(How I overcame tongue-tied nerves and gained a new nick-name)
After my experience in Hay, I was determined not to be tongue-tied this time. I had actual things I was hoping to say.
Delighted that Vikki appeared just as I found the stage door! (She’d just finished work, so seemed silly not to come along) Nice to be able to chat during the long wait in the rain - we both became very bedraggled, having no umbrellas. (to be honest, Vikki was also a delightful sight for my sore eyes for another reason - since she was bearing a working camera: my camera battery was stupidly dead so I’d only got my iphone camera– which has no flash). Others I recall being at the stage door - and whose forum names I know - were Aims - plus her v patient dad - and Jellybean (not sure of others’ names ).
So, there I was - I had a (Hay Festival) canvas bag – but no sharpie; I had a Watsonian notebook; I had a bag of jellybags. I had no umbrella, no proper camera & was sporting the ugliest anorak in the entire universe. I had, however, remembered to put on some eyeliner.
Ok, so eventually Tim came out, all lovely and saying ‘Aww, you guys’ cos there we were, standing in the rain. There were quite a few of us, but not toooo many. Aims’ dad was so indulgent and lovely. (although when the moment came to take the photo, he had real trouble with the camera – I think the flash hadn’t had time to recharge or something. I do hope the photos came out ok, Aims?)
As he joined us, Tim ducked under various umbrellas, one after the other, all held by much shorter female people, so they kept forgetting to hold the umbrella high enough for him, and Tim’s long mane-like hair kept getting caught in umbrella spokes, which he jokingly complained about ( Vikki’s hair also got tangled in a spoke at one point – while having her photo taken with Tim I think). I managed – this time – to operate Vikki’s camera correctly, I think, and (hopefully) got a photo for her ok. (hope you can reassure me on that point, Vikki?)
I can’t really quite remember the order of my attempted banter to engage Tim in something like a normal conversation (determined not to be tongue-tied this time, after Hay embarrassment), but here goes, although not necessarily quite in this order:
I borrowed someone else’s sharpie (huge thank you for that!) and got Tim to sign my Hay Festival canvas bag (although I didn’t get/take the chance to mention that I’d seen him in Hay – he probably didn’t even notice it was a Hay bag – nor did I mention that I had also been a ‘Hi…Bye’ tongue-tied idiot then – but why would I want to remind him of that!)
I did, however, remind him that it had been me, @Joneshs, who had recently tweeted him the link to the ‘mr whippy fallacy’ 21st floor blog featuring a critique of Peter Hichens’ bizarre observations on anti-depressants and serial killers. Thankfully, he remembered it. I then tried to reference the latin name for that causal correlation fallacy (which he quoted in the Hay show, but which I can never remember), mentioning along the way that my son had studied Philosophy A level, but that the latin name ‘was all greek to me’ – and then, catching his eye, did the old ‘did you see what I did there?’ comment. He laughed and made some quip in reply, which (sadly) I can’t recall (but I do recall that I could see the cogs of his mind whirring at that point, which was fun)
I then offered him a Jellybaby (‘don’t know if you like these, but would you like a jellybaby?’. He initially responded 'I love jelly babies' but then went on to ask me, slightly suspiciously, 'you haven't poisoned them, have you?' (I hadn’t, and fortunately he was trusting enough to believe me) He took a couple – and later came back and grabbed quite a few more, saying he was really hungry.
Ok, so what else? Oh yes, I asked him, as a favour, to sign the booklet accompanying the ipod for the Mark Watson TYSIC ipod challenge. (I’d only just met up with some other Watsonians earlier that evening and received the ipod & booklet for my leg of its journey around the country) It was hard to explain this to him when I didn’t want to monopolise his time too much –I just mentioned his friend Mark Watson and gave the briefest gist of what was going on, although I’m pretty sure he didn’t really get it. ‘Ok, so what do I need to do? ‘ he asked ‘ Just sign the booklet, really’; - so he did – a nice wee autograph, which is great – I do hope the eventual recipient appreciates this addition! (In hindsight, I suppose I should have asked him for a recommendation of a music track really - something he likes to listen to. Oh well – will just stick with my original plan to include a Minchin track as my addition to the ipod – not sure which song yet)
At one point, a bloke who was a drummer put a note of his contact details into Tim’s hand, offering his services, any services– if he should ever happen to need a drummer …(at which point Vikki pipes up, offering to do Tim’s lighting – go girl!: between us all we could probably source and service every aspect of his forthcoming tour, I’m sure – although I couldn’t think, at the time, of a single thing I could offer to do..) ‘So, are you a good drummer? An ace drummer…?’ asks Tim – but bless him the bloke wasn’t arrogant or self-confident enough to say an up-front ‘Yes’ to that .
Oh, just remembered, at one point, seeing other people getting hugs (including the drummer), I was brazen enough to outright ask ‘Can I have a hug?’ And of course I got one, bless him (probably not too pleasant for him, cos my anorak was soaking wet; and, to be honest, lovely as it was, I didn’t get quite as much of a thrill from it myself, as I had from my hand-round-waist cuddle at Hay, cos there were just so many layers of wet-weather gear this time!)
Also, a bit later, after other people had had lots of photos, I suddenly realised I hadn’t had my photo taken with him at all this time. SO, again I was brazen – but polite of course – and asked if I could also have a photo too. ‘Aw, Jonesy’ he said (YAY for getting a nickname from Tim!)
As he put his arm round me for the photo (taken by Vikki on her camera – what a star she is!), I expanded on the reason for my request for a photo: ‘I haven’t had my wet photo yet’
‘A Woto’ he quipped.
SO, that was about it. I did ask if he’d like to keep the whole bag of jelly babies and he was obviously tempted, but In the end he said ‘No, I’d only eat them all’ So now I’m eating them. Ah well, I’ll be the fat one and he can stay skinny, I don’t mind.
So there you have it: lots of happy memories.BUT do you know the one important thing I forgot to do: I bloody well forgot to tell him how fantastic his performance had been that night (I guess we all assume he knows that we love what he does - and that it’s been amazing - hence the standing in the rain - but it wouldn't hurt to tell the fella!) Am kicking myself.
It was so hard to leave while he was still there, with a few other patient people at last getting their turn, but Vikki and I pulled ourselves away and off we went in the rain, in search of a way home (so glad I made the last tube and didn’t have to resort to night buses!)
But as we walked away, glancing back at Tim with the others still around him, I couldn’t help wish I could just linger till the very last moment when he himself would have to say goodbye and head for home…