This is going to be a slightly unfocused entry... I'm playing catch-up with life at the minute.
My trip to the States was fun - largely because the people I was working with were fun. If they hadn't been it would have been pretty awful because it was all work, flights and long drives. I flew London to LA on Friday, went to work on Saturday morning and then flew from LA to Phoenix, Arizona and then Kansas City. On Sunday morning we drove a couple of hours out of the city and had another long day of work. On Monday we flew from Kansas City to Indianapolis. We worked all Tuesday before making a dash for the airport and flying to Dallas. (Tip, don't let a man called Tom programme your GPS... Toms think they know all about Tom Toms and you can end up driving an hour in the wrong direction and not getting to bed until 1am as a result.) We started early on Wednesday with a five hour drive from Dallas to Lubbock and then spent the rest of the day working. Thursday was one of the longest days of my life. I got up at 5am and left the hotel at 5.30. Another five hour drive saw me in Dallas where I boarded a plane bound for Boston where I scooted across the airport just in time to board another flight... this one to London. We landed at 5.20am on Friday. It feels like I went from 5am one day to 5am the next without experiencing a night time. Odd. And discombobulating. And you can see how liking the company of the people you're with - and the work that you're doing - becomes important in such circumstances.
I'll tell you more about the work another time. And I'll be visiting climatecare.org to carbon neutralise the trip some time this week. (I know, I know... it probably does more good for my conscience than the world but...)
I wasn't in any time zone for long so I never really acclimatised to the situation but I've still been a bit wobbly on the other side of it. I've been getting a bit yawny at around 4pm each day and managed to fall asleep bolt upright at my desk yesterday - albeit for only 10 minutes.
Having had only the weekend to recover I was straight back to work on Monday with the book event at Foyles. I'm really glad we did this event this way. It was done to create some video-podcasts about the America Unchained book for the Guardian website. The original idea was just to film me doing a sit-down interview with someone but I think those things can come across as quite dry and formal. Doing it with an audience - and taking their questions (instead of the questions dreamed up by your own publicist) made it more exciting for me and more fun all round. Given how tired I was during the afternoon it was good to have an audience to kick me out of it and give me the much needed adrenaline rush. The idea had been to assemble an audience of around 70 people. Normally when you do a free event there's a relatively large number of no-shows where people take tickets and don't use them... which almost never happens when they've shelled out actual money for them. With that in mind they oversubscribed it a little and gave away 100 tickets. I think three people didn't make it. Anyway, it was really enjoyable for me and a nice way to warm up for the impending book tour that starts soon. I'll let you know as soon as the videos from the night are put online...
The book isn't published until April 3 (but can be pre-ordered now, natch) and so I took a copy of my last A4 manuscript version with me to read from. But as it goes the publishers had rushed a hot-off-the-presses version to the shop so that the real thing was there. Seeing a printed book for the first time is always an exciting moment. Until then you don't really know how thick it's going to be, how it will feel in people's hands and so on. It's the moment at which all of the hard graft or writing is translated into something real. I'm very happy with it. It feels cared for and the colour photos lend it a richness that isn't common these days. Hurrah.
And then on Tuesday I saw rather more of them. A thousand of them as it goes. I went out to a depot in Essex to sign them for various book shops who've ordered some signed stock. It's events like this that destroy one's signature. Try writing the same thing - anything - over and over a thousand times...
Tonight I'll be recording an episode of Clive Anderson's Chat Room for Radio 4. It's about the week's news... I feel woefully under-prepared. I haven't really engaged with the real world this week - there hasn't been time. I'm sure some stuff happened involving a person and some other people and some stuff. Oh dear.
EDITED: To remove the gobbledygook random code that somehow made it's way in mid-word and also to say that Clive Anderson's Chat Room is actually on Radio 2 not 4 (I wasn't the only person who made this mistake, the audience's tickets all said Radio 4 too.) It goes out tonight (Thursday 20th) at 11pm and is repeated on Saturday also.