Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Alexander McCall Smith

When I arrived at Benaroya Hall last night for the Seattle Arts & Lecture series evening with Alexander McCall Smith, I noticed directly in front of me were the same ladies I'd sat down for soup with before the Tracy Chevalier lecture last year. It made me grin just to think back to it, and to see them again, regular lecture attendees. By happenstance (because I stopped once again to eat at Wolfgang Puck's counter) I ended up just a couple of rows behind them in the auditorium.

Smith hit the stage in a kilt, to the enthusiastic applause of the crowd. Here is a man who is definitely comfortable on stage. He was a hilarious delight throughout, his 45-50 minute speech punctuated every few lines with bursts of laughter from the audience. In one spot he went off on a brief diversion about Proust and how he'd purchased a concordance to Proust which immediately made me think of my friend JD and his Proust obsession (though Proust doesn't have his own category of archived posts at Folded Space, to my amazement). Instead of recapping myself, I'll point interested parties to Librarian In Black's write-up of the same speech from the CLA Annual Conference in Pasadena on November 5th. I was struck by the lecture in the same way, right down to the impression that Smith would be great fun to have dinner with. I listened delightedly, laughed heartily and repeatedly, and left feeling quite happy with my choice of lectures for the year.

Bonus link: Smith's amateur orchestra and "highlight of the Edinburgh Fringe" (The Really Terrible Orchestra) playing King of the Road.


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Blogger J.D. Says:

What's even more amazing is that my flotch has no Proust category; that's where I've been posting a lot of Proust stuff lately. Also, I've pushed Proust twice on Metafilter today already. And I just purchased a new Proust audiobook.

I treat it as a joke somewhat, but the truth is I dearly love Proust's writing. His prose is wonderfully convoluted, and yet it cuts so cleanly to the heart of the human condition.

Also: earlier today I recommended No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency to someone, and decided that I ought to read the rest of the series. The first one was quite fun. (Especially on audio, where the reader's inflections could add to the story.)


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