Thursday, October 15, 2009

Well, this evening I went out to Winnetka, a really beautiful suburb of Chicago, and I met some readers at the Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Pam and Gerald and Mary amongst them. I don't really know what to say. Sometimes you meet people and their enthusiasm for what you do is a little overwhelming. To find myself the better part of 4000 miles from home and to have someone appear with first edition hardbacks of 'Candlemoth', and for that person to tell you that they have every book you've written and they have read all of them... Well, you can imagine.
The event was wonderful. Book Stall at Chestnut Court is another one of those absolute gems of an independent bookstore, and whatever it takes we have to do whatever we can to keep these stores going. This is the last bastion of unbiased and non-commercial book recommendation in the world. Booksellers - real booksellers - are a dying breed, and only by supporting such bookstores will we keep them alive.
After the event I was driven to Buddy Guy's Legends Club. Here I saw the incredible Matthew Skellor. Now, for me, Sonny Boy Williamson and Sonny Terry have always been the 'one and onlys' as far as blues harpists are concerned. The tone, the warmth, the feeling back of their playing is unbelievable. I have to be honest and say that I had never heard of Matthew Skellor, but after this evening I am going to make it my business to buy this man's albums and follow his career. An astoundingly good player. Really astounding.
And Lurrie Bell, one of the true blue legends of Chicago blues guitar was there, and he guested on a good half a dozen numbers. Incredible tone, a wonderful voice, and much under-rated. The man is insanely good, and he played much of the guitar on Skellor's latest album 'These Kind of Blues'.
So what can I say? A great event in Winnetka, and then a few hours of great food (Chicago Jambalaya) along with Jack Daniels, 3-2-1, Matthew Skellor, his guitarist Billy Flynn, and then a guest appearance by the extra-terrestrially good Lurrie Bell. Could life be better? That's a hell of a question. Maybe if my wife and son were here to enjoy this with me, only then could it be better.
Indianapolis tomorrow. Bouchercon. The Big Book Festival. Hell of a thing.
Speak soon, and best wishes,

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