Saturday, April 28, 2012

I heard voices ...

... in the elevator up to the Grand Hyatt ballroom for the Edgar Awards dinner Thursday evening — rich, sonorous voices resonant with seriousness and importance, and no way to change the channel.

Yes, the Grand Hyatt in New York has installed televisions in its elevators for those guests, room-service waiters, bellhops and maids who can't stand to be without television for the amount of time it takes to get from the lobby to the room. You can draw your own conclusions about what this says about our culture; I'll just say that I hope I never get stuck in an elevator at the Grand Hyatt. And if I ever stay at the hotel, I'm requesting a room on a lower floor to minimize the duration of my forced exposure to smarmy televised punditry. Or else I'll take the stairs.
***
Once I escaped into the ballroom, my only beef was Wellington, and it was on my plate at dinner, and it was just fine. The wine flowed freely, the speeches were short, and the only one that wasn't — Martha Grimes', on her recognition as a grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America, who bestow the Edgars — was funny and, in its tribute to Stuart M. Kaminsky, touching. I took special note of Joe Meyers' remarks upon accepting the Ellery Queen Award. Meyers writes for the Connecticut Post newspaper, and he thanked his editors for bucking the anti-books trend in American newspapers and increasing the space the Post allots to books coverage. I just wept quietly in my Pinot noir.

Neil Gaiman, up for a best-short-story Edgar, has the air of the cool, shaggy math teacher you liked in high school and, thanks to the drunken Poe enthusiast at the next bar stool this evening who recognized the face that illustrates this post, I'm reminded that the Edgars also included a message from John Cusack and a trailer from Cusack's new Poe action/mystery movie The Raven, which looks worth a look.

I was pleased to renew acquaintances over dinner with editors, authors and assorted honchos from Soho Press, which played such a big role in my introduction to international crime fiction. And when Sarah Weinman, ex of Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, currently of Publishers Marketplace, and seated across the table from me, sent out her as-they-happen Edgars Tweets, I felt like I was at the center of the crime-fiction universe.

 © Peter Rozovsky 2012

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4 Comments:

Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

Anybody win?

April 28, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yep.

April 28, 2012  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

I used to think Herbert Marcuse was a bullshit artist when he talked about how television was a device to keep the masses quiet. How can it be when you just turn off the box, I thought. But when the box is everywhere: lifts, airports, subway cars, doctors waiting rooms and is on all the time...you find it harder and harder to keep away from it and the agendas and advertising dollars of the big corporations...

Once when I was in my doctors office and I was the only patient I asked for the noisy TV to be turned down so I could read. The receptionist agreed but when I came out of my appointment the TV had been turned on again.

April 29, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The television screens in the Grand Hyatt's elevators were small and the volume relatively low. In a way that makes them even more dangerous. You're in the elevator, you hear voices, you look around, and next thing you know you're watching TV. Blasting the volume would turn -- what the hell do you call people who watch TV in elevators? Viewers? Riders? Passengers? -- would turn those folks away. Keeping it down draws them in.

April 29, 2012  

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