start a bar fight’ sort of way. It was cool. And it was typical Pete: laid back, confident, and unconfrontational, but still able to sweep me off my feet while putting the other guy in his place. Literally.

After a few steps he put me down, and we went over to the beach and sat out looking at theTay River across toFife. For a moment, I thought about that weekend in St Andrews with HarryPotter, and then for another moment I thought about that author, Fife. But I didn’t tell Pete about either of those things. This was time for Pete and I.

We stayed on the beach for quite a long time, talking about nothing really, and making out like a couple of school kids. Eventually, I started getting really cold, and Pete decided that we should walk home. It didn’t take too long to ride the same path on the bikes last weekend, so he figured that it should only take us about an hour to walk home. He was wrong. As soon as we got to the flat and hit the bedtress the birds started singing. We’d been up all night.

We’ve now slept most of the day, and he’s still in bed. It was a good night and spring certainly has put me in a better frame of mind. I’m going to sit and read a bit of the slush pile on the Kindle, and I’m kind of hoping we go out again tonight. I’m glad spring is helping me act like less of a miserable bitch.


One response to “It’s Spring and I’m Acting Like Less of a Bitch

  1. I think the future of publishers depends to a large extent on how they respond to the internet. There may always be a need for editors, designers and all the other people who go into improving the quality of a book, but there are other models than traditional publishing. Some authors are paying for these services from freelancers and self publishing quite a polished product. It’s even possible to cut a deal based on percentage from the book, certainly for translation to reach other language markets, if the author can’t afford to pay up front. I have read blogs claiming the New York publishers are simply failing to respond to this challenge and change their approach to ebooks, not learning from the example of the music industry.

    Basically, for any author other than bestsellers the traditional publishing model is increasingly less attractive. If I were ever to get a novel finished I don’t think I’d even bother with the big companies. I’d either go with a small independent or I’d farm out whatever I couldn’t do myself. The advances are pitiful and what they get in return is just no longer so attractive. The only thing with any currency is the brand, which does have some value. But publicity is left mostly to the authors, many of whom are introverts to whom such a task is possibly the one they would least want to take on.

    I reckon it could go either way whether traditional publishing even survives at all. We live in interesting times 🙂

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