Barry Hutchison and I are doomed. At least photo wise. I press. He blurs. Happily he’s not as doomed as some. Whether this is a former performer or an ex-member of the audience, I’m not sure. But almost anything can happen at ScareFests.
My train travel was a wee bit doomed yesterday. But I suppose there has to be a first time for waiting for a train on the opposite platform. (I blame Liverpool South Parkway. I have rarely seen a more confusing station. Apart from Edgware Road, of course.)
Which will be why when I arrived at Crosby Civic Hall, Tony of Formby Books had taken his performing authors and gone to the pub. This much was clear from what the locked-in technician could tell me. ‘I have no keys. They have gone to the pub.’ Thanks to my Resident IT Consultant Tony’s mobile number was found and the scary authors were found and I was found and so on.
Facebook is such an introducer of perfect strangers, that I almost didn’t say hello properly to Tommy Donbavand. We’ve shaken hands now, so must know each other. And Curtis Jobling I didn’t know at all. He seemed like a perfectly nice looking man until he did this.
As I mentioned earlier, we were fed. Some clowning around was done for the benefit of the photographers. The authors forced chocolate cake down and worried about laptop support for their performances. I admired Philip Caveney’s red Converses. (This thing with grown men wearing cool red shoes has to stop!)
Then it was time to descend to the level of the waiting throngs, where Philip was first to be thrown to the wolves. He survived by reading from his new book The Eye of the Serpent, and if I never hear about crawling beetles in ancient Egyptian tombs again it will be too soon.
Second out was Tommy who cheated by wrapping a member of the audience in toilet paper, assisted by Barry, and terrorising a perfectly good egg. Sorry, this was a nice girl, who was made to act the part of the dragon’s egg. But we had fun. Even the pumpkin had fun. It looked far too happy for a ScareFest.
Last before the interval was Curtis, who was cooked to a crisp by then, having been made to sit more or less right inside the flames on the right of the stage. He’s a jack of all trades who can write books but also draw pretty pictures and does animation. Cool. (Well, he was hot, but you know…) It’s a neat party trick that; being able to draw scarecrows with parsnip noses, not to mention Were-Bob the Were-Builder. Who was raffled for charity. (I’d have liked him. I suppose if I’d bought a ticket I would have stood a small chance.)
In the interval sweets were eaten and books were bought and signed. And people generally thronged. They could only be tempted back by the promise of having won Were-Bob and other goodies. There were prizes for best costume, and that was a hard choice, so it was lucky someone like Tommy got to pick the little cat.
Joseph Delaney set a cracking pace after his ‘rest’, talking about book covers and what he thinks of them. He’s got a lot of book covers, and some of the more foreign ones don’t get anywhere near Preston or Lancaster in looks. Oh well.
Next was Jon Mayhew, who told us what we should ask for when the angels and the devil come calling. And then he read us the prologue to his new book, The Bonehill Curse. (It’s not out yet.) It won’t have a prologue, which will be why Jon read it and then gave it away. Authors!
Last out was Barry who is still scared of squirrels. (So he should be…) There was also the small matter of scary milk cartons and cream eggs. Being a boy at heart, Barry managed to mention both number ones and number twos in his little act. It involved the kitchen sink (ew) and imaginary friends, possibly by the name of Derek. With or without knives. If the book trade runs dry he should have a go at stand-up.
He just about finished on time. The reason I go on about time is that Tony thought it’d be a good thing for me not to disappear on an early pumpkin as I had planned to, but to stay and let Jon drive me (along with Philip and Curtis) to a better railway station to catch a later train.
I didn’t think it’d be possible. Philip was extricated from the proceedings. Then Curtis. No, he had more doodles to do in books. And a suitcase to pack. I found Jon and decided to hold on to him. But the man has little fans. He signed. And doodled. More books.
Now Philip had started signing. And Curtis, asked by Tony, who soon realised the error of his ways. So stop again. Then more fans for Curtis. Suitcase packed. Same fan with booklet for Jon. At this point Philip gave up all hope of ever seeing Stockport again.
It blurs. But eventually we were all squeezed into two-door car. (Ow.) Curtis sat on the windscreen liquid bottle. Nice drive into Liverpool, with lots of book talk. (And yes, I know one shouldn’t get into cars with men one has met on facebook.)
Liverpool has been so re-arranged that to get to the station you find yourself up close to the Catholic Cathedral, where you have no business being when catching trains. And then Jon missed the turning, so we went round again, not going down the one way street the wrong way as suggested by Curtis.
We decanted ourselves from small car. Hands were shaken. Witches were hugged. Philip and I headed into station despite it being five minutes too late by then. I insisted on looking at the departure board anyway, because the Resident IT Consultant has brought me up to do things like that.
Did we catch the train?
Yes, we did. It was late. And I have not done such running for years, is all I can say. Philip ran faster, if only to make sure he didn’t have to spend an extra hour in the pub with a witch.
Curtis? Don’t know what happened to him. He wasn’t going where we went. You win some, you lose some.