Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Luis Leante world tour....SEE HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU

Yes, he has visited twenty countries since winning the Alfaguera prize in 2007 - and arrived today fresh from two days at the Berlin International Festival. Tomorrow Luis will be reading at the Instituto Cervantes, 102 Eaton Square, from 6.30pm, and then on Monday he will be at the Tabernacle in Powis Square (northern side - closest to the westway, Portobello and all that - just down the road from Westbourne Park tube), from 7pm. Our launch is in tandem with the Sandblast Arts charity, and we will have a guitarist, artefacts, a show of powerful images from the desert Saharawi people.

And you may be tempted to join the run in the Sahara desert next year in February. Apparently it's OK to just do 5 km....or even walk them if you have flat feet like I do! Since when has walking in a desert been a wuss activity anyway?

See you at one of these events, I hope. Wine in London and you'd only want water in the desert...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

RUSH! on the move - tour by horse

Photographer Peter Marshall is with the Climate Rush tour as it progresses from Sipson to Aylesbury, then Oxford where they plan to close down the airport just renamed London Airport (!) on the 12th September, and then on to Bristol if they are not put in prison first.

The above link is to his web site, mylondondiary - nothing to do with the Evening Standard and the famous column of the same name - and I hope lots of people will look at the photographs, and ask for permission to reprint them (as I did).

Last Friday, September 4th, Rebecca and I went and joined the RUSH! at Sipson, held on the land that Greenpeace have bought with 10,000 signatories, to stop the development on the third runway at Heathrow.

Now, in case people think this is a piece of jumping on the bandwagon publishing, let me make it clear that I live and work directly underneath the Heathrow flight path. I can hear aeroplanes now going over the office in Putney. In the summer, it is hard to talk in our garden for the noise of the planes - in fact I was amazed that in Sipson, right up against the perimeter fence of Heathrow, the noise was identical to that in my garden.

In fact, finding Spison was hard. It officially does not exist. It is not on the map. Not at all so no matter how good your map reading skills are, it makes no difference, you just have to guess which is the Northern perimeter of the airport and head towards it. We were taking copies of RUSH! The Making of a Climate Activist, for Tamsin to sign and sell as they progress on the tour.

When you get near to Sipson, there is just one tiny signpost for a left turn, and then you are in the village. In fact, the village has a great pub, but very few shops and no real centre. The camp on the Greepeace land is just behind the King William 1v pub - or as it is affectionately known to the locals - behind the King Willy.

The camp itself was idyllic. September sunshine, gifts of fruit from the locals, the horses gently resting in the background, the tarpaulins of the carts being sewn, tents up, a large fire starting for the evening. The locals were all delighted to see the Climate Rush! suffragettes and to read about themselves in the book. I met many people, and really wanted to stay all evening and join the camp. I nearly ran away with the fairies and never came back. It is all hugely fun and the nicest of times, while being essential to raise awareness of the fragility of nature. Sipson used to be on a site called Heath Row, and it was a huge market garden, which is why it is still full of fruit trees. The houses are small, and loved, though every time you mow the lawn you must think, is it worth it, when will the bulldozers arrive? It reminded me of the beginning of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe, but this is for real, with real people, right up the road.

It will mean that more people will vote for David Cameron next May as he has said he will cancel the third runway. But that was what Gordon Brown said also. Who can trust politicians now? We have enough flights for business and travel to flourish - we do not need more. It's all about moderation - and we should not treat this planet as an endless resource. Because, although the Climate Camp at Sipson was lovely, and people were having a nice time, when it is a runway, they certainly will not. I heard a journalist on the radio last night saying he is done with flying when he goes on holiday - he takes a train or drives. And when you arrive somewhere with cheap flights, it is full of tourists. Finding the 'real' world is hard, because we, in the first world, have fully invaded it. I may sound like an old fashioned reactionary, but it's just about doing with less, and being happy with less, as a way of life. I hope the young see Tamsin and her friends, and decide she is right - it takes a massive change of lifestyle. But I think her example, which you can read about in her book, will have some impact...I hope so.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I'm currently doing the review copy mailing of RUSH! The Making of a Climate Activist by Tamsin Omond.

Well, - the mailing bit will be minimal - most of these copies will be delivered by van - ADT carry parcels between publishers and newspapers and agents within the M25. Those that do need to be posted will go out in envelopes we have purchased from Paperback Recycled Paper Merchants in Bow ( I worked for Paperback back in 1991 - as their Product Marketing Executive - which meant I visited designers with samples, set up a dummy service, and co ordinated the launch of Corona, as well I could, as when I took the job I was pregnant with Tessa (now nearly 18) and Ella, who was a toddler. I can remember being seven months pregnant and lugging samples up eight flights of stairs to visit designers, and doing the delivery run with their van was a fun job but I had to quit a few months later when Tessa was born.

Our review copies are packed thus - couldn't be greener.

Labels affixed to books with a red Post Office rubber band - books packed in cartons (by newspaper) which have come from printers. The book is printed on mechanical waste - pulp with no bleach added. It's a cute book too - 130mm x 160mm - should stand out and really fit in your pocket - which is what paperbacks were designed to do originally...

I hope the editors of the various newspapers appreciate how green this mailing is...