Friday, May 15, 2009

Templars, Titters and Thieves - The week in pictures

It's been an eventful week. I've had to speak publicly every day, sometimes twice, but I've met some splendid people along the way. And some MPs.

It all began with an invite to watch the first episode of the new series of QI being filmed. Great fun. The guests were Sean Lock, Sandi Toksvig and Bill Bailey who it was wonderful to meet at last. As an unexpected bonus, I also got to meet John Hodgman, regular 'resident expert' on Jon Stewart's Daily Show in the USA and also the voice of Dad in the new animated film Coraline. We got on very well. I got on too with Neil Gaiman and Derren Brown who were invited guests like me. Neil was proudly wearing his Blue Peter badge but I quickly deflated his ego by pointing out that I had a gold Blue Peter badge myself. Oh yes. Fantastic. Derren Brown and I spoke for only a few minutes ... but I woke up at 3am believing that I was a duck.

Tuesday and Wedneaday saw me at Chelsea Football Club for a two day conference on building safer communities. Again, I was a guest speaker and my audience numbered over 100. To everyone's surprise, both the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister turned up to support the event and I had a brief opportunity to chat to both. Being of a Twittering persuasion, I did tweet the message 'I am in the same room as Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith' to my 800-odd followers. The first reply I got back said simply 'Have you got a clear shot ...'

On Thursday I spoke at Lambeth to 80 people and then, in the evening, did my first ever 'professional' gig as an after dinner speaker. It was at a rather posh golfing fundraiser for the National Society for Epilepsy at the Sandy Lodge club in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. It was a fine event with great food, a guy who did trick shots with golf balls, a lucrative auction and raffle and my speech seemed to go down well. As did the many bottles of excellent wine. I'm just glad I wasn't expected to bid on anything as there was a lot of cash flying around. Good news for the NSE though.
To round off a busy week, this morning I did a talk at Scotland Yard followed by lunch with best mate Huw during which he showed me the rough cut of the new anti-gun crime advert he recently wrote and filmed. It stars the great Samuel L Jackson. It's very powerful and will doubtless win awards just as Huw's last anti-gun crime ad did (see here). Then, this evening, I travelled to South London and to Sir John Soane's elegant Dulwich Picture Gallery for the launch of my good friend Sarwat Chadda's first book - Devil's Kiss. It's going to be huge I know it.
Talking of huge, we were entertained as we nibbled and drank (and Sarwat signed) by the tubbiest band of Knights Templar I've ever seen. But they were fun, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and their outfits were pretty realistic. The chain mail, for instance, was all hand-made and one portly chap was wearing over two stones worth in weight.
Also huge, bless her, is Lisa, my mate James Murphy's seven month pregnant missus. Great to see all three of them. James's art gallery is here.
Good too to meet Joel Meadows of Tripwire magazine and this chap - Jon Mayhew. I first met him via blogging (here's his) and latterly on Twitter. Tonight was the first time we'd met in 'meatspace' and what a splendid chap he is. He's just signed a three book deal with Bloomsbury so expect to hear more of him and his supernatural thriller Mortlake series later this year ...
But finally, here's the man of the moment himself - Mr Sarwat Chadda. I've known him for more then ten years now and he's living proof that if you work hard, hone your craft and never give up you will succeed. Some people are already saying that Devil's Kiss has the potential to launch a new post-Potter children's fiction franchise. If that's true it couldn't happen to a nicer chap.
And I have my signed copy.


PurestGreen said...

Great post, Stevyn. I love how you met some splendid people...and some mps. The photos are grand - I love Bill Bailey!

SweetPeaSurry said...

ohhh sounds like you've had a perfectly lovely time!!! I'm looking forward to Devil's Kiss, I'm all about children's franchise books as I'm a HUGE fan of HP. he he he!


David Turner said...

Slebs... Fine... Prime Minister... Okay... Book Launches... Lovely... The big question here is how did you get a GOLD Blue Peter badge?

You can't just slip that in and not explain! As the actress said to the Bishop.

I'll get my coat.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Greeny, Surry - Yes, I am very lucky to meet these people. And I'm already halfway through 'Devil's Kiss' and it really is up to the hype.

David - The whole shameful story is told here!