Help, I'm in Galle, send scissors and a stylist.
This morning I woke up and all I could hear was that miserable sound of rain, when you just know that the weather is gray and the atmosphere is dull. But I was wrong. The rain was actually the ocean, more or less at the end of my bed. The weather is best described as Galle sunny and Sri Lankan hot.
For that is where I am; in the Fortress in Galle, in the midst of some literary festival that you may just have heard about.
Yesterday afternoon I was at the opening ceremony at Martin Wickremasinghe's birthplace. There were dignitaries galore, women wearing the most god awful clothes you can imagine, as well as some stylish and sexy types and all kinds of Sri Lankan society people.
Authors and poets read bits and pieces, Romesh Gunasekera spoke passionately and eloquently, I guess one expects authors to be eloquent. He needs a haircut though. I wonder if he spends so much time poring over words that he doesn't consider the hair issue. He should. Take it from me as I know about hair and writing. He probably knows a lot more wrods than me, maybe even the meanings too.
There was poetry too, an art form that continues, try as I might, to fox me. I chatted to Electra at one point and, when I told her that AA Milne's "When we were very young" was about the limit of my tolerance for poetry, she gave me that look that women often give me. It's a sort of "are you really that much of a fuckwit?" look, my answer usually begins with y and ends in s.
I suppose I appreciate poetry, I understand that it exists, I just don't get it. Maybe, in the coming days of wandering around the GLF I'll become a fan of poetry and decide to give up the drums and use my sticks in poems instead. Who knows?
In the evening I was at the cocktail party for the GLF. Authors and Sansonis were everywhere.
I met Thomas Kineally, the author of Schindler's Ark. A more modest and nice chap one could not wish to meet. It was brief, he complimented me on how sweet my kids were, only they weren't my kids. I admitted this just in case it was a ploy on the author's part, perhaps the kids had nicked his wallet or something and he was going around trying to locate the parents. I'm no fool and saw through his plan immediately.
It was only a little while after the conversation that I discovered the identity of my interrogator. He had only told me that he was one of the participants in the GLF and the he was "doing a few things tomorrow."
He looked a bit like Father Christmas dressed up to go out on a Hawaiian themed stag do, one that he thought would end particularly madly, so he'd worn some old clothes. I never guessed he was the literary equivalent to Bill Gates. To be fair I don't think he realised that I was RD either, THE RD. As we speak he's probably writing a book about the encounter.
Germaine Greer was around too, though I didn't, rather dared not, approach her. These feminists are scary, one inadvertant glance at her breasts and I'd be thrown out of the festival quicker than a quick thing in a zero gravity part of space. I bet she'd be quite happy if I held the door open for her though.
She was surrounded by women, it seemed that most of the other men had the same idea as me. I chatted to other people, like Tracy Holsinger, though there was one point at which she threatened to hit me over something I said. It's part of my charm I guess.
The evening ended, as this post shall in a few lines. I'm heading into the Fort to find authors and participants, to listen and learn from them and enjoy the rather wickedly cool ambience.
The ocean's still blue and making that swishing noise, the temperature is still hot and some of the sunbathing white tourists are about three shades darker than they were when I started typing this post about an hour ago. That's the Sri Lankan hotel wireless internet for you.
3 weeks ago