On Saturday I did my 2nd ever public speaking thing, at my 2nd ever festival. Unlike my 1st one (at Latitude festival), this was quite a bit smaller. This meant there was no stage to separate me from the bleeding-eared youngsters I was unloading profanaties upon, no bright lights to dazzle my view of them, no microphone to help spew my stupid nervous voice to the back of the tent… and this time I was doing TWO separate talks in TWO different tents in under TWO hours!
It was a small, debut festival, just around the corner from me, called Denzell Gardens Book Festival, and it specialised in books for young people. There were a total of 6 authors:
I managed to meet everyone except numbers 2 and 4, including Curtis Jobling, who, despite living just a stones throw away, and having worked with several of the same companies at the same time, on the same animations, I had never met before! (He designed Bob the Builder, I made the trees. He wrote Raa Raa The Noisy Lion, I made some of the moulds that the puppets were cast in… this gives you some idea of my general rank in society). I am happy to report that he was an awesome guy, but unfortunately there was something I didn’t like about him…
He was really good at doing public speaking! As was Saci Lloyd, Gareth P Jones, and, I didn’t get a chance to see her speaking, but judging by the REALLY LOUD reactions from her audience, so was Ellie Irving! I, on the other hand, was expertly fumbly, mumbly, bumbly and forgetful. I babbled blindly about my book, then read incompetently from it. I stumbled foolishly when trying to find the right pages to read from (even though I had clearly labelled page markers!), and I suffered the tumbleweed silence in response to my ‘Any questions?’ questions.
It’s okay, the second I arrived and saw the beautiful village fete style marquees, bunting, and cake stalls, I knew that my nob-ache book would go down like a fart at a funeral, so I prepared myself for stunned silences, angry mobs and outrageous humiliation. Luckily, as usual, I was completely wrong. The audiences were amazing – attentive, responsive (not so much at the ‘any questions’ bit), and they even LAUGHED! At the bits they were supposed to! People queued up to get my book signed and then I had my first time priveledge of watching people reading it. It was AMAZING! There were 3 teenage girls all sitting on a grassy bank, all reading my book, and all laughing. I desperately wanted to get a photo of this to share with you, but, unfortunately I think it’s kind of frowned upon for a grown man to start taking pictures of teen girls, so I refrained.
So that’s it. No.2. It was nice, it was good, it was enjoyable and I can’t wait to do it again (though I don’t think I’ll ever get any better at doing it). Teehee! It sounds like I’m talking about poo! (But I’m not… much).
A few other posts you might find interesting: