Katy rang me up Monday evening. "James Herbert is doing a signing in London tomorrow! We have to go!"
Now I've never read James Herbert but Katy is a huge fan so I said, fine, we'll go.
Only problem was I wasn't sure if I could get into London in time for the signing so I thought it might be better if Katy met me at the signing rather than at Holborn as she originally suggested. But Katy didn't know how to get to Borders where the signing was being held. So, as is the tradition in these cases, I gave her a needlessly complicated set of directions which would probably result in her ending up in the furthest reaches of Outer Mongolia.
Fortunately not only did I manage to catch a train as soon as I entered the station I also caught the fast train which shaves twenty minutes off the journey. Consequently I phoned Katy and told her I could meet her at Holborn after all. Even better since I was now arriving early I had time to pop into Forbidden Planet and peruse the comics.
As I entered the shop I spotted Paul Kane and Marie O'Regan. Turned out they were down in London to visit Marie's son. As we chatted I mentioned the James Herbert signing and their faces fell. "We think it's been cancelled. We were supposed to be interviewing him today and he cancelled due to illness. So presumably the signing is off too."
It was too late to phone Katy and tell her not to bother making the journey so I set off to Holborn to meet her.
When she arrived I told her the bad news and then stepped out of range. Fortunately she was in stoic mode. "Well, the shop's only round the corner. We'll have a look, see if it is still on."
We got to Borders and searched for posters indicating whether the event was still going ahead. There were none to be seen.
Finally we spotted a poster. JAMES HERBERT SIGNING. We breathed sighs of relief.
And then the man standing in front of the poster moved to one side, revealing the rest of the text. HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
So we went down the pub instead.
A few days later I went to an interview with Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie. The interview was being conducted by comedian Stewart Lee. I was particularly keen to go as I had ordered tickets for Moore's previous interview with Lee two years ago only for the tickets to arrive two days after the interview took place.
This time I was picking my ticket up on the door. Although given my previous experience and the James Herbert cancellation I was a tad apprehensive. Fortunately the ticket was there this time.
The interview was a witty, intelligent affair followed by perceptive questions from the audience. Even better there was a signing. The queue stretched halfway across London but I decided to persevere. I might never have this chance again. Melinda signed a Cobweb strip for me and I asked Mr Moore to sign a Swamp Thing graphic novel. I then sheepishly mentioned my British Fantasy Award and gave him a copy of Mask.
I headed home, reading and rereading the autographs on my comics. It wasn't until got into bed that I realised that not once in the entire journey home had my feet touched the ground.