So it has been some months or at least weeks since I last penned a blog post. It therefore seems fitting that this blog post is dedicated to the blogging, twittering legend himself Sir Robert Llewellyn of Twitter, EV and some acting things fame.

But why is this blog about @bobbyllew?

The short answer is “it is” and the longer answer is basically this blog - so be patient and all will probably be revealed shortly.


Now I like books not just to look at on bookshelves but I also enjoy reading books as well. I must admit I do not read as many books as I should do but hopefully there is still time to read some more. Nor do I read as many books as my mum who seems to be a human book, erm, reading machine. Now you may not know this but @bobbyllew actually writes books. He has written a load of them - look here on Amazon (cough tax - some of these droids are not the ones you are looking for)._ _

I first came across the writing of Sir Bobby with the Audioboo book the Man in the Rubber Mask. Now my initial annoyance with the Audioboo interface and lack of Android connectivity was rapidly lost when I started listening to this brilliant book. I have I think now listened to all the chapters both the original ones and the more recently updated new ones. Probably making this the first and best valued audiobook I had ever bought. In fact thanks to Bobby of Bobbytown I was introduced to the world of audiobooks with a rather ungraceful bump.

Being at the time I was all about the Google I was very disappointed when I found I couldn’t actually buy any of Bobby-WanKenobi books on GoogleBookLand. Now I am pretty indifferent to the situation so that is ok. But I knew I wanted to listen if not read another one of his penned works of literacy gold. So next came News from Gardenia except I didn’t buy the book I again bought the audiobook and again from Audioboo - News From Gardenia. _Side note: I just tried to find my subscription to said book on Audioboo and well it wasn’t easy. In fact I had to resort to doing a DuckDuckGo search for it. Yet again another reason why Audioboo is not really a very good platform for buying audiobooks from. But Bobby Bobbob seems to like it. _I bought the book from Audioboo after a long winded conversation with BobbyG+Bobster about which version of the book he would make the most money back on. The Audiobook seemed to be best verses the Amazon eBookage.

Start - side note

I’ve blogged about In Ear Entertainment before in the past and well I’ll do it again. I actually started listening and buying their books thanks to their most gripping podcast series -  Supermarket Matters. They now have three audiobooks on their shelves - so to speak and if I had any disposable income I may have bought more than one of them. That said they are really reasonably priced about that of a large chain store cup of coffee!

End - side note

Back to @bobbyllew …. so audiobook of News from Gardenia in hand I started listening with my fiancee to the dulcet tones of Bobby-manoffunnyvoices-bob. Both she and I loved it. To be honest it is brilliant and probably even better than reading the book. So I wanted to listen to the next installment in the series and my luck was in as Bob was launching an Unbound campaign for his new book News From the Squares. So I registered and became a “supporter” of his new book writing endeavour. Ideally I wanted the option to get the eBook and the Audiobook but that wasn’t a choice so I just got the eBook version. Yes my name now features in the back pages of the book one of three who bear my surname. And no I’ve not actually read the book yet. That is on my todo list. Probably I will as soon as I have finished this blog.

Then an interesting thing happened. Well two to be correct. One) I got the book alert that it had been finished and downloaded it to my various eBook related things and Two) unbound tweeted and then emailed that @bobbyllew was going to be in Liverpool - then Manchester for a book signing of News From the Squares.

Gosh I thought to myself. If Bob (we have met on the internet so I can call him Bob you know - yes we are on first name terms) is going to make the trip up North then well I am going to make the effort to bloody well go and support him in person.

Now this led to two problems. One) I didn’t really want to fork out for the tram or drive to into town (that would be very ungreen) so walking appeared to be the only option and Two) I had no actually physical book for him to sign since well I had bought the Man in the Rubber Mask and News From Gardenia as audiobooks from Audioboo and News From the Squares as an eBook from Unbound. So a small tweet dialogue latter between Unbound and myself and some witty banter about “laser pens” I decided I would find my most signed book and get him to sign that instead.

Gosh that is a lot of writing I think it is time for a picture - don’t you?

This is a picture taken on my walk into Manchester centre. Zombie Photoshoot

At first you may be thinking what? But actually you should be thinking why? The reason why is that well basically the people on the right were all dressed up like the undead or “zombies” if you prefer in this context. As I walked backwards to do a double take and snap this quick picture they all started shouting “brains” at me and waving - which is rather nicer than the zombies that feature in the “walking dead”. That brings me onto another observation I made on a recent trip to China. Since most Chinese “men, women, boys and girls” all seem to spit on the street - especially in Beijing. I realised if you listened and didn’t actually look it sounded like a zombie film scene. With a lot of snorrt, errrrm, errrrrrrrrrrrh, snorrrrrrrrrrrrt, cluuuuuurck, cough sounds.

I continue………….so with the zombies avoided, thankfully, I arrived at Waterstones in the arndale centre with the interesting sight of a desk some pens and a collection of books. Don’t believe me - look here.

Pens and Books in Waterstones

So I spoke with the Waterstones person and he said that Bob hadn’t arrived yet (he didn’t say Bob because he isn’t on first name terms like me) but some people had asked and if I wanted to start a queue I could.

Being that I had just got back from China and had rarely observed any queuing I was to be honest uncertain if I could still queue up. So I went for a Costa coffee. You see there is a Costa inside - yes actually inside the Waterstones. Can I also just mention that this/that was my first trip into the Arndale Waterstones and it is massive and really nice. Of course the other one on the other street will always be my favourite thanks to the stairs I’ve nearly fallen down on many occasions.

With very large coffee (the cost of which was only 90p different from one of the great audiobooks featured on In Ear Entertainments website) I went and stood at the entrance of the queue and began a pre-queue queue. Whilst doing so I sparked up a conversation with an avid Red Dwarf fan and now owner of News From the Squares paper book. A nice person from Waterstones suggested that perhaps our pre-queue queue should form the queue queue and since she (the Dwarfer) had been wandering the store for 30 minutes I suggested she should take the lead. Shortly after we lined up - the two of us - a rather long queue began to appear.

Sometime after this and quite a long time before the official kickoff a rather startled Prof. Bobby Llewellyn arrived. Unfortunately I was busy pestering him on twitter at the time so I completely failed in capturing the look of surprise on his and our faces when he just walked in through the main entrance like a normal. Yes no PR crew or entourage, surprisingly no security he just appeared in a waistcoat and headed for the Waterstones customer service desk. Being that I recently also wore a waistcoat (for a wedding but that doesn’t matter) I can officially state that waistcoats are still cool.

A short wait again and a nice women came up and said can we take your name for a post-it-note so that it helps Mr Llewellyn not have to ask about the spelling. So we all obliged. I said erm “John” and she wrote out a post-it-note with “John” on it and stuck it in my book. Are yes you want to see the book now don’t you? Well you’ll have to wait for that.

Instead look here at me actually meeting and greeting Bob and us having some funny banter about the fact that I was asking him to sign a book which up until that second he had not known or cared existed. In fact my flimsy excuse of “I bought the eBook” perhaps set off alarm bells with him thinking “cheap northern bastard” - I said perhaps.

Hang on that is my book

This is the picture where Bob is thinking “What the hell is this book” and stating “I have no right” to be signing this book do I?”.

In fact we started a small bit of banter about that is what I did as a job.

Then Bob moved on to sign the page itself (picture coming honestly).

He only went and signed it

So look here is Bob actually signing the page. Now this is a special moment because at this moment I said something like “catch you on transportevolved tomorrow” and he replied with a very witty response - which currently escapes me. But was probably “yes I am looking forward to it”. Comedy gold.

Here is the actual page from the book

Limited Edition Signed BookYou may have noticed that Robert made out the inscription to:

"John all the best with the crystals Robert Llewellyn"

And yes his name does feature on the same page as nearly all the book authors. Rather annoying Bill I never got you to sign this book (I did the other one) we must resolve this one day and of course Peter Main who I don’t believe I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting but now must carry the book around with me (yes it went to China) just incase I do meet you in the street.

So with an inscription like that I better keep my hand in as a crystallographer now better’n I? I also think it would be a great thing to put on a T-shirt. True it would be a limited audience/shopping clientele but “all the best with the crystals” could be the next BCA big seller - I’ve bought the tie and own many of the previous T-shirts so I could see me spending a ridiculous amount on that.