EDitorial ± 16-Jul-2006

Jasper Fforde, Ipswich

A lazy Sunday afternoon in metropolitan and happenin' Ipswich: kiddies safely offloaded with little sis to the Indian Summer Mela, exciting WC finale (for this is day 31) to look forward to that evening, and me & wifey off to an Ip-Art literary event -- it's Jasper Fforde, ffiction fformulaist and fformer ffocus-puller. (That's enough effs: Ed)

It's held in the local Film Theatre with proper cinema seats, and Jasper's being interviewed by Rachel Sloane off Radio Suffolk, who handles things nicely. JF wonders if this is a live event or a pre-recorded film: if we don't answer your questions, he says, it's the latter. As they chat I'm trying to think who he reminds me of: Hugh Laurie? Maybe Hugh Grant?

Of course, there's much talk of Swindon, home to Thursday Next and the many other characters from The Eyre Affair, Lost In A Good Book, etc. In an earlier interview, ironically enough, JF had mentioned the negative press that towns such as Swindon, Slough and Ipswich seem to attract, undeservedly. And now he's here.

After an entertaining reading from his newest book -- incidentally, The Fourth Bear is at a ridiculously low £5.58 this week on Amazon, so buy now -- he gives us more info about the streetnames in Swindon that are due to be named after some of his creations. Now there's posterity. He also tells us about his ten minutes as mayor and his various proclamations: Swindon to be an independent republic, a new public holiday, and the official language to be ... Welsh.

Successful and witty, darn him. Like Douglas Adams but still extant.