Saturday, 28 May 2011

3BT: happy Hay moments

1. 'No, you can't meet him,' says the well-spoken young man at the registration desk as I glide into my question about whether or not speaking to Rob Lowe was going to be a possibility. He's smiling. 'I know he has an army of hard core fans...'

'But at something like Hay, I mean surely...'

'You'd be surprised.' He rolls his eyes. 'People lose all sense of decorum.'

'But,' I persist, not one to be deterred so easily, 'some of those people might have come all the way from other countries to meet him.'

'Then ' he says, 'I suggest those people take a long, hard look at what they're reading.'

I redeem myself with a not entirely true claim that it's really just the West Wing that I'm obsessed with, and he just happens to be a West Winger, and I walk away happy, having enjoyed the banter.

2. Books and board games: two of my favourite things. Turns out the two have been combined into one - kind of a cross between Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit, incredibly clever, and a lot of fun.Turns out, too, that the guy I spend a contented half hour playing it with invented the whole thing, and is the designer behind those funky Penguin mugs and notebooks. I come over all starstruck, not for the last time this weekend, and full of admiration. I even consider appointing myself his assistant, Donna Moss style. I really do think he may find me valuable.

3. The talk on the making of the King James Bible is fascinating, inspiring, and unexpectedly funny. Since Adam Nicolson is signing his book afterwards, I decide to buy two copies - one for me, and one for my step dad, who's interested in this kind of issue. We have a brief exchange about how mystery and simplicity meet in the King James, and how important that is to understanding the character of God.

I'm holding Rob Lowe's book, too, as well as my Hay programme with a rather dashing picture of him. Adam Nicholson asks me how Rob was.

'Not till this afternoon,' I say.

He signs my book, then the other one.

'To Roger,' I say, 'he's my stepdad.'

'Not your boyfriend, 'because obviously that's Rob Lowe.'

He writes 'to Roger,' then pretends to add, 'you're no Rob Lowe.'

I walk away smiling again after more enjoyable banter, and of course anticipation. Which, as it turns out, was well-founded.

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