After many hours trundling the shops for something suitable to wear to the London Art Book Fair opening night yesterday, I finally settled on some very loud trousers, quirky sweatshirt, copper trainers and gold hoop earrings. I think I looked a bit like a rapper, which I decided was the obvious look to go for when promoting one’s first cookery book!
It started at 6pm so I gave myself plenty of time to get ready but I’d ordered the trainers online and spent most of the morning worrying that they wouldn’t arrive. Luckily they turned up in the middle of the afternoon leaving me just enough time to jump in the shower, half-heartedly pluck my eyebrows (tedious task) and have a bash at using a face mask. All was going swimmingly…until it wasn’t.
First I washed off the face mask and whilst drying and straightening my hair I started finding clumps of clay still in my fringe and behind my ears from the mask – I managed to wash some of it out but by then didn’t have time to get rid of it all. Next, I knelt down to pick up my suitcase (needed to bring it to collect all my copies of the book) and my new trousers split at the seams. While Richard texted my chums to let them know I was running late I frantically hand stitched up my trousers. Now slightly fraught I noticed my hair had got itself in a right muddle; still half damp and sticking up at the sides where some of that stubborn face mask had lingered. I reached for my hairbrush and as I did so caught my thumbnail on a splinter of wood on the dining table which caused my thumb to bleed profusely for a few minutes. This was all going on whilst Richard was deep in conversation with a woman on the phone who was very keen to discuss the finer details of being miss-sold PPI. I wonder what she must have thought what with my yelps of “ouch” and “f@&k” in the background.
Right, deep breath, trousers fixed, bleeding stopped, and phone call ended we left the house for the launch party. We got half way down the road and I realised I’d forgotten the fabric pen I needed for signing the books. I walked briskly back to the house (couldn’t run in fear of splitting my trousers again) to pick up the pen. Pen located (and purse, which it seemed, I had also forgotten) I locked up and tried again. Half way down the street for the second time and thought I better check my phone to see if everyone was alright and hadn’t gotten lost…my phone…I’d forgotten my phone, back to the house…and so it went on. EVENTUALLY we got to Whitechapel Gallery and waited outside for a while…until we realised that everyone we knew was already inside looking at the book. You really couldn’t make this up. Thankfully we were greeted with free cold beers on arrival and the rest of the night was much much better. Helen arrived and gave me a fantastic key ring she had made to look like my book and my favourite stylist Rhodora approved of my clobber.
Maria and Nina Vlotides from Pedestrian Publishing have done an amazing job on the design of the book and even helped make all of the covers by hand.
Each book is ever so slightly different because the covers are made from tea towels hand screen printed by the lovely people in Otto’s team at Marshfield Print Studio and then they have all been lovingly stitched together and ironed.
Because they’re handmade this is a limited edition run of 300 so if you can’t get to the book fair this weekend keep your eyes peeled for the Facebook announcements for when they’re listed on the online shop so you don’t miss out. Ooh and if you’re any where near Hampshire on the 22nd of September head over to the Whitchurch Country Fair, I’ll be there selling/signing books and am honoured to have been asked to judge the entries in the baking competition! Cannot wait! All the details for the event are here, do say hello!
Even though I split my trousers, cut my thumb, had terrible hair with clay in it and arrived so late that most people I know had read my book before I’d even seen it for the first time, I had a brilliant evening. It has taken three years of recipe experiments and copious notes and scribbles to get to this point and I couldn’t be happier. Thanks so much to all of you who read this blog and I hope you enjoy “Cooking Without a Kitchen” too.
My book can be found on the Pedestrian Publishing stand at the London Art Book Fair all this weekend. As well as my book they’ll be selling “Pavement Poetry” by Maria Vlotides and “Pharmapoetica” by Chris McCabe and Maria Vlotides, both amazing books. Also don’t forget to say hello to Otto Dettmer from Marshfield print studio as he’s selling his own work at the book fair and it’s lovely stuff.