Pictures above : “Toby” (in orange), “Adam One” in robe and “Ren” in blue plus the Narator, the collaged script holders, a bit of music rehearsing, and Leslie Hill, interviewing and filming for Ron Mann of Toronto.

I’m writing this on the Edinburgh-Manchester train in a possibly vain attempt to catch up on my blogging. Faulty net connections and a packed schedule over the past few days have been hampering!

The plot so far: we leapt off the QM2 in Southampton, into a taxi, and onto the train for Birmingham, then ran off that somewhat late train, hauled our bags up the stairs and along the overpass – why do we always take too much? – and hurled ourselves on to the train for Edinburgh with seconds to spare. In Edinburgh we barely had time for a catch-up meeting with composer-singer Orville Stoeber (who’d had a previous rehearsal with the singers), CD and website music page producer-by-default Phoebe Larmore, and total tour-runner Fiona McMorrough of FMcM who is travelling with me and handling all the gnarly parts (such as the chilling moment when we left a bag on the departing train – Fiona got it back!), before walking to St. John’s on Princes Street for an evening rehearsal. We were put through our paces by effervescent director Janet de Vigne. Rehearsals can be a bit ragged, so I must confess to apprehension. Pratfalls are always of interest, though not so much to those doing them.

Toronto documentary filmmaker Ron Mann is collecting footage, and his connection in Edinburgh was Leslie Hill – pictured in the red spectacles. We had a bad interview moment in the hotel (the Bonham, green credentials) when a house alarm went off right outside and then went on and on… (Fiona overcame. She got us into another room, sandwiches and all.) Speaking of food, the coffee vow has been kept, and not fur or feathers have disappeared into me so far, though some non-endangered fish, crustaceans and gastropods have.

After a sleep and some morning interviews, off we went off to the church for the 3.30 performance. Miraculously, it all came together. The Gardener singers (the Calton Collective) entered carrying emblematic poles decorated with scavenged orange Sainsburys plastic bags – very festive. They carried music folders collaged by Emma Danby, and sang with great spirit and to great effect, with music director Jason Orringe on piano and Orville on guitar. Bishop Richard Holloway, wearing a splendid robe put together by Janet out of this and that — including faux leopard fur — plunged so thoroughly into his role as Adam One, the God’s Gardener leader, that he admitted to getting a little choked up – what preaching! He almost converted me, but to what? Janet de Vigne was a brisk but sometimes daunted Toby, Emma Danby a fragile but resilient Ren. Flowered collaged birds by designer Nial Smith flew colourfully overhead, and the RSBP volunteers had their leaflets and money buckets at the ready, and were very happy at the end of the event.

In the evening there was a 9.30 Edinburgh Festival event at Charlotte Square, with Jenny Brown doing an onstage interview – great fun. I always love Edinburgh events, as I’ve lived there from time to time and appreciate the intelligence and warmth of this great city – as did Phoebe and Orville, who’d never been there before and were running around seeing, sampling, and savouringHere are some press links:
The Observer: –

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2009/aug/30/margaret-atwood-novel-ecology

The Times (Scotland edition): –

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6815752.ece

The Sunday Times, Culture Magazine: –

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/fiction/article6811230.ece

The Guardian: –

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/aug/29/margaret-atwood-year-of-flood

4 Comments

Filed under YOTF Tour Blog

4 responses to “

  1. Sandra

    I was at the event in London on 2 September and I have to say it was wonderful. More authors should consider such imaginative launches. A really good experience. Great to see the RSPB there too. Now I have to read the book quickly to get the answers to all those questions posed at the end of the event!

  2. Lindsey

    Ack! You were right here in Birmingham and didn’t stop! I hope the trains have been kind to you. I will be coming to see you in Cardiff tomorrow, but I’m concerned by the different addresses: the tour diary says Cardiff Cathedral and the box office says Llandaff Cathedral. I’m sure it will be fine as long as I remember my sandwich.

  3. I applaud your embrace of ICTs to reach more people. It makes us readers feel special. Kudos. Enjoying the blog and tweets!

  4. Nancy Burnett

    I think instead of a book club study guide, we need script, etc. for performing short dramatic vignettes. I finished my ARC and hope of a sort is restored. I know it’s too soon, but what’s next? Suddenly, that question seems urgent.

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