Mitra Devi, Erich Tiefenthaler and me
On Friday, 20 September, I was going to the book launch in Berne of the new realeas of Robert Walser's "The Robber" by SJW-Verlag, Zurich, to which the publisher had invited me. But then I got a call from Mitra Devi. (Together with Petra Ivanov, she was the initiator of the crime anthology "Mord in Switzerland" (Murder in Switzerland), about which you've already heard several times in this blog.) She had a reading on Friday at 8pm in a village called Niederweningen, she said, and the author who was to read with her couldn't come because of a death in the family. Could I come instead?
Now, Niderwenigen isn't exactly around the corner from Biel/Bienne. Apart from that, the work time in my bread-job is actually until 6.30pm. The best boss of all saved the day by letting me leave half an hour earlier (once more). So I hasted to the station shortly after 6pm. The train was only two minutes late (according to SBB standards not even delayed).
So far, so good, because I had seven minutes to change train in Zurich. We could already see the station when we had to wait for another two minutes. Who's read earlier blog posts knows how nervous I am before readings at the best of times. So you can imagine
how relaxed I was. What you probably can't imagine is how many clumsy commuters are ambling around Zurich main station on a Friday evening when you want to sprint through the crowd on as direct a route as possible. Fortunately, also the "S-Bahn" ran two minutes late, and I was standing at the track when it drew into the station.
A charming librarian met me at the station in Niederweningen and managed to halfway calm me with her small talk. Mitra had already begun with her reading when we tiptoed down the stairs to the multimedia libraryNiederweningen. At a convenient spot in her story, she even looked up briefly and welcomed me. While I was listening to her, my heart beat slowed down further to a almost normal level.
Mitra's reading of a spy pastiche was rewarded with a lot of laughter and a big hand. Brubeck's "Take Five" features in the story. Erich Tiefenthaler, who regaled us to a fantasic musical background with his flutes, first played that piece and then the classic Miss Marple film soundtrack. Then it was my turn. After my reading of the story "Fokus", Erich performed "Pink Panther" and a James Bond medley.
After a short wine reception the library had organised and a few book sales and signings, Mitra, Erich and I already had to leave. Armed with the wonderful autumnal flower bouquets we received from the librarians, we hit the short road to the station. I still had such a lot of adrenalin coursing in my blood that I was happy to have the long train journey ahead of me to wind down a little before having to go to bed.
A big thank you, Mitra, for asking me around as a substitue!