Spaced at Forbidden Planet

by Suw on September 27, 2004

Last Thursday I was walking down New Oxford Street in London when I thought to myself that it had been a long time since I'd spoiled myself with a trip to Forbidden Planet and that maybe now I could afford to fill in a gap in my collection of Hellblazer comics. Distraught, I was, to discover that Forbidden Planet appeared to have vanished from New Oxford Street, despite the fact that I'd seen it there – and specifically told a friend not to let me go in – just last week.
Disappointed, I walked straight past the small comic store nearby – the sort I never go into because they're populated by people who look at me with that 'You're not geeky enough, please piss off' look. Disconsolately, I wandered down Shaftesbury Ave, only to find the new Forbidden Planet Megastore. W00t!
Wandering round, rather dumbstruck by the sheer volume of stuff there, I noticed a small poster stating that Messers Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright would be there today, signing copies of the new Spaced Collectors Edition DVD. For a moment there, bearing in mind the fact that finding out about this event was an involved and complex stroke of luck which obviously made it a 'sign' of some sort, I considering hanging round in London for an extra couple of days so I could go, but then I thought, hang on a moment… how would this really play out?
I'd spend Monday morning hanging round, getting backache from carting my rucksack around and just generally nervous. I'm perfectly calm when meeting famous people that I'm working with, but I'm crap at that fan-star thing. Last time I met someone famous on a fan-star basis it was Martin Carr from the Boo Radleys who was presenting the film Midnight Run at the National Film Theatre. I nearly vomited on his shoes.
Eventually I'd go to Forbidden Planet and join the queue, which would likely be long. I'd probably get rained on. I don't think it did rain this morning, but it would have had I been there. Law of nature.
I'd have to buy a copy of the DVD, which I've already bought from Amazon, thus landing me with two. Now, I'm a fan of Spaced, but not that big a fan. As the queue moved forward, I would become increasingly nervous and would start reciting to myself a few words like 'Hi, I'm a big fan of yours, and I'd really like a copy of the Shaun of the Dead script please'.
Eventually, I'd reach the head of the queue. At this point, I would be bright puce with embarrassment and probably shaking, despite all my attempts to calm myself down and put it all into perspective (it's only Simon Pegg, for fuck's sake). Gut churning, I would thence thrust the DVD under Mr Pegg's nose and mumble something incomprehensible along the lines of 'um fan er script mumble dead um, *cough* yeah, thanks', he would scribble on said DVD and look at me with an expression akin to curiosity but with a hint of something unfathomable that I would then spend the rest of the day trying to interpret. Lather, rinse, repeat with Mr Frost and Mr Wright.
I would then leg it.
So, tell me… Where precisely is the added value in this experience? In what way would my life be enriched and enlivened? Undoubtedly my gut would be very enlivened, but frankly I can get the same effect with laxatives and a lot less stress.
Ironically, were I to meet Simon Pegg on equal terms, not as a fan but as a colleague – let's say I interviewed him for the Guardian or was discussing script development possibilities – I would be cool as a cucumber. Wouldn't bother me at all. I used to hang out with some biggish bands when I worked for the Maker, and it never really flustered me. Everyone's the same when you're talking about Pet Rescue.
The conclusion I've drawn from this is that I am really not suited to being a fan and should therefore avoid all fannishness in future. I think I'd be better at having fans than being one, although don't hold your breath for that one to pan out.
(Oh, and in case you were wondering – I didn't buy anything from Forbidden Planet in the end. My phobia of record/comic shops reasserted itself and I slunk off like the lily-livered coward I really am.
Thank fuck for online comic stores, eh?)

Anonymous September 27, 2004 at 3:12 pm

I find I have the opposite problem. Fine in a “fan” sense because all I have to do is nod, say thank you and go. In a work situation, I go to pieces because I actually have to say something constructive. Had a work meet once with the League of Gentlemen and another one with Lise Mayer (writer of The Young Ones). Huge fan of both their work. 'twas very difficult for me not to sweat and s-s-s-stutter. Probably did both anyway.
Then again, I was 22 then, young and naive. Maybe I'm more cynical and care less these days. Who knows?

Anonymous September 27, 2004 at 4:47 pm

Suw, you remember all that stuff we talked about regarding positive thinking…

Anonymous September 27, 2004 at 5:31 pm

The nice thing about interviewing people is that usually you don't have to think of anything to say – just a few questions. Most creative people are so eager to talk about themselves and their projects you just need to get them started and let them go. Easy.
Conversely, when I met Gruff Rhys from the Super Furries at his cousin's gig, despite the fact that I know some of his family and we had a lot of stuff to talk about, I just gibbered like an idiot.

Anonymous September 27, 2004 at 5:32 pm

There is a point at which positive thinking becomes delusional thinking. Thinking that I would be composed in any fan-star scenario is definitely delusional.

Anonymous September 28, 2004 at 7:06 am

Damn Forbidden Planet and their events. At first they seem so tempting, but eventually turn into occasions for soul searching and eventual disappointment. I looked forward in my sad little way to seeing James Marsters (Spike from Buffy) – booked the day off and everything – only to gradually persuade myself I would make a dick of myself, and what had I done to deserve the experience anyway, nothing, I was a pathetic worm not worthy of besmirtching his presence with my smudge of an existence…. etc. etc. As it was, the queue was phenomenal, I ran away and went to see Spiderman instead. But then kicked myself for the next three weeks. Idiot. (Eventually did go see him in the much less intimidating environment of his band's gig in Newport – won't mention the 6 hour detour on the way until I realised my driving friend was headed to the wrong Newport…)

Anonymous September 28, 2004 at 11:18 am

Glad I'm not the only one.
Thing is, they *are* just normal people underneath. But unless you get to meet them in normal circumstances you never get to be normal with them.
Btw, how was the gig? His band any good?

Anonymous September 29, 2004 at 5:38 pm

Not bad at all really, I got the cd – though I have to admit I haven't listened to it since the initial two week honeymoon period after the gig. That's probably more to do with me not listening to that much music since then, than not wanting to listen to them.
It's probably annoying to the band that a large part of the (largely female) audience goes just for Mr Marsters. But I think enough people go away liking the music, and being freaked out by the fact that he's 5 foot 7, has a tan and a californian accent.
The music's kind of So-cal, and the guys are really nice. They apparently bumped into some kids in a London guitar shop, who recognised Marsters and were playing guitar with him and stuff – anyway, one of them plucked up the courage to ask them along to their gig, at some small pub somewhere, and they went along, and gained aforementioned boy huge brownie points with his girlfriend. Nice chap for a blood sucking fiend.

Anonymous October 1, 2004 at 8:42 am

So you're a fan of Hellblazer? Cool 🙂
In some past life I had a huge bookshelf of Vertigo Comics… 😀

Anonymous October 1, 2004 at 8:50 am

Ooh yes, I've had a crush on Johnny Constantine for a long time. 😉 Still can't quite get my head round the idea of Keanu playing him in the film. I mean, JC is tall, blond, intelligent and British. Keanu… isn't.

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