Now as you all well know, Wales is hardly renowned for enjoying the exotic diversity and colourful eccentricity of other cultures and nations. Oh I forget, there is a Polish delicatessen in Llanelli and good luck to it I say. Here in Wales and elsewhere, we tend to forget that the Luftwaffe would have had things all their own way, were it not for the bravery and courage of Polish airmen – not to mention all the other critical contributions the Poles made to the last World War, which are legion.
Anyway, a week or so ago I found myself doing a book-signing in Brighton. And what a grand old day it was too. Some fans turned up to give me grief about when the next Hillyard novel was going to published and was he going to knock off his new Sikh doctor wife? Sadistic lot, some of my readers.
Well Hillyard aside, I signed books for our cousins across the Atlantic, Italians escaping from economic meltdown, Germans trying to learn how not to do things and Australians convinced that Fosters was the new world religion and would eventually heal all international ills.
As you know, Brighton is renowned for being a liberal hotchpot of gayness and sexy toleration. More men seem to buy books there than most other towns and cities in the UK that’s for certain – an interesting point for some suicidal sociologist to delve into perhaps? All creeds, inclinations, off the conventional wall rebellion, and downright in your face and to hell with you attitude are on show in Brighton.
The thing is, all this helter-skelter individuality can be somewhat disarming. For instance, the missus and I were sitting down at one of those pavement froth jobs enjoying the sun (?) and scenery when she remarked (the missus is always ‘remarking’ but I won’t go into this…for now), ‘Oh, look at the lovely dress that woman is wearing, and what a figure!’
As usual I complied with wifely diktat (we men usually do, don’t we? Feminism? Ha ha to that little modern day delusion!) and looked at this charmer from Brighton.
The lady in question actually had her back to us. In a split second she turned around and guess what?
She was sporting an Edward VII beard and moustache –she had a girlfriend in tow too, wearing the same dress!!