I suppose the tiny pixie-like creature with the green, painted face, curling up in a basket on the floor near Eoin Colfer at his book signing, should have made it obvious it was only a dream. The same goes for Eoin’s pixie green shirt and long, wild hair; not to mention that his face was wrong. After all, we were clearly in the wrong book. And Another Thing is Hitchhiker-land, not Artemis country.
I forgot to bring my book to the signing, so I decided to take pictures instead. That’s when I realised I had no camera with me either. So, very lucky indeed that it was only a dream. The staff at John Lewis were very friendly, even giving me a cream bun to eat, but I felt the shop’s hologram fire doors were not quite right. Still just a dream. But it was a nice touch to video-film every fan sitting next to Eoin, except for his slightly off-putting grin.
So, the real signing was in Waterstones, Deansgate, where the witch snuck in, to case the joint shortly before Eoin turned up. They had a cleverly hidden queue behind some shelves, but it didn’t extend into the street. I took up shooting position to catch Eoin to start with, except he discovered me and waved. Then I joined the fans behind the shelves for my five minutes of fan behaviour for the day. He almost remembered that I’m the one without an e. Might be the school teacher in him.
At the Contact Theatre last night we learnt that Douglas Adams’s brother quite liked Eoin, except he’s too short and too prompt. Meaning that Eoin doesn’t engage in the kind of procrastination Douglas used to. And Eoin’s short. Shorter than Douglas, at least. He wrote And Another Thing in six months, partly because he writes fast and partly because the publishers were in a hurry to get the book out for the 30th anniversary of the original Hitchhiker. Eoin described his first impression of Douglas Adams’s book as ‘Monty Python meets Pink Floyd, in space’.
We were treated to another stand-up performance from Eoin, who claims he can only be funny because he doesn’t have to do it all the time. He explained how he wrote this sixth book about someone who has spent the first five wanting a cup of tea, which as Eoin rightly pointed out, is a fairly thin plot. It was relatively easy building a story around characters he already knew well, but he totally ignored Douglas’s notes, not wanting to ‘mess up Douglas’s plot’.
He won’t want to write any more Hitchhiker books, since he feels he’s an interloper in this world, although thinks the job could be passed round a few other writers. We learned that he has already arranged with Morris Gleitzman that they will finish each other’s books ‘if the plane goes down’. Right now Eoin is happy to be back writing Artemis Fowl, and he’s supposed to be done by Christmas, though there has been a slight set-back over a fairy brain disease called the Atlantis Complex, which is too complex to explain here.
The man is obsessed with Kate Bush. He does have other obsessions, but keeps coming back to her. He likes Apple computers, Zaphod is his favourite in Hitchhiker, he joined a group on Facebook to protest against himself writing the sixth Hitchhiker book – which made him feel a lot better – and he became an author simply because he had no friends when he was young. Oh, and he thinks the number 43 is far funnier.
This was a nicely mixed family entertainment kind of event, with many ‘old’ Hitchhiker fans turning up with their questions, and Eoin came face-to-face with Charlie, his interviewer in Cheltenham a year ago. As Daughter and the witch sat sipping very reasonably priced cokes afterwards, Eoin came up and inquired whether we had managed to get any decent photographs. That will be as opposed to the photographer he told us about, I should think.
Well, did we?
(All good photos by H Giles)