I expect they're polishing the glasses, flapping out the tableclothes and folding the napkins in readiness for the Booker Prize dinner this evening but I think we should be adding some kitsch to the proceedings and singing Happy 68th Birthday to Cliff Richard as well.
OK I'll do that on my own then and with the help of this musical card sent to me by the Tinker.
So with my 100% record of never choosing the winner just where are my Booker hopes resting, in other words who have I blessed with the kiss of death, which book won't win?
I am torn between several contenders, first up The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher. It's a huge book and generalising even more hugely I think it's reasonably accurate to say that the girls have loved it and the boys have hated it, and hated it with a passion. But I adored it, start to finish and I certainly think it helps to have lived through that era. I'm not even going to begin to analyse that one but it begs the question, will that sway the judges who might be wanting a universally attractive winner?
In that case look no further than The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant.This one has deservedly had widespread positive reviews and it really does seem only fair that Linda's search for the perfect outfit to wear to the ceremony having been so diligent warrants an outing up to the dais. It's a brilliant read and Linda would deserve every ounce of the ensuing fame and fortune.
Much as I loved Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh I'm not sure the first of a trilogy which requires enough loose ends for the next in the series to pick up and run with can count as a complete novel in its own right.But there have been other trilogists, Edward St Aubyn didn't pull it off but then Pat Barker and Paul Scott did, so who knows. I loved the book and I've got my sleeping bag right next to the press waiting for the next one.
I still haven't managed to read A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz in the same way that I didn't manage to read The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai the year that won which all makes this one a very strong contender indeed. Possibly a sure-fire winner?
I'd cheer big time if Sebastian Barry won with The Secret Scripture even though I've expressed my disappointment about the ending but I have since read a few interviews with Sebastian and I think I've arrived at a better understanding about all that. Anyway I can forgive him anything because he seems like a very nice chap and writes like an angel, none of which may matter to the judges.
Finally I'm not sure White Tiger by Aravind Adiga is really up to the competition of the other shortlisted books even though I loved it, this therefore makes it another very strong contender.
So believe this if you will, for the first time EVER I have placed an online Booker bet, £10 and I got good-ish odds because it was ages ago, before the shortlist was announced. Bearing in mind that I have that 100% record to uphold it would have seemed more prudent to hang onto my money than throw it down the drain so wantonly.
I'm not going to tell you where the fate of my £10 rests and thus whose hopes of winning are dashed and doomed but I will tell you if I win.