Me and John before the pints got into double figures.
Dan Kieran arrives just in time to avoid any heavy lifting. Or, indeed, work of any kind.
Tom has a shouting match with Thor.
Soon, the Green was packed to bursting. And everything that had been hoped for came to be. People who normally didn't speak to each other - even though they worked in adjoining buildings - chatted happily. Celebrity and community mucked in together. I spoke to Sean Hughes and David Quantick, Tom's mum Liz (herself a hugely successful writer), a guy from a pizza place, a tube driver and the lovely Claire Broughton, Jimmy Mulville's PA at Hat Trick. My good friend Huw Williams turned up and immediately found himself discussing dog ownership with a lady who owns the offspring of a Cruft's champion. Like the African waterhole, everyone was an equal; all bound together by pork and beer and good spirits. Fantastic. The books quickly disappeared from the sales table and good thing too as the threatened rain came down suddenly and violently. But did the downpour quench our spirits? Hell no. A mediaeval band donned their sackbutts and gitterns and serenaded our gluttony. And a troop of increasingly moist mummers and singers acted out a variety of plays and dances.
The mediaeval band arrives. Tom meets them in ye olde moshe pitte.
I had to leave earlier than I'd have liked but I do live some way out from London and I didn't have the luxury of a London apartment or a nice hotel room. But I came away feeling slightly squiffy and enormously gratified to have been part of something like this.
Chasing ye dragon.
This is surely how book signings should be. This is the kind of event that brings people together and creates community spirit. All you need is some food, some drink and a welcoming handshake and the world becomes a better place.
This, it seems, is the Idle way. I rather like it.
All photographs (c) me.