Tuesday 20 January 2009

“Hence Burgundy, Claret and Port!” (John Keats)

Another phenomenally alcoholic lunch “meeting” today. Sherry, aperitif (a large white-wine glass), a bottle of red wine and dessert wine… These publishing types! Had a shrewd agent been there, I’d have signed anything by the end of the meal.

My lunch companions were Clive Bradley (ex chief of the PA) and the copyright lawyer Alan Williams, two inexhaustible sources of publishing gossip and anecdotes. I have come out of this lunch all the wiser for knowing that Christopher Maclehose is the nephew of the ex Governor – and the tallest man, at six foot five – of Hong Kong. As anybody who has met him personally knows, Christopher has been for many years a towering figure in the publishing world. It’s hard to miss him at any party, and if you want to call him a publishing “giant” or “titan”, you are very much within your rights.

The subject of the Net Book Agreement was discussed at length, and I am pleased to report that Clive was less negative than the last time we spoke. He offered some practical tips and strategic approaches, which I will follow up in the next few days.

That’s all I remember, frankly. After that, a very hazy afternoon. Now back to Murphy – which is a perfect read at the moment, as every word of it seems to have been written in a drunken state.


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