As a break from trying to read a novel word by word, sentence by sentence, I travelled down to Bristol for BristolCon, a one-day convention. Small but very buzzy, friendly, nicely organised (so you didn't notice all the organisation that went into it), mostly book-orientated, with plenty of writers present. Met friends, attended a couple of panels, performed on a couple of panels, read the first two pages of In The Mouth of the Whale to an audience. And because it was a fine warm day, went on walkabout for an hour or so. I lived in Bristol in the 1970s (1973 - 1980), back when it was a black-and-white existential film, and returned every so often, but haven't been back for, oh, at least ten years. Long enough to feel like a ghost searching for my own past. Some of the places I remembered are still there; others aren't. George's bookshop at the top of Park Street, for instance, where one gloomy day, in a kind of wretched gallery at the top of the shop, under a rain-lashed skylight, I discovered an immaculate remaindered first edition of William Golding's The Pyramid God. A snip at £2, especially as I later got it signed, after Golding had received his Nobel, and his knighthood. Also gone: Revolver Records, where I spent far too much time and money, buying LPs made of grooved vinyl you played with diamond needles. It was a long time ago.