Open All Hours?

My son, in his final year at UCL and back in London after a year in Russia and Spain, came up to Dad’s to collect his motorbike (’tis the easiest and cheapest way around London). It had been in ‘the garage’ for some overdue TLC and you know how you always worry when you send a vehicle for an overhaul? Well, we had no need. We were really lucky to find one seriously decent and slightly wacky bike nut and genius (so he has a lot in common with Emmett Snr and Jnr 🙂 ) in John Warrington who runs this business in Malton, North Yorkshire:

The old MZ, I’m pleased to say, got Jnr back home safely, so ‘well done’ to him for braving the 220 miles in not-so-good weather and a big thanks to John Warrington.

You writers and readers alike might appreciate this notice in John’s shop. We loved it. And yes, this whole post has really been an excuse to share this:

Now, if you need your motorbike fixing/servicing/MOTing – get along to J W Motorcycles!

Curtis Brown Discovery Day at Foyles

Of course, I’d had my place booked at Discovery Day for ages – all tickets went as soon as they were released. And, of course, I started with the lurgy a couple of days before. And an eye infection. But nothing was going to rob me of my six minutes! Foyles did a great job, but I bet they wish the lifts and toilets had been more reliable that day! Thankfully, I had an early slot with Karolina Sutton because in the afternoon the aches and shivers got a real grip. And that’s why I’m a bit late with this post, which incidentally I’m typing in bed (so apologies for any typos).

If you take a look at this YouTube video you’ll see me, trying to look thin and well. I’m actually in it three times if you have eagle eyes:

There is also a great report on the day in Book Brunch – so I’ll give you the link and shut up:

My thanks to all at Curtis Brown for doing this, and Foyles for hosting so well.

(If you look really carefully at the video you might spot Julia Kavan, too)

Sketchbot Creation

The Science Museum in London currently hosts the Google Chrome Experiment, or Web Lab. It connects people all over the world in an enormous digital experiment. Sketchbots scan visitors and then digitally recreate their faces in sand. Can anyone recognise the creation in this video link?

There are no prizes for getting it right, but anyone who says the Frankenstein monster may get a clip round the ear.

Review: Lionel Asbo by Martin Amis

Title: Lionel Asbo – State of England

Author: Martin Amis

Publisher:Jonathan Cape Ltd

ISBN-13: 978-0224096218


Lionel Asbo – a very violent but not very successful young criminal – is going about his morning duties in a London prison when he learns that he has just won GBP139,999,999.50 on the National Lottery. This is not necessarily good news for his ward and nephew, the orphaned Des Pepperdine, who still has reason to fear his uncle’s implacable vengeance. Savage, funny, and mysteriously poignant, “Lionel Asbo” is a modern fairy tale from one of the world’s great writers.
I ummed and ahhed over buying this book. I caught Amis being interviewed by a rather sycophantic Runcie on TV and decided I liked the author. Make of that what you will. What put me off was the lottery win. It seemed a bit naff, somehow. I finally bit the bullet last weekend and I’m happy to say I loved it. I read it on Saturday and Sunday. It is full of wit and wisdom, made me laugh out loud many times. I know Amis has had mixed reviews. Some are concerned that he cannot possibly know anything of life in council blocks, but the thing that bugged me and made me wonder was the 42 year-old grandmother. Not that she was a gran at 42 – but that she wore pink fluffy slippers. Surely leopard skin nylon, Martin?
Lionel Asbo gets a full 5* from me.