Fan: Jill
Date of meeting: April 30, 2004
Place: UK
Event: Collectormania

pics to come....

Met Brad at last, yesterday! Be still my heart! Without you posting the details on, I would have missed this opportunity - So many thanks Katherine. I mentioned you to Brad, who said you were a 'sweetie', so I thought you would be pleased to know that. When I saw he was coming to the UK, my friend Bee and I decided to take the day off, kick up our heels and go and meet him. Although I am a Londoner, I now live near Cambridge, so the journey to Milton Keynes - a new town famous for its concrete cows (don't ask!), was just a little more than an hours' drive in Bee's Land Rover.

We had never been to one of these conventions/collectors fairs before and found it terrific fun. Most of the stuff on sale was Lord of the Rings and Star Trek (I myself am more of a fan of Babylon 5 (rather than Star Trek) which I think is better written and the plot more structured - there, that should get a load of hate mail from disgruntled Trekkies!)

Brad was by far the most sought-after of all the guests. This, I guess is due to the huge LOTR following here, a very popular book since JRR Tolkien first published it, gaining cult status in the 60's and of course, now. (Tolkien's son lives only a few miles from me - small world). Although once an Archaeology student, specializing in the Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon period, I have always been very keen on Tolkien and could bore for Britain on LOTR, but even so, I have to admit, I went there just to see Brad.

We arrived at 11 o'clock and we were issued with tickets to avoid us having to stand in a queue for hours on end - my number, even at that time of the morning, was No. 300! So we watched from a short distance away while we waited - I have to admit, it was quite a thrill to see him. I was sooooo please he had shaved off that ghastly moustache!!! Even the most avid fan would have to agree it did not do him any favours. He looked more like his boyish self, instead of some dreadful old down-and-out - no offence, Brad.
I know signing autographs at these events (minimum of £15-£20 a throw) must prove very lucrative, but when I watched how Brad had to shake hands, smile, answer questions (probably the same ones over and over), sit there while everyone gawped at him, stand up and pose for photos and look interested in every fan, time and time again, I could not but take my hat off to him! A real professional. And I was the 300th! His brain must be jelly at the end of the day. I did say to him 'you must be bored out of your mind'. He smiled, pulled a wry face, then with a twinkle in his eye, said something to the effect 'that he enjoyed every moment of it'. Yeah.........?! Although I could have stood and watch him perform for hours on end, I began to feel a little embarrassed at joining the gawpers and was in fear of being carted off as a stalker. So I wandered off to buy some terrific Grima pics for him to sign.

It was 1 o'clock before we actually met Brad - he did not disappoint - he is a real charmer. He said he had been to England several times, so I guess he was not too shocked by the weather, which was very cold and dank yesterday. Today as I write this, we having thunder and lightening, with torrential downpours - so, welcome to pale spring in England, Brad.

I did return to have a final and discrete gawp at Brad before leaving late in the afternoon (he must have been up to No 500) and he looked very tired and was obviously flagging - he may be receiving lots of dosh, but in my view, he earned it. (and he has three more days to go)!