This article was first posted in March 2008…

I watched Sky TV’s production of The Colour Of Magic last night, which I recorded over the Easter weekend – and what a fantastic adaptation it was of the first two Discworld books. David Jason was wonderful as the ever-cowardly Rincewind but, for me, Sean Astin stole the whole thing as the innocent tourist, Twoflower. There was even a cameo appearance by Terry Pratchett himself as one of the astro-zoologists.

Which leads me to this: I need to apologise to Terry Pratchett. Because I lied to him in 1994.

Allow me to explain…

I was a young(er) wannabe writer, and a big fan of the Discworld series. Of course, I was delighted when I heard that Terry Pratchett would be signing copies of his newest book, Soul Music, at my local bookshop – Waterstones in Preston. So, off I went to meet the great man and have him inscribe his name for me. Except…

When I got to the bookshop, there was a huge queue. Round the block stuff. I had vastly underestimated the number of people who would also want Terry to sign their books. Now, any normal fan would have stood in line with the people dressed as wizards and patiently waited his turn. But, I was not a normal fan…

At the time, I was considering a career in radio and so was making any number of demo tapes to send out to stations around the UK (yes, tapes – it was that long ago!) I had my recording Walkman and microphone in a camera bag in the boot of my car, and an idea began to hatch…

Racing back to collect my equipment, I re-entered the bookshop with as much confidence as I could muster and claimed I was here to interview Terry Pratchett for a local radio station. Amazingly, it worked, and I was told I would be able to go in once the newspaper guy had finished.

So, for ten minutes, I subjected Terry Pratchett to the most unprepared, banal interview questions I’m sure he’s ever heard. To his credit, he was gracious, polite and even agreed to sign my copy of Soul Music when I had finished. A triumph, you might think.

But, no. I was awash with power, and proceeded to go back down to the bookshop floor in my radio reporter guise and interview people still standing in the queue I had just jumped about why they were prepared to stand in line for so long.

So, to all those fans and, most of all – to Terry Pratchett himself – my apologies. If you ever want to jump the queue at one of my signings, consider it done.

Tommy

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