Thursday, May 15, 2003

Why else would they play the accordion? he says.

Today I had planned to sleep in, as I can, but it didn't work as I'm too used to leaping up early to fly somewhere or be interviewed, so when I woke up this morning I rolled over in bed, picked up my computer and wrote the introduction I'd promised M.J. Simpson for the US edition of his biography of Douglas Adams. It was meant to be a bunch of goofy memories and it turned into a sort of elegy, and when I'd finished it I was happy.

I couldn't work out while writing it why I'd woken up with Douglas in my head, or the need to get the memories down on paper, although I was pleased I had, and I knew MJ Simpson's publisher would be relieved. And then I finished it and e-mailed it off to MJ Simpson. Perhaps it's just that it's almost exactly two years since Douglas died -- I just reread what I wrote on the American Gods journal at May 12th 2001: He was immensely kind and generous, with his time and his material, to a young journalist, over 15 years ago; and watching how he, and how Alan Moore (who I met around the same time), treated their fans and other people � graciously, kindly and generously � taught that young journalist an awful lot about how famous authors ought to behave. And how most of them don�t.

And it's still true.

One of the things I like about Bologna is that I'm typing this in a peaceful hotel room, in the centre of the town, listening to accordion music coming up from the street. Steve Brust maintains that accordion players are only in it for the big money, the fast cars and the women, but I think some of them are in it for the music as well.