So this is what happened at my first Glastonbury:
— 4.45am awake in B&B in Bruton, Somerset (home town). Two hours’ sleep. Get in car.
— 5.15am arrive Glastonbury. Park car in Performers’ Parking Area. Note parking location on phone.
— 6.30am arrive Pyramid Stage having trekked for over an hour across mud, nearly falling over several times whilst wearing excessively foolish white chiffon dress.
— 6.35am on live from the Pyramid Stage for BBC Breakfast, BBC News 24, BBC Points West and Radio Somerset. Still sweating and red-faced from one-hour trek.
— 9am to 1pm eat bacon butties, see Chris Evans, see Radiohead’s Thom Yorke (when I was ordering a raspberry muffin – he said, “I’ll have what she’s having”), get propositioned by man who invites me to the Lost Horizon (naked sauna – I decline), walk miles across mud from Pyramid Stage to The Park.
— 2pm book reading and (minimal) stand-up (very much a chill-out zone, did not want shouty jokes) at the Free University of Glastonbury in the Crow’s Nest at The Park.
— 3pm spend one hour crying and looking for car as phone dead and could not check location of car on phone. Eventually found car. Drive home. Number of hours spent at P̶i̶l̶t̶o̶n̶ ̶P̶o̶p̶ ̶F̶e̶s̶t̶i̶v̶a̶l̶ Glastonbury: 10.
At the Curtis Sittenfeld launch tonight I had the GREAT EXCITEMENT of seeing I Laughed, I Cried on sale for the first time. (These are super-early copies.) Thank you so much to Lutyens and Rubinstein for that. If anyone is desperate to get hold of a copy before the end of the month, this is the only place in London you can get them until the week of June 27. They’re at 21 Kensington Park Road.
My mid-life crisis stand-up comedy memoir I Laughed, I Cried: How One Woman Took On Stand-Up and (Almost) Ruined Her Life is out one month today! Hurrah!
To mark the countdown, Orion has released 10 copies for a giveaway on GoodReads.com. Click here to put your name in the hat. But hurry! The giveaway is only open until 10 June. And if you win, you are supposed to post a review on Goodreads (however short and however negative – it’s OK, I am used to heckling).
Other news so far: Last week it went in at No. 1 on Hot New Releases in Comedy on Amazon. Pick of the Month for June in The Bookseller. Best Non-Fiction Read in Good Housekeeping: “A seize-the-day memoir to inspire anyone with a long-held dream.” In the pages of their June issue I sit proudly alongside ANN WIDDECOMBE. Just as I happily would at any social function. I await your call, Ann. Bring Anton with you.
This interview with Cath Kidston is in Red’s June issue. Really enjoyed meeting her: she seemed quite quiet and understated but a very straightforward sort of person. She did not say anything controversial and I don’t think she ever will. She has just spent the past twenty years quietly and discreetly building a £75 million empire. It is the British way.
This week’s Observer debate took great offence at Ben Elton’s new sitcom The Wright Way and decided to ask, “At 53, is he too old to cut it?” I argued that comedians can be funny — sometimes even funnier — when they get older. Especially Joan Rivers. Comedy critic Bruce Dessau argued that most of them tend to produce their ground-breaking work when they are younger and then peak around forty. This was exciting news for anyone who sees me in the next ten weeks. Then it’s my fortieth birthday. After that? Goodbye, hilarity.
I think I was the only person they could find who would defend Ben Elton, even though I did not go very far down the route of defending The Wright Way and its jokes regarding proud erections. I’m not really trying to defend Ben Elton himself here (he’s more than capable of doing that on his own). I’m just wondering why people get so upset when they don’t find something funny. OK, so it’s not to your taste! It doesn’t mean no-one else will like it. It’s like what Tina Fey says comparing women in comedy to dim sum. “I don’t like Chinese food. Doesn’t mean I write articles trying to prove it doesn’t exist.”
Talking to Bath Short Story Award about Helen Dunmore, Bulgakov and making voodoo dolls of people who have rejected you.
In TW11 magazine doing stand-up for Oxfam Get Together for International Women’s Day.
Talking to Bath Life about Ben’s Cookies, Amitav Ghosh and jumpsuits.
Talking to Laugh Out London about The Night I Died, standing on a wet cardboard stage in Croydon and Rich Fulcher repeatedly saying, “You look Chinese.”
Talking to Run Riot about Upstairs Downton: The Improvised Episode (latest news: the show will be at The Hive at Heroes of the Free Fringe in Edinburgh from 2 to 25 August).
Interview with Amanda de Cadenet in this month’s Red magazine. Amanda was exactly as she seems in the interview. Open. Interested and interesting. Very LA in the way she talks and in the way she sees the world. I was half-expecting Gwynnie or Demi to phone her during our meeting — “Excuse me, Viv, I’ve just got to take this call” — but to my great distress this did not happen. Good luck to her and her Conversation (her on-line talk show — which is actually good and has extraordinary guests like The Gaga.)
Covering for Rachel Johnson in today’s Mail on Sunday: stay-at-home mothers, respect and latte money (yes, we should value what they do — but the real question is how to help the women who want to work stay in work); the disturbingly slim win of Nigel Farage at this week’s Intelligence Squared debate (it only takes one per cent and we’re out of Europe); and what’s more stupid — someone who puts petrol in Obama’s diesel limo, The Beast, OR a woman who crashes her car into a wall in a multi-storey car park? Don’t answer that. Because the woman is me.
Two wonderful page-turners reviewed this month: Francesca Segal’s The Innocents for The Observer, which is the story of a newly-engaged couple where the man is having serious doubts about the relationship. I like his bold strategy: if in doubt about the person you are marrying, just bring the wedding forward and everything will be fine. This is an entertaining, elegant read, nicely pitched in the territory between literary and commercial. I’d happily recommend it to anyone as a light read. But for something a bit more quirky and inventive with similar themes? Nell Freudenberg’s The Newlyweds.
Lucy Ellmann’s Mimi, reviewed for the Sunday Telegraph, meanwhile, is so unusual and so crazy (but good crazy) that it’s really in a territory all of its own. Mimi is an eccentric speech-writer who saves Harrison, an equally eccentric plastic surgeon, when he falls over in the street and sprains his ankle. We know they’re going to cross paths again and fall in love and sure enough they do. This feels like a Woody Allen film encapsulated in a novel. It’s madcap, funny, wild, romantic, experimental, demented and I loved everything about it.