Style and substance(s)

<p>A Ladbroke Grove gastropub called the Fat Badger. Entry with a tattoo only. <a href="">Jamie</a> and <a href="">Pete</a> on the decks. It could only be Canongate's London Book Fair party, fast becoming a legendary annual rite of passage.</p>
<p>Modelled on Atlantic boss Morgan Entrekin's Frankfurt bash, the Canongate evening begins with a dinner for 60 - international editors, agents, authors and a few booksellers. Invites are so scarce that only a handful of the publisher's own staff are allowed seats. Then the shackles are off, and the blaggers are in, for the 11pm-3am rave. It's crowded, loud, and full of people that look far too sharply kitted out and fresh-faced to have been anyway near Earls Court. It's a strange kind of vicarious fun.</p>
<p>Our agent provocateur and columnist extraordinaire Daisy Frost has t<a href=" real scoop on the madness</a>. But on a more sober note, it's fascinating how well Canongate creates a kind of feelgood community that lets it effortlessly spread the work about its books.</p>
<p>And Jamie Byng's showmanship, much like Cristiano Ronaldo's tricks, actually serve a purpose. Each of last night's invited authors&mdash;including Geoff Dyer and Helen Walsh&mdash;have books out in late 2008 or 2009; Byng toasted them in turn, evangelising about their work. They laughed, they cringed, they loved it. Suddenly <a href="">Hardeep Singh Kohli</a> was hugging Borders' Caroline Mileham and setting up a long lunch in Bray with Amazon's Kes Nielsen.</p>
<p>Byng went on to toast Barack Obama (also, inevitably, a Canongate author) before making a lyrical appeal to the power of books and the fact that everyone working in publishing has to believe in the &quot;Audacity of Hope&quot;. Over the top? Yes. Effective? Undoubtedly.</p>