Tuesday evening, after consuming far more Dutch-courage than was strictly advisable, I took the tube across London to Hampstead and to ‘The Flask’ pub where seven strangers awaited. I didn’t know what to expect. Having asked to attend I only had myself to blame…
…At last the moment was upon me. I was about to meet the feared and revered entity known as ‘The Book Group.’
Despite amazing-beer-courage my mind was filled will doubt – Will they have hated it? Will they ask for there money back? Will I babble on like a pretentious intellectual? Surely no good can come from this? You’re an idiot! This is the most stupid idea you’ve ever had. You should have stayed at the work’s do where there were free drinks and people who like you etc…
Looking constipated and in pain I made my way across the bar to behold the most surreal site – the members of the group all had copies of The Melting Pot on a small table facing inwards. My first thought was of the Knights of the Round Table and their swords (‘any association with weapons surely can’t be good!’).
Mel, the group’s organiser, welcomed me and asked for a brief introduction. I admitted my state of inebriation which drew a laugh (‘maybe they won’t tear me limb from limb after all’).
They each took turns to talk about the book and the general consensus was that they loved it! There were also a few criticisms, but mostly questions about how I came up with the plot and characters / stuff they liked. It was such a strange sensation to have people quote stuff that has been rattling around my head for years. There enthusiasm was fantastical and infectious.
At 10ish I stumbled out into the night air, extremely grateful to the group for their warm reception and generally euphoric. My amazing-beer-courage had morphed into amazing-beer-hunger-for-junk-food and I embarked upon an even more grueling challenge…finding a cash-point in Hampstead.