Friday, August 14, 2009

Griff Rhys Jones and Rivers

Just before we opened Mostly Books three years ago we took a holiday abroad (assuming it would be the last one we would take for some time, which turned out to be very accurate) and whilst waiting to fly out, I spotted someone sitting in one of the waiting lounge cafes who looked remarkably like Griff Rhys Jones. "Ooh look" I said to Nicki "it's Griff Rhys Jones. Should I go and ask him if he'll do an event?". Nicki looked totally mortified and said "No". Me being me, however, I bimbled up to him, told him about our about-to-open new bookshop, and asked him if he'd like to do an event. He probably thought I was a harmless nutter (and even if he thought I *wasn't* a harmless nutter, he probably wondered how successful I would be as a bookseller if my primary strategy for booking authors was going up to them cold in airports). Given all that, he couldn't have been nicer and more generous, giving me the contact of his publisher, and wishing me luck. And that was that. In the melee of setting up the shop, and the dawning realisation of what organising an event really meant, I never followed this up. Fast forward three and a bit years to this Thursday, and luckily Griff had no recollection of this embarrassing incident as I greeted him and his wife Jo at Abingdon's Guildhall for what was a fantastic evening in front of a sell-out crowd.
Griff was here to talk about Rivers. Not just the eponymous book that ties-in to the TV series, but rivers in general and how wonderful, important, magnificent they are to our culture, heritage and lifestyle. Sadly (for any dog-lovers who has been watching the series) his dog Cadbury hadn't come along, but Griff more than made up for this omission with a truly vituoso performance of history, anecdote, passion and humour. And he signed some books too... As always, we are very lucky to have several bloggers coming along on Thursday, please read Gaskella's report, BooksPlease - and of course the Abingdon Blog. Obligatory shot with booksellers. I don't know why I'm looking so intense, it was a very enjoyable evening... Nicki and I are taking the boys to the seaside tomorrow for a week, on a much-needed holiday (yippee!) leaving the shop in the hands of our brilliant staff (check out the free craft activities we're running every Tuesday for kids in the shop BTW). A big thank you to the Mostly Booklovers who helped make the event happen, to those members who helped out on the night and to everyone who came along on Thursday night to make it a great - and very Abingdon - evening...