A Festival in my Office by Barbara Nadel

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Sadly I’m not able to tell you anything about my favourite crime fiction festival, Crimefest. Held in Bristol last weekend, I’m sure it was great fun and full of its usual bonhomie and enthusiasm. But I couldn’t go. I mean zombies are fine in books and on film, but in person it’s a different matter. And I am a zombie right now. Bloodless, cold and lacking in energy, I look as if I’ve just been dug up.

This has all come about since I had my thyroid goitre (Gordon, bless him!) removed. And to be fair I knew that my post operative world would be somewhat like this – it can take months to get thyroxine levels back to normal. What I didn’t realise was that it would be so bad. Dragging my body around like an old wet blanket is no fun in anyone’s book and, although I won’t eat your head or feast on your liver like a proper zombie, I am a pretty pissed off bunny. At the moment I don’t much like any one or any thing.

However in the spirit of Crimefest I have decided to have my own little festival in my office. There’ll only be me and my stuffed bat, Bat, and his friend, Vampire Bat – maybe the odd axolotl may pop by. We’ll drink tea, eat bread products and I’ll witter on about how much I’d like to punch Vladimir Putin and how Silvio Berlusconi should really be doing his community service decorating my bathroom. We’ll all get misty eyed over Conchita Wurst’s recent spectacular win at the Eurovision Song Contest and I’ll, not for the first time, consider a beard.

Of course we’ll talk crime fiction. Bat loves anything and everything police procedural while Vampire Bat is predictably darker and likes any plot involving what he calls ‘twisted psyches’. He’s very Mo Hayder. None of the axolotls can read.

My crime festival won’t involve me doing any work which is good as it’s nice to have a day off once a decade or so. We’ll also discuss new ideas. I have a few to say the least and it will be enormous fun to really explore them and get them down on paper. We may have lunch, although Vampire Bat usually opts for a quick fag by the bins out the back. The caterer here (me) is a bit of a slack individual and so it’s unlikely we’ll get anything more elaborate than a cheese roll. But at least it’s free.

The afternoon session will be spent mainly sleeping because when you’re clinically dead, that’s the way it has to be for much of the time. The bats may also take a nap. Then more tea, perhaps a Kit Kat and then powering on towards the gala dinner in the living room. Hurrah! Although trying not to get too excited, I do have to realise that the caterer is the same one I had at lunchtime. So probably some pasta with a slop of tomato and basil sauce followed by yogurt and the long climb up to the smoking room on the fourth floor and revival in the house iron lung. I may or may not cop off with my own husband – depends if he’s home. If not I’ll discuss this modern trend everyone takes part in now for blogging with the bats. I know they wonder why anyone would be interested in anything I might want to say ever. But then, I think the same about them. But we’ll all end the day friends as we always do.

And so that will be my crime festival 2014 and I will enjoy it very much. Whether sanity will be restored in time for next week’s blog – or indeed ever – is not something I have any control over.

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