|At the Southbank Book Market - James, Phil, Steve and me|
|In Covent Garden - Phil & I are NOT goosing the Highlander|
From St Pancras, I tubed to Embankment and met Phil Sloman at the station there, we hugged and walked across Hungerford Bridge, running through the plans for the day. At the Southbank, we met Steve Harris, who’d driven down and all quickly caught up, perusing the stalls, pointing books out to each other and marvelling over some of our finds. James then arrived, more greetings and after taking an author pic for Steve (against a graffiti covered concrete stanchion, for Punk-Lit), we headed back to Charing Cross station. It was great to see everyone, it was great to be back together and it’s always a pleasure to spend time with fellow writers, talking about projects and finds and not having to explain our conversational topics.
Since Steve had never been to Covent Garden, we took him through there (and I pointed out the location where Barry Foster brings out the body in the spud bag in “Frenzy”) and then walked along to Charing Cross Road/Leicester Square where we had lunch from the deli (and it was bloody lovely) on the corner. Eating and chatting, we walked up Charing Cross and explored several bookshops, before cutting through to Shaftesbury Avenue (past the theatre showing ‘The Mousetrap’ - “I wonder,” I asked, “if they ever get people outside saying, if you don’t give me a tenner, I’ll tell you whodunit”) where I introduced the boys to The Cinema Store.
|Outside The Mousetrap - both James and Phil made|
a 'shush' noise as I took the photo...
|In the Bloomsbury Tavern - pint of lemonade definitely not pictured (I wonder where it went...?)|
|Ah, curry. In the Tavistock Tandoori - we don't know why the waiter chose to cut most of Steve off...|
Provisional plans have been made for the next Crusty gathering to be in Brum towards the end of the year, notwithstanding seeing one another at Edge-Lit and FantasyCon and I, for one, can’t wait.
|In a Charing Cross bookshop cellar.|
p.p.s. Just in case you were wondering, the name of the group comes from an off-hand comment made at Edge-Lit. We were sitting in the cafe comparing scars (or, more to the point, the worst rejection letters we'd ever received) and, following Steve's newsletter, someone (we can't remember who now) said "we're not the Inner Circle, more like The Crusty Exterior". That made us all laugh and when Phil set up an FB group to organise the meeting, that's what he called it.
|My stash from the day|