Things returned to normal this week after my little adventure the other day. By “normal” I mean I did a live interview for BBC Radio Wales on Wednesday morning (about Star Trek being 40 years old) and a TV interview for BBC4 on Thursday afternoon. Which wasn’t live, thankfully, and will be shown in the autumn as part of a series they’re doing, though I won’t watch because I hate seeing myself on TV. I did ask them to film me from the head up because then I won’t get that whole “the camera puts 10lbs on you” thing, but sadly they didn’t listen.
I had to talk about Star Trek (again), Buffy, Futurama and, best of all, David Niven’s fabulous 1946 movie A Matter Of Life And Death, which was why I did it in the first place. Unfortunately the filming took place in a room as hot as a sauna, I had a sore throat and all the questions about that film took place at the end of the 90-minute interview when I was tired, croaky and probably a little sweaty. Still, as long as I sounded enthusiastic, I s’pose…
Onto stranger matters:
A few days ago I was approached by a woman tugging a huge suitcase behind her outside Baker Street station. She was flustered, upset and loud, demanding to know how to get from Baker Street to Marylebone Station. I told her I was walking that way and she followed me, complaining the whole time about the lack of a sign anywhere to tell her where to go.
“I mean,” she grumbled, “what kind of stupid place doesn’t have a sign pointing to a train station? How would I have found it if I hadn’t asked you? What a stupid city London is!”
I don’t know if it was because she was being rude about my home town, but a wild madness overtook me.
I started to lie.
“There used to be signs,” I explained, politely, “but they’ve been stolen.”
“Stolen? Who’d steal a road sign?”
“There are some crazy people in this world.”
“But who would do that?”
I thought quickly. “Sherlock Holmes fans.”
She stopped on the pavement and stared at me. “Really?”
I should have felt guilty, but I didn’t. “Yes. They all come to Baker Street on a pilgrimage to his house, but then they don’t want to leave empty handed, so they steal street signs. The council keep replacing them but they just keep vanishing. They must have gone through hundreds.”
The woman looked amazed. “That’s crazy! I’d never have believed it!”
If only she knew, I thought. But I couldn’t stop myself now. “I know,” I said, trying to look outraged. “It always makes me angry. I mean, Sherlock Holmes was all about solving crimes and upholding the law, wasn’t he? So all these people stealing in his name… it’s against everything he stood for. He’d have hated them! I really don’t understand why they don’t realise that.”
“Yes,” said the woman, firmly. “He would have hated them. Well… That’s very interesting. I feel a bit better about there not being any directions now.”
Later, when I got back to the office and guiltily told one of my colleagues what I’d done, she replied: “I’m lovin’ your work.”
I’m so bad.