Friday, April 21, 2006

Eric Idle at Borders

I was in line at 7:55, at Borders on State, even though the signing started at 12:30. There were a couple people ahead of me, including one Creepy Lady who was standing in front of the door, waiting to get in. As soon as the doors opened we made a beeline for the top floor, where the line started. Creepy Lady only kind of stood in line for like 2 seconds then went downstairs and sat in the cafe for a couple of hours. I guess she expected the rest of us to keep her place, because when she came back up demanded to take her rightful place at the front of the line. We pretty much managed to ignore her demands, and block her from cutting in front! Creepy Lady wanted her book personalized the following way: "Dear ____________ (i forget her name), I'm sorry that Robin Williams had to spoil your Buddy Hackett moment. Sincerely, Eric Idle." Whatever that meant. Lori, the event manager, told her there was not much chance of that happening at all.

Oddly enough, the Borders staff insisted on playing Madonna ("Cherish" sticks in my head, even as I write this) but switched it to the Spamalot cast recording seconds before Eric Idle and John Du Prez made their entrance. Eric came in wearing a white suit with no tie, a light blue shirt, and sunglasses - very Hollywood, and quite appropriate for the nice sunny warm weather Chicago is suddenly having. He said one or two words, posed for a couple of photos ("Look, you're on the web!" he said to John, pointing to the number of cell phone cameras snapping shots from the audience) then proceeded to launch into a rousing version of "Sit On My Face", leading the audience in the final chorus. Funny, I had just commented a few minutes earlier on how they probably were't playing "Eric Idle Sings Monty Python" or even "Spamalot" because this was a "family" bookstore... and now this!

Just when I got to the signing table, and was placing in front of Eric the items mentioned in my last post, someone from either Borders or the publicity people announced they were only signing the "Spamalot" CD and the book, "The Greedy Bastard Diary : A Comic Tour of America" so I was left holding a pile of stuff. Guess what? Eric took one look at it, gave me a kind of "give it here, lad" look, and signed all the swag anyways. I've always said he was all right! I got a free pair of coconuts too, imported by real African swallows (but I always thought those were non-migratory....)

A side note: what's up with the armed police escorts at Borders events? Are Borders management that suspicious and distrustful of their customers? I recall this at the Margaret Cho event on Michigan Avenue, and found it a little inappropriate. But then again, there were people like Creepy Lady, who made me and my friend Jamie a little more pleased to have them around (just in case).

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