It's been two days since the event, and I am still on buzz. Many people say that you shouldn't meet your heroes, but I can assure you that in the the case of Joe Hill, you really need to meet him.
In the lead up to the event I went through a lot of emotions, panic, feelings of inadequacy, to actually saying sod it it will be alright. Those who know me personally know that I'm not so much a panicker, I'm more a run around like a headless chicken that has been set on fire type of person. Plagued with huge feelings of self doubt. So when I was travelling down to the event on the bus, and decided to watch You Tube Videos of Social Distortion rather than go over the huge amount of questions I had, to ask myself what happened to the real jim and who the hell is this in my head. HOWEVER
When I walked into the Pleasance Theatre and realised just how big the place was, and how real this had suddenly become, it felt like the devil himself had placed his hand over my heart and squeezed. Suddenly every single feeling of doubt, uncertainty, panic came hurtling forward to the very front of my mind. Hell at one point when chatting to one of the guys from Blackwell's I actually thought
"this guy sounds way more intelligent than me, why doesn't he do it?"
But I couldn't to that Ellie, she had worked herself to the ground organizing this event, plus she is dear friend who means the world to me.
So when Joe turned up with his publicity manager Jon I knew it was time to man up and do the best that I could for Joe, Ellie, Blackwells and all the folk who turned up. And you know what after spending less than five minutes in the company of Joe, I couldn't have been put more at ease. This man is amazing, even after all this time on the road, he is a captivating person to be around. I have never met anyone who is so full of enthusiasm, and sheer joy at what he does. He is instantly likeable, so down to earth and unassuming, you can tell that this isn't just someone going through the motions of one signing after another, he wants to be there and he wants to spend time with his fans.
So when the time came for us to go on stage, I transformed from a nervous wreck to Rocky Balboa, ready to take on Apollo Creed. The noise that came from the audience was deafening, luckily the house lights were down and I couldn't really see just how many people were there. After Joe gave us a fantastic reading from N0S4R2, I really wish he had had the reading for the audiobook as he has an amazing voice that really draws you in. A voice that he used spectacularly to draw the audience in during both the reading and the Q&A.
So there I was all set up with four pages of A4 paper full of questions, I had planned out the whole segment, turns out I didn't need even 25% of them. Joe is a natural talker, going deep into the question and giving a set of amazing responses. He was funny, intelligent, insightful, candid, and on a couple of occasions moving. It was a joy to watch and listen to a man who was clearly having so much fun. Sadly before I knew it was time to open up the questions to the audience. Again Joe gave his fullest to the questions.
I was at this point they put up the house lights and I could finally see just how many people had turned up. And it was a huge amount, the biggest audience of the British tour. So to everyone who tweeted, shared on Facebook I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You really helped to make this a special night. Oh I also realised that it wasn't my partner Amanda, that I was giving the surreptitious little waves to at the start of the night. Hey i had forgotten to put on my glasses and it was dark.
When it came to the signing not one person left, I reckon there was at least 150 people there, some where clever and went down to the bar to get a drink. Joe spent well over two hours at the signing, and he made every single one of fans feel special, drawing pictures on everything they wanted signed, anyone who asked for a photo, got one. It was a joy to watch, no left feeling short changed. I am still amazed at just who special the man is, and I don't mean in terms of his writing, this a man who makes everyone feel special, and it was a humbling experience to be around him.
I have to also say a big thank you to all of that that turned up for the event, you were a fantastic audience. Special mention must also to Jon, who is one hard working publicist, and also a really nice guy to boot.
Jon had this to say about the event,
"Joe is giving a brilliant, candid interview on stage at Edinburgh. Fascinating and quite moving."
"We've moved into audience q&a, sad to cut Jim off... He did a brilliant, interesting, intelligent interview. Thank you Jim!"
"Amazing event for @Joe_hill in Edinburgh. Super turn out and a super venue. Love it"
OH and Joe and Jon came to the pub with us AWESOME