I'd known for a while that crack US writer and all round good guy, AJ Hayes (now, aka Bill) was visiting UK's finest dark fiction author, Richard Godwin in Richmond on September 10th. So, since Richard (now, aka Godders) and I had been threatening to meet for a while, I bit the proverbial bullet and headed 'darn sarth'. I mean, how could I miss an opportunity to meet and chew the fat with two brilliant minds of crime fiction?
|"AJ, keep look out."|
|"I need duck tape"|
I flicked the crumbs off me lap and shouted across the road: "Yo, ma-man! What's goin' down innit?" or words to that effect. We man-hugged, shook hands and the free-flowing fat-chewing began as if we'd known each other for years. The Internet is good for some things, eh? Then my phone rings and Dave Barber's name popped up, so I passed it to Bill for a bonus chat I know they were both chuffed with.
|"Where's the body?"|
|On the job...|
So, what did I learn?
Page is classy lady who made me fell very welcome. She also designs book covers, including Richard's MR GLAMOUR. (I'll do a post on this at a later date.)
Both AJ and Richard are extremely well-read, witty and fascinating to chat with. Bill won diving a holiday in the early 70's by coming first in a national poetry competition, so is clearly very well-versed (pun intended). He is also now fluent in Mancunian. Godders is the ultimate gent and his living room floor is really comfy. He also now has cig' dimps in his plant pots.
Another thing: Richard has tremendous self-discipline and has learned to manage his time effectively to sustain his impressive output. Despite our late night session, he left me to sleep in, while he got up at 7.00 am to write.
Anyway, here are the guys' respective takes on events...
Richard says, "Arriving at Terminal Five, I heard the alarms go off while two actors tap danced their way down the marble corridors, enacting the Olympics. It felt like a bad trip, but was a coupled effect of the post Olympics greeting ceremony and Bill setting off the fire alarms as he inhaled eight fags in the toilets at Heathrow airport, and no that is not a homophobic euphemism. Bill, drenched, appeared none the worse for wear. Although I thought of Rod Stewart.
Later that day we met Col.
He told me he had brought sausage rolls, but I have never seen such Gargantuan monsters in my life, he knocked two waiters out with them in a Chaplinesque scene of menace and absurdity. The crumbs will leave you reeling. He shattered two windows with them, slung from his nimble wrists like shurikens.
Thence to the views. Now the views from Bill's hotel are heart stopping, Turner bleeding pink and Halloween orange into Shepherd sunsets all over again.
We passed a hearty meal of heart and liver, in which various matters were discussed.
But that was all by and by.
If you think we're going to tell you about the job you're mistaken."
AJ says, "After the events described by Sir Richard, we relaxed a bit . . . um . . . well quite a bit . . . well . . . maybe more than quite a bit. (On the good side, no charges were pressed, somehow). Col stayed the course manfully and with a minimum of violence. (No, I don't know where he got that horse, let alone the cannon. And it also beats the hell out of me why Harry the Duke showed up pant-less, waving the flag of St. George wildly about.) So the evening went well and I learned quite a bit about Manchester blokes:
1. They are great guys.
2. They have hollow legs when drinking hearty spirits and upset-proof stomachs whilst downing massive quantities of sausage. (I honestly think Col is solely responsible for the vast shortage of Bangers and Mash in Olde London Towne over our two day assault on all that's good and decent in the legendary realm of King Arthur and his Knights.)
3. In a pinch, Mancs resemble nothing more on earth than high energy, monster bulldozers when scraping a path to safety for their pals if a hasty escape is necessary. (Again, no survivors mean no witnesses)."
It was an absolute pleasure, fellers, something we must do again soon.
AJ Hayes penned the most commented on short story of 2012 over at Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers. DARK GENESIS is a cracker - read it here.
Richard Godwin's critically acclaimed novels and popular 'Slaughterhouse' chin wags can be found here.
Standby for a new series inspired by my meet with these crime thoroughbreds... 'Chewing the Fat with...'