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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
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Hampstead Lecture and what happened - chaos ruled!! by Diamond on 13 May 2005 6:06pm

Palinites getting together and as a bonus the Michael palin lecture in Hampstead London

Well we said we would cause chaos!! Many a true word spoken in jest as they say and little did we know what would happen and how the evening/event would unfold!!!

Phyll and I set off for London and arrived at the theatre to make certain that Michael was there and where it was - then we headed for Oxford St – hitting the shoe shops for poor phyll and starbucks for me!! – We tried to contact steph but her mobile wasn’t working in this country – steph had travelled all the way from Italy to be at the event!

We arranged to meet Odd-un (Lois) at the theatre for 5pm and then all of a sudden steph appeared and we had a good chat together – I think that meeting people is great and I always seem to add another palninte friend to my list at each event I attend – and there have been a few now but by now meeting Michael is the bonus after meeting the other palinites and having a good day away from home. – At this point Phyll saw my spare copy of the Michael Palin Limericks book and was so pleased to see a new book that she bought it from me – especially as it is now out of print, hoping that Michael would be able to sign it for her later on! I had the two books for Dr Piglet in Canada – well if the Mohammed can’t go to the mountain the mountain can go to Mohammed as they say, and as I enjoy touching lives of any of the fans of any artist I support, it was good to be able to pass on something of Michael to another fan who could not get the chance to meet him personally.

We were in the queue to get to the Space as that part of the theatre and were allowed in – I took my camera in quite openly and no one said no photos allowed at all at any time, previously I had been at a Michael lecture with sir David Attenborough and my friend had taken photos with her digital camera no problem and in fact got Michael to sign one of the photos last December in Selfridges, Michael admired the photo and asked for a copy for himself which my friend sent to him free of charge! So there was no edict to say that I could not follow the same etiquette and as digital cameras do not flash I could not envisage my camera annoying or interfering in way – how naïve I was and in my enthusiasm took perhaps one too many photos in search of THAT photo of Michael to share with other palinites who could not get to the event, I was stopped by one of Michaels minders who were in attendance – that was the first I knew that no photos were allowed that night! My apologies for being naively over enthusiastic, it’s a Lyn thing photography and they mean a lot to me but I now know to be very careful and to ask first now that the green light has changed to red!

The Lecture was labelled Hampstead and other travels – and was billed as Michaels life and his travels but after a short introduction about Michaels early life where he read from books, Michael then went on to say how he came to do 80 days – a story we know in that he was the 4th person to be asked then went straight on to Himalayas missing out all the other series in between! – Michael constantly looked at his watch while talking to us, and then for the Himalayas part of the lecture told us all the funny stories that I had heard on Parkinson etc and on the himalaya dvd extras so I was disappointed in that I had been to a lecture about the himalaya (at a greatly reduced price of £5 plus book signing) and thought oh I learnt nothing about pole to pole etc I honestly thought it would be about all his travels but it was Michael – then Michael cut the talk short to get the Q&A session in – I asked that as he was told where he was going and in what format for the 80 days series – how had the series evolved since then to how much in put he had in to where and why and how he would go – the reply was that it was usually a joint decision with him and the producer – with regards to his next series he has somewhere in mind but his lips are sealed. – Several other questions followed which were really good, which was his favourite series? – He replied that all were but full circle was very good as he saw so many countries with himalaya second – this part was spontaneous Michael and was the best part of the evening as the answers were new and an insight in to the professional side of his work that wasn’t covered in the lecture. There was nothing new in the lecture that wasn’t already covered in the himalaya dvd to be honest but there you go!
Re: Hampstead Lecture and what happened - chaos ruled!! by Diamond on 13 May 2005 6:08pm

To our surprise Michael said that he would join us for the drinks and canapés after but I couldn’t believe my ears – well I am partly deaf so that may have something to do with that! So I rushed to Michael before he left the lecture room and gave him the beer that we had collected between us from all over the world – phyll bought some from Scotland – Lois from Canterbury and mine (magna Carta local beer) from Suffolk not only to say happy birthday but to let Michael know the lengths and the depth of support he gets from the palinites, his reaction surprised me as he said “MORE BEER!!” I hastily added it was not from me personally and explained the ethos behind the gift – he seemed ok with it !?

We went out to have a drink in the foyer and I asked the Hampstead theatre staff who had thanked Michael for the lecture was Michael coming out to sign things for us – her reply was yes he would be out shortly – so I did ask for permission to approach Michael.

We spotted Michael over the other side of the room and as far as I can tell, someone was taking photographs of him, I think it was the press? – Phyll then walked over to Michael and I did not hear what she said but what happened next surprised me to the core – I was gob smacked and my mouth was open wide by the end of Michaels tirade aimed at Phyll !!!!! all I heard was Michael SHOUTING at her saying –something like I HAVE BEEN DOING A LECTURE FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF _ I AM TIRED OK!!! With the emphasis on the OK (there was probably more said than that but as I was so shocked to hear Michael raise his voice that I didn’t catch/remember all of what was said!!) – I could hear him quite clearly and was flabbergasted as I could not think of any reason why dear phyll could provoke such an angry reaction from Michael – I know Phyll and she is a very quiet lovely person – Michael signed the book and Phyll came back to me very quietly – if it had been me I would have been in tears to be honest, Michael was that angry!! After this the rest of the evening was a blur but as Michaels minder was close to me I told him about the beer that I had given and again explained it was nothing personal – he replied that another bottle had been given in to the office (so yes your gift was remembered but I don’t know if Michael received it personally I expect so?) Michaels minder was also asked by other fans who were there if Michael would sign things and he accepted books from others and Michael came over and signed then but Michael was clearly not happy with that situation at all as when one item was given to him he muttered to his minder – I don’t want to be doing this I just want to be NICE to people!!! OH heck!! I was determined to get my books signed for Dr Piglet and achieved my aim, well if others were getting their items signed I did not want to disappoint, but Michael was not happy with it at all!! MY other friend gave him the letter she had been sent from Michael in 1977 when he was at Python and the photo he sent her in reply to her fan letter, but Michael questioned the authenticity of the letter by saying “is this my writing” and signed it after a lot of hesitation!!! Oh heck!!! It wasn’t long after that Michael left but as he did so he posed with another person next to me for a photo with them, being me I thought ok if they get one I would ask for Michael to pose with the other three palinites for them not for me, he begrudgingly agreed but told me that as I had taken photos during the lecture I had had enough – ok I don’t mind being told off and hold my hand up to be reprimanded where it was due and publicly apologise but I didn’t know that Michael had noticed me taking photos, I assumed his minder told him but phyll told me later Michael had asked me to stop but I honestly had not heard or seen him do so – or I would have respected his decision, ok I naively overstepped the mark but would never do anything to intentionally offend – I have written to Michael to apologise but to also add my concerns over his reactions to signing things!! Oh heck!!

I did not see Michael leave the theatre but phyll tells me that she thinks he did not take the gift of beer home – oh dear and oh heck

My opinions of the lecture and the evening as a whole will follow – well the ones that can be printed anyway!!

Re: Hampstead Lecture and what happened - chaos ruled!! by Spursfan on 13 May 2005 6:34pm
Yes - oh heck!!

Re: Hampstead Lecture and what happened - chaos ruled!! by KateC on 13 May 2005 6:38pm
Sounds like the Palinite get-together beforehand was good fun (its always good fun to meet new people!), but definitely oh heck sums up the rest of it!
Re: Hampstead Lecture and what happened - chaos ruled!! by Diamond on 13 May 2005 6:46pm

Well I can only speak as I find and call a spade a spade, whether or not I am talking about Michael or Neil or Russell or any of the special people in my life (and there are quite a few to be honest I am not a 24/7 Michael fan and I collect photos of everyone not just Michael – I don’t have everything Michael just because he is in it but only keep what I genuinely like) so this is nothing personal in any way!

The Lecture was not what I was lead to expect – I thought it would be different from the himalaya lecture which I had already seen, as it was billed as “my life and travels” but sadly Michael read out of books for some time – so there was no eye contact with the audience – and then skipped all the travel series bar himalaya – I thought we might get a few new snippets of “I remember this and you wont get that info on the dvd” from Michael but sadly not – so from the point of view of it costing me an arm and a leg to hear nothing new I was not impressed to be honest – the himalaya funny stories of Michael being recognised as Eric idle etc were already well broadcast! But there you go the Q&A session more than made up for it thankfully!

I was surprised that there were no photos allowed but I was being naïve and I readily will take any blame IF I happened to annoy Michael to the extent that he got really cross with me but what I cannot accept or understand is why he was so nasty and angry to phyll?? That I will never forgive him for – let the punishment fit the crime Michael – all phyll did was to ask him to sign the limerick book and in her excitement ask if it was possible to write a silly limerick as part of the signing – ok laugh it off if it’s a bit too much to ask of you Michael but to react that way - sorry that was unacceptable – if I caused you to react that way because of my naïve behaviour earlier on then take it out on me not any one else – I can shoulder the blame and criticism – ok it would have been surprise as I was led to believe through a previous lecture I had attended that Michael was happy being photographed (the RTS lecture was last September) so I had no reason to suspect the rules had changed – my apologies are quite sincere! I had met Michael before and had never asked him to remember my name – that was his decision and I sincerely hoped that it was because I always support other people and ask for photos to be signed to cheer others up and represent other palinites – when I saw him in Norwich I was conscious that I had seen him before but Michaels reaction then was “ hello Lyn it is good to see you “ but this time I got the impression he didn’t want to know any of us – oh well – but he did address me as Lyn when he signalled that I could ask a question from the floor – I thought I had been sincere in my support of him and had always treated him with respect, I have never been near his home nor his office at any time.

I could not understand why Michael stated that he just wanted to be “nice” (i.e. just to socialise with a drink and that was that!) to people, not sign things and have photos taken after the lecture! Michael at one point in the evening stated to someone when they asked could they have a photo, “I seem to be up to my neck in Photography!” – I thought that was part and parcel of his career and he should take the rough with the smooth (that being his salary and royalties he gets from the public who buy books etc) Surely this is part and parcel of being, as Michael described himself in the lecture, a very very famous man!! Being NICE to someone means smiling and saying yes of course it would be a pleasure to sign this or that!? I don’t think I was the only one being naïve that night – I think Michael was as well, surely he should have realised that there were going to be a nuclei of fans who would like an autograph or photo or both and what would it have cost him to pose pleasantly and with a smile on his face> what price that he didn’t – well I can tell you that as a result of that episode I wont be at any further Michael palin events and any spare memorabilia I have that is not dedicated to me will go on e bay!!

I can say that Michaels management/minder was very pleasant – all smiles and readily talked to me and took the items to sign – so if Michael did not want to know us or to sign things then there should have been more communication before hand so that we could have been better informed of the etiquette of the event earlier – I know phyll did not deserve anything that was aimed at her and if it was me I would have dissolved into tears if Michael had spoken to me like that – it was the topic of conversation on the train all the way home and in to the night and the next day – we were so shocked and surprised that it happened – I know that no one deserved to be spoken to that way – even if Michael is famous it doesn’t give him the right to be so rude to those who support him and have done so for years – its doesn’t pay to bite the hand that feeds you to be honest – and without us Michael would not exist or have a career! – there will be plenty of other palin fans who will take my place at a book signing I have no doubt and Michael wont miss me not being there – but I find it rather sad that I now can no longer touch the lives of other palinites all over the world as I have done so in the past – my apologies to you all – there is nothing I can do about it

There were two Michael minders at the event and many theatre staff and as there were only 80 of us who bought tickets – I felt outnumbered for some reason – and there wasn’t a stampede of fans to get autographs just about 10 of us it that – after the himalaya lecture of an hour and half or more last September Michael signed books for two and half hours at least and was smiling all the time – so I don’t understand the reason for the change of mood – I had asked on radio five live once to Michael how did he cope with meeting fans at book signings etc as I thought it was as arduous as the filming itself but Michael said that he wanted feedback – why didn’t the same ethos apply at this lecture?

I hope you all support Phyll for asking to get her book signed – what you make of me for my naïve over enthusiasm I leave for you to decide – I know I think that the treatment she got was undeserved and I stand by her 100%

I have no doubt others will see things differently to me and so be it – each to his own!!

Re: Hampstead Lecture and what happened - chaos ruled!! by thatcherberry on 13 May 2005 6:46pm
can i add an oh heck too?
Re: Hampstead Lecture and what happened - chaos ruled!! by Diamond on 13 May 2005 6:49pm
i agree with you KateC as i really do enjoy meeting new people whether they are fans of Michael - or any one else i support and admire - its good to support others and touch their lives in a positive way

oh heck as you say - if i am in hot water because i inadvertently and unitentionally overstepped the mark then so be it but i wont lose any sleep over it as i think this was six of one and half a dozen of the other as i see it!!

time will heal i hope!

take care
Re: Hampstead Lecture and what happened - chaos ruled!! by purple on 13 May 2005 6:52pm
Oh wow, what a night!
It's great that you got a chance to meet up and I hope you guys had fun.
But Oh heck hits the nail on the head! I'm not sure what to say anything more than that.
Many hugs to Phyll!
Re: Hampstead Lecture and what happened - chaos ruled!! by Dr. Piglet on 13 May 2005 7:31pm
love will conquer all.

Re: Hampstead Lecture and what happened - chaos ruled!! by KateC on 13 May 2005 7:39pm
I agree with Dr.Piglet there! Poor Phyll! I would probably have been quite tearful if that were me! (Though I am quite an emotional person, can't handle people shouting at me anyway) but still..
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