True stories (honest)

by Dave Baseley

Being the Assistant Manager for a well-known London merchandise store, it fell on me to organise promotional SCI FI signings. A dream come true for any SCI FI fan and they were a lot of fun, but there were some "moments".

I thought that it was embarrassing enough when Michael O'Hare (Commander Jeff Sinclair on Babylon 5) who was signing for fans asked me for an "eraser". I quickly looked through the office but the only "eraser" I could find was on the end of a giant novelty pencil. Now I know that Americans call "erasers" what we in Her Majesty's relm call a "rubber" and I also know what Americans call a condom.

Mr Sinclair!

So wanting to avoid an embarrassing situation I walk up to Mr O'Hare thinking "It's not a rubber, it's an eraser. It's not a rubber, it's an eraser" "I'm afraid this is the only ERASER we have Mr Sinclair" I said, suddenly feeling very stupid, waiting for a lot of cheers and laughs.

How stupid I called him Mr Sinclair and OK he looks a lot like him but this is real life, not Babylon 5. But wait, he didn't notice he's just laughing at the pencil, quick don't loose your cool just walk away with a smile and no One need ever know. I got 10 feet before I felt a kick at my shins from someone in the line "MEESTER SINCLARE EH? (Add French accent)" Corinne my little chum had been in the line and had heard everything lets just say it took 14.2 seconds to go round the whole group.

But as bad as that was it was nothing to the ordeal to come. We were lucky enough to have Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax) for her first UK signing but it was not quite what I expected.

I was upstairs in the signing area talking to one of the owner's business buddies when a longhaired man with a leather jacket came up the stairs. "Can I help you" I asked politely. "Yes I'm here for the Terry Farrell signing. Um, this is Terry Farrell" he steps aside to reveal Terry. NOOOOOOO! Well this is a good start; no wonder security let them up.

What I found out later was that my boss (a sports fan not a star trek fan) and a journalist friend of the shop had caught Terry Before she got up the stairs and said something like " 'ere our mate upstairs is a right trekka do us a favour and wind im up for us" (add cockney accent).

So anyway nothing I could do was quite right and "not recognising her" gave her all the ammunition she needed to have a few digs at me.

The boss wanted some publicity shots for the store. All well and good until the shot came with Terry and me alone Where she, at the last second, put her fingers in my ears and pulled a funny face. All I could think when the camera went off was "please let my ears be clean, PLEASE GOD LET MY EARS BE CLEAN!!!"

Dave and Terry

The signing ended after 3 hours of drooling SCI FI fans had got their picies and as a thank you to our guest we usually give a little present. Normally a bottle of gin for the chaps or a bouquet of flowers for the ladies. Usually the boss gives them out but this time he insisted that I do it. Terry was talking to a friend at the time so I went over and politely said "Sorry, sorry Terry but I would just like to give you these flowers as token of our appreciation" "WHAT your sorry you're have to give me flowers. What kind of sick individual are you?" Have you ever had a time where your brain starts to go CUCKOO, CUCKOO And won't stop.

Of course the boss and all the others (including my wife) thought it was hilarious. Nice one Terry !!

Later Terry did have a sensible one-to-one chat with me by at that stage I couldn't hold an intelligent conversation with a toothbrush and I can't remember what we talked about.

Of course you can tell I was impressed when I found out that my boss had been behind at least some of this.

Just in case you think that all my events went badly, I organised over 13 celebrity signings and all the rest went well. Still 11 out of 13 isn't bad.

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