It was about this time last year that someone said something about the Before Times – I’m not sure if the phrase originates with The Stand or some other apocalypse classic – but it was the first time I’d heard it used sincerely about the real world. It was on my mind at LAMchester yesterday, though.
We’ve had some events since March 2020, as regular readers will know – and over the past month it has felt much more like coming back to what we love. Certainly the LAMily have done a tremendous amount to keep the lights on and the kink flame burning, and it has been appreciated. And yesterday’s LAMchester was about as close to the Before Times as things have been for the best part of 18 months. It was indoors – proper indoors, with upholstered sofas and lavish loos, and dining and a bar. Though the numbers had been carefully controlled to keep things reasonably Covid-safe, there was the type of glorious bustle, at points, that I remember from pre-pandemic trading.
Of course, there were differences: you couldn’t quite envisage yourself in a place where it had all been a bad dream. There were masks, and temperature checks, and lots of hand sanitizer. There was more in the way of elbow bumps and friendly gestures than hugging (though hugging was an option depending on circumstances and personal risk profile). It was fabulous, if ever so slightly overwhelming.
And the best thing is, we get to do it all again soon. There’s an outdoor event next weekend in Bedford, one the week after that in London, and much more planned for the summer months – the return of the BBB is scheduled for July, and there’s a new event starting in the Nottingham area. So catch me and the naughty books somewhere relatively near you…