I am now taking it upon myself to describe the magnificent night of the 20th of September. Due to circumstances beyond my control I arrived quite late. My hobbit carriage did not arrive at the door until half past seven, allowing me only an hour to chronicle this madness. As I approached the door, I saw an older fellow dressed up as Gandalf. I felt nervous. This was a REAL Tolkien gathering! Perhaps I felt a bit like Bilbo on his first adventure outside Bag End. This was my debut into Tolkienite society. I walked into a crowded room of individuals talking. There were various people in costume, including one dressed up as Boromir—boy did he look like Sean Bean!!!!
I basically spent the next few minutes looking around, and feeling like a hobbit far from the native hole. I finally asked a lady in costume if she help get my bearings. I told her I was with TheOneRing.net,and would like to film the event. She went to inquire about this,and I eventually got a thumbs up from behind the desk. This is quite a marvel—considering still photography was not allowed. Isn’t it wonderful to be the press! 🙂 I meandered my way upstairs and came to the room where drinks and snacks were being served. I knew Leo from TORN was supposed to be there, and earlier that day I had gone to look at photos of him in the Cannes Archives to refresh my memory on what he looked like. I spotted someone whom I suspected may have been the right person, and with all the boldness becoming a Jedi Hobbit said “Are You Leo?” Apparently I had struck a bulls eye, for the entishly tall fellow replied “Yes I am….the one and only!” I in turn told him who I was (we had talked a few times previously in Barliman’s) and so that marked him down as the first EVER in the history of Barliman’s, TORN and my entire chat life on the web since early 1998. And just ask anyone at Barliman’s—especially Thorongil—I stay very close to the Shire. 🙂
I soon found my way to another room where more fans were gathered and people were signing a guest book. I signed in this….but do not ask for my real name….you must still call me Pippin! 🙂 On the same table were posters by Ted Nasmith. I told Leo who was nearby rather humbly “I don’t know what he looks like.” to which he graciously informed me that it was the man in the maroon shirt. Yes, my dear hobbits– THAT was how lost I was. I went up,and told him my name, and that I was with TheOneRing.net and was interested in interviewing him. Eventually we headed upstairs to the much quieter “Munchie” room (my name for the refreshment table). I turned and invited Leo to come along, and we all trudged up to what was going to be the interview room. Now I’d done it. I was the lone ranger with the video camera who Xoanon had asked to film the event. I had never interviewed ANYONE before,and here I was not only about to do exactly that— the interviewee was a renowned Tolkien illustrator. I had a tremendous weight and responsibility on my shoulders. I had NOT had very much experience doing camera work, and indeed I hardly knew how to even start the interview.
I informed Ted and the little group standing around that I was a greenhand in this— and inquired about how to start. A friend who I brought along gave me a hand, and so I began to roll the tape. I began basically by saying the interview was for TheOneRing.net, the biggest fansite on the web. A member of the audience asked with some suprise: “Is it really the biggest?” Leo handled that question. 🙂
If you want an idea of what Ted was like I will say this: he is a rather serious person—a quality that goes hand in hand with the profession I suppose. Nonetheless however, he was a very nice person as well. Intelligent and thoughtful. I must say also that he is a very talented artist. You may be amazed to hear that by the time I arrived at the Gallery a lot of the paintings had already been sold. I heard one man in a business suit say that his wife need not worry because there was hardly anything left to buy. 🙂 After the interview, Leo asked Ted a few things and then it was poster signing time! Much to my amusement, a young man said to his friend “Well—I got my Sainsbury receipt!” (that is a food store chain here in England) and later commenced in handing the crumpled piece of artistry to sign. Ah my dear children….a golden moment indeed!
I hope children,that you have enjoyed this tale of mine; and with the absence of great battles,of vengeful contests, of dragons and knights or glorious hronicles of ships that traverse the emerald deep…I do hope my dear ones, that you may not find this piece lacking in wit.
The Chalk Farm coverage and interview will be seen in future chapters of TORN Digital!