The Washington DC Metro is so uncompicated even a country boy like me can master it. It was there to greet me beneath the belly of Ronald Reagan and, half an hour later, there I was popping out at the zoo near (not in) which my friends reside. Even though they knew I’d spent the previous two weeks on book-related events, Margaret and Ray decided it’d be fun to take me to a bookshop on my first evening here. But, I suppose Politicas and Prose isn’t just any old bookshop. It’s the District of Columbia’s Mecca for thinkers, book lovers and people who just love to hog the microphone at question time.
I can give you two examples of the high standards P&P sets itself. Firstly, the event we attended last night was the launch of The Quest by Pullitzer Prize winning energy guru Daniel Yergin. The audience was salt and peppered with genius. Secondly, my book was on the recommended reading table just inside the front door. If that isn’t class I don’t know what is. I signed their stock, pretended to understand what Yergin was talking about for half an hour, then went for a beer with Ray.
We’d been at the event because Margaret is an ace researcher and she’d done a last-minute photograph search for Yergin. Her favourite was the portrait of Hugo Chavez wearing a beret and holding a parakeet…wearing a beret. Yergin gave margaret a well-deserved credit in the book. He’s an all-round great guy, they said. P&P doesn’t invite just anyone to give a talk so when the manager asked me if I’d be kind enough to come back for an event, Margaret fainted right there in the store. We had to bring her around with a pint of Old Rooster. When I announced my retirement from book tours she reminded me that I wasn’t nearly famous enough to start acting fascinating. I was far too obtuse for that (I had to look up obtuse). Only great writers could fade into obscurity and still sell books, she said.
When she wasn’t looking I kicked her cat.