Last night I attended my first ever book launch, and what a launch. I’ve waxed lyrical about Joe Gardner’s writing enough times for you all to understand that I’m a fan. His first novel, The Life & Loves Of Jet Tea hit a chord with me, and I’m currently rereading my now signed copy. The reason it resonated is Joe and I have similar goals. We want to get to the top. We are both aching to get out of the menial things we have to do to get by and be recognised as writers. We both take what we see around us and turn it in, making something of it. Having now met the man I am pleased this kinship seems to have held fast.
Jet Tea is a coming of age comedy about three friends struggling with the world they see around them, a world of pubs in West London, of officious security guards and wizards. Even on my second reading I am laughing at visions of Jet Tea dancing ‘seductively’ (I’m not sure that’s the right word) alone on bar dancefloors, and am sure use of the term ‘he’s a bit of a Craig’ is on the cusp of going viral.
Last night Joe invited friends to join him in celebrating the success of his first book with a Q&A followed by music by a number of his close friends, including Glen (and his band Jeeps) who was the inspiration for the character Maurice.
It was a pleasure to be a part of, and surreal to meet people I only knew as fictional characters. The real life Jet Tea was in attendance. He hasn’t yet read the book. This astounded me, but then again, as Joe said, would you want to read your own biography?
What’s cool about Joe and his world is that he is surrounded by creative people, much in the same way I am fortunate to be. I think there is nothing better than having people around who you can bounce ideas off of, and watching the sound checks and back and forths between everyone reminded me of the dynamic amongst my friends. There is a respect for what each of them is able to do, and they have time for that. It was cool to be included in that.
Before I knew it, I had to make a dash for the exit to catch the train home and I didn’t get to say goodbye to the awesome people I had been introduced to, or even thank the host. If you haven’t read Jet Tea then get on it, it comes highly recommended.