Book Launch and Beyond…
Three days ago I sat and watched a herring gull float on a keen wind, subtly changing the angles of its dagger-like wings to stay motionless above the earth. It was looking at something, one beady eye in its cocked head fixed on an object below. I have no idea what it was, it could have been one of a million ever-moving bits of flotsam or discarded food. One thing I was sure of though was that it wasn’t the shimmer or flash of a small fish near the surface of an ocean. I was in london, and below the gull, and below the huge brick red towers near Kings Cross, the Euston road thronged with buses, taxis and a sea of people making there way from their last engagement to the next. When the lights changed, I twisted my right hand, gunned the engine of the bike and nipped ahead, profiting in distance from a small gap between two idling double deckers.
I’d been in Western House – one of the BBC’s buildings off Portland Place – on and off for most of the day, chatting to a variety of friendly sounding anchors of regional radio shows in a small sound booth equipped with a microphone and a headset. The line went live, I would be greeted and ten or fifteen minutes of hearty conversation about my book or about Ernie or about other characters that rode on the back seat of Achilles would follow, before the line went dead again, and I’d wander out into the street for an hour or so before the next one. A small rag tag collection of ‘paps’ waited outside. They looked up very briefly when I left the building, instantly gauging I was not suitable prey for them. Indeed, most staff in the BBC complex and other establishments I’d been in that day understandably assumed I was a bike courier. That got me thinking about a celebrity consultancy business. I could give lectures entitled “How to slip under the Paparazzi radar” and I could sell lightweight dummy bike helmets and walkietalkies that even the most delicate of ‘oh so important’ pin-ups could carry and fool the press with. On second thoughts, maybe I won’t bother.
The reason for my extended London visit was the launch of my book, for which I had a modest but spirited celebration in El Barrio, a lovely latin bar in Battersea. People came who I never dreamt would come. Charlie, the once all American and now trimmed and manicured first companion I’d had on the back of Achilles. Guy, a man I’d last seen when I was perhaps twelve, at school where I’m fairly sure I was a bit of a bully though he ensures me I wasn’t! Caroline from Germany, Barney who’s japes kept me entertained through Ecuador and Peru, Nadia, who I’d shared a beer with chasing the last rays of desert sun across the small square of Uyuni in Bolivia, my fairy godchildren and of course my dear ol’dad and once cycling companion through the hills of Colombia.
It was a humbling experience to see so many close friends turn out, support and hopefully enjoy the embryonic opening stages of a career I awkwardly call Adventure film making and writing. If you’re reading this, you all know who you are. I’m more than grateful for your company that evening.
Now the madness of london fun has come to an end. I have one or two more book signings to do up North near my current home, but what I really need to focus on is the next project. The Dom and Ernie Project (www.domandernie.com). I no longer have nothing to lose. Last time I was on a glorified schoolboy adventure. If it didn’t work out it didn’t matter. Now I have chosen my path, I am responsible for someone else, and to an extend responsible for their hopes and dreams as well as my own. There is, very definitely, something to lose. So much so in fact, that I better go. I have money to chase, cameras to beg for, insurance to ponder and scoff at, and a small bolus of self doubt to stamp out each time it wells up like an unsightly boil. Three weeks and counting…..