Adam's book launch: One in Three

Adam's book launch

Went to Adam's book launch at the John Snow last night. Book launches are weird, they're like art show openings but (I suspect) with bigger egos and a more formal hierarchy to be observed. The publisher, the agent, the publicist, the family and the friends (the last two groups having read early drafts in a random order and as a result have no idea what the book's actually like) are all there*. Adam told a nice story about his mum. Having read the first draft she said "Well Adam, it's not very good is it". I think her initial comments about his first book were "Maybe writing isn't really your thing".

The book (I've read half of it in draft) is very good and is mostly about the history of cancer treatments. It's also about the death of Adam's dad but it's not really a cancer biography. You can read about it here and buy it here.

* Adam reckons book launches are weird but not for the reasons I've listed. In his case he thinks it's because he had lots of his contributors there and wanted to make sure he looked after them.


High Horse: even more

High Horse: even more

The High Horse ran an excellent evening of readings at the equally excellent Grant Museum of Zoology, part of the University of London. A series of writers were allocated different exhibits from the collection and each wrote a response. Bats, octupi and all sorts in formaldhyde formed the subjects of most of the stories. (George promises an audio download by "the middle of the week" on The High Horse website.) The Museum collection includes all types of monkey skeletons, a cat, elephants and even better it's free.


Konstantin Lifschitz's Piano

LSO St Luke's London

Went with Steve last week to LSO St Luke's which used to be a fucked up derelict Hawksmoor church by Old Street. Now it's very nice, like a yuppie's loft (but tasteful), all exposed brick and wood and double height ceilings. The concert was great. I wanted to go because I'm really common and Lifschitz was playing Bach's 'Goldberg' Variations as made famous in The Silence of the Lambs. As far as I remember (and being lazy as well as common I can't be bothered to check) in the film you just get to hear it playing when Hannibal is being held in the makeshift jail in Baltimore (?) and the unfortunate guard detail bring him his dinner. Hannibal has been playing it on his little cassette player and it continues through the scene. In the book (as far as I remember) it's one of his requests when they're negotiating for his help in finding the Senator's kidnapped daughter. He asks for one (of the two) Glenn Gould recordings and specifiies which one. I really can't remember which one it is, the earlier one or the later, but since the book came out that particular recording now outsells the other 5 to 1!* Sony marketing executives refer to this as the 'Hannibal Effect' - when one particular recording of the same piece of music by the same musician outsells another based on the fictional recommendation of a fictional character.

Lifschitz was great - dark and dressed in some weird black smock he seemed to have some kind of facial twitch despite being only 29 or 30 (he was born in 1976). As for the performance of the music I thought it was really fine (but what do I know). Over the years I've acquired two recordings of 'Goldberg'; the Gould (which is very short as he doesn't play any of the repeats) and one on Harpsichord by Pierre Hantai (which is really fucking majestic and I've just put it on).

* Regular readers will know that this is (obviously) a 'fact' that I just made up.