Sunday, 1 February 2009

A TRULY MAGICAL EVENING

It’s been an eventful week so I’m belatedly now getting round to posting about an absolutely wonderful event I attended last Monday.

Ages ago I’d pre-booked a cheap hotel (Travelodge at £19) in Portsmouth and bought a ticket for DJ and Chopper’s joint book launch party. When I booked, Mrs Troy wondered why I wanted to travel all that way to an event full of people I’d never met. However the wonder of blogging is that you already feel that you do know quite well the fellow bloggers you actively follow and do really want to meet them in Real Life. So I travelled down the A3 for the first time (marvelling why they had built a chicane called Hindhead in the road just to delay my journey) and finally checked in to the hotel about 6.30pm. I got a quick but tasty takeaway pizza from the nearby Pizza Hut then got changed and went in search of “Rosies Winebar, Elm Grove”. It looked straight forward on the map but I managed to get hopelessly lost in both Portsmouth and Southsea. I would never normally stop and ask for directions but as it was after 8.10pm I made an exception and thus turned up at the event at 8.19pm. Events were scheduled to kick-off at 8.20pm!

After a very hasty hello and hug from Denyse, I sat down next to Carol, Leigh and Helen. “Hello, I’m [real name]” and polite smiles were returned. “But you’ll know me better as Troy”, prompting huge grins and handshakes. Then a lady approached me and said “it’s £1 per strip”. Well I thought, this sounds like an interesting party, I can’t remember the last time a lady said that to me. I passed on these thoughts to Carol, Leigh and Helen which broke the ice! I’m normally very shy when meeting people for the first time. Then DJ did her introductory talk and introduced a very nervous Chris.

After a witty few words, Chris read the prologue to his book. Then Denyse did a really heart-warming talk about her Asperger’s Syndrome and how she struggles hard but generally succeeds in masking her symptoms in everyday life. She then read an excerpt from her book. I hadn’t read either book yet as the intention was to buy them at the launch, or, being from Yorkshire, first hopefully win them in the raffle!

Next up was a performance of “Shrek Rap”. Now the only time I’ve heard rap music previously it has left me totally cold so my thoughts were “this could be really dreadful but at least it will be short”. The performer Darren had some magical (or perhaps just technical) gadgets to build up live his backing tracks then he launched into the rap. Now I have a choice of words to describe the performance; Brilliant, Awesome, Outstanding, Inspiring; all these fit the bill. Afterwards I was able to read and marvel at the lyrics written by the talented Casdok. I encourage you to visit her blog for more background to this moving musical masterpiece.

Then the raffle was drawn and inexplicably tickets 111-115 were ignored. Still the £1 was for a good cause (charity not a strip). Then the book signing started although people leaving early to travel home got get their's first. This gave me the chance to chat further with Carol, Leigh and Helen. Now Leigh had previously commented elsewhere that she found the "Wordless Wednesday" captions written by “Who’s This Then” to be wittier than those of Troy (I know, unbelievable!). I was eager to put her straight on this matter and think ultimately I succeeded. We then all assembled for a group picture.

It was then my turn to buy THE BOOKS. First I sat next to Denyse and had a lovely chat with her whilst she wrote a nice personal message in her book for me. Photos were taken (see her blog). Then I was finally able to properly introduce myself to Chris (Chopper) and he too signed his book for me. What a delightful couple they make and I’ve subsequently learnt that since the book launch they have got engaged to be married. Truly they will be the King and Queen of bloggers.

During the course of this magical evening I also managed a brief chat with Lady In Red, Joe Stein, Darren Callow and the Crafty Gardener but have realised since, to my disappointment, that there were several other bloggers I missed getting to meet.

For all too soon there were only a handful of us left in the room. It was well past eleven o’clock and it was time to depart. Lots of nice hugs and smiles and fond farewells and then I was off into the night to find the hotel. Typically, the trip back there was easy and short, perhaps I ought to reverse my car to events in future (well not all the way from Ipswich!).

It just leaves me to thank Denyse and Chris for a truly marvellous evening. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world and am so pleased to have met them, and everyone else mentioned in this posting, for the first, and hopefully not the last time in Real Life.

19 comments:

DJ Kirkby said...

As I expected,I laughed lots as I read this post. I am so glad you enjoyed yourself, it was lovely to meet you. Loved the imagery of you reversing your car to destinations! Just so you know, Daren Callow's blog is called 'Music all around the world' and is linked ot in the sidebar of my blog. I look forward to your review of Chopper's book.

Kitty said...

As one of my online friends said when we first met: "the weird thing is, it's not weird" ... it's as though you already know each other a little isn't it?

So glad you had a lovely bloggy meet-up. x

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

I couldn't agree more about meeting bloggy friends, they are like old friends, we share so much. This looks like it was a wonderful event and enjoyed by all. LMAO at your word verification!

Debs said...

I'm glad everyone had such a fab evening. I was so sorry not to be able to make it to the launch.

I finished DJ's brilliant book today, and it's one book that I'm going to keep as I know I'll want to read it again at some point.

Chopper said...

It was good to see you there so it was a good job you swallowed your pride and asked for directions!!

Troy said...

DJ - I had put a link to Darren's blog higher up in the narrative about his performance which is why his name later isn't cross-linked like the others around it. (Hope that makes sense!). Will do the book review sometime next week (and don't worry, it will be okay).

Kitty - yes, and every week we learn a little bit more! These large gatherings are great because words like "well Mrs Troy, I'm going to meet a woman I met on the world wide web" doesn't seem the most tactful thing to say to a wife!

Sarah - its nice to have a cyber-friend across the pond.

Debs - I read Chopper's book first and now look forward to reading Denyse's this week.

Troy said...

Chopper (or should I just write C?) - normally I'm really good a finding places but having passed ferry terminals and then Southsea seafront I thought I was completely lost. But actually when I finally stopped for directions I just had to drive along the road I was on, turn left at a "One Eyed Dog" (or similar) and I was there.

HelenMHunt said...

Great post. Why are your photos so much better than mine? Not fair!

Troy said...

Helen - hi and thanks! Did you take the lenscap off?

Trixie said...

It's great, isn't it meeting other bloggers, especially for the first time (I think I'm up to about 20 bloggers I've met now, and from as far away as Canada and Chicago!)

I'm not jealous that you got to go and I didn't.

Not one little bit.

(grits teeth and turns green with envy)

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Wow
You didn't write that in five minutes!

Troy said...

Trixie - I totally agree that it is great to meet fellow bloggers. I guess it is generally "safer" for same sex bloggers to meet up and given the high female to male ratio in blogland that makes it easier for you ladies. Shame you weren't able to make DJ/Chopper's book launch.
And I thought you liked green?

Ken - no, Mrs Troy and Troy Junior told the mother-in-law that I spent most of Sunday afternoon on my blog. I did actually visit many other blogs too.

Joe Stein said...

Hi Troy,
Yes it was a really good night and good to meet you albeit briefly, in between nipping back to the front bar for the whisky. That’s the problem I find with wine bars, they tend to specialise in wine. I must learn to like the stuff.

And a good thing you turned left at the ‘one eyed dog’ and didn’t stop there for directions. From what I could tell of it, it’s where the dog lost the other eye...

Ladybird World Mother said...

So so sad to have missed this as would have Loved it. Glad you had a good time...am as green as Trixie...

The Dotterel said...

Putting names to faces (guessing, mostly) has been a wonderful (if poor) substitute for those of us unfortunate bloggers who missed the launch. Maybe DJ and C will have a blog-land wedding?

Lane said...

I love seeing photos of blog meets/launches and putting faces to names.
It sounds like a great evening was had by all.

Troy said...

Joe - I'm sure if you'd told them well in advance they would have held it in a whiskey bar instead.

LWM - you would have loved it. Lots of green bloggers since.

Dotterel - send in your names/faces answers and I'll mark them. I should be easy to identify as DJ says I still look like my photo when I was six!

Lane - I wonder if your score would beat the Dotterel's.

Casdok said...

Darens performance was brillient wasnt it! As was the whole evening!

ed said...

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