You can listen to this while you read about my adventure, if you feel so inclined :-)
(ETA - Lou Reed passed away on October 27, 2013. RIP)
OMG, YOU GUYS!!! YOU GUYS, OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!
Okay, okay. I think I'm good now. ... Maybe? ... Yeah, I'm good!
So yesterday, I got to meet my counterpart for the first time! Because it always needs to be emphasized - we've been talking to each other online (and occasionally on the phone) since 1998. You'd think we'd find time to hang out since I moved to Boston, because it's so much closer to NYC than the flat lands outside of Chicago. But it just couldn't seem to happen until yesterday!
Due to circumstances outside of anyone's control, I could only stay for the day, but I honestly didn't care at all. There will be other times to be a tourist, but yesterday I had a mission! I got into NYC around 3:30pm and finally met Audrey around 4:00! We hugged for a couple minutes and I gave her her present - burned DVDs of Magic Years vols. 1-3. The event wasn't starting until 7:00, so we decided to get food before heading over to the bookstore. I cannot describe how awesome it was to be sitting with her and talking about Queen and Freddie! I have a good time doing that with pretty much anybody, but this was special, dammit! 12 year-old me would have been just as excited as I was!
We tried to see if we could buy the book before getting in line, but one of the people on staff said that we could, and then someone else said we couldn't, so we just waited in line. It was fun and interesting meeting people Audrey knew from the times she went to Breakthru 2001 and '02 - including her friend Gareth, and meeting other hardcore fans. Also, quick aside, everyone I've encountered in the city has been kind, funny, and courteous. Boston has its share of great people, but then there are the assholes who will shove past you on the T (subway system) even though it's the last stop on the train, roll their eyes when a pregnant person asks for a seat on the bus, etc. But we all come together in our hatred for students when they're coming in from other parts of the country to go to school (because it's totally smart to stop in the middle of a cross-walk on a busy street in Harvard (Hahvahd!) Square to take a group photo or consult your map for directions). But I digress.
Thankfully, the line wasn't too long when we got there, because I didn't want to have to miss out on this part of my mission due to lack of space in the room. At one point, we saw that Brian had entered the store, and Audrey pointed to the window where I could only see the top of his hair. I. Was. Dumbstruck. I couldn't make words for maybe a whole minute. Audrey laughed at me, so I picked on her. "Oh, you've met Brian a couple times before, so now you're pretty much over it?"
Eventually, we were escorted to an elevator to go to the Rare Book Room to buy books and watch the presentation. I cringed shelling out $60 for it, but it came with Brian's Owl stereoscopic viewer, and he and the other authors were going to sign it, so it was worth it. I don't have a problem living off of especially cheap food for a little while!
We were given 3-D glasses for the presentation, which was fun. I didn't know quite what to expect, but the pictures shown and explained were stunning! I couldn't help but think that some of them could have been contenders for the cover of Innuendo. And hearing all the authors talking about this particular passion and throwing in some Queen references and puns made it very entertaining for me. Near the end, I started getting a headache, so I had to take off the 3-D glasses, but that didn't make me appreciate the craft that goes into stereoscopic photography any less.
And here's a shot with the zoom, just in case my phone didn't capture the awesome.
Finally we got to get our stuff signed! I had brought a Gunpowder Gelatine flier, but I wasn't totally sure if he'd be willing to sign it. He did, though, so the band is going to have to figure out some sort of time-share arrangement amongst themselves ;-) I also got to give him my hand-written letter (I thought about typing it up to post here, but I like it better that it's an interaction just between me and Brian. I let Audrey read it though, but she's entitled to that sort of treatment). It's nothing creepy, though! I promise! It was basically just thanking him for being such a presence in my life, and also thanking him for his non-Queen-related endeavors, because it probably really sucks for him to take the spotlight away from others who've had equal contribution in something he's done. He saw Audrey standing behind me to take pictures, and I explained that she and I first met in the fan club chatroom, and had met in person after 15 years. You guys, he said that that was amazing!!! BRIAN MAY THINKS WE'RE AMAZING!!!
I asked if I could get a picture with all of the authors, thinking that the bookstore staff would yell at me to move it the hell along, but everyone happily complied! And I got next to Brian and crouched down, and suddenly I felt his hand pat my shoulder! YOU GUYS!!!!!
And here's Gunpowder Gelatine's flier. I think he initially thought it was a promo for A Day At The Races, but at second glance, Brian did a, "Oh, cool!" face, so I hope that means he'll get really curious and check them out on Youtube later. Because how awesome would that be??? I'm going to give them the flier at their Halloween concert, and I'm really excited that I got to do something so cool for them!
Afterwards, Audrey and I hung out outside with some other fans and chatted, hoping to catch Brian on his way out. There was one person we bonded with,
whose name I sadly can't remember right now (her name is Tracey! Hi, Tracey!), but Audrey and I got a picture with them, and I asked permission to post it later. So here it is!
Their hand-painted jacket (which took two years for her to paint, if I remember correctly) got the attention of a passer-by, and so this stranger got to join in the bonding and conversation. Brian wound up sneaking out the side door (well played, sir!), and Audrey and I made the trek back to my bus stop. I got to look at Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building, ride a couple stops on the subway, and share a bit of a pretzel with Audrey along the way. Oh well. I spent the next four hours on Mega Bus posting pictures on Facebook (yay for smart phones!) and asking myself if that all really did just happen. But it did! I couldn't make this up if I tried!