Well, there were around three million viewers of the documentary, which seems to be well received so far. Of course, this means yet another towering wave to the tsunami of mail that constantly crashes down on this office. Can I add that I am astonished at all the possible claimed causes of Alzheimer’s that fans are sharing with me; what with car exhaust fumes, mobile phones and white bread (okay, so I made up white bread) I’m astonished that it is not more widespread.
There is a rumour going around the Czech Republic, started by a small group of students, that I can’t sign my own name any more. Technically speaking, I’ve probably been unable to sign my name for the past twenty years. There is nothing like signing books for hours and hours at a time to turn one’s signature into something like a squashed insect. In short, my signature is still the same as it was several years ago and has actually settled into a curvaceous shape that I think is rather spiffy. It does not look like my signature of thirty years ago, but it never has, and I sign all the time. What I’ve tried to steer clear of now is personalising books, especially at large events. However, according to the lovely Claudia, there seems to be no change in my condition since my last major test in April 2008, PCA does have its effect and for some reason my handwriting in general gets worse and worse the longer the sentence. How can I put this…? When you have to concentrate on something that until fairly recently was automatic, the mere fact of you concentrating seems to make things worse. Besides, when I have been doing large signings, it’s made sense not to dedicate in any case. The longest authenticated signing I’ve ever done was timed at six hours thirty eight minutes and I never want to do one of those again.
We are also having a problem here with people sending in books to be signed and returned. At least the number of people who send in books without return postage has reduced from about 75% to 10%, but I do not like the whole idea of signing books by post because it causes so many problems. The pile of books here is seven feet tall, or it would be if it hadn’t just fallen over. A lot of handling is involved, especially since we are some distance from a major Post Office and I have a suspicion, the cynical person that I am, that quite a large number of the ones we now get are from dealers. The days here are hectically overfull to begin with and turning the place into a Sub Post Office is not what I had intended. The real problem begins when people then contact us asking “What happened to the book that we sent you?”; we go through the pile of what has not yet been returned and find no such book – but now the absence of said book is our problem. All in all the flood of signed books requests here is getting too much to cope with and we won’t be.
My good friend Sandra Kidby is local to me and it’s easy enough to sign books that she exclusively sells here at PJSM Prints. And, to reiterate, you will get my genuine signature, signed by me, in this office, posted back to you in proper packaging designed to survive the journey. You won’t get a Certificate of Authenticity, because they’re not worth the paper they’re written on, and anyway – who would sign that? :o)
On top of all this, a few recent minor events have led us to upgrade our security here. I’m sure fans will understand how hellish a chore this is when you realise that we are two nerds, with a large budget and a catalogue full of black and silver devices…
We’re off to the Palace next week to collect my Knighthood. We’ll let you know how it goes.
All the best.