On getting into my Frankfurt hotel.


We got into Frankfurt on the night of October 9th, a half-hour too late to catch Quim Monzó's razor-stroke of an opening speech at the Book Fair. There were three of us: a Catalan-speaking oral literature expert from Benin, a translator into Catalan from Slovenia and the fat-faced bastard whose photo (in the print version) is at the top of this article. We were let out in front of a dry-docked ocean liner of a hotel behind the desk of which three receptionists awaited us, placed neatly at metre intervals, their welcome grins already in place.
We were grilled simultaneously about our addresses, birthdays and whatnot before being handed a key card which, they warned to our surprise, we also needed for the lift.
In which we spent a good twenty minutes, because I simply could not master the knack of inserting the card and marking our floor in the right sequence ('You're behaving like an African!' joked Agnès, the Beninese). Anyhow, I finally made it to a luxurious walk-in freezer of a room, slept badly, woke early, and wandered over to the window. Before me, a Trade Fair building lurked in the dawn like a gigantic metal-scaled louse. Behind it, a row of its taller sister buildings stuck fuck-you fingers up at the mongrel-coloured sky. So, I had finally laid eyes on the Frankfurt Book Fair: the hub of the publishing world, the Mecca of international literature. Like my companions, I had a unique opportunity to do some potentially vital networking in this inhospitable, plug-ugly sprawl.
Clutching my key card, I made for the door and consoled myself with the thought that whatever I was about to do, I would not have the chance to do it again for a long, long time.

- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programació: Nac -