Wednesday, 17 April 2013

What Earthquake?

Iran: Caravanserai
Iran: Caravanserai (Photo credit: Erwin Bolwidt)
And... breathe.

It's odd to be back. It always is. There's a surreal quality to it all, wrenched away from the sunny cold of the unseasonably late UK cold snap and the bustle of family and friends back to the warm air and glitter of glass.  As usual, I didn't sleep at all on the 'red eye' flight, watching The Hobbit (quite fun) and Jack Reacher (woeful) instead.

We got home, unpacked and turned in. And proceeded to sleep through what was, today's media breathlessly assures us, the biggest earthquake to hit Iran in fifty years. The 7.8 magnitude quake shook the UAE, causing buildings to be evacuated - Gulf News found an expert who estimated the tremors that shook the UAE were equivalent to a 4.5 quake here, which does seem rather implausible, but an expert's an expert.

On the Pakistan/Iran border, near the city of Zahedan, the quake is said to have killed and injured many in both countries, although official figures appear sketchy (Iran says anything between zero and fifty dead, depending on who you listen to, while Pakistan says between four and thirty-five killed). Twitter was all a-flurry, of course.

Not that we cared, all we felt was zeds.

Meanwhile, I'm catching up with emails and clients (the day job) and contemplating tonight's 'More Talk' taking place at the Dubai International Financial Centre's More Café. Saturday is going to be busy, too - I'm doing two workshops and a reading as part of The Archive Dubai's 'Day of Books' all-day event as well as appearing on Dubai Eye Radio's 'Talking of Books' programme.

That upcoming radio appearance explains why I found a copy of Edward Rutherfurd's forthcoming novel 'Paris' on my desk when I got to work (the building was, I was glad to see, still standing). I can't say the sight filled my heart with stuff - my last 'Talking of Books' read was Jack Whyte's appalling 'Rebel', 600 pages of awful cod-Scottish dialogue and pointless meandering plot that I waded through with a black heart and weary eyes.

It's not just earthquakes I'm good at missing. Being back in the UK I managed to miss last week's TOB broadcast, which is a shame as Beirut - An Explosive Thriller was their 'Book of the Week'. I can only hope it didn't cause the programme's reviewers the pain having to read 'Rebel' caused me.

Now I've got Rutherfurd's 670 page epic to digest in a little over two days. Worst of all, the book's not published yet, so I can't get a Kindle copy. I've got to read it as a papery thing. What larks, Pip...
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