Sunday, June 29, 2008

I heart Perth

Had me a fine time way out west, Legion of Fans (LOF). Yep. I do like Perth. Heart it, in fact.

Why? Well, I'd be lying if I said it had nothing to do with the fact that lots (yes, lots) of people came to hear me speak about Africa and my new book, SILENT PREDATOR. Sure, it's got a nice climate (well, in fact it was raining when I was there), friendly people, an agreeable river and (somewhere) nice beaches, but more importantly there seems to be a sizeable number of people who buy my books.

Of course, I don't want you to think this is all about money, or my personal quest for fame, LOF. I was lucky enough to be able to help some very nice people, from the Painted Dog Conservation organisaiton to raise a not inconsiderable amount of money for endangered Painted Dogs in Africa.

Regular readers will recall that the noble bum-sniffing, bum-scratching, pooh-rolling Painted Dog is one of my all time favourite creatures of the wild.

I spoke at a packed (and I am not exaggerating here, LOF) fundraising dinner at Zebra's African Steak House in the Perth suburb of Bicton. The Painted Dog people auctioned off the naming rights for two characters in my next book, which goes by the catchy title of BOOK 6 at the moment.

I probably shouldn't disclose exactly how much the names went for (I'll leave that to the Painted Dog people should they chose), but let us say, LOF, that the words "shit" and "load" come to mind when I recall the final figure.

The owner of the restaurant told me that he was literally turning people away from the fully-booked event, and I know this to be a fact because I met two such people the next night at Melville City Library. Lovely to meet you both, by the way.

At Melville Library 60 people came along to listen to me spruik, LOF. A new record for one of my library talks has been set.

I visited many book shops and spoke to a charming crowd at Mandurah (pronounced Man-jra) Library, and ended my stay in the western capital with a very nice and very drunken dinner with my good friend and old army buddy, Herr Doktor. We minorly disgraced ourselves in a very nice Indian restaurant by laughing ourselves stupid over a very dirty story from our war days that is far too disgusting to repeat in these cross-generational pages.

Arriving back in my hotel in Perth I had one of those great moments of drunken reasoning. The toilet in my room had been broken when I'd left and was still not functioning when I returned. While the kind staff had organised me another room, in my befuddled mind it was too much of a hassle to pack my bag and move to an adjoining suite. Instead, I packed my bag, got on the phone to Qantas and booked myself on the red-eye (the 12.15AM flight from Perth to Sydney).

Tired and emotional I somehow managed to hail a cab, get through security at the airport without losing my laptop, convince the lady at the Qantatas Club I was sober enough to order two more cans of beer, and get on the (right) plane home.

Several people have asked me during my round-Australia (except South Australia) book tour if I tire of life on the promotional circuit. To which I reply invariably: "I get flights, food and booze provided by my publisher and all I have to do is talk about myself and meet interesting people. It's not like I'm working". And while this is true I was a bit weary by the end of week three, and I was developing a cold.

So it was that I snored, sniffled, teeth-grinded, burped, and repeated vindaloo and garlic naan, all the way home on the late night flight. (My apoligies to the gentleman in 20a who had to put up with all this).

Mrs Blog was curled up in bed, still asleep when I arrived home at 6.45am. I slipped into bed and she said; "You smell of garlic, curry and beer" and a lot of other soppy stuff (ie: she said a lot of other soppy stuff, not that I smelled of a lot of other soppy stuff).

And I thought, LOF, that while it's fun on the road, it's also nice to be home.

Off to New Zealand this week - land of Steinlager, DB and mussels - for more shameless self-promotion.


Herr Doktor said...

What a great week in Perth. LOF I can verify that the restaurant was absolutely packed. Mrs Blog and I had to admire the way TP worked the room in shameless self promotion. It was grand to see a professional at work. The Painted Dog Conservation Inc is a wonderful cause so dont hold back, sign up and help the cause!
Herr Doktor

angela-PDC Inc said...

Hi Tony

For those that couldn't make it to your dinner at Zebra's in Bicton, as the organiser of the evening, I can indeed confirm that I had booked 105 people for the event, and had to turn down many more-I was receiving phone calls at home up to a couple of hours before the event commenced-thanks again for your support!!! Painted Dog Conservation Inc was able to raise $10,000 on the night, so thankyou for making this happen!