Cuffed Festival - William Deverell - A Spy & A Dry MartiniFriday, March 11, 2016
Good books and good writers can turn a terrible Vancouver rainy day into a sunny one in the heart. This is what happened to me today at Alma Lee’s new Cuffed Festival that features crime writers from Canada and abroad. They are here for three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) at Performance Works on Granville Island. For an hour these intimate lecture/readings involve you into intelligent conversation and illuminating stories on why writers and crime writers write and particularly why the latter tend to write series.
Tonight’s program labeled Series Stars featured Gail Bowen, William Deverell and Ian Hamilton. The night was moderated by author/actor Stephen E. Miller who reminded me of Will Rogers.
All three writers were superb but for me it especially applied to William Deverell. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I have a long photographic relationship with him that started in 1979. Or perhaps it has to do that on assignment for Saturday Night years later I went in my maroon coloured Maserati Bi-Turbo to Pender Island where he lived.. I promptly got it into a ditch on my way to his house. Deverell was helped by fellow neighbour Mike Harcourt and they managed to un-ditch my car.
But the real reason I am writing about Deverell in relation to the Cuffed Festival is that Alma Lee and her new baby have managed to inject excitement into my winter blahs. It is an excitement generated by being with people who converse and who write well.
Deverell read from his new novel Sing a Worried Song with that baritone voice of his that could have made him a lot of money (less perhaps that as a criminal lawyer) in the CBC.
He read about his protagonist Arthur Beauchamp (pronounced with a French accent if you read the novel in Quebec) an alcoholic criminal lawyer who has perennial horns on his forehead because of a wayward wife.
This fragment that Deverell read sucked me into the realization that good writing matters to the point that a drink, as Deverell’s fellow author on the stage, Ian Hamilton (a former spy not ready to admit it yet) told me that a martini will have, henceforth, a special remembrance for me that will be invariably linked to that of William Deverell.
“Thank you, Pierre. A martini. The usual. Two pearl onions.”
“Maybe this is not wise, if…how long are you sober now, Monsieur Beauchamp?”
“It’s Day Twenty-Five. It’s time.”
“Just one, maybe, yes?”
After that just one it would be too late to call Bill Webb. At any event, it wouldn’t be right to rouse him from his bed. He wasn’t going to get drunk. Just one martini to lighten the mood.
The first teasing drops rolled across his tongue and caused an agreeable jolt of recognition: the taste of juniper and dry vermouth and freedom from care. Welcome back, old friend. Another sip, and he could feel the desolation and bleakness start to fade.