Sunday 3 June 2012

The Fforde Ffiesta

I can't remember if I've told you about the Fforde Ffiesta before. If I haven't it's quite hard to explain. I'm there now - with a rare moment of 'down time' in amongst the chaos of celebrating the works of best selling author Jasper Fforde. If you haven't read his books you reall aren't going to understand why fully bearded men dress in grey wigs and black dresses as clones of Mrs Danvers from Rebecca - heck even if you are au fait with Jasper's books it takes some understanding!

Every year we gather in Swindon because that is where Jasper's first book featuring Thursday Next (The Eyre Affair) was set. Books aren't often set in places like Swindon which makes it all the more amusing. Our location is the De Veree Village Hotel and since we are annual visitors they have gotten used to the more odd aspects of our stay. Lobsters are scattered about the hotel, dodos can be seen (often themselves dressed as Mrs Danvers) as can sane adults dressed in a variety of guises. Last night we had a Grammarsite, Moose Havisham, a mime field and a gingerbread lady. These costumes are often worn in and out of the hotel, I spotted a dragon in the local Asda yesterday.

Yesterday evening Jasper gave us a sneak peek of Thursday Next 7, a book not published for a few months. This is an exclusive Jasper saves for the Ffiesta every year as he is one of those writers who churn out more than one work over the space of a year. That was followed by 'royal angst' poetry inspired by Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee. In the best tradition of the Ffiesta most of these were made up on the spot. My particular favourite was the one about wheth the queen should fart or hold it in. My contribution has to be read with a Prince Charles voice:

Being a royal
Is not all It's cracked up to be
Being a royal
Is bloody hard work you see

Being a Tampax
Threats of anthrax
Talking to plants
And drunken old aunts

Popular young wife
Gave me no end of strife
Two strapping young lads
I think I'm one of their dads

My dear old mum
'll live to 101
By then it's said
I'll probably be dead

Being a royal
Is not all It's cracked up to be
Being a royal
Is bloody hard work you see.

My highlight of the weekend is the auction. There is always a good amount of Jasper Fforde collectibles to bid for, although I still haven't managed to get a first edition Eyre Affair. This year he is auctioning off the desk he wrote most of his books on. I hope someone arrived in a van as it's a substantial sized desk.

Right, there is lots more I could tell you about the Ffiesta, but I just don't have time - you'll have to join us here next year.

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