It's been a quiet week in Brunswick and it's about to get quieter. My wife is going to New York at the end of the month.
She lived in Manhattan for about a year in 1980; her father is an academic and was doing post-graduate work there. The recent book Newberry Award winning book When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, is set in the same time and much the same neighbourhood.
So when my wife's mother mentioned that she was hoping to go to New York a plan was hatched: guide books consulted, Google maps gleaned, novels and histories digested.
My mother-in-law loves music and is probably the world's biggest Leonard Cohen fan. She was in the front row of this concert and we reckon was in Lenny's eyeline when he sang I'm Your Man. So a lot of research is going into scanning the gig guides.
One of the things she will be doing is dropping in for the Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor's long-running radio show at the Town Hall in New York. It's a uniquely American experience, one that couldn't be replicated.
Back in the days before the internet I went to Edinburgh for the Fringe. Where I discovered, since it wasn't in the brochure that I sent away for and which arrived in the mail, that Garrison Keillor was appearing at the Book Festival. Oh frabjus day! Callum! Callay! / He chortled in his joy! I had read Lake Wobegone Days and listened to the radio show avidly...Norwegian bachelor farmers, tomato growing as a competitive sport, the Side Track Tap, Lutheran Church. What a wonderful place the world was, that one of my favourite writers should fall into my path like this.
And so I arrived on the day at the appointed hour.
Not. A. Chance.
...Ah, the internet.
So enjoy Garrison, dear. And think of me. I will listen to the show, eventually. At home. On the radio.
There won't be too many other distractions.