22nd March 2008 was a special day for me because, after 9
weeks of intense excitement, in which I've thought about
little else, I finally made my way to Soho in London to meet
David Hedison. Yay!
He was visiting the UK to do some signings and meet the fans in association with the James Bond films that he'd appeared in. In particular, it was to mark the 35th anniversary of Live and Let Die. Where have all those years gone???
After reading the initial announcement of David's visit to England on Diane's site, and remembering only too well how shy and quiet I was the first time I'd met him, I decided to ask a friend along for company. Unfortunately this ploy didn't quite work as my friend cried off sick about 3 weeks before we were due to go. So, undeterred, I went on my own.
The weather in the UK had been extremely cold the past week, with biting winds, sleet and rain, so I had to wrap up warm for the trip. I stood on the platform at Harlow Town Train Station and the hail was blowing down all around me. I thought I've got to be mad! Time I got on the train my feet and hands were frozen. I never really got warm until I was inside the shop where David was appearing, which was a good hour later. The sight of David, standing there all handsome with his California tan, is enough to raise anybody's temperature!!
My journey was pretty easy and using a map on the wall at Piccadilly tube station, I soon found my way along the busy, bustling London streets, to the Vintage Magazine Shop. It wasn't very far to walk but I remember I was shivering by this time. Luckily, it wasn't raining or worse, snowing.
When I got there, I clocked the marketing poster of David's visit, pasted to the window and thought, thank God. I'd have hated to get there and find he hadn't turned up or something awful like that. That's me, forever the optimist. But no, it was alright. I knew he was signing in the basement so I made my way down the stairs and joined the end of queue. I was still on the stairway at this point, no idea of how long the queue was, because I couldn't see around the wall.
A friendly man in front of me started to chat and tell me about all the people he'd come to see there before, and what Bond films they were in. That made me feel a little more comfortable because luckily I know loads about James Bond. Then he told me the prices and that you could take photos. He offered to take a photo of David and me together and I thought that was sweet of him. Still hadn't laid eyes on David yet, but felt quite a bit warmer and more relaxed at the thought of getting so close.
It took quite a time as the queue was long, but eventually I got to peek around the wall to David's table. Wow! He was wearing a navy round-neck sweater, blue jeans, trainers and a scarf. He was lit up by some lighting (of course) and I thought he looked very tall and handsome. He's quite a big man.
I thought that he would be skinny, but he's not. My love of Voyage fanfiction probably influenced me here, because Captain Crane's always written as a light-weight who never eats anything. And it is quite difficult to disassociate David from Captain Crane. Anyway, he was standing there, towering over everyone else looking all tanned and gorgeous. Every now and then he would come out from behind the table and let people take photos. He seemed to be enjoying the attention, in fact he was definitely enjoying all the attention. Then he'd sit back down, sign some more, get up shake hands with the departing people and warmly greet the next in queue.
Whilst I was there I noticed that the people queuing were men. Bond fans, I guessed. Not many ladies for David to cuddle!!
As I'm getting closer and closer to the front, I can feel my heart beating a little faster until finally it's the friendly man in front and then it's me !!!
Over the past few days, alright weeks, I'd often thought what I would say, you know, rehearse my conversation with him, me playing both parts of course, but none of that happened. He stood up and shook my hand and I smiled very broadly, couldn't help myself, and said "Hello David." I've touched him. Big sigh wow.
A man taking the money caught my attention and asked me what I wanted signed and I chose a couple of David's photos and paid. I also had a set of Voyage cigar bands from 1974, that I'd carefully attached to a piece of white card, ready for him to sign.
David signed my cigar bands, commenting that he'd never seen them before and we put them back in the frame and he held them high and offered them for sale and made everyone laugh. When he was writing "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" at the foot of the card, he commented that the title was way too long and why hadn't they just called it "Voyage."
This made us all laugh again. By this time I was on his side of the table with him. I was leaning on the table telling him how I adored Captain Crane. I said he was so very heroic and handsome. David just cocked his right eyebrow at me but carried on writing but he was listening I know.
He said "So you want the Roger (Moore) picture." I said yes and told him that I love Roger too. He joked and said something like, "You don't like him, do you? He's no good". So I laughed and said "Yes, but he's your best friend" and he said, "How do you know that?" so I told him that I'd seen them together on the News, at Roger Moore's Hollywood Star Ceremony and he said "Oh, you saw that, did you?" David has got such a lovely gentle way. I told him that I might come and see him again next week (NEC) but it was a bit too far for me to go, and he replied, "It's a bit too far for me to go as well." He was very funny.
Then he came out from behind the table and we had our picture taken, with a camera I'd borrowed. I cuddled right into his shoulder and stretched my arm around him as far as it would reach. I remember squeezing him tight for a moment. I couldn't help myself but then I remembered where I was. He took the camera and asked if I wanted to check the photo. I said to him "how do you do it?" and that made him laugh because I couldn't work it.
Also I couldn't see the photo because I didn't have my glasses on. But I said it looked nice anyway. By this time, coordinating a camera that I was unfamiliar with wasn't going to happen. I was shaking, so I told him!! Not shy, but still shaking. I could have done with a large Martini!
Then after all that, he went back behind the table and I turned to say goodbye and we shook hands and he kissed me. Then I had to get myself together to leave. The man at the shop (Denis), called over to me and said "have you had a nice time?" and I said "lovely thank you, I've got to go home now and have a lie down". And of course that made everyone laugh again. Then I said bye bye everyone. Bye David I love you. And with a grin as wide as the Grand Canyon, I left. Got home about 3 p.m.
I'm so glad I went on my own because I didn't have to share him with anybody. David made me feel very at ease and was lovely to me. I only left because there was a queue.
I've had to write this all down in case one day I forget all the tiny details. I don't want to forget anything because it was such a wonderful experience. And of course I want to go again next week. But I've got to decide whether I can brave that long drive in my little car. We'll see. Bet I do.
I urge anyone, who is in any way a fan of his, and that can make it to the NEC Birmingham next week, to go. He's lovely.
March 22, 2008
Vintage Magazine Shop
Had a great time in London on Saturday seeing David. He’s just so lovely!
Arrived in London on time at just after 11 am after experiencing rain, wind, snow and hail on the journey. Left coach to get on underground to Piccadilly, near to where the Vintage Magazine shop was. It was quite easy to find once I'd oriented myself after coming out of the underground. Arrived there at about 5 past 12. David was due at 12. There was a queue already formed, which I was pleased to see.
I think most people were there because of the James Bond connection, but there were some young lads ahead of me (early twenties) who were very excited and one of them kept playing the signature tune to Voyage on his mobile. Unfortunately they were too far away to speak to them. I thought it was great though that such young lads were excited about Voyage.
One man spoke to me a lot and he was telling me about all the James Bonds and their films and asking which I liked best. I had to admit that I didn't know a great deal about them, I was just there for David himself. There was also a lot of talk about how old David must be. The consensus was that he must be early seventies and they were all shocked when I said that he was 80!
It took about three quarters of an hour to get to the front of the queue. David was having a laugh and a joke with most people and everyone was enjoying themselves. When I got to near the front of the queue David looked up, saw me and said “Hi Sue.” My heart did a flibberty-jib – wow! Thanks Diane!
He introduced me to the man that he was with – Andy - and Andy asked how David knew me. David made some joking remark and then said that I was his wife! I couldn't help but say, with feeling, “I wish!”
explained that for some reason or other I was a fan and was
taking some photos for his web site (Thanks again, Diane!). I
then managed to ask him whether he'd had a good flight over and
remarked that he hadn't brought any nice weather with him from
LA. I was pleased that I'd managed to get some sensible words
out, though I'd totally forgotten what it was that I was
planning to ask him.
The queue had gone by about 1.30 PM, so I asked if I could get a photo of him by the boards that he had up, to which David agreed. (I was a bit concerned. I didn't make a nuisance of myself!) I took the photo and he asked if I was going to Birmingham next week, to which I replied “Of course!”
He joked that
hadn't I seen enough of him. I just said “Well, I've promised
Diane that I will go, so I have to keep my promises!” He just
smiled at that. Then I left.