After a good, old fashioned session of work, and a blogger back and forth with Suzanne Strong, I was prompted to remember a quick story of a literary function from 2000 (maybe 2001, it was the year Peter Carey won Book of the year for True History of the Kelly Gang). At the time I think it was the weirdest dinner i'd ever had.
It's since been topped by a dinner on the outskirts of Hanoi, but that's another story.
Anyway I was invited to the gala dinner for the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards by my then publisher (they've since stupidly scrapped dinner, forcing everyone to sit through an awards ceremony without the benefit of food or booze as a distraction). I wasn't actually receiving an award, so I was really there for said food and booze. Most of the evening passed in a dreadfully slow, alcoholic trudge, with the exception being Carey's acceptance speech.
So after much consumption I mingled with some Writers Centre people and whoever else was left when I was set upon by two bloke with a camera. Not press, they were happy snappers. One of them asked if he could have his picture taken with me. Still unsure exactly what their purpose was, I agreed. He duly threw an arm over my shoulders and gave his mate behind the lens a cheesy thumbs up. I'm pretty sure I smiled.
Photo taken both men shook my hand and told me they were big fans. I said thanks. What the hell else was I going to say?
To this day I have no idea who they were, or, more importantly, who they thought I was. As I said, Peter Carey was in the room, so was Sam Wagan Watson. Apart from them I don't remember anyone else of note, and I don't think anyone was mistaking a skinny white kid for either of them.
It's an enduring mystery to this day, but makes for a wonderful dinner conversation. I think I told a version of it at that dinner in Hanoi.