Saturday, 17 October 2009

Badge Fun at Book Fair

So, I went to Frankfurt - and let me tell you, wearing a badge proclaiming that you love German books is a sure way to win friends and influence people - at least at a book fair it is. The most frequent comment was: So, you love German books, do you? Answer: Yes, I certainly do. Which is kind of a conversation killer. Second most frequent: Where did you get that? Answer: I've got a whole bag full of them right here. Would you like one? Which sounds a bit like: "Would you like to see my puppies?"

It would appear nobody else takes their own badges to the book fair - not even the guy with orange carpet all up the walls of his booth, whose cheerily-named press has published two books by himself and his wife, in the standard version and the hand-bound gold-lettered deluxe edition, was pressing badges on innocent passers-by as he waylaid them by the independent publishers' stage.

There are many advantages to wearing a badge proclaiming your love of German books, though. You know those awkward meetings when you don't know what the person looks like beforehand? When you're scanning the many, many faces coming towards you, wondering how a German one-woman publisher who lives in London might be dressed? Worry no more, for if you wear a badge announcing the name of your blog, she can spot you instantly in the crowd outside the agents' centre.

Or those times when you've come across a "friend" from Facebook and they've forgotten about your very existence, even though it was them who foisted their warm and caring undying allegiance upon you in the first place? Don't fret over the state of interpersonal relationships in the internet age, just point at your badge to jog their memory.

Or what about when you hardly know anybody at the only champagne reception you've been invited to, except for someone you once wrote something scathing about on your blog? Hey, it's the perfect opportunity to grovel, because there's no hiding when you're wearing your blog on your chest.

Or, say, you come across a very busy American blogger and publishing type as he's racing to catch an Argentinean writer in action, shout gleefully, Hey, you are XX! and he looks completely and embarrassingly blank? It's OK, you can prove you're not a stalker by proudly displaying your love german books badge and then managing not to fawn quite so much as last time you ran into him.

And of course, for those long minutes in line for the ladies' lavatory, there's no better way to root out other German-to-English translators with a similar bladder capacity to yourself than by wearing a rather large badge displaying your common literary passion.

I highly recommend it.


Eduardo Dantas said...

Congratulations for your blog!

Shelley Frisch said...

And here I am, the very lady of "ladies in the lavatory" fame! I'm still sporting your badge, and it makes for great conversation indeed.
Let's stay in touch.
All best,
Shelley Frisch