Category: The book

This entry comes with a slight babble-warning

So here I am. Back in Peter’s flat, studio make-up on and I’m almost ready to place a dram of Highland Park in front of me and go “aaaah”. What a day.

I woke up early this morning. Rehearsed my talk one last time and went off to Magma, a think-tank that had invited me to speak about my book in a restaurant.

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The guests are arriving. The owner of this place, Cafe Esplanad, had lived in the UK in 1948 and had lots of great stories to tell. She was still working in the cafe, pouring water and making sure everyone was OK. Quite a cool lady.

I’d been slightly nervous about this because it’s been a while since I’ve actually stood up in front of people and talked. Here I was going to do it for fifteen minutes without any power points or anything else that could distract the people from… me. At least it was a topic I knew well, Britishness and immigration.

The nervousness lifted as soon as I met all the lovely people at Magma, who were really friendly and welcoming. The audience was really nice too. A lot of familiar faces from the past. People I’d interviewed, people I’d worked for, a professor from my university, people who were excited about the book.

After that I came back to my brother’s place. Brainstormed a book idea. Changed into something ladylike and travelled up to YLE. It was strange taking the tram from the exact same tram stop where I used to wait every morning six years ago in order to go to work.

I took the same route. Got off as soon as I could see the YLE tower (also known as the tower of Sauron) and walked to the place where I worked for about two years. I walked and thought about how things can change, how my life is so different now to what it was then and how strange it is that I’m going back to that confusing mess of buildings to be interviewed on a talk-show.

First I met up with some old friends, jumped into a radio show and talked a bit about the book.

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The very sweet Eva Frantz who interviewed me for Radiohuset. I felt like I babbled a lot, but she just kept smiling.

Then I was off to get my make-up done for Bettina S. I sort of knew you had to wear lots of make-up because of the studio lights, but didn’t really know how much. I don’t think I’ve ever worn this much make-up before in my life.

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I had a very nice make-up artist, Oona, who kindly agreed to pose for a photo.

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I also had a dressing room with a star on the door. This was almost too awesome for words.

Again everyone was super friendly and sweet and made me feel really comfortable. The show will be aired on Monday so watch it if you can. Not just to see me of course, but to see the super-cute rapping granny who was on before me.

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Everyone getting ready for the show.

I have to say it’s all been slightly overwhelming. Little did I know this would happen when I was typing away in the British Library two years ago. Suddenly I’m back in Finland, talking about my book to all of these different people, at all of these amazing and interesting places. It’s well nice (as my old flat-made used to say).

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Finland The book

So I’ve landed in chilly and autumn-pretty Helsinki for a snappy book tour for Det finns inga britter. Tomorrow I’ll be doing a talk at a lunch-meeting for Fenno-Swedish think-tank Magma, in the evening I’m a guest in Bettina S, a Fenno-Swedish talk show, and on Friday I’m doing a Q&A at the Helsinki book fair.

I’m still not exactly sure all of this is really happening and am feeling inclined to pinch myself every two minutes to make sure I’m not sleeping (about as often as I check up on mine and Gerry’s Kickstarter campaign).

I’m tired from the flight, but buzzed, happy and excited about everything that’s going on. I’m hoping I’ll be able to sleep at least a little bit on my brother’s awesome blow up mattress (oh the glamour of being a travelling author).

It’s quite strange coming back to Helsinki now. Five years (or so) after I moved away. It doesn’t feel like home anymore. It doesn’t even feel that familiar, yet there are curious, little things that remind me of what it was like living here. The way the apartments smell is one of these things, sort of dry and dusty and old.

Life is a bit different to my normal everyday reality in London at the moment. It’s slightly hyped up, like someone’s turned on the warp speed. The adrenalin is pumping. I’m not used to this, but I think I’m enjoying it. The Kickstarter campaign is making me a nervous wreck, so please support us or share the project around if you like it. Thanks! x


Finland Plane Clothing The book

Yey! My book has arrived!

The book

A friend sent me a message on Facebook today saying she’s bought my book, which means it’s back from the printers and on it’s way to bookshops and the publisher and (hopefully) to me. It’s enough to make me chomp-on-my-nails excited and nervous.

You can currently buy it through my publisher Schildts & Söderströms and at Adlibris.

Now excuse me while I dance around the flat and collapse on the sofa with a glass of whisky.

The book

Oh hello Saturday. You arrived unexpectedly. I’m at my desk in the house, drinking coffee, trying to figure out what happened to the week. Gerry’s at the market. In many ways Saturdays are our Mondays, the start of the working week. Then again we take the actual Mondays off. It’s enough to make anyone a bit confused.

In order to make sense of all of this I will start re-winding the week.

Friday: We went on a roadtrip o Essex to have a look at some print proofs for two new screen prints (flightpath and lido will become art prints! And they look pretty awesome on paper).

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Driving out through Hackney.

The day was hot and we started driving out in our friend’s old Mazda when the sun was already high in the sky. Now the Mazda is a great car, but it doesn’t have the best air-con in the world. I’m not great with being hot. Coming back the traffic was slightly blocked up, we missed our junction into London and ended up in Bow. After that we helped our friend Anne (who is the owner of the Mazda) who had lost her house keys (and then located them in a gallery far far away). We picked up her keys, drove home and inhaled a cold G&T.

Thursday: I spent the whole day reporting on the UK reaction to Syria. On a personal note, I’ve never before lived in a country that has so actively talked about going to war or intervening in a war. I find it both strange and a bit unsettling. The Onion has a pretty good piece on what is going on right now.

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Took a break and walked to a local park to clear my head from all the political infighting.

Wednesday: Started catching up with work. Long lists of things to do. Realised how quickly the year has escaped us already. We’re almost coming up to peak busy time (the months leading up to Christmas). December is always busy for Gerry because that’s when people really start shopping. This year will be so busy I sometimes feel like I want to sit in a corner with my hands in front of my eyes. We’ve now seen the schedule for festivals in December. Basically we will be working non-stop on Plane Clothing from the 22nd of November until the 23d of December when we jump on a plane to Finland. It’s going to be good, it’s going to be mental.

Tuesday: Errands, long treks to the post office, coffee with a journalist friend and then home to recover from the day.

Monday: Was a bank holiday here in the UK. We were slightly confused by everyone else having a day off on a Monday.

I also got an email with the cover for “Det finns inga britter”. And it’s looking great!

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The book is on it’s way to the printers at the moment. It’s making me excited and nervous. I can’t do any changes anymore. It’s out of my hands. And soon I will be able to hold it in my hands. AAAAHAHAH!

On a less mental note… the weekend. What does it have in store? Well I’m planning on meeting some friends, going for walks and editing the first fiction manuscript I’ve ever written (or perhaps I should say finished). There will be a lot of deleting today I fear. I’m wrestling with the script at the moment, trying to make it less unruly, more script-like. After the deleting there will be quite a lot of re-writing. It’s quite exciting and I think I will possibly need quite a bit more coffee.

Everyday life The book Thoughts Writing

I’m going through some of the research I did for the book and found this amazing poem, written for the Sublime Society of Beefsteaks in 1735. The Sublime Society of Beefsteaks (it’s such an awesome name, I have to keep repeating it) was a breakfast club where gentlemen got together and ate meat. Slightly disappointed I forgot about this piece of research and it didn’t make it into the book.

William Hogarth, Sublime Society of Beefsteaks, 1735

When mighty Roast Beef was the
Englishman’s Food
It enobled our Hearts and enriched our Blood;
Our Soliders were Brave, and our Courtiers
were good…

Then, Britons from all nice Dainties refrain
Which effeminate Italy, France and Spain;
And mighty Rost Beef shall command on
the Main.
Oh the Roast Beef of Old England
And Old England’s Roast Beef.

The book