My FBF Horace Bent

Due to overwhelming—okay, moderate—public demand, the erstwhile custodian of the Organ of the Book Trade returns to guide you round the aisles at the Frankfurt Book Fair...

Bent’s Notes I

F YOU MISSED yesterday’s Bookseller Daily— shame on you—the jaw-dropping news was that sobriet is a big publishing trend. That’s

according to the never tipsy and ever-abstemious Sam “The Flying Trapeze” Eades1

who, and how’s

this for coincidence, has bought a book on the subject. But she isn’t wrong, there have been rights flurries for the likes of Mindful Drinking and The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, while I’m hearing quite a buzz is building for The Difficulties of Writ- ing a Funny Column While Hungover fom a Hazy Night at the Frankfurter Hof. Study aſter frightening study has shown those Millennials are drinking far less than the previ- ous generation; I guess they are too busy being woke, making memes and staring vapidly at their phones. According to Buzzfeed—that’s Millennial CNN, with cat pictures and Harry Poter quizzes— one in four 16 to 24-year-olds are teetotal. Which begs the question: Millennials, what the hell is wrong with you? Although, I shall admit that on some bleary-eyed Frankfurt mornings, filled with regret, the fear, and hope that a liver-donor match comes up soon, I can see the appeal of sobriet. Still, I’m not sure those teetotal Millennials will ever make it in the “eating is cheating” publishing world. Certainly, there were none to be seen at the festive and lubricious-as-usual Hachete part (at which some of the buyers and sellers of these sobri- et tomes—Eades, Rachel

“Yoga” Mills2 —were

having a jolly old time, though I cannot vouch for what liquid was in their champagne flutes). Speak- ing of the Hachete part, the talk of the night was

If there’s something you would like to share with your old pal Horace (in the strictest confidence, naturellement...), email or tweet @horacebent


undoubtedly Jamie Hodder-Williams’ new beard (not a euphemism). Phwoar. Picture David Gandy crossed with Kit Harington with a wee bit of Nick Offerman thrown in. And there was litle evidence of sobriet at the

Young Talent dinner. That’s FBF’s blanket term for book trade mags across the world ripping off, excuse me, paying homage to The Bookseller’s Rising Stars programme. Meeting at Bockenheim Weinkontor3

1 , a hip wine bar (yes, in Frankfurt!) the

group was then taken to what was promised to be “the best Mexican restaurant in Frankfurt”. Sadly, I imagine it is. Anyway, the Millennials-and-drink- ing subject cropped up in conversation. When it was pointed out to Rising Star Gráinne Clear4


in most of The Bookseller’s archived photographs of her, she is avec wine glass, the Irishwoman said: “It’s only so I can conform to stereotpe.” Lastly, an oſt-used phrase among Millennials

is “giving zero fucks”, which sprang to mind at The Markets Conference while watching Andrew “The Jackal” Wylie harrumph through a speech he clearly did not want to deliver. Actually, call- ing it a speech is a bit much: it clocked in at 10 minutes and 24 seconds. It was more a clearing of the throat. Still, he did tell organisers that he had seven minutes of material, so the extra three and a bit minutes he must have thrown in simply to rubbish HarperCollins.



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12th October 2017

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