Saturday, March 11, 2006


Holding the mike

Scrap's from Jewish Book Week...

Well I thought what job could Mekella give me, which would make me nervous – the microphone came a voice in my head. You know you can't hide holding the mic and what with the braces and all. There's me scrolling down the 'final rota' and hey I'm doing the microphone. Thought, that's fine, it's a challenge, I'll be fine. So I was a little nervous which meant I caught bits of Linda Grant (with imposing handbag) The People of the Street, interesting, but I wanted more –it could have been there and the nerves meant I missed it. Jeremy Leigh, Jewish Journeys – can I do a trip with this man. Did you know that there are parts of Jewish gravestones used as bricks within the walls of Barcelona's Cathedral? Please can I come, I'll make the tea (warning: I'm actually not good at making tea, I forget). Adam Le Bor on Arabs and Jews in Jaffa through the pictures of families living there – I kept thinking of humus – I was once taken for the best humus in Jaffa, we had to go for breakfast, as they would run out by late morning. Henry Goodman went to the Lisa Appignanesi discussion and gave up his seat to an old woman, she went over all shy and her son (I'm presuming here) took it instead, he was far too old not to know better… they made a strange couple. Naomi Alderman and Shalom Auslander were very good. On first impression Auslander has the persona of a Rottweiler, wound up and very tense, he slowly uncoiled. He made an interesting comment about the correlation between ones image of god and ones own father. Mike Leigh and Mark Lawson were good, except for the awful questions that Leigh kept being asked. He semi humorously told the person who thought there were too many F words in his play Two Thousand Years to F*** Off! Imre Kertesz was awe inspiring despite the not so good chair. I'm not a fan of thrillers, I scare easily, so I've not read any of Sara Paretsky's books, but she came over as a very warm and genuine person and got a surprise bar a chocolate from someone in the audience. Then there was The Orientalist, in the shape of Lev Nussimbaum, a Jew who decided to turn himself into a Muslim prince and seemed to lead one of those lives that only exist in the past. We got our laughs from Sandi Toksvig, who's book Hitler's Canary, is a novel about the Danish Jews during WWII.

And whilst sitting behind the enquires desk… A woman who picked up a dating brochure, with a cheeky smile, for her two unmarried sons. A man on crutches who came up demanding front row seats for Mike Leigh, trailing behind a girlfriend calling, Trev... A man wanting to be the first into a room even when the previous talk hadn't yet finished, an embarrassed daughter about to walk off (haven't we all been there). A man with a stick and a hearing aid in need of a seat. I met the Aunt and uncle of a friend I've not seen in years… he remembered I had curly hair (it was still straight), but thought I was a twin – interesting idea, but not true. A friend of the same friend as above, which means I haven't seen her in even longer, but we managed to remember each others names. A few 2g, although not as many as I expected – hey guys where were you? And of course some new people, which is always fun.

It was really good to be out there – I'm often found hiding away in archives these days, or with my head in a computer screen or both, so it made a very pleasant change.
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