I'm SO sorry it's been so long since my last update - what can I say, in the words of John Lennon, 'life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans'. Reading my last post again, I was blissfully unaware of what was going to happen - I could never have predicted it in a million years, but it just goes to show that you must NEVER stop believing, and don't take any notice of anyone who tells you not to follow your dreams, because you never know what's coming next...!
I'd better do this in chronological order, so I'll start with London and 'Much Ado'. The big day finally dawned, and I was off into Oxford at the crack of sparrows to pick up the coach. That all went according to plan, and I was in London by 10:30. I hadn't been there for years, and certainly never on my own before. I've always really liked London - now I've experienced the coach journey, I'm hoping to go more often.
I met Katherine at 10:30, and she'd planned a whole day of sight-seeing before the performance started at 14:30, so I had a fantastic time seeing all the places I either hadn't seen for years or not at all. I would have loved to have gone on the London Eye too, but sadly we didn't have time during this trip. I'm not sure if I have a favourite landmark, but I've always liked Big Ben and Trafalgar Square.
After lunch (not that I was able to eat very much), it was finally time to head over to Wyndham's. The nerves had really kicked in by this point, but I felt better when we met up with my lovely tweeps, Jill, Wend, Lisa, Wendy and Linda outside. When we finally got to our seats, we couldn't believe how close we were - row D might as well have been the front row!
And as for the play, well, what can I say?! It was absolutely brilliant! I held my breath waiting for David to make his entrance, and then we heard the golf buggy horn and he came careering onto the stage - I think everyone was cheering! There had been some disquiet in the press about the change of setting to 1980s Gibraltar, but I thought it worked really well. I particularly liked the used of 80s music - all the songs on the soundtrack sounded slightly similar to well-known songs of the time, the best one of course being 'Sigh No More' (especially the version that David and Catherine sing). David's performance was incredible, as I knew he would be - the gulling scene was by far my favourite - I've never heard an audience laugh so much, and I'll never forget the sight of him in that Superman t-shirt, denim shorts, and covered in white paint, as long as I live! Catherine was hilarious, but my only criticism would be that she didn't really convey the inner sadness of Beatrice's character - like Chandler in 'Friends', she used her quick wit to keep people at a distance, because she had no family of her own. I was quite surprised that the most serious scenes were all played for laughs, in particular where Don Pedro asks Beatrice if she will accept him as a husband - I didn't agree with it being played for laughs, but then it all depends on the director's vision for the production.
After three curtain calls (and every single one getting a standing ovation), we dashed outside as fast as we could to the stage door. As I'd expected, the crowd was at least eight deep by the time we got there, so there was no chance of getting near enough to speak to David. I managed to get some photos by just putting my camera arm in the air and pressing the shutter repeatedly, but none of them are really good enough to post here. It was nice to hear David chatting with the people who were near enough, though - everyone was saying how much they'd enjoyed the play, and he was thanking them and being his usual sweet, polite self.
With thanks to Katherine, here's a photo of me and some of my Twitter ladies:
|(L-R: me, Wend, Lisa, Wendy C, Jill, Linda)|
Even though I wasn't expecting to be able to speak to David, I couldn't help feeling deflated as I went home. Little did I know what was going to happen next...
02 September - David was doing another co-hosting slot with Christian O'Connell on his Absolute Radio Breakfast Show, and luckily I was on a fortnight's holiday, so I could listen to the whole show for a change! One of the OC's regular features is the Concierge Service, where listeners can ask to be phoned at a certain time and reminded to do something important. This time, he announced that David would be doing it, so I decided to have a go, never expecting in a million years that anything would come of it. Initially I asked if he'd wish me a happy birthday for the 4th, but since I was going to one of my semi-regular osteopath appointments that morning, I asked if he'd remind me to set off in time. I asked for him to call me at 08:25, and waited very nervously as the time drew nearer...
When it got to 08:40, I was sure that they'd decided to pick someone else, but suddenly the OC said that they were about to call someone that they should have called fifteen minutes earlier. I was still convinced that it couldn't possibly be me - and then, the phone began to ring...
I was having such terrible palpitations by this point, it was all I could to do switch off my radio and pick up the phone - and then, I heard that sweet Scottish voice that I've listened to for so many years say, 'Hello, is that Zoe Brown...?'
I won't write out a transcript, but if anyone does want to hear it, the link is here:
To cut a long story short, I just about managed to hold it together long enough to have a coherent conversation with him, and it was just wonderful - he was so lovely and kind, and was genuinely concerned that I had to see an osteopath in the first place, bless him! I don't think I've ever heard my name mentioned so many times in the space of a few minutes, either - I'd always wondered what my name would sound like if he said it, and at last I found out!
It really was the best birthday present I've ever had - they only called three people during the show (including Wendy C!), and they must have had thousands of requests - I still can't believe they picked me, even now!
Of course, the best was still to come - but I had no idea at the time...
The next day, I went to see 'Fright Night' - I'd told David that I was going, and I was determined to see it as many times as I could during my holiday, as I wanted to try and help bump up the takings as much as I could. Considering the disappointing reviews it had received, I thought it was a really good film - I admit that I probably wouldn't have seen it if it hadn't been for David, as I'm not really a horror fan, but it was more comedic than I was expecting. I thought Anton Yelchin and Christopher Mintz-Plasse were really good, but I did keep looking at my watch, waiting for Peter Vincent to arrive. When he did, he certainly didn't disappoint...
I know I'm biased, but David really was the best character in the entire movie, and worth the price of admission alone - Peter Vincent was a brilliant character, who could have easily become a caricature, but thanks to David's amazing acting skill, we were able to see that he was a tortured soul with a tragic past, who found redemption by helping Charley Brewster to defeat Jerry, the vampire-next-door. I'm still hoping that there could one day be a sequel, or even a prequel, as Peter's backstory deserves to be explored further.
One thing I will get on my soapbox about - if I had £1 for every time I read a review saying that David was trying to be like Russell Brand, I would have been a millionaire by now! He was NOTHING like him at all - I agree, he did have a passing resemblance to him in the stage costume, but he only wore it for about five minutes in total, and he certainly didn't act like him or sound like him! I think Russell seems to have cornered the market in men who have long dark hair, beards, and wear very tight trousers...
Anyway, after the phone call, I obviously still hoped that one day I could meet David in person, but I never thought it would happen - how wrong I was...
It was announced that David would be making his first convention appearance at the Entertainment Media Show (EMS) at Earls Court in London on 02 October - as it was a Sunday, I wasn't sure I could get there and back when I had to go to work the next day, but when Jill offered to give me a lift from Oxford (thank you thank you thank you again!), I knew I had to go, in case I never got the chance again, so I booked my photo shoot and decided to queue for an autograph on the day.
Again, I had serious palpitations for the whole day beforehand - on the Sunday, I woke up at 04:30 and couldn't get back to sleep! I was in Oxford at 08:00 and Jill and Gail picked me up at 09:00 - we were at Earls Court just after 10:00. Even though I'd seen David in person in two plays already, I'd never seen him close-up before, and when we first saw him walk past us, I thought I was going to keel over on the spot - again, I know I'm biased, and I can't help gushing, but he really is so beautiful! I know people don't tend to describe men as being beautiful, but it's the only word that ever comes to my mind whenever I see him, because he just is - both inside and out. I really don't know how else to describe it, but he seemed to have a sparkle or an aura that shone all around him - of course he's a human being just like the rest of us, but he really does have something extra-special that I've never noticed with anyone else before.
At last, the time came for my photo - I've always thought the phrase 'my knees turned to jelly' was a cliche, but I actually experienced it for myself twice that day. I walked over to stand next to him, and he looked down and beamed at me and said 'Hello'! I just about managed to say 'Hello David', then he put his arm around me - I put mine around his waist (I can still remember the feel of his silk shirt and the warmth of his back), the photographer said 'Smile!', and it was all over. I made sure I thanked him before I walked away - I never usually look that good in photos, but I have to say, the result was so much better than I was expecting:
I was already having one of the best days of my life - it was great to watch everyone's reactions once they'd met him, and I really enjoyed seeing all the people who'd come in costume, particularly Matt Holden as Benedick from 'Much Ado' - David was very impressed!
|(L-R: Jill, Matt, me)|
And then it was time for my autograph - we weren't allowed to start a conversation with David during the photos, as they had so many to get through, but we could talk to him whilst he was signing. All I wanted to do was to thank him again for phoning me, even though I really didn't think he'd remember me - he's such a busy man, and he meets so many people, I really wasn't expecting it. You could take along anything (within reason) that you wanted him to sign, or choose one of the supplied photos, so I decided to take along my copy of 'Much Ado'.
It was my turn - I walked over and one of the crew members passed him my book (they'd asked if I wanted it signed on the front cover or inside, but I was too busy rehearsing what I was going to say - eventually I managed to say that I'd like it signed on the cover). David looked up, smiled, and said 'Hello!' again - I said 'hello' back, and then:
'David, I don't know if you remember me, but you phoned me when you were on Absolute Radio last month, and I just wanted to say thank you again.'
He'd been gazing intently at me the whole time I was speaking, so I got the full-on 'listening face', as we tweeps like to call it - he then said, 'Oh, which call were you?'. I told him my name and as soon as I mentioned the osteopath, he immediately said 'Oh, how's your back?' again! I was a bit bowled over by this point, so I explained that it's really my shoulder that gives me trouble - he then looked really concerned, bless him! I thanked him again, and he said 'listen, if I were an osteopath, then I'd deserve the thanks!'
(Incidentally, the shoulder that's been playing up is the one he's touching in the photo - and it hasn't ached at all since I saw him! He really does have the magic touch!)
I trailed off a bit after that - he'd carried on signing for other people whilst he was talking to me, and I wish now that I'd thought of something Shakespearean to talk about as well, but in the end I said 'thank you for doing this' (I think I meant EMS, rather than signing my book), and he said 'You're welcome - nice to see you', as I left...
And that was it - without doubt one of the best days of my life so far! I'd do it all again tomorrow if I could - I really hope that David does another convention in the not-too-distant future, and also another play - again, it's where he truly belongs!
I'm sorry that this post is so long, but the last few months have been amazing - if you'd told me last New Year that all these things were going to happen, I'd never have believed you! In the words of Journey, 'Don't Stop Believing' - never give up on your dreams, because if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone!
I'd like to finish by saying a big thank-you to Katherine for putting up with me at both 'Much Ado' and 'Hamlet', to Jill for being my designated driver and also for keeping me company at EMS (and Gail too), and also to all my lovely friends, both Twitter and non-Twitter, for all your support and all your kind words - it really means a lot!
I promise I won't leave it so long until I post again...