I’m sure by now several of you reading this are already nursing hangovers as this year’s Harrogate Crime Festival kicked off yesterday evening. You’ll all have to have a drink on my behalf (followed by my traditional 10am crawl into town to find a chemist, having ritually forgotten to take paracetamol), because I’m not going to be there this year. First time in, IIRC, seven years on the bounce (though the first of those was a one-night special for a Penguin party, which ended with myself, the inestimable Stav Sherez, Jim Kelly, Chris Simms and Kernick occupying the bar of the Majestic, I think it was, until… oh, I think it was about 4am by the time I left. The staff had given up and left us the run of it as well, as I recall. Someone must have promised to pay for whatever we drank…). Two factors behind it:

  • Normally, I juggle Aidan’s schedule with his mum so I can go up on Thursday and return Saturday (to avoid Sunday trains). This wasn’t doable/desirable this year because he set off this morning to America with her and his stepdad and that side of his family for nearly 3 weeks. The juggling worked the other way; he’s been with us since Monday.

  • I can’t really justify the expense this year. Awesome as it always is to catch up with everyone in the flesh, it’s ~£100 in train fare, £120 (if you’re blessed with a miracle) to £200 (more likely) for two nights’ accommodation, and very possibly, though not necessarily, the same again in food and drink. While, with my remaining two slices of definite income due any time now (German money for THE LEVELS and the paperback tranche of TRG) and nothing to follow after, it’s tempting to eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die, it doesn’t really seem like a sensible idea given that I’ve got more than one book to write and a baby due in a little over a month. My old flat’s just started the paperwork stage of the sale process, and when that goes through it’s all basically gravy, but I don’t want to count my chickens. I’d rather come back next year with a firmer grip on what’s laughably referred to as “my career” and with a much smaller workload waiting for me.

So have fun everyone, and you’ll all have to be charmingly filthy in my place.