Last Friday, my first night in London, I met my book editor for drinks and dinner at the Goat Tavern, a 300-year-old pub on Kensington High Street. It was our first face-to-face encounter. We worked together a couple of years ago on Dark City, my history of infamous crimes in wartime London. Said editor, Mark Beynon, is also an author. His most recent work is London’s Curse: Murder, Black Magic, and Tutankhamun in the 1920s West End, which implicates occultist Aleister Crowley in a series of murders that shocked London following the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.
It looks as though Mark and I may be working on another book together for publisher The History Press. Details have yet to be ironed out, and I’m still researching the tentative subject matter at hand . . . so we’ll see how things proceed. In other books news, Penguin will soon have the finished cover design for Human Game (scheduled for an October release) ready. Once they send it my way, I’ll post it here!
Last Sunday afternoon, I went to Paddington Station and caught a train north to visit family. Before my departure, I walked into the station’s Starbucks and ordered a latte. The young guy behind the register was of Eastern European descent and had a very thick accent. I must have also been hard to understand because it took me two tries to convey what I wanted to drink. He eventually picked up a paper cup and a pen and said something to me. Again, there was a communication breakdown. I could only assume he was asking me my name so he could write it on the cup, as they do in Starbucks here in the States. I said, “Simon.” He offered me nothing but a blank stare, so I proceeded to spell my name for him. He dully scribbled it on the side of the cup, looked at me, and said, “Why do you tell me your name?”
I felt the blood rush to my face. “I have no idea,” I said. “I thought that’s what you were asking me.”
“I wasn’t,” he replied—without offering any explanation as to what he had actually said to me.
When the barista (also Eastern European) was handed my cup to make the latte, she asked the cashier, “What is ‘Simon’?”
“I don’t know,” the cashier shrugged, pointing a finger at me. “He keeps telling me his name.”
By now, I just wanted to make a hasty retreat with my latte in hand. Mercifully, the barista got busy making my drink. When done, she thrust it in my direction and said, “This is yours.”
I took my coffee and scurried from the premises.