So the wife and I went to see the great Nick Cohen hold forth at the Watershed in Bristol earlier this evening. Thought I’d get me some sweeeeet Cohen autographs.
I already owned a copy of (the brilliant and urgently recommended) What’s Left? so I thought I’d take that with me and get him to sign it. I also wanted to give a friend a signed copy as a pressie, so just to be sure I ordered it from Amazon and paid for special delivery to my workplace today, in plenty of time to take with me to the gig. Sure enough, the book arrived, and I placed it in a specially-prepared Tesco Bag for Life, along with my original copy, all ready for the great man’s signatures. And sure enough, I drove to the gig having left that specially-prepared Tesco Bag for Life containing two copies of What’s Left? on my desk. So I had to buy another copy from Nick at the gig, which means I have now bought that bloody book three times, and I only hope he appreciates that I’m paying his mortgage for him. I mean it’s good, but it’s not three times good.
Anyway, Nick gave a fluent and authoritative kicking to the Damned Parliament, poor lost Gordon, and numerous other well-deserving arses. He has no time for the arguments of those people – I suppose we could call then gloomy optimists – who welcome the imminent recession because the important things in life are lost in a boom; a position which, interestingly, the great Yard has explored at length in the Sunday Times. According to Nick, everything is worse in a recession.
Disappointingly however, the advertised Tariq Modood failed to turn up to kick back on behalf of the morally-confused element of the Left, so I missed the chance of witnessing a good row.
Expecting a Q&A session at the end, I was trying to decide which of the following to ask:
1) Where the hell is Tariq Modood?
2) Mr Cohen, should the audience bulk buy your book because Christmas 2009 is closer than we think? Yes or no please. You can't wiggle out of this one. (courtesy ‘Jeremey Paxman’)
3) Just how pissed were you really, or were you? (courtesy Malty)
But there was only time for three audience questions (one was good, the other two were long, rambling and not questions) so I didn’t get the chance.
However, I did approach Nick to get the signatures and to mention that I was Brit, reader of and occasional commenter on his blog. Instantly he leapt up with some animation, shook my hand and cried “Ah Brit!” and quite rightly berated me for not asking question number 2 above. It was a disarming experience because although I suppose I am Brit, nobody has ever called me it in real life, and actually I’m not really quite Brit, and I felt a bit like I was impersonating myself. I was momentarily quite discombobulated. I got over it though, you know. Who really is himself, when all’s said and done?
Anyway, go and buy Waiting for the Etonians before I accidentally buy every copy in the country.