People who rehearse their roles and do their jobs well are exciting to watch. The Royal Wedding last Friday was such an occasion. A* performances from everybody involved.
Including my family. We, too, decided to play our roles, as members of the general public. After all, what would be a Royal Wedding without the masses lining the Mall. We got up at 5 am, were in position near Buckingham Palace by 6 and stood at that very same spot for 8 hours. When the Queen and the Bride and the Groom passed, we cheered and waved and took pictures. I adore a fairytale story and love the idea to have been part of a small historic moment.
It wasn’t my suggestion, though. The credit goes to my husband. Initially I wasn’t thrilled. Indeed I resented the whole Friday Bank Holiday idea. We had just had Easter, children were finally back at school, I actually wanted to get on with work. I was about to blow our family outing. But my husband knows how to sweet talk me. “I think this is a brilliant opportunity to sell some books,” he wooed me. “Take a few copies of Stone in a Landslide. Surely people will want to read a two-hour romance while waiting for the wedding procession.” As soon as he said it, my publisher’s heart lit up. The Bank Holiday suddenly appeared as the ultimate opportunity for spreading the Peirene word.
So I packed 10 copies of Peirene No 2 into my rucksack. As we were heading downtown, I imagined people sitting and lying on blankets, having picnics, reading and listening to music. I’d strike up conversations and offer my romantic tale for a fiver. The happy publisher would serve the lucky book buyer. Time would pass quickly. Bingo.
The scene in Central London looked slightly different. No one was sitting, no one was reading, no one was listening to music. There was no space to even lift your arms to take the ear phone in and out of your ears. A genuine group experience – very bonding indeed. No way I could have sold a single book.
Luckily a publisher is a multi-dimensional creature with many roles at her disposal. I might not have succeeded as a bookseller that day. I did, however, advance as film maker. “Peirene’s Tales at the Royal Wedding” is out now. You will see policemen, marching bands, and lingering views of simply thousands of people waiting for a three second glimpse of Kate in her carriage.
Without doubt, it was a memorable day. By the time we got home, my back was hurting and my neck was stiff from carrying for hours a rucksack with ten books. I went to bed at 8.30 exhausted and dreamt of being a princess in a stunning white wedding dress from McQueen, walking down the aisle pain- free into the arms of a gorgeous, trustworthy, business guru. And do I need to point out the obvious? It wasn’t my husband.