Wednesday 20 August

Mimi Pixel, whose famous mechanical journal has inspired my own, and whose career has worked in almost inverse proportion, has committed the conjoined artistic sins of success and deciding to move to that there London. Tonight we commiserate with Mimi in her South Manchester mansion, unable to point out the pure recklessness with which she trades it for a shoebox in the city of lost souls and odd, abandoned size 11s. But despite the gloom hovering just below my surface and the faces of Tattetta, Petra and Amy-Lou – contorted in sympathy – floating clockwise across my mechanical expression, there is essentially and undeniably, and especially after a trip to Bargain Barrels, every excuse to have a party. Soon all the teeth bared in congratulation at her book deal are tinted their regulation pink; awestruck schoolmates bid goodbye to Mimi’s own Mister Pip, and Sally Pepper finds no problem in bringing her own unique flush and sparkle to the proceedings.

I leave the festivities somewhat reassured, Mimi having informed me that far from being a secret agent, the fellow representing her in London conducts no more than literary espionage (there comes a secondary pang when I realize there is little chance of him helping me pin down maverick Russians and sabre-toothed badgers). Locating the wagon stop on Mimi’s sprawling estate proves difficult for Ms Pepper and I but eventually we manage to find the isolated pub near which nocturnal hooves pause. We would get a drink, we joke, but the place is abandoned beyond the symposium of drinkers locked inside behind night-black curtains that flutter only briefly then leave ourselves to ourselves and the journey back to garrets.

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