|Piles upon piles of Phobophobia, just waiting to be scrawled in by eager hands.|
I'd not been in London for a while, and the last time I'd been there I'd been pretty miserable, for one reason or another. Luckily, this time London was good to me and I ended up enjoying myself. This was in part due to my best chum (and former London native) Hayley McPhun (who also took all the pics in this post) meeting me and making sure we got where we needed to go, and also thanks to all the other authors who were really nice and welcoming. But who WERE the other authors, Wayne? Shut up, and I'll tell you! But first, let me tell you about how we dealt with a really friendly ticket guy at Kings Cross who told us I was the fourth reverend he'd met in an hour! There was a problem with our tickets, and when he called us back over he shouted "Reverend!". It was ACE. But anyway:
Dean M. Drinkel, G. R. Yeates, Jonathan Green, S. L. Schmitz, Barbie Wilde and Adrian Chamberlin were those other authors, with me caught in the middle like the world's strangest sandwich. Happy now? Yeah, thought you would be.
|The floodgates open!|
We were sequestered on the bottom floor with all the BOOKS. Good lord, so many books! There was even a section for 'Alternate History'. Amazing! Anyway, the signing started at 5pm and lasted about an hour and a half, in which time I got to sign 15 books! I'm afraid to admit I wasn't really sure what to write, as everyone had their own little messages or things to put alongside their name, but when I told a lady called Liz that she was the sixth person I had ever signed a book for (sorry Mum, but you don't count) Jon suggested I make that relate to what I signed, as it'd be cool to get to the point when I could know for a fact if a person was my 1000th - so I did! I started putting "You're my X victim!" with the X being whichever number. Later, at the book launch at the Mug House pub, I signed a few more books so now the next person I sign anything for will be my 22nd victim!
|My chum Andy Peat turned up! I was suitably pleased.|
|Here I am, trying not to wet myself with awestruck glee.|
Barbie was in Hellraiser 2 as the female cenobite, so there's the link to Mr. Bradley (I couldn't call him Doug, it felt weird haha). He picked up a copy of Phobophobia and we all signed it for him! Incredible! I put 'It is an honour to make you my 9th victim!', which may well puzzle him for many years to come hahaha. I tried to inconspicuously mouth who he was to Hayley, as she doesn't like horror and didn't know who he was. When I managed to tell her, she passed on the info to my friend Andy as "He's that nail head guy". Brilliant.
I can't repeat enough how amazing the night was, and how much fun I had. At the risk of sounding corny and maybe pretentious, it was the first time I've ever felt like I truly belonged somewhere, but not in a tangible, easily describable way. It simply felt right. I have never been around, not only other authors, but members of the public who have a genuine interest in what I do.
|Not snapped by Hayley, because she was too busy guarding my pint haha|
The night ended in The Mug House pub on Tooley Street, and the only downer on the whole night was the discovery that London pubs have last orders before 11pm. Shocking. If I'd have known that I would have hit the booze like Oliver Reed. Or not, because I am a responsible adult ;) I got chatting to a few random writers and they were all really nice and friendly too. I repeat: I can never get bored of talking about my writing to complete strangers. Never.
Afterwards, me and Hayley wandered back to a little hotel/hostel on Caledonian Road called The Castle, that was much nicer than we expected, despite the fact you had to slam the door to make sure your room was locked. In the morning - after I lost sight of Hayley in Kings Cross station for a few terrifying minutes - we had time to wander around the Barbican and take it easy for a couple of hours, and it was just a really nice time (although I was surprised by just how grey the Barbican 'village' is). We ended up back in Scunthorpe late Saturday afternoon, and spent the rest of the weekend chilling out and trying to ignore how anti-climatic being back in Scunny is. I did wish I'd booked an extra night in London, or even a few nights, so as to have a proper time of it, but with any luck the Phobophobia signing was but the first of many, and hopefully it won't be 5 or 6 years before I'm next in the Big Smoke.