World Book Night on Shakespeare’s Birthday

I arrive in England from South Africa at 10am.  At 7pm I am chatting to Author Andrea Levy while Master of Ceremonies Hardeep Singh Kholi paces the green room throwing out quips like they weren’t  gold or dare I say it… pearls.

Mark Haddon suggests mopping up  spilt drink with my sheep skin hat. Kathy Lette says “we haven’t changed a bit” as I recall our meeting twenty years prior on her TV show Behind The Headlines.  Out of the blue Mark Billingham says “Toronto”  thirty minutes after we struggled to find where last we met. Jon Ronson and I shoot the breeze about Tim Burgess and Dave Haslam  and  Jamie Byng,  a man  I truly love,  is straight backed and smiling after giving  the most glorious and warm hug a straight man could ever want.  

India Knight Martina Cole and I sneak outside for a natter. Martina recalls me from a gig with benjamin Zephaniah that must have been at least fifteen eyars ago and actor Colin Salmon talks Jazz music and is extremely cool. Can you hear that clanging. It’s names dropping

It’s the Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank Centre and it’s World Book Night on Shakespeare’s birthday. I open the evening with  “All the world’s a stage…” from “As you like it”  and  end the night reading to an audience of nine hundred people sonnet twenty five of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 25  which ends how I feel

“Then happy I, that love and am beloved/Where I may not remove nor be removed”



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