How did you spend your Saturday afternoon? Hmm? I spent mine doing something which might well be perceived as rather odd.
As one of my favourite writers was doing a signing in London, I joined the queue (outside in the cold – well, fairly cold), and waited there for the best part of three hours, listening to podcasts on my music player (if you’re curious, they were Adam and Joe’s BBC6 show, the Word magazine podcast , and Russell Brand’s Radio 2 show ), and shuffling forward pretty slowly.
The queue snaked round the outside of the shop, and as if I was at a theme park queuing for a ride, I was never quite sure how close I was to the front of the queue, or if indeed there might be more stairs or corridor waiting round the next corner. But I was in the queue, and I was there for a reason, so I turned up my collar and tried to ignore the cold.
Eventually, the time came, and I was at the front of the queue (and in the warm by then). The immensely talented writer said hello, and I said hello back, and then said that I didn’t want anything signed, but had something for him. He looked vaguely bemused, but as I handed over the gift to him and he realised what it was, he smiled. I said a few words about what it was, and why I thought he’d like it, and he nodded in agreement and looked at it, and we chatted briefly, and I said it was just by way of a thank you for the enjoyment I’d had from his work over the years. He thanked me, and said that it was a very thoughtful thing to do.
I extended my hand (now back to normal temperature, thankfully) and he shook it, and he grinned broadly (and I rather suspect I did the same) and said bye.
It might seem rather unusual to attend a signing and queue for a long time but not get anything signed, but I have to say that the grin on his face, and the way he seemed genuinely surprised that someone should give him something (rather than wanting from him, which I guess is the usual way at signings or personal appearances), made it completely and utterly worthwhile.
And if nothing else, it’s good karma; should I ever find myself in a position where people queue to have me sign something I’ve written, maybe someone will bring along a cup of tea or some choccy biccies for me.
Or – even better – both.