I was bright-eyed and bushy tailed, ready for a fabulous talk at the Tom Keneally Centre at the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts. I knew the event was booked out, so I had taken special care to prepare a really knockout talk for the kind people who were coming to hear me.
But when I arrived I saw that the whole block of Pitt St outside the SMSA was cordoned off. There were cranes, fire trucks, policemen and ambulances. And no-one was allowed to get past any of it, though the entrance to the School of Arts was just a few footsteps away.There had been a fire, and things were quite dangerous, apparently.
More and more people began to collect, many of whom I suspected were my own audience. A very elegantly dressed woman looked me up and down and said, "I think I am here to see you..."
Then it all got crazy.
There were cameras and I wound up on Channel 10 News and Radio 2GB.
|My friend Evan Smith was standing in front of the TV at just the right moment|
Friends took happy snaps of me at the scene of the disaster, and keen punters suggested we take the whole talk to a nearby cafe.
|With travel writer Rosamund Buron and some of my crowd|
We didn't, but I did whip out my trusty bag of books and start selling and signing. Nothing keeps an author away from a willing audience.
I met many charming people who had come along to see me from places as far afield as the Blue Mountains! Because we were milling around with nothing to do, I ended up having several fascinating conversations with readers and people interested in Cambodia. One lovely lady told me a beautiful story of how her trip to Vietnam had been enriched by reading my book Destination Saigon and following some of its advice. What a lovely thing for an author to hear!
And there were celebrities! Drifting through the crowd were writers Rosamund Burton and Zena Shapter, along with television personality and curator Joy Hopwood.
I hung around right to the bitter end, like the trooper that I am. The show must go on! But the emergency services kept the street closed, and so ended my most exciting and bizarre author event yet.
And now for the good news!
My SMSA talk has been re-scheduled and you are invited to attend!
Please note that last time the talk booked out completely, and those who were booked in are all being called and asked if they wanted to come again. But you have a brief window of opportunity to get in - I can promise it will be lots of fun.
RESCHEDULED TO WED 23/10 AT 12:30PM
Join travel writer and raconteur Walter Mason as he takes us on an illustrated journey through Cambodia, one of the most fascinating countries in Asia.
FREE - Please book on 02 9262 7300 or firstname.lastname@example.org