I will ask that question, since Raed has always been somewhere else. But Salam Pax will be here - promoting the book of his famous blog, doing the world book tour thing. It has been chosen as our paper's Big Book Club feature for May.
I have been sitting up in bed with jet lag and the book. I have, of course, made periodic visits to the blog over the years - and it is a strange thing but blogs seem better to me in blog form. As a book it is bitsy and somehow cold and distant. Perhaps one of potentcies of blogs is the sense that they are alive and shared online, that others are reading them at the same time as oneself. That they are part of the great connectivity. That we online readers constitute some sort of community and that there is an immediacy and intimacy in blog communications.
But even though I have written innumerable column recommendations of various blogs and even an extensive magazine feature on the world of blogging, I find a world out there which has never heard the word "blog". So putting the Pax blog into print form will cerrtainly broaden awareness among those whose online reach extends no further than email.
The Pax assignment was my greeting back to work on Thursday - when I arrived in the office straight from the epic flight from Boston. It was a good trip as such world crossings go. My frequent flyer points had earned me an upgrade to Business - and it divine to be able to extend the legs, not to mention have power for the laptop, which is not available in the cheap seats.
Pax, the publicist tells me, is having a far more difficult and epic journey from Baghdad. Many days and a circuitous route. He arrives in Sydney on Monday and on Tuesday faces a non-stop barrage of media interviews, mine among them. Poor bastard. But I get a second, more leisurely, slice of his cake when he comes to Adelaide for the Book Club and I conduct a live interview in front of an audience.