Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The Troubadour Cafe

The Troubadour is, as they say on their website, a proper cafe. It's been around for years but it just gets better and better. It's in London, find out where here, and it's in Speaking of Love because, in the Sixties in London, it was the place for poets to read and perform their poetry. (It still is.) It's also where Bob Dylan and friends played in the Sixties. So where else could I possibly set Kit Marchwood's poetry readings but The Troubadour? It was the grooviest place I knew at the time, and I fell in love with the coffee pots on the shelves in the window.
Aren't they beautiful?

Like Iris in Speaking of Love, I hoped I was as trendy as the trendiest customers and, of course, I longed for a poet to fall in love with me. I gave that privilege to Iris (probably because it never happened to me … !) when Kit falls for her on the night she comes to hear him and then, until they leave London, they share his flat above The Troubadour.

If you live in London, or when you come here, do go to The Troubadour. You can even stay there if you rent The Garret above the cafe; you can eat wonderful food there; you can listen to poets and musicians in The Club and if you can't make it to The Troubadour for a while, you can whet your appetite by reading about it in Speaking of Love.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The Man Booker Shortlist

So here they are:

Aravind Adiga The White Tiger
Sebastian Barry The Secret Scripture
Amitav Ghosh Sea of Poppies
Linda Grant The Clothes on Their Backs
Philip Hensher The Northern Clemency
Steve Toltz A Fraction of the Whole

Two first novels have made the shortlist, Adiga's and Toltz's, which is wondeful. But I'm very sad that John Berger's book didn't make it.

My money - if I had any - is on Sebastian Barry to win.