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Frankfurt Book Fair

I've been on the road 4 weeks now. My wife Lesley and I have spent week in London, then a week driving down the southwest coast of Ireland, then to Edinburgh and by car more or less down the east coast of England, which I left last night to come to the Frankfurt International Book Fair. I've posted photos and commentary on my blog, which is http://lloydkahn.com.

I'm getting organized today to begin 4 days of meetings. Our books are suddenly hot overseas. I'm meeting agents, publishers, or distributors from Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, Vietnam, China, Korea, Australia, South Africa, and Singapore. Stretching is in 23 languages and I'm negotiating contracts for the new significantly-improved 30th anniversary edition in each country. The Koreans have (in the last 5-6 years) published just about every one of our books. Getting Back in Shape is going into Serbian. Stretching will be translated for the first time into Vietnamese. Shelter is in Chinese. I'm pretty excited about the next few days. It's great to connect with different cultures.

Carpenters' Dream
Gemuchtli-up-the-kazoo-chite
Each year when I come to the Book Fair, I stay in a spa town, Bad Homburg, a 20-min. train ride from Frankfurt. I flew from London yesterday afternoon and didn't get to my hotel until about 8:30 PM, got gently scolded by my landlady for being so late, took a shower, then headed out to eat, a cold night. My favorite restaurant, Kartoffulkuche, was closed, and I saw this pub down a dark alley, walked down, pushed open the door, and wham/bam!—I'd walked into a medieval inn, but with 21st century touches.
A half-timbered ceiling, walls of rough plaster painted yellow, lights making a warm glow. Candles here and there. Music in background with a beat. A lot of raucus noise. I sit at the bar in front of some unique wood-structure beer taps and look around. Jesus! On the walls and ceiling are hung or stocked or shelved, old woodworker tools. Like 30 old brace and bit drills, dozens of old wooden block planes, a beautiful collection of carpenters' bow saws; The types of beer are written on 3'-wide black circular saw blades on the wall. The tables are polished old workbenches.
I've spent a lot of time using various tools, and have been around countless builders—all of us interested in tools, and here I've walked into a tool museum that any Eric Sloane fan would love, that would dazzle any carpenter.
I got a foamy dark German beer on tap, and rumpsteak and home-fried potatoes, boy was it good! Followed by 2 more foamy beers. And looked around and around at the tools. The beer, the food, the loud conversations (hearty lads), the warm light, friendly bartenders, thumping music…it felt immensely good.
It was like a hearty welcome back to Deutschland, land of (some of) my ancestors (after 4 weeks in Britain, land of other ancestors).

Back to Biz
Stretching--30th Anniversary Edition and Illustrated Gardners Catalog
We're way behind schedule with both of these books (as usual), but also as usual, it's been worth the delays, because they've both been honed. Update on both books coming in the next month.

Tiny House book

We've been gathering info for a year, and it's my next major project, starting in November. In the somewhat cosmic category, Lesley and I ended up spending two nights in her cousins' 100 sq. ft. beach hut, watching the water and clouds, hearing wind in the eaves, no electricity, no running water. Perfect for starting this new book.

To follow further adventures on this trip, including an upcoming week in Paris, check my blog.

(Posted 2 days later due to wi-fi scarcity here) I have a ton of stuff, will try to catch up next week in Paris.

Security at the Frankfurt Book Fair is overboard. There are about 18 cop cars (Polizei) parked in one of the parking lots. Cops and security guards everywhere you look, all with guns, clubs, mace, handcuffs. Cops always in pairs, often one has an Uzi-type automatic rifle (with big curved ammo clip) hung diagonally across chest, in position to raise quickly and fire. They watch everyone, all the time. Is this all necessary? Are book lovers really a terrorist target?

The fair is bustling. Mobbed with people.

If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium


I can't recall what town this was since I don't have my map here at the airport. This was on a building housing an arts organization, somewhere north of Canterbury.

Roundabouts, Tiny Beach Hut, and Biz Hums

Canterbury cathedral
We've been on the road 4 weeks now and I'm at the London City Airport waiting for a flight to Frankfurt for the International book fair. I thought I'd be posting more as we travelled, but every time we got to a new place I'd end up spending any spare time shooting photos. Maybe when I'm in Germany I'll have time to describe what we've seen. Meanwhile here are a few 3-dot journalistic bits:

Just finished about 1000 miles driving from Edinburgh down along mostly the east coast to London. Driving on the left side of the road is difficult enough, but the narrowness of the lanes is harrowing (being used to the wide open spaces), and the roundabouts are a nightmare…There are signs, "Guinness is good for you" and I'm with the concept; most nights two pints with dinner…Food has been extraordinary -- everywhere -- we've been able to suss out good restaurants in every village and town…There's big surf in Ireland and surfers all along the coast there and in UK…We spent 2 nights in Lesley's cousin's 10x10' beach hut on the northeast Kent coast this weekend, extraordinary since our next book is on tiny houses, and we loved it…Clouds everywhere, this is an island after all, like a big ship at sea, they're wonderful to watch changing and drifting across the sky…I had an almost otherworldly experience at the Canterbury cathedral early one evening, more on that later…My mom is Welsh (Jones) and Lesley was born in Wembley, so we're on ancestral home turf and sometimes a mental bell rings with what may be genetic ancestral remembrance, I've been here before…Rupert Murdoch has succeeded in turning the Times into a mostly sleaze-ball rag, poor writing, everything right-slanted; the Guardian is the best big London paper…From the eyes of a Western savage, the old world is v. much alive and well in Britain; people are unfailingly polite, conversations are low and muted, there are a lot more coats and ties; California it ain't…It's been a wonderful trip; Randomness has worked for us, we arrive in a town or village with no idea where to stay or eat and bingo, we're in the zone…Overheard in streets of Canterburty, a guy saying to his mate, "Don't you oy me!" Last night a cockney bus driver was saying to a newly-arrived guy from Africa (who couldn't understand),"White and tyke the haitch-2 bus" (Wait and take the H-2 bus)…Phrase in newspaper: "blingtastic." Columnist Jane Wheatley: "Aenas…walked into the city of Carthage and observed that 'opus fecit,'—a phrase our teacher translated for us as "biz hums."