It’s a launch
There are successful launches, where the bottle thumps against the prow and the boat slips into the water, and then there is what we did Wednesday night, when the champagne flowed like a fountain (literally like a fountain, at one point) and the vessel pirouettes as it dives for the sea.
We had fun. A couple hundred of us assembled from far and wide (three from Oregon, a pair from Boston, Denver, Phoenix, and where else?) with maybe a dozen great Twenties costumes (speak up, Jennifer Ice and friend) which were rewarded by LOCKED ROOMS t-shirts or copies of last year’e2’80’99s hardback THE GAME. Book Passage provided the aforementioned champagne, as well as trays of great snacks which, if they weren’e2’80’99t accurate for the Twenties, were all the better for it (both Ritz crackers and Velveeta cheese were developed in the decade, but since the Ferry Building is a place dedicated to a celebration of great local foods, we thought maybe Ritz with Velveeta wouldn’e2’80’99t hit quite the right note’e2’80’a6)
And the Rolls’e2’80’94it was, well, it was blue. As a number of the Mary Russell fortune cookies said (eighty-five of them, to be precise) It was the colour of a cloudless sky in June. Jon Hart brought the car over from the Blackhawk, along with Dick Griffiths (who gave me much of the technical information I used in the book) and a number of other docents, and it went without a hitch. Oh, aside from a little starting problem at the end, but really, Jon was just helping us work up our appetites by a laying-on of hands and a nice long push of this noble azure lady (called Roller Bleu, or RB, and if you’e2’80’99re ever in the East Bay, go to Danville and see her, and sigh.)
The event itself, when I read a snippet and talked about Hammett, Holmes, and oh yes, Mary Russell, seemed to meet with general approval. Certainly it was the kind of audience that laughs happily even when you haven’e2’80’99t actually made a joke–I must remember to have champagne served more often at my events, everyone seemed to think I was terribly witty. They even stayed to buy books, always gratifying, and a relief for the bookstore, who had gone to such great effort.
We did not, in the end, dance any Charlestons, partly because we were all having such a good time we couldn’e2’80’99t hear the music playing. However, nobody complained.
I hope to put some photos up on the web site in a few days, if my daughter can sort out some kind of digital magic. I’e2’80’99ll let you know when I’e2’80’99ve done so.
I will also quickly mention another event, Thursday night, at Books Inc in Alameda. This is a new bookstore, shiny and filled with enthusiastic staff, and the people who showed up were a great bunch. Thanks to them all.
And thanks to you, reading your LOCKED ROOMS with such relish.