Nights of Passion in Gdansk
It was my first overseas Conference and I took full advantage of it by volunteering to give as many workshops as possible. I wanted to make the most of the opportunity to get my name known. The hotel, I remember, looked a bit like a high rise block of flats; there was a large restaurant with an extensive menu, no prices, where all the lights were always turned off, and a cocktail bar full of young women lolling around on high stools in incredibly short skirts and caked in make-up, waiting for I didnít know what (clients as I found out later, but business was slack).
One of the teachers attended all my sessions, a woman professor twice my age from Latvia. I canít remember much of what she looked like, though I do remember she had a well- established moustache which she must have shaved daily.
Numerous shots of vodka later, to cut a long story short. we ended up in bed together in her room a few doors down the corridor from mine. All I had with me was a bath towel, but that was fortunate as somehow got locked out of my room and had to go down to the reception desk to collect a spare key so I could re-enter my room later on. A couple of nights of pleasure followed by an invitation from me, immediately regretted, to invite her to London to visit. Unfortunately she took up my offer and I was stuck with her for a weekend in London a couple of months later. Bed-hopping at these events was widespread and I suppose still is, but not something I get myself involved in any more.
The morale of the story is surely not to commit yourself in a night of passion, but only in the cold light of day, when it probably does not carry the same allure.
Apart from the sordid details already provided, all I can remember is the bitterly cold wind, and what an unwelcoming place Eastern Europe was in those days. She held on to me by promising to get one of my books published, though it turned out to be nothing more than a printing she paid for herself that I never made a penny from. The book had an appropriate name though, ICE Ė Intermediate Check your English, supposed to be the first in a series of titles. the rest of which never materialised.