JOURNAL - 1994 - NOVEMBER
Wednesday 2 November 1994, Brussels
A bright and beautiful day outside. As all the institutions are on holiday today, it is tempting to take a long stroll through the Bois de Cambre, but, after some hard tourism in Budapest, I am weary of strolling. In any case, I need to spend the day trying to work because every bit I achieve today will relieve the burden on my two remaining days. More often than not, over the last two years, I have collected most of the material I will need for an issue by the Wednesday prior to publication, and written a good part of it. The sad fact this month is that it is now the Wednesday prior to publication and I have not yet written one single item, nor have I collected any information. It was not my fault that the Commission etc. chose to have a two-day holiday in the middle of this week. Even if I had not taken up the free trip to Budapest, I doubt whether it would have been worth my while to come to Brussels last week - in any case, since it was half term, it would have been rather difficult. Thus, I am reduced this Wednesday morning to writing up my journal, rather than pursuing hot (ha ha) EC energy stories.
Business report: As of 1 November - i.e. six/seven weeks after the first mailshot, after two exposures in my newsletter, after all the press releases have gone out, and about two weeks after the 5,000 inserts in ‘Energy World’, I have just 25 orders for my book. About a third of these are at half price, and well over half are from people who know me or about me. At most, I have pulled in two new subs for EC Inform-Energy. I do not feel it is going very well. I have had no feedback at all. Not one person, press nor punter, has said anything about it yet.
Home report: The sale on 31 Tidy Street finally fell through. Thank goodness we didn’t clear the house completely as we intended. Mrs Pelling, who we never saw or spoke to, kept us guessing for months. Only on our return from Budapest on Monday did we finally discover the sale was off. It is now a year since we put the property on the market and B is thoroughly dejected about the whole business. We are now also exactly one year behind schedule. Selling the Brighton house is the key to the next stage of our lives and until it is sold we cannot really do anything, we are stuck in Kilburn and with all the same routines and possessions.
The news is not all negative because B has established more clearly the process by which she will be working in Wisley (full-time by next November or earlier if it suits her) and this does give a more concrete framework to our future plans if we want. However, I must make some decisions soon about what I am doing and where I am going. This will be far from easy.
I have been out and about around all the three institutions and they are all closed for business. I am thus thoroughly redundant when I should be racing round collecting information.
I have a sleep by the radiator and the whole day has disappeared without profit.
Organising the Budapest trip was a bit of a scramble. LDK Consultants in Athens fixed my flight and hotel. I received loads of faxes and three or four door-to-door deliveries through DHL which all seemed a bit extravagant. But I had to organise the flights for A and B. They cost £169 each, yet when I went to pick collect them from Flight File in Tottenham Court Rd one had the name Mr P Collecott and the other in the name Ms A Lyons - they had to be changed. We also had problems with passports: Adam is only on my passport but since he was to travel out with B and not with me, we needed to get him on B’s passport. B had a lot on, but, eventually, managed to get to the Passport Office.
I arrived in Budapest at about 5pm, dumped my bag at the Atrium Hyatt hotel, and ran off into the city to find somewhere for A and B to stay. They were due to arrive, I thought, at 10pm, so I had about four hours to find somewhere. I never it imagined it would difficult but I made many mistakes and lost a lot of time. I didn’t even stop to eat (and the lunch meal on the plane was no more than a snack), and still I arrived late at the airport. It was all a bit of a nightmare.
Do I need to, do I want to describe the whole sordid business? I wonder if somebody has written the definitive guide to diary writing - a kind of manual that one could refer to, to help with deciding whether to include a certain kind of entry. You could make up a kind of flow chart: 1) Do you wish to consider the possibility of publication one day? YES go to 7, NO go to 2. 2) Do you wish to show the diary to friends or relations? YES go to 7, NO go to 3. etc. etc.
In fact my journal is full of different kinds of entry: personal self-examination bordering on therapy; self-justification (and to be fair to me, self-annihilation); details of daily life; discussion of larger personal themes; description of people and places; discussion of the news and world events; reviews of films and plays and books; some science etc. But what I want to know is, why exactly would I spend 30-45 minutes detailing what turned out to be an abortive chase around Budapest in the dark? To explain to myself how stupid I am? To try and prevent myself from making the same mistakes again? Because I think life is made up of such farces and they are necessary to balance other parts of my journal? Or, and I maybe getting close to to the answer, if I bother to set it down in pen and ink (we need a modern metaphor here, no?) then at least I have rescued something from the waste, if only a few diary pages.
My first mistake was to bring the wrong guidebook. I had planned to bring the ‘Rough Guide’ which had plenty of information on accommodation, if a bit out of date. But, at the last minute, I gave it B to carry, simply because the other one, that I had planned for her to bring, was twice as heavy. I also carefully photocopied pages from a more up-to-date guide in the library (which was a reference book only) but failed to bring them. I first wandered round the area of my hotel, which proved to be a rich shopping area, and failed to spot a single small hotel anywhere. When I saw a telephone box and worked out how to use it, I phoned Andrea (a friend of Judy and Rob) on the off chance that she might know somewhere. Of course, it was difficult to introduce myself and ask about accommodation at the same time, so my money ran out before I had finished talking. Then, I looked for a way to get change, which involved buying a drink. Then the telephone box was occupied. Then, I realised I should really have a pencil in case Andrea gave me some information, and I searched all over for a pencil without finding one (most of the shops were beginning to shut). Then, I decided to go to the 24 hour accommodation bureau Ibusz, which most of the guide books recommend. The woman there was not unfriendly but she seemed really uninterested in my quest, and she gave me so little information as well as quoting prices in dollars. This was my first major mistake because I should have persevered - in the end I had to come back. But that is a short cut to a story without a short cut.
By this time, I had bought a map of Budapest with a street index. It proved to be patent-folded and was covered in slits to facilitate the folding process. At the start, it was difficult to use and only complicated my dealings with the night streets of Budapest. On the basis of studying the map, I decided to head, by metro, for Moscow Ter, a conjunction of streets and a bus station on the Buda side where I guessed there might be some hotels. I could just as well have gone to one of the train stations but I thought I could walk down past the castle area and find a nice pension tucked away in the back streets. In fact, once I got to Moscow Ter, it took me ages even to work out how the streets aligned, and there was not a single hotel - or one that I could recognise. I was beginning to think that maybe the word hotel was not even used and that, maybe, I was failing to recognise the Hungarian word. I did manage to find a pen in Moscow Ter, and then I made my way back down towards the Danube. I walked for ages and then along a street parallel to the river. By this time, 7:30ish, everything was very closed, and I still had not spied a single hotel. I came across a sweet shop just closing and a lady explained to me there were two hotels nearby - my hopes lit up. One of them was a major hotel facing the Danube, I was about opposite the Atrium Hyatt by this time, and the other turned out to be a Swiss hotel that only took Deutschmarks.
I started heading back to the Ibusz agency, but then I saw a telephone box and decided to ring Andrea again. We arranged to meet on Sunday, and she advised me of a hotel on Budakesi street. I thanked her, and then studied the map. I did not catch the name of the hotel - indeed, I thought she said there were several - but I did write down the name of the street. It was way out of the centre, beyond where I had already been, up in the hills and near the parks and forests. I calculated that I just had time to go there if I took a taxi. The traffic was heavy and the taxi was taking too long, so when I saw the large circular, Budapest Hotel, I decided to jump out and check its prices. It looked like an early skyscraper from the fifties and as such might well have been quite cheap, I thought. It wasn’t. I walked along to what I thought was Budakesi Street, really tired by this time. The road rose up into the distance with only a few large buildings on one side and black countryside on the other. I ploughed on, up the hill, not finding any hotels at all and becoming increasingly dispirited and, for the first time, beginning to worry about the time. After half a mile, I found a street sign which told me I was not on Budakesi street at all. My map showed me that if I cut down through several other roads, I would eventually get to the start of Budakesi. There were few streets lights and few houses, and I found myself running much of the time; not out of fear for my safety (despite a few aggressive dogs) but out of a fear of time. I was completely the wrong side of Budapest for the airport, I had no watch and no transport.
Finally, I found the start of Budakesi and several restaurants and lighted buildings but no hotel. Even then I did not give up. I saw a taxi driver sitting counting his change, and asked him if there were any hotels further up Budakesi - he said, yes three. I asked him to take me to the cheapest. This turned out to be a Pension - which was more expensive than some hotels. In any case, it was full. We did not try the hotels, and I told the taxi driver to take me back to the Ibusz. I had failed, and failed miserably. Afterwards, I realised to my great horror that all the hotels in Budapest were marked on my map - I could have seen for example, that the hotels on Budakesi were several km from its start; instead of choosing Moscow Ter, in the first place, I could have chosen where to explore by the position of the hotels. The fact is, though, that all the hotels in Budapest, as the guidebooks said, are expensive, and all the cheap accommodation is by renting rooms and apartments through the Ibusz service. I cannot remember ever being in a city so devoid of apparent accommodation possibilities.
Back at the Ibusz, a different woman served me and was just as indifferent as the first. When I tried to get information about her suggestions, she disappeared for a while, and came back with a folder chock full of brochures. She randomly picked out one while on the phone. I just had a chance to look at the picture for her to tell me it was full. Then, after a kind of seamless narrative in Hungarian with the telephone and someone standing on my side of the counter, she offered me an apartment with two beds, kitchen and bathroom for about £25 a night. She pointed it out roughly on the map, and after I nodded my head, she gave me the address and a receipt for my £25 and that was that. Charles Apartments turned out to be a three stop bus-ride on the Buda side, and perfectly adequate (apart from the traffic noise) but without even the slightest smidgen of charm. I visited it quickly before going to the airport to be sure it was OK. By this time, my hopes of finding an old hotel (as I had in Prague), or at least somewhere in a charming neighbourhood, had been so dashed I was just content that A and B would have somewhere to sleep.
My nightmare was not yet over. I still had to get to the airport. I took the bus to the metro, and the metro to the end of the line. There I caught a local bus, as I knew I could, to the airport. Unfortunately, it only took me to terminal one, and Barbara’s flight was arriving at terminal two, which was five miles away! Take the minibus service I was advised. The minibus service said it couldn’t help and suggested I take a local bus; and I could find no taxis. I had about twenty minutes before B’s plane arrived - plenty of time. I went outside to check the local buses, and there was one which said terminal two, so I jumped on it as it was leaving. I checked with a youth behind me only to discover that the bus was heading into the city not the terminal. The boy spoke good English, and was well informed on local buses. He said, if I got out at the first stop there would be a bus going to terminal two in about ten minutes. Fine, that would just get me there in time, I thought. If a bus doesn’t come, I thought, I could hail a taxi.
I jumped off the bus as directed. However, the bus stops were located under a flyover and there was no traffic passing me by at all. If I had walked to where the flyover came down in order to try and hail a taxi, I would have lost all chance to catch a bus. As the minutes slipped away, I became increasingly worried, no bus appeared, no taxi appeared, I was stranded in the dark and empty hinterland of Budapest. Eventually, with about ten minutes to spare, a bus did arrive. But not the right bus, it took me straight back to terminal one. By this time, I was really in a panic. Again there were no taxis, no minibuses, nothing. How on earth was I going to get to the other terminal. Then, finally, another bus pulled in and this one did take me to terminal two. I found Adam and Barbara rather tired from their journey and bored from waiting - their plane had arrived an hour earlier than I thought it would! Even then, I still had to get them to their apartment and myself back. This involved a further half an hour wait until the minibus service was ready to take us. It was nearly midnight before I got back to the hotel; I had been traipsing the streets for seven hours!
Thursday 10 November 1994, London
EC Inform-Energy No 21 is out of the way and, for the first time in ages, I have a couple of weeks in which I am not so pressed. After I completed the book and the September issue, I had all the press releases and marketing bits to do, and, after the October issue, my time was squeezed up by the trip to Hungary and by the need to prepare the second mailing shot. I have not much marketing work to do this time round, but I do have a two-day walking trip with Raoul planned next week - I hope he doesn’t duck out like he did in the Spring. I would normally have gone on my own any way but I was already deep into the book and felt I was getting behind schedule. This time I will certainly go.
Today is a red letter day - I bought my first ever CD. I had seen a new album by Joni Mitchell advertised and I just had a whim to wallow in a little nostalgia. It’s called ‘Turbulent Indigo’ and uses Van Gogh for a theme. I can understand the use of ‘turbulent’ in the title but what has indigo to do with Gogh - was it his favourite colour, am I missing a vital piece of trivia?
It was quite stressful being responsible for A and B in Budapest while at the same time not having the time to research our movements. I rendez-voused with them once or twice each day, once to have a meal - since the menu was entirely in Hungarian we were lucky to get reasonable fare - and, on Friday morning, we met early at the Szechenyi open air swimming baths. Both A and B thought I was joking when I said we were going swimming outdoors but this was one of the highlights of our short stay. The baths are located inside a huge dilapidated municipal building, it took me five or six minutes to walk around the oval shape. Each side of the building has a grand entrance area and various types of medicinal activities on offer. I went in two and saw lots of white tiles and old people hobbling around; but I had no idea what was happening. The only way I managed to work out which was the swimming pool entrance was because I saw someone walk through the lobby in swimwear.
I had some trouble making myself understood at the ticket booth. I could see a price list by the side but couldn’t understand a word. In the end I mimed breaststroke and pointed to A and B behind me and I was given three tickets. Next, we had to pass by a young man sitting at a table who was collecting the tickets. He looked blankly at our tickets as if to say this won’t do, this won’t do at all. We couldn’t understand a word he said, and so just stood there. We could see men going one way, and women the other, and, eventually, we did split up and did the same. I think, in retrospect, the youth was expecting us to have a family changing cabin, for which I would have needed a different ticket. An attendant pointed us to a small, crowded changing area surrounded by lockers and opened one for us. We changed in a jiffy and made our way out to the pools. There were three in all - a central rectangular pool in which a number of people were swimming lengths, and two half moon pools at either end. In one of these a dozen or more people were wallowing, with their heads poking out of the steamy water. There was also a small crowd clustering around two floating chess boards and four largely-submerged players. The temperature in this pool was equivalent to a warm-hot bath depending on whether you were standing near the water entry or further away. Most people simply sat on the steps, some would walk slowly across the pool, but no one swam or splashed or moved quickly - except of course Adam, until we calmed him down. He loved it there. At one point I put him on my back and we glided slowly through the water to the other side, and then I went on his back and he brought me back.
The other half-moon pool turned out to be a little less hot, but still warm, and set aside for children to play in. Adam soon found himself a playmate and, despite the lack of any common language, they merrily played piggy in the middle. B and I tried to swim in the large pool, but, when we heard a shrill whistle and everybody looking at us, we worked out that we were not allowed in the main pool without bathing caps, and, of course, we didn’t have any. At this point I got very frustrated at not knowing the rules - it wasn’t only the bathing caps, but there were various doors through which people would disappear and reappear, and I wanted to know what was what. So, I glided around the steam bath asking several people whether they spoke English, but I couldn’t find a single person. I did, however, find the sauna. I stood inside for about 30 seconds until the insides of my nostrils turned to fire, and then I came out. I wasn’t sure whether I should have had a ticket for this or not.
As with the outside, the inside courtyard of this building looked very run down and badly in need of repairs; nevertheless, with a huge Virginia creeper covering one whole long side, it was very attractive and atmospheric. I was quite shocked to discover that the Budapest residents, Andrea and Thomas, with whom we had lunch on Sunday, had never been to this place. I am quite sure that if I were to live in Budapest I would go there often, especially in the winter - I remember with such pleasure the outdoor hot springs bath I took in Reykjavik several years ago, in the Blue Lagoon.
On Sunday, I went with Adam to the Gellert steam baths. This is billed in the guide books as the most famous and most attractive of Budapest’s steam baths; it is also the only one which is readily accessible to tourists. It is contained within the high class Gellert Hotel; it has all the price charges in Hungarian, German and English (I tried to acquire a brochure which I thought could help me on my planned visit to the Kiraly baths on the morrow, but they didn’t have one); and the staff all understand English; and the prices are astronomical. Still the picture in the guide book looked good so we decided to check it out. I think we wasted our money. The pools were small, and not very warm; the general sauna facilities were not open on Sunday morning (but there was no reduction in the price); and despite the guide book ravings, the decor was not that interesting either. We didn’t stay long because I’d planned a trip into the Buda hills and we were due at Andrea’s house at 2pm.
‘The Rough Guide to Hungary’ made the Kiraly baths sound the most interesting, and I was determined to go. I made one trip on Saturday only to discover that Saturday was for women, Sunday the baths were closed, and Monday was for men. The trouble was our flight left Budapest airport at around 10am on Monday morning. Still, I am not one to flinch from a challenge. The baths opened at 6:30am and I was there on the dot - I wasn’t quite the first but almost. Again, I was confronted by absolute strangeness with no real clues as to how to behave, what to do, or where to go. I bought my ticket (not a universal three hour ticket which would have entitled me to a half hour massage) but one for a straight swim or bath. The ticket seller pointed to some stairs, and I followed the corridors until eventually arriving at an area of cubicles. I was given a large metal key (with which to lock my cubicle), and a tiny white apron. I didn’t know not what to do with the apron and so I waited until someone passed the cubicle - the apron is worn covering the genitals in front but nothing else and tied at the back. It felt extremely odd to wear such an item of clothing and to be so aware that one’s behind is completely exposed - I felt more naked than if I had worn nothing. And, indeed, I was soon wearing nothing. My indomitable guide book had advised me that the aprons were dispensed with before entering the baths, so, when I saw a man remove his in the shower, I did the same. I then walked naked from the shower to the main bath and slipped into the hot water. At first, I relaxed and looked around. The bath was circular in shape, not much larger than a large room and with the usual steps descending into the water for sitting on. The room was like a dim dungeon, with a small dome ceiling containing a number of tiny thick glass windows letting just a little light in. The thick stone walls were grey and wet with condensation. All around the main bath room were other smaller rooms and smaller baths, some only slightly larger than a domestic bath, but deep enough to stand in, up to chest height. The temperature of each bath was displayed next to it. The temperature was also displayed next to the wet and dry sauna rooms, but they had not yet heated fully when I entered. I think there was one hotter than the main bath. The place was truly steeped in atmosphere, and clearly had not changed much in a century or centuries - this was as close to an authentic old-fashioned turkish bath as I am ever likely to get.
After a very little while, the main bath began to fill up with old men. I noticed that they all, without exception, kept their covering aprons ON, and, although I kept my genitals well below the water line, I began to feel extremely conspicuous. Moreover, it also began to dawn on me that this was no innocent men’s gathering but that there was a high probability of homosexuals dominating the baths on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. And, as this dawned on me, so I seemed to notice one man edging closer towards me, and others looking at me, or indeed leering at me. It further struck me that my naked state could be taken as a crude invitation - a come on; how else might they interpret it, I thought, when they must be fully used to foreign homosexuals visiting and expecting.
I slid out of the pool as surreptitiously as I could to retrieve my mini-apron, and then took the opportunity to visit the hottest pool and one of the saunas. Entry to the saunas was through large translucent heavy duty plastic flaps which only served to amplify the seediness of the place. Once inside the sauna, I began to feel mildly paranoid. Two large men followed me in and I could imagine being manhandled quickly and efficiently with no one being any the wiser. Complaint would be almost impossible because of the language problem and, for me, absolutely impossible because I had a plane to catch. I did not dare stare out the men for fear it would be taken as an invitation, yet by keeping my eyes firmly fixed away from any contact, I felt more weak and more vulnerable. I did not stay in that hot, tight, closed room very long. I took one more quick dip in the main pool before attempting a hasty exit. My paranoia took a further fuelling when I couldn’t find the way out - I got to the shower room but there appeared to be no exit.
My guide book had already warned me off one of the famous baths which is only for men and which is known to be gay, but it hadn’t said anything at all about Kiraly, so I assumed it would be fine. So I don’t know whether it was my imagination or whether sexual activity does take place there - with so many small rooms and separate baths, it would seem rather ideal.
I raced back to the apartment and arrived in time to escort A and B for a quick walk to the Gellert hill to take some final photographs. At 8:30am a cab arrived to carry us to the airport. Adam had an excellent view of the geography of the Danube as we flew west across Hungary and into Austria.
Sunday 13 November 1994, London
A and B have gone to Brighton for the day to celebrate Les’s birthday. I have a quite day of contemplation and relaxation. I thought I had some difficult decisions to make about the future and that it would take me the best part of the next two free weeks to work out what to do next. But, when I sat down to think about them this morning, it didn’t take me long to devise a scenario for 1995 which clicked into place. It has made me feel quite light-headed and optimistic. Consolidation seems to be the key word.
Two happenings have dovetailed into this decision, or let me say kind-of-decision. Firstly, I had lunch last Friday with John McLachlan. This provoked me into some thought both before and after it. Fortunately, I had run into Lucy Plaskett on the aeroplane to Budapest and she had given me much information about the formation of Pearson Professional which John had alluded to on the telephone. In fact, the heads of the clusters, which are being created by John, have already been announced and David Hurst (the chappie who has been editor-in-chief since I left) has been made head of the energy cluster. So, I knew before the lunch that John was not in the head-hunting business. Nevertheless, I wanted to think about how my business was going and what information I might be prepared to utilise in conversation.
To this end, I worked through my accounts on Thursday and Friday. I estimated that I earned, for my time, about £2,000 in 1993 after taking account of the £4,000 start-up costs; and in 1994, this figure will be nearer £18,000. It should be borne in mind that this is net income and cannot be construed as profit because a) I am doing all the jobs and if I were to pay anyone to do any part of it, this net income would soon disappear; and b) the income is not net of costs because there are production/editorial costs associated with servicing the subscriptions that have already been paid. Still, I find my savings have increased substantially since I left the FT, and therefore I am earning enough to live and save. I also calculated that my turnover for 1994 should be in the region of £50,000, up from about £30,000 in 1993. These figures are rather modest, but they do exist, and my business is viable. Barring accidents, one can imagine a modest rise again next year which would bring my net income up to a respectable level.
As it turned out, John was not the slightest bit interested in how my business was doing or in asking any questions relating to it. I suppose this was out of a certain sensitivity. The lunch was pleasant enough, in the Bleeding Heart, which must be well known for it is a splendid upmarket wine bar. We both ate grilled salmon soaked in olive oil. But our conversation was rather circular and not as productive as it might have been. In essence, John’s message was that if I ever want to dispense with independence he would be willing to look at bringing me back into the fold - but not on the career ladder, only in terms of me creating and managing something that the FT would own - like McCloskey managing a group of newsletters, and Datamonitor writing reports which FT Management Reports sell.
John explained to me in some detail the earthquake of changes taking place across the Pearson group’s media holdings, and how three groups were being created: information, education and entertainment. John hopes, eventually, to be put in charge of the information section. In the meantime he is overseeing what happens within that group and has created the clusters to rationalise operations. The heads of the clusters are to be publishers, and there are also to be editorial managers. However, John has not been able to get anybody interested in the editorial manager jobs. The first time he mentioned it, I didn’t ask him what the job was, but the subject came back and then I did stop him and ask him what it entailed. He made it sound rather dreary, did not seem to be suggesting I might be interested, so I let it pass.
I suggested John hadn’t really held an open procedure when he picked David Hurst for the editor-in-chief’s job (i.e. when I was still an employee and had applied for the job). He said I was wrong, and that I had been seriously considered. However, qualified response left me unable to quash my own belief that it had been a skewed appointment process.
We also touched on some publishers talk - delivering newsletters by email, the value of computers etc. - and on John’s persistent bête noire, Alan Pike the leader of the NUJ chapel, and the various issues at odds between them.
I found myself reordering some of my memories after the meeting with John, not perhaps because of anything that was said, rather through the trigger of thinking again about events in the past. I can now, for example, regret that when I left I chose to be so forthright about not editing the last issue of EC Energy Monthly. In fact, because David Hurst pushed me out four weeks before I was due to go, I gained valuable time for EC Inform to have a prompt start in January. However, I regret that all my work relationships suffered and that I therefore maintained contact with no one. I could, for example, easily have kept quiet about not going to Brussels and just done a very poor job on the last issue, so that no one would have noticed. I could have taken my name off the masthead of that last issue, and no one would have noticed. But, as I said to Barbara, I had built up a head of steam, without which I would not have made the decision nor had the confidence (or stupidity) to ask to buy EC Energy Monthly, and that same head of steam had to be let off in its own, perhaps slightly uncontrolled, way.
Secondly, in tidying up the house and reorganising boxes and bags in the loft so as to put Barbara’s things up there, I came across my box of letters. There is some order in the box with a few envelopes saying ‘Mu’s letters’ or ‘Maja’ or ‘Letters 1986/87/88’, but also there is a lot of disorder. The first psycho shock was to re-read all the letters that Frederic had sent me as a child. I don’t think I have read them since he died, and certainly not since Gail sent me a host of his possessions. They made me weep. There are one or two letters each year dating from 1961, when I was nine, just a fraction older than Adam is today. Mostly they are letters for my birthday and mentioning one present or other - the Hungarian stamps for example. And in each of them, Frederic says he is coming to England to see me - this year or very soon.
Tears burst out all over me. I don’t know if they came from a real well of feeling sunk deep within me and still not dry - did the letters reawaken hopes I possessed as a child that my real father really would come one day - for he never did, not until I was no longer in England. Or did they just touch a much shallower well of murky waters collected by my own knowledge about the psyche and feelings, and my ability to project what a child who received such unfulfilled promises might have felt. I don’t know, I really don’t know.
The box also contained all those letters from the lovers of my past. There are so many letters from people who loved me - who say so in their letters, who talk about me and to me as though I am a special person. They too make me weep, though metaphorically not literally, to rediscover myself as a live person, a person living with a social framework around me, and people wanting me. They resurrect me in the sense that I know that person is the same person, is me, and that gives me courage, I have done that, I have been there, I am richer, fuller for having done that and been there. The letters remind me that I have always felt I had a lot to give and that I have channelled all my giving for so long, for seven years, completely and utterly into Barbara and Adam. I need new horizons before the sun starts setting.
So, after that long introduction, I think that what I want to do with 1995 is to consolidate and plan for 1996. I have made a list here. I will not launch and expand as I always thought I must quickly, I will continue with EC Inform-Energy and EC Energy Review just as at present. I will focus two weeks in every four week cycle on editorial, one week on marketing/admin and subs, and one week on writing fiction - for adults or children (I thought I made a decision while walking this afternoon in the cemetery to finally go back to ’The Rats’, but I must think that through a bit more). At the same time, I will concentrate on getting us all moved safely to a new geography. Me to a new house, Adam to a new school and Barbara to Wisley and a flat nearby. I will also aim to move flats in Brussels. And, finally, I will work hard at expanding my contacts and being more social in work and without.
10 39 Saturday 19 November 1994, London
A two-day walk with Raoul along The Cotswold Way. I picked him up at Charing Cross hospital (where he left his car) at 6:00am on Tuesday morning and we drove straight down the M4, first stop Leigh Delamere service station for eggs on toast and a hard look at our maps. By about 8:00 we had parked in a village called Hawkesbury and were marching along the road to pick up the CW. Neither of us had brought coats because weather men had recorded the highest ever temperature in November on the previous day. Indeed, we had perfect weather throughout the two days - lots of sun, little wind, bright skies, no rain, and temperatures around 10 degrees.
Unfortunately, despite the lack of any frosts so far this year, autumn had already passed by and the trees were bare, unlike in London where the signs of autumn can still be found everywhere. The walk took us often through forests and wooded glades, along the edges of the Cotswolds themselves, and sometimes, spectacularly, along the tops of the hills, providing wide views across the plains to the east and to the west across the Bristol Channel.
Raoul and I had talked most of the way down the motorway in the car and we talked often on the first day. My choice would have been to walk more in silence, but Raoul has a need to talk a lot; perhaps I do too. We talk quite a lot about his work - he has just finished writing his research work programme for the next five years - and I go into more detail about my book and newsletters; but although we talk about quite a few medical issues we do not touch on any energy/environment topics. And of course we talk about our home lives, quietly but not competitively comparing our relative lots. Recently, Raoul has been getting resentful that he has to spend so much time ferrying his children around at weekends, but he is trying to come to terms with the fact that driving in the car on Saturdays may be one of the few times he gets to talk quietly with them.
We walked along the valley past Hillesley and Alderley, and over the edge to Wotton-under-Edge. It was really lunch time by the time we arrived at Wotton but tea and cake in the town tea shop was irresistible. The cafe was full of old ladies gossiping and we seemed so out of place with our muddy boots and scruffy appearances. Raoul took out his new mobile phone to call his office - despite my attempt to veto, for this walk, such a contraption. We had a sharp march up the edge out of Wotton, and then splendid views from the top along to the Brackenbury Ditches. We lunched somewhere along the route, and Raoul took the opportunity to make a few more calls, revelling in the absurdity of the situation. More walking through woods to Nibley Knoll, where the Victorians have built a tall memorial in memory of William Tynsdale, but, in fact, he didn’t come from North Nibley at all. At the start of our walk we had passed another of these rather pointless monuments, which stand out across the landscape, like giant cairns. A sharp descent into Nibley through woods with a thick covering of rust-brown leaves and a walk around a golf course led us into the thriving town of Dursely. Raoul investigated the church and I tried to work out how to exit our urban surrounds. This is one of the major problems with the Cotswold Way, half the time one is walking in and out of towns and villages, and the other half the Way is going a long way round to avoid them.
From even before Dursely, we could see beyond us a cone-shaped hill, distinctively clothed in dead fern but with a strip of bright green grass running up one side to the summit. Raoul wanted to avoid the climb but, because we could see it in front of us for so long, I felt drawn to it as though it were beckoning us. By the time we reached the foot of the hill (called, with great originality, Peaked Down), the sun was already beginning to drop rapidly and fill the sky with tones of dusk. It was a steep walk up the green strip but the panoramic view and the feeling of airiness (and lightheadedness) made it more than worthwhile. After enjoying our reward we walked on along the ridge passed Cam Long Down. It looked as though we could stay on top of the ridge and walk round to face Stroud, but in fact Cam Long Down ended as abruptly as Peaked Down had begun and possessed the same unnatural round shape. The descent depressed Raoul because he had hoped to avoid further ascents. By this time the light had almost vanished and we had to make a decision on what to do next. I suggested we hitch into Stroud and then make our way out a little bit so as to be ready for an early start on the morrow. In order to try and hitch we needed to reach the road. This involved a further short climb, and it was the worst climb of the day. Several times we had walked through deep gullies with steep-sided earth banks peppered with tree roots and ferns. I enjoyed these magical places which should, I thought, have had brooks flowing down them. At the bottom of this last gully the ground was like a complete swamp, and there was no escape at the sides which were near vertical banks of clay. Thus, right at the end of the day, just a few metres away from the road, and within minutes of the end of our walk, we finally got our feet wet having kept them dry the whole day long.
Raoul was convinced we would not get a lift and planned to walk to the nearest village - Nympsfield - in search of a B&B. In retrospect, this might have been a better plan. As it was we did get a lift, in the back of a small van; Raoul could hardly contain himself - even as a youth he hadn’t hitchhiked, and he certainly hasn’t begged a ride in twenty years. We walked into the centre of town and found a cafe. While Raoul saw to his sore feet, I raced over to the tourist office, minutes before it closed at 5pm. They looked through books and told me that all the B&Bs would cost close to £30, but that for £39 we could have a nice room with bathroom at the Imperial Hotel, which had the superb advantage of being just round the corner. We decided to head for the Imperial and luxury.
And luxury it was - our muddy (and wet) boots were somewhat incongruous against the flowery wallpaper and pink carpets; but they didn’t turn our money away. Raoul fell asleep as I sat in the bath reliving some of the moments from the walk and easing my pains. Later, I watched half of ‘Eastenders’ (Grant making it up with Phil) before R dragged me off to the pub. We found the Golden Fleece, a small jazz pub, and drank a pint or so of Abbot Ale. We talked to the barman and a bar-regular about blues and whisky and, after taking a stroll round the town while eating our fish and chips and returning for more beer, we listened to a blues singer on the piano.
Back at the hotel, I watched a ‘Without Walls’ drama on C4 (which I had set to video any way) about an invalid who lived in a dark room and made love to numerous women. He wrote 17 million words about his life. His wife accepted the extraordinary behaviour and typed up all the journals. The programme proved rather insubstantial – didn’t tell us much more than the ‘Radio Times’ publicity had. The wife did get fed up with her husband for a while, but, after having an affair with his doctor, came back. The ‘News at Ten’ was largely about the disintegrating Irish government.
We slept soundly through until 7:00 and then gorged ourselves on a full English breakfast. Although amazingly the weather held very well for us (it had rained for days previously and was to pour down in the evening), day two proved to be a disappointment for me. From the centre of Stroud, we walked the three-four miles to Painswick along the valley without seeing much of interest. I remembered Painswick from a long weekend in the Cotswolds in 1992. (I’ve tried to remind myself about this trip from my journal but there is nothing there since it was at the same time as my leaving the FT and there was obviously too much else going on.) The churchyard, with its magnificent topiary yew trees, is surely unique; and the town, built on the hillside, and almost exclusively in white-grey Cotswold stone, has a beauty all of its own. Tea and cake, and then a long walk through woods and valleys with little of interest. We ate a few biscuits at Coopers Hill, overlooking the plains between Gloucester and Cheltenham, before more wood walking eventually took us to Birdlip at about 2:30pm. We sat in a plush and ‘orrible pub to eat broccoli soup and study the maps. Although it was only 3:00, there was nothing at all inviting about the next stretch of the CW and we saw no need to carry on. So, our main preoccupation was how to get back to the car.
Had we walked a couple of miles we could have caught a bus at about 5:00 to Stroud, but we decided instead to start walking back along the road and to hitch. Again to Raoul’s surprise, we got a lift almost immediately from an elderly and very chatty lady who lives in Painswick. Once she had dropped us, we decided to take a cab back to the car - it only cost £12 and we could have spent hours faffing around with buses. In fact, we got back to the car while it was still light and I persuaded Raoul to take a look at Newark House which we had read about in the guide books but had passed without stopping. It only took us ten minutes to drive to the entrance, where we parked. From there, it was a mile and a quarter up a long muddy drive (and I had already taken off my boots - so for the second day in a row I got my feet wet right at the end of the day). By the time we got to the top of the drive and the hill it was already too dark to see the views and we could only make out the outline of the house; still it was probably the best walk of the day. Because it was dark and raining, and because we were trespassing a little, we could absorb some atmosphere and character which had been missing from the rest of the day’s walking.
The drive back to London was awful: driving rain and a crowded motorway; nevertheless we arrived back by eight, in plenty of time to watch ‘Between the Lines’!
Albert Reynolds has gone. I have not followed the ins and outs of the shenanigans - a truly appropriate word in this case - in Dublin but they have revolved around a legal case concerning a priest accused of sexual abuse. Reynolds, the crook that he is, tried to hang on to power in the coalition but ultimately was forced to resign as both Tioseach and as leader of Fiana Fial. Everyone has been most concerned about The Peace Process, as though it were some dying aunt and the slightest upset might finish her off. The reverse is true; Reynolds may have played a large part in getting the PP up and running, only history will tell us what part, but he has, at times, steered dangerously close to crossing the British government in his search for media attention and IRA support. A new leader may be more inclined to avoid the headlines and seek a modest way forward.
Katchachurian’s ‘Spartacus’ is a lively piece, I haven’t listened to this tape for ages.
14 54 Saturday 26 November 1994, Brighton
Other than the experience of the steam baths, I did not come away from Budapest with much. I kept comparing it with Prague which is unspoilt and beautiful. Parts of Budapest were very attractive - Margaret Island in the middle of the Danube, and the Gellert Hill from which one has a marvellous view of the Danube, the bridges and Pest. But the Buda palace area is ruined by cheap and thoughtless modernisation. Next to the main church, which provides the focus when looking at the area from afar, an old building has been converted into the Hilton Hotel by replacing all the old windows and frames with ugly tinted glass plate. I’m sure the hotel is very comfortable on the inside but it does nothing for the historical authenticity of the area. The rest of the old village is also rather spoilt and has none of the magic of Prague. I didn’t go into any of the three museums contained in the palace itself, but the buildings did little to entice me in. The gardens are the most attractive feature, with parks and walkways that tumble down the hillside towards the Danube. Adam and I found ourselves in one area which had clearly been closed off and left to rot and ruin. We had to climb over gates and scramble over walls to get out, but at least we felt a touch of the magic of the place.
Earlier the same day we had gone to the outskirts of Buda into the hills, but even this trip proved a disappointment. I had been persuaded (by one of my guidebooks) to explore the hills. I read that there was a cogwheel railway that would take us to the top of the hill, and another railway that was run by children! Unfortunately, we took ages finding the start of the cogwheel railway only to discover that it was under extensive renovations and no longer running. A youth who spoke English explained this to us; he also told us which bus would take us into the hills. So we returned to the bus station and, with some difficulty, found the right bus. It chugged higher and higher and eventually set us down in a rural area where there were lots of cars and people. From there it took us a while to find the other railway, and we had to wait nearly an hour for a train. We shouldn’t have bothered – we should have gone on a hike instead. But everything we did in Budapest didn’t quite turn out right.
When the train finally came, it took us ever so slowly though the very pretty (glorious autumn colours) but monotonous forests and there were never any views either across to the city or in any other direction. And to cap it all we were cold (only discovering, on disembarking, that a wood stove had been burning in one of the other carriages). The only thing faintly interesting about the whole exercise was that the guard on the train was a child, and that each of the stations had teenage children acting as signalmen and platform guards (always under adult supervision). All the children wore smart uniforms and acted like soldiers. Adam was mildly intrigued by this.
The most attractive aspect of Budapest was the view from Pest to Buda with the hillsides patterned in bright and varied autumn colours. Pest by contrast was uninspiring and uninteresting - flat and characterless. We visited a couple of museums, but my quest for information on early Hungarian photographers (the names of which I had researched in my old photography book) failed at the first hurdle. My 50-year old reference book had said some of the photographers works were in the national museum, but no one there had heard of them.
One of the metro lines was fun. After the London tube, it is the oldest in Europe, and feels it - I wasn’t convinced that the stations and rolling stock had every been modernised or replaced. We didn’t see many churches or monuments. The most stunning characteristic of Pest was the prominence of so many western trade names - MacDonalds and Burger King everywhere. Of all the Comecon countries, Hungary was the most liberal before the revolutions and I suspect it is now suffering from unregulated liberalisation - liberalisation directed by the size of the backhander rather than controlled in a democratic way, as seems to be happening more successfully in Prague.
I have nothing much to say about the conference except that I met a number of people who complimented me on my newsletters. I met an interesting fellow from the Observatoire de Mediterranen group (based near Antibes) and we talked over lunch about his well-known boss (whose name I forget) and its work in promoting relationships among Mediterranean energy companies. I lunched one day with Angelica Riedl, the general secretary of Eurelectric, and talked for a while to Jean-Claude Guibal, ex-head of energy policy in DGXVII and now one of EdF’s many policy chieftains.
12 58 Sunday 27 November 1994, Brighton
A and B have gone swimming, I have floated in the bath and cleaned my hairy body. Hairy because I went to the barbers yesterday and the little hairs always get everywhere; and hairy because as the years roll by my body turns more and more ape-like. I have one hair growing out of my back at the base of my spine which is nearly a foot long - freakish; around my neck I have several hairy moles and there is very little bare skin between the bottom of my beard and the top of my chest. My shoulders too are well-covered in down.
I am sitting on Adam’s little chair at his little table (one we bought in Leiston I think five or six years ago and which still serves him well) and I find it comfortable for typing at the Tosh keyboard. On the wall, Adam has stuck up a piece of paper with the first draft of a story for Grandma/Grandad entitled ‘Animal Stories: The fast turtle’ and my corrections. Adam is engaged in typing it up into this computer. It is the first time he has used the Tosh but despite being excruciatingly slow, he is very keen on using the computers at the moment, so we can but encourage him.
This morning I have been reading ‘Suttree’ by Cormac McCarthy. I started it earlier in the year but, because it has no propelling plot and the language is rich and succulent and needs time to savour, I have abandoned it several times. I find McCarthy’s writing quite extraordinary - like listening to a live performance of a Beethoven or Shostakovitch symphony. He is definitely up there now in my top ten.
On the basis of my draft plan for 1995 (which I have still to confirm with myself) I spent most of the last week assessing and re-assessing the third-rate writings that I have produced in the past. On Monday, I tidied up ‘King Top-of-the-World’ and sent it to the Unicorn Theatre. Since sending it off to the WH Smith playwriting competition in 1993, it has gathered dust. But I think it has got some potential and I was loathe to deny it forever without trying to get some kind of feedback on it. The Unicorn has replied politely and says it will try and read it within the next six months! On Tuesday and Wednesday I looked at ‘The Rats’. I have about 50 pages of written material and lots of research information about rats, about the history of the London underground. But this would be a truly ambitious project. I have four unreadable computer disks with ‘The Rats’ and my Corsica journal, and I have sent them off to a small company that specialises in translating disks and formats. But I doubt whether they can actually retrieve the material. Meanwhile, I have been through my print-out and see the need for quite a number of changes, even before I begin, perhaps not as many as one might imagine since the material was written ten years ago.
On Thursday, I spent the entire day reading over what I have always referred to as The Novel. As with ‘The Rats’ I have about 50 pages of text (all of it nicely stored on current disks). The seven chapters so far written tell the story of Bill and his girlfriend Susan and how the relationship is undermined by a terrible flaw in Susan’s personality which ultimately leads to the death of their baby. The story, however, is as much about their friends - Trevor and Margie, and Dennis and Linda - and the inter-relation between them. The text reads quite well, I think, although it is now set in a period ten years out of date, but stops critically at the point where Bill has come back from overseas and Susan has inexplicably lost their baby. She says the baby was snatched from her pram in the street but that she failed to inform the police. I have thought about this plot on many occasions over the years and have never quite managed to find a satisfactory way of continuing it. It has always been clear to me, for example, that the child is dead and that Susan has disposed of it in some way. But at some point I must have had the idea that the baby could be alive, and be being brought up some place else by somebody else. However, it is hard to create a believable scenario in which the police couldn’t or wouldn’t match up the search for a missing baby and the discovery of a similar one. It could be done but, in my mind, I have not decided where the plot should go and why.
I have bought a new camera. For a year now or more I have been plagued with problems on my OM1n and its 35-120 lens, and with Barbara’s OM20 and its 1.2, 55m lens. Every time I went anywhere there was no combination of camera and lens that I could take which I was confident would give me good pictures. The light meter on my camera seemed to be faulty and the lens has been playing up badly. Then I took the OM20 to Hungary and all the pictures have failed. That was the last straw. Much as I have loved my completely manual OM1n and the lens, I went in yesterday to Jessops in Brighton with both cameras and lens and discussed a possible exchange. I had thought I would simply gather information on what price I could get for the cameras and then go away to research what camera I wanted to buy. But, in the end, I deliberately laid myself open to the salesman because I knew I didn’t really want to have to do all the research from scratch on modern cameras, and because he seemed to be giving a genuine deal. In the end I got £175 for the OM1n and the two lenses (he wouldn’t give me anything for the OM20) plus an extra £25 for buying a camera with a trade-in deal. So I ended up paying just over £100 for a £300 Minolta including a three year warranty; and, I was assured, the £300 itself was a special deal devised between Jessops and Minolta. The salesman assured me it would take as good pictures as my OM1n and that if I wanted the equivalent Olympus camera I would have to pay in the region of £700. I was clear in my own mind that I wasn’t about to fork out over £1,000 for camera and lens now (even if, when I bought the OM1n, I spent the equivalent of a £1,000 in today’s money.)
So, the upshot is that I now have a fully automatic Minolta - automatic aperture, automatic speed, automatic film roll on, automatic wind back (when the film is finished) and the lens has automatic focus, and a power zoom. Indeed, it even takes the picture on its own - I close my eyes and it decides where to point itself. Fortunately, it is quite easy to put the camera on to manual aperture, speed, or full manual, and even the autofocus mechanism can be put on to manual. The lens I now have only goes down to a 4 stop aperture which is quite useless in dim light. On the plus side, however, the camera comes with a fully automatic and synchronous flash. It has taken a while but I am slowly getting used to the instructions. I shall be better able to judge my purchase when I get the first lot of photographs printed up. Oh, but I am sad to have said goodbye to my OM1n, it has been so many places with me and I have taken so many pictures with it over the last 10-15 years.
England’s cricket flops in the first match of the Ashes in Australia.
Domestic politics have been all a turmoil during the last week. This year’s deadline for a challenge to Major’s leadership of the Conservative Party is later this week; the run-up to this has coincided with a necessary vote on an increase in the UK’s contribution to the EC budget. The media has thus been swamped with rumour about rebellion on the budget vote and about a candidate to stand against Major. Prime Minister Major felt so threatened by the potential back-bench revolt against the budget bill that he threatened to call a general election (the Tory MPs worst nightmare since they are so low in the polls) if he lost the vote. Then some anti-EC MPs started to ferment talk about a leadership election, and the issues got hopelessly confused with every news bulletin carrying some fresh analysis of whether a defeat on the budget bill was extremely unlikely, very unlikely, quite unlikely, unlikely or possible, and whether ‘now’ a leadership challenge was looking extremely unlikely, very unlikely etc.
Of far more interest is the referendum in Norway. They vote today and tomorrow on whether to join the EU or not. The polls still show a majority against. It would spice up energy affairs if Norway were to join but my guess is that they won’t.
A page two lead story in the FT on Monday inspired me to write a letter to the editor but, of course, it wasn’t published. One wonders if it would be possible to design a letter from me that the editor would publish. The German correspondent had written an article about liberalisation of the gas market within Germany and the German Presidency’s support for liberalisation of energy markets in Brussels. I wrote to distinguish between gas and electricity liberalisation and to point out that there was no work at all in Brussels on gas liberalisation at the moment, and certainly none at the instigation of the German Presidency.
I met up with Lucy in the week. Stupidly, I chose a play at the Royal Court which I knew had had a bad review in ‘Time Out’. But Sloane Square was so convenient. I think it was called ‘The Editing Process’ or something similar and starred Prunella Scales and several other TV ‘faces’. I fell into the old trap of assuming that a play put on at the Royal Court and featuring a very well known actress couldn’t be all bad - but it was - all bad, very bad. From the moment it started until the moment it ended I was conscious of the appalling writing, appalling on several levels. There was no real plot and no tension - none; the characters had lots of words to say but the same points establishing character or attempting to keep a story in place were made repetitively and were visible, by me in the audience, on the writer’s page. And the writing was abominable in factual terms - Totnes was supposed to be by the sea; has the writer never been to Totnes or looked it up on a map. With one exception, the actors managed to make the play reasonably watchable but the direction was pretty poor too; and one wonders at the competence of the director and actors who allowed such a play to get put on. It reminds me of the terrible play Barbara and I saw once in the West End which was directed by Harold Pinter. It was so poor that we left at half time, and, subsequently, my opinion of Pinter suffered an irreversible reverse.
Most of the evening was a disaster. Barbara was late home so I only managed to leave at 6:40 which should have been plenty of time to get to Sloane Square. But, I figured without the road works in Edgware Road or that Thursday night is late night shopping in Oxford Street. Even before reaching the Marylebone flyover the traffic was at a standstill. I sat for half an hour in the car (until the end of ‘The Archers’) and finally gave up. By this time I had reached one of the back streets, half way between the Marylebone flyover and Marble Arch - i.e. less than half the way to Sloane Square. Only once ever before have I abandoned my car due to the weight of traffic, nearly 15 years ago in Leyton and there were special circumstances which I cannot remember. So, I abandoned the car, jogged down Edgware Road and across the middle of Marble Arch. I jumped on a Routemaster bus down Park Lane (which was going to Sloane Square but would have taken ages through Kensington), jumped off outside the Hilton Hotel, and hailed a cab. Miraculously, Lucy was still standing in the foyer and we managed to take our seats as the curtain was rising.
Lucy tells me she is moving to the News Desk on ‘The European’ which suits her better than Features but the paper is still not breaking through into viable profitability. Her partner Tim is working quite a lot as a freelance photographer for ‘The Daily Telegraph’ - they send him out on assignments to towns in every corner of the land.
Friday 9 December 1994, London
I am basking in a mildly pleasant glow:
- I have just drunk a cup of coffee (I have started to allow myself one or two cups a week and I really notice the mood enhancement for a quarter of an hour or so);
- production of the last EC Inform-Energy issue of the year is complete and I now have three relaxed weeks including a week in Spain at Andy and Rosy’s house (this may not be so relaxed but it will be entertaining);
- for the first time ever, I got my name in the ‘Financial Times’ newspaper. On Monday, the paper ran a lead editorial entitled ‘Electricity grid-lock’. This was a stupid headline since the Energy Council last week formally agreed progress on the electricity liberalisation for the first time in several years. So, I wrote a letter pointing that fact out - and they printed it! This is such a gigantic achievement for me since all the time I was working at the FT I never managed to land an article or a letter (I am sure I documented my struggles at the time);
- sales of the book topped 50 this week and I have calculated that I should take about £10,000 from those sales, which would give me a net profit of roughly £3,000. It doesn’t pay for the work but it relieves me to think that I have had some return;
- I received an excellent mailing list (about 300 names) from the Chatham House conference. This was sponsored by EC Energy Monthly and I know that every delegate will have seen a copy of the FT publication - so I am pleased to have the list so early and to be able to post every delegate EC Inform-Energy for comparisons. I have also included in the newsletter a full table of contents from the book;
- I got a call to say that ‘Electrical Review’ (which I understand is a key publication in the industry) is publishing a review of my book.
As a downer, I have just looked back in my records to find that ‘EC Energy Policy’ the Management Report I wrote under the FT banner, published in February 1992, had sold 80 copies within six weeks, and 250 copies after four and half months. Therefore, for me to have sold only 50 after two and half months looks pretty paltry - and the FT didn’t sell the report at half price to subscribers, as I am.
Paul K Lyons
Copyright © PiKLe PuBLiSHiNG