Frankfurt, is it really you again? This German jaunt reminds me of Christmas—and a certain publisher I used to hang out with. You know, they’ll come once a year and yet you never really feel prepared. “Won’t be outfoxed this time round,” I said to myself, so used the downtime of late April through September to prepare—rights lists, hotel bookings,
flights, phone chargers—you name it, I instructed my assistant to do it.
By October, I was better organised than Selina Walker’s dungeon. “Ich bin ein Frankfurter,” I shouted to a passing Big Issue seller (or was it Nicholas Pearson with a copy of The Art Of Fielding?) as I jumped into the limo outside my flat at 4 a.m. Checking my reflection in my iPad, I fired off a few tweets to alert the world to some last-minute hot books: my E L James reboot for technogeeks called Fifty Shades Of Hard Drive; the children’s book entitled Get Over It, Wally is HERE with a massive arrow pointing at him; and a “‘Jurassic Park’ meets ‘Downtown Abbey’” thriller about a group of actors you thought were dead, who are regenerated back to life, but who have to be destroyed when they try to break out from the set of their costume drama.
It will be another vintage trip to the land of the bloated sausage, the vastly over-hyped prices, newsflashes from Bookmunch about William Caxton inventing a machine that
could revolutionise bible production and, of course, the “hot books” that you never hear of again.
After rearranging the entire stock of W H Smith Travel so that all my client books were on the front table, I skipped through security, answering the “did you pack this bag yourself?”
question with an eye roll and soon I was in business class tightly squeezed between Richard Charkin and David North. Despite feeling like I was in a flesh straightjacket the flight passed by faster than it takes to get through to anyone at Faber and I was soon on the ground.
While I was waiting impatiently in the airport for my luggage, I became aware of a tiny figure on the periphery of my vision. She sloped over. “Yes?” I said. “Um . . . ” she
mumbled, as she chewed her fingernails, “You are Daisy Frost, aren’t you?” “Go on, child,” I said, nodding imperiously like Gary Barlow does on “X-Factor” when
people get hysterical about meeting him. “Well, I’m Milly the new junior agent from Drummonds. Any chance you could give me a lift into the city? I haven’t a clue what to do or where to go.”
My mind shot back to my own first Frankfurt—so alone, so lost, so drunk I ended up sleeping in the fountain outside the Alte Oper. It was time to take this lamb under my
wing. “Of course you can” I said kindly. “If you can get all my luggage, a triple mochachino, a copy of the new Vanity Fair and, while you are at it, a big bottle of Schnapps, I’ll see you in the car.” She smiled and gave a little hop as she hurried off to do my bidding.
This was suddenly all shaping up very well indeed . . .
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