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November 17th, 2013

The first time I came to London as a kid, the London Underground blew my mind with its posters, musicians, and how EASY it was to get around town. I think I was 12, and I begged my parents to let my little sister and me go off by ourselves in the Tube and meet them somewhere later. They didn't let us ("If you didn't show up, what would we DO?" said Dad.) But I've always wondered if some day maybe I'd get to make something that could appear on a poster down there. And it's come true! Early Twitter sighting by Ian Cairns:



I still haven't seen the poster (although I painted extra tentacles for it), but I've heard they're at Old Street, Angel, and Highbury & Islington. If you get the chance to tweet a photo of another one at me, I'd love to find out where it was! :)

I had a funny visit to Waterstones Piccadilly on Saturday. I stopped in (truth be told, to use the loo), but also to visit the new-ish Russian Section. Lots of beautiful books there - I'll definitely go back - and they have the Russian atmosphere absolutely nailed. When the female attendant spotted me looking at the children's books, she asked if I had any children. And when I said no, she nodded sagely, saying,

"Not yet. But you are still young." And then I knew she would talk about Pushkin. And she talked about Pushkin.


Latest purchases from the Russian section and Children's Book section

I made my way up to the children's section, where I bought some books and offered to sign some of the Oliver and the Seawigs stock laid out on the front table. The manager, Robert, (who looks like that Russian hacker guy from Golden Eye) didn't recognise me from my official signing, without the big frock or tentacle hat. That was to be expected, he gets a lot of visitors, but he thanked me warmly when I'd finished.



Downstairs, I noticed they had more Seawigs in the main floor showroom, so I offered to sign those, too.

"Sure! If you really are the illustrator," said the clerk. (He didn't ask, but I grinned and showed him my Society of Authors card to reassure him.)

Since I was dropping in unexpectedly, I didn't get a table or anything - of course not - and I happily signed, bent over a table of books. I heard a couple behind me, discussing what to get their six-year-old niece for Christmas. I looked up and asked them what sort of thing she likes.

"I don't know, maybe some sort of adventure story," said the man.

"Well," I offered, "these are adventure stories. If you buy one, I'd be happy to sign in it and doodle in it for you. If she's too young for it, it's a good book for someone to read aloud to her." I smiled benignly and turned back to signing.

"Ah," said the man. The couple carefully sidled away from me and continued looking.

"Sharks," said the woman to the man. "She loves sharks. I don't see anything about sharks."

Aargh! Did I tell her I'm coming out with shark book very soon? Of course not. She really didn't want to know. Anyone standing signing books in a book shop is most likely mad, and certainly not famous enough to have made good books. They probably weren't even my books. (How often does that happen, I wonder; someone posing, say, as Ian Rankin, and dashing off autographs with wild flourishes.) This is why one must wear a massive costume and travel around with publicists, of course.

But I will still do occasional signing forays into bookshops because I like picking up a book at a shop and suddenly discovering it's been signed by the author. It's a nice touch.

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jabberworks
Sarah McIntyre

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