I think I'm very done on interviews at the fair. They seem to be turning into a hellish blur, during which I've run out of nice, and polite, and cheerful. Today's penultimate interview, for example, from a radio site, done by someone who explained at the beginning that he had read my all comics but not my books, contained bits that went more or less like this:
--I have read your comics, and Sandman, and the theme of them is Personal Failure. What is the theme of your new book?
--This failure. Is it yours?
--No, the readers.
--And your other books? What is their theme?
--Personal Failure. It's all I write about... actually, I can't ever remember writing about Personal Failure as a theme. What exactly were you thinking of?
--Is there a specific story you're thinking about? That I wrote?
--Uh. The story, well, the one with the magician who gets the tattoo on his chest, a scorpion, to stop him doing bad magic...
--That's John Ney Reiber's Books of Magic. I didn't write that.... Look, have you actually read anything I've written?
I think we established that he hadn't -- he owned Death: The High Cost of Living, but admitted he didn't know what it was about, as he had only looked at the pictures and not tried to understand the story. It's not that I mind if an interviewer hasn't read anything, but I can't see why you'd do an interview trying desperately to give the impression that you have. Surely it just sets you up for trouble. It was certainly a lively interview after that.
Normally I'm very good at saying things like "Well, that's a very interesting question. Let's look at it another way..." when an interviewer says something dim. I was an interviewer once, after all. But I'm getting grumpy and impatient, and it's time to go home...
("What do you think of the Frankfurt Bookfair?" asked another interviewer.
"I think if I am a very evil man while I live, when I die I will be sent to a Frankfurt Bookfair that will go on forever in every direction, and will never end, and the interviews will never stop," I told him, honestly. I don't think that a multiple choice exam of possible correct answers to give journalists in answer to that question would have had that one listed.)
Ah well. The main lesson I'll take from this is to insist I actually get the occasional day off on tours like this. I've not had one, unless you count travel days, since I left for Washington some weeks ago, and I suspect that even if I'd just had one day of sleeping in, wandering a foreign city, buying presents and writing postcards home, in all this, I'd be a lot more chipper and less stressed. After all, you know that you're getting desperate when your main source of amusement is writing four-line poems about Martin Semmelrogge.