Denis Lawson is making his second-ever appearance at a collector's fair at the end of May - Sun 26th.
He'll be at Collectormania19 in Milton Keynes. I couldn't get to his first event, in London 18 months ago, but I'm going to this one !
It's one of those events with lots of guests where you pay for autographs, but I've decided that it's worth it. I've booked in for a professional photoshoot with Denis (Â£20), and plan on getting something signed, though I can't decided whether to choose a theatre program or a Star Wars novel, probably Starfighters of Adumar.
Note to self: lose weight, get hair done, buy love potion...
It was the big day, today ! I met Denis Lawson at Collectormania 19
I arrived about an hour after the show opened and collected my Virtual Queue ticket for Denis. Rather than having people wait in long queues for hours at a time, you show up and get given a numbered ticket . Tickets numbers are called in batches of around forty at a time, so instead of waiting in one place for an hour or more, you can wander around the show, and see other guests, until the batch including your number is called. Then you just join a shorter queue for your guest, (any number up to the highest called can join the actual queue, so it doesn't matter if you miss the specific slot)
Denis was being charming and happily posing for photos at the table. When it was my turn, I shook hands with him first, then put out the things I'd brought. I gave him a copy of Silver Express, the western I wrote that featured Wedge, Tycho, Hobbie and Wes as lawmen in the wild west. I explained that I'd named the sheriff Lawson, after Denis, and said that the character was based on Wedge. I said that Wedge was a much more developed character in the books than the films. I'd signed the book to Denis, and he seemed rather flattered that I'd named a character after him. (I should have pointed out that I'd made the character Scottish, too). He said he'd read it, and I hope he does.
Denis then signed a chubby little soft toy X-wing I have, which I brought as my token Star Wars item. He was pleased when I asked him to sign my programme for 'La Cage Aux Folles', which he appeared in. I told him I'd really enjoyed the show, and he was even more impressed when I told him I'd seen 'Lust' - a musical he'd starred in in 1993 - and saw it 4 times.
The last item was a calendar I'd had printed for 2012, with each month being a different picture of Denis. As I'd suspected, he couldn't resist flipping through it to see what pictures were in it. He laughed a bit when he saw the pic of himself, half-naked in bed in 'Local Hero'. I told him he could sign that one if he liked, but he signed the cover. He must have been impressed though, because as well as the dedication and personalization, he added two X's under his name
A couple of hours later, it was time for the photoshoot - a professional photo taken with a guest. I made sure I had my face on and my hair was OK. Everyone, Denis and the staff, were really nice. I stood next to Denis, who put his arm round me, and the photo was taken. They are printed out immediately, in really good quality. At the first attempt, I had my eyes closed, so I was sent back again. So I got to stand with Denis again. He held my hand and put his other arm round me, so I was really nestled against him - it was lovely
The photographer checked the second shot before printing, which was also a failure. I didn't mind too much - I got to go on standing next to Denis ! I also remembered to ask a question about whether it is him tap dancing on the soundtrack of 'Pal Joey' (it is). The photographer snapped a couple more pics. I had to let go of Denis, sadly, and thanked him.
The last two photos were printed out and I was given both - though I'd only paid for one. Denis looks good in both, but this is the better one of me.
It wasn't a cheap day - it's one of those events where you pay per autograph - but I figured it was worth it just to meet Denis once and let him know how much I've enjoyed his work through the years.
I expect sweet dreams tonight.