Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Peter Sissons

It's a well-known fact that I have a penchant for newsreaders - BBC newsreaders in particular.  So when I discovered that Peter Sissons was appearing at St Mary's Church in Loughton as part of the Essex Book Festival, I had to go.

Imagine my joy at being first in the queue and gaining a second row seat (the first row was reserved for dignitaries such as the mayor and local councillors) before my nerves kicked in.  I had been excited about this evening but to find myself nervous was a strange state of affairs.  To be honest, I wished I'd sat a few rows back as I felt slightly voyeuristic and quite uncomfortable being so close to this man I had admired from the comfort of my sitting room for so long.  If our eyes met I either looked down, uncomfortable, or sat there grinning like a fool.  I wanted to appear academically interested and nonchalant but think I managed 'odd-woman-gurning'.

It was an entertaining evening punctuated with little anecdotes about his life: student days admiring Joanna Trollope as 'the best looking blonde in Oxford', or heavier moments describing when he was hit by a machine gun bullet in Biafra.  I enjoyed hearing about his life as a child with schoolmates Jimmy Tarbuck, John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney and listened for traces of a Liverpudlian accent.

I would have liked to learn more about 'Peter Sissons the man' but much of the evening was taken describing his wranglings with the BBC.  This was clearly a very important chapter in his life and he seems to be still reeling from it.  I hope that he received some comfort from talking about his experiences....and I hope that in time he will feel able to look back with fond nostalgia rather than resentment.

I bought his book at the event and duly queued to have it signed.  I was almost last in the queue and I wracked my empty head for a witticism or cleverly constructed comment - but nothing.  I found myself, once more, grinning wildly but now hopping from foot to foot and completely tongue-tied.  Peter kindly wrote in my book 'lovely to meet you' - a true gentleman, not wishing to embarrass the imbecile in front of him.

I'd definitely go to another talk by Peter Sissons - just afraid he might run away in fright.  In preparation I think I'll practice my academically-interested-and-incredibly-learned look!

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a great night to me and I can say with certainty that I'd be the same around someone that I admired - case in point; Penelope Fletcher, LOL x