Monday, 6 February 2012

Prestatyn: The Night of the Living Teddy Bears

Jon Weir, aged 11 and a half, meets his hero.
I love working with actors, especially actors like Sylvester McCoy. Partly it's their exuberance, their joie de vivre but mostly it's because I really have to do very little in the way of work except point them at the audience and let them go. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Arrived to find that SFX Magazine had learnt some lessons from last year's SFX Weekender at Camber Sands the first of which was not to hold the event at Camber Sands. Pontin's Prestatyn camp was better maintained, closer to the actual town and definitely cleaner. It was also much more compact which meant that despite being, once again, housed as far away from the main area as humanly possible without being actually in a different camp - it wasn't the morale sapping slog it was last year. My chalet had  bed, a shower that worked and adequate heating - I don't really ask for much more in accommodation so I was happy.

 I'd come up on the Thursday night because I was due to compère a Q&A session with Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred. After gleefully joining the short queue to sign in I spent a pleasant evening meeting authors and fans in the pub while periodically being harangued by Lavie Tidhar for shaving off my beard (he seemed to take it as a personal affront).

If he starts playing the banjo I'm out of here.

The next morning I awoke and conducting the ritual of the drinking of the coffee prior to the salutation of the sun - it was a cold clear morning - and after a moment to ponder the mystery that is sentance punctuation I went forth. Jon Weir and I strolled into Prestatyn and stopped at the first promising looking cafe we found. Here amongst chintz and teddy bears I had sausage egg and chips.

Something about the decor spooked Jon who felt we had dropped into a North Wales remake of Deliverance and that we were about to be killed and eaten by the cafe proprietors. Fortunately we escaped and stuffed with breakfast and intimidated by the cold weather we grabbed a taxi home.

We got back only to find that the train service had been disrupted and we might be experiencing a serious Sylv and Sophie shortage (a terrible thing I can tell you). In the end Sylv arrived to put me out of my misery but Sophie couldn't get there in time. Now I'm a writer, a profession I chose in part because it doesn't involve addressing vast halls full of expectant fans - I had questions I'd prepared earlier and now inexplicably couldn't remember. Sylvester, sensing that he wasn't going to get alot of help from me, seized a radio mike and leapt of the stage and into the audience. I then got to spend a fun half an hour watching him bounce around the hall like a teddy bear while holding a delighted audience in the palm of his hand.

Actors - god bless em and all of us who write for them.

1 comment:

ABrazier said...

Is the audiobook of Whispers Underground being released on the same date as the book is published? Also, is the estimable Mr.Holdbrook-Smith going to be narrating it? : )