Meeting the Man on the Moon
I have just attended only my second ever book signing event. Possibly a bit surprisingly given the number of other signing events I go to but book signings are often midweek, during the day and just not possible for me to get to most of the time. I say second but I’m not really counting the time Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden put a book out and I got that signed as I was really getting the album signed, the book was a silly extra and really not very good.
The first proper one I did was in 2014 for Gillian Anderson which was a fun event with friends and I wrote about that in the article A Vision of Fire. So whose appearance dragged me out to one this time? Someone who has had a big influence on me and my interests, the second man to walk on the moon, Apollo 11 and Gemini 12 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Now I hope the title of this post makes a bit of sense.
Whether you believe they did really walk on the moon or not, and I was told there was at least one person in the queue who believed it was all a hoax, I’ve had a life long interest in space exploration thanks in part to what these men did.
For various reasons I’ve either missed his attendances at other signing events or been unable to afford to meet him as he does charge a lot and I had resigned myself to probably not meeting him now due to this and his age but late Friday night someone I know posted on Facebook that they had met him at a book signing in Bath. What? Was he doing more?
I’ve been a bit out of touch due to recent travelling but the answer to that was yes, he was signing at Waterstones in Piccadilly, London the next day at 12pm. Being a Saturday I could get there but what time to get there? Was it even worth trying? He was only signing his new book, which may or may not be any good, not dedicating and there would be no chance of a photo with him and how many people would turn up? Always the unknown quantity with these things. But it’s Buzz and a chance I didn’t think I’d get so I hit the internet to check details and look up train times, set my alarm for 6:45am though not much sleep happened, hoping that getting the 7:30am train would be early enough.
I’m quite used to meeting people from TV shows and films now as I’ve been doing signing events and conventions for thirteen years and I would go to record store signings before that so I’ve become used to treating them as interesting people and there aren’t too many I get really excited or nervous about meeting anymore, but as I sat on the train heading into London I got worried I’d left it too late. He’s a real life legend, did something that no-one had done before, would people be queuing overnight? How many would he be signing for? As I sat there, someone I know tweeted that they were there already, some messaging then ensued and he told me he was about 30th in the queue and had heard they had about 400 books. So even if everyone bought two (the maximum), that would be 200 people. Ok, that sounded good as I was well on my way.
With no train delays or problems on the underground I got there at around 8:15am, not too much further back in the queue and when they eventually came round with numbered tickets I was 53. Worry gave way to relief, I was definitely going to meet him and now I could get excited or nervous, or both.
The time passed pretty quickly, I got talking to a few people and explained how much Buzz normally charges for autographs which shocked them as they weren’t aware of the previous signing events he had done in the UK. Then at around 10:30am we were let in a few at a time to buy the book, only to be sent back outside to queue again, ending up where we started before later being moved into the basement area where the signing was due to take place. The Gillian Anderson signing took place upstairs in the same shop among the shelves of books but this one was in a side room cut off from the main public areas, a much better arrangement in my opinion.
We were shuffled into place, excitement building and then Buzz eventually arrived about 12:20, the press got their photos and the queue started to move, quickly but without being too rushed and very soon it was my turn. Standing in front of him all I was able to say was how much what he had done had inspired an interest in me, he thanked me, signed my books (got one for my brother too), I got some nice photos of him doing so and I was moved on.
A brief but very pleasant meet although I did get nervous which was a surprise but I’m thrilled and excited to have finally met him, especially as I was beginning to think that the chance had passed me by. An amazing and exceptional person who has done things very few people have done, a real honour and this is what I got.
Massive thanks to the person who posted the photos for giving me the heads up on this.