Matthew Naylor

(Veronica Carlson and David Miller, the author of The Peter Cushing Companion)

well, the signing was very good.  It was at a place called The Conservatory, which was a cafe/bar off Tottenham Court Road (not far from Piccadilly Circus & Leicester Square).  I arrived at 12:30 (the signing started at 2:00) and was met by one other person.  He turned out to be a "professional" autograph hunter from Bristol (in the South West of Britain, not far from Hound of the Baskerville country).  He also turned out to be, shall we say, an unsympathetic fool.  He wasn't interested in PC, the book or the Frankenstein CD, he was just here to get Veronica Carlson's signature.  He kept going on about how he had never seen a Hammer film, how people who liked PC were sad and how the CD would be crap.  After 30 seconds, I had had enough of this drivel and made a pretence of going to get a cold drink (it was a hot day).  I went and had coffee for 1 hour and when I had returned, I found this twit in conversation with some others (who had arrived when I was drowning my sorrows with copious amounts of coffee at a local pub....)


Anyway, after another half an hours wait, a very frail and small old man was escorted into the building.  I recognised him as being James Bernard and had quite a shock to see him in such poor health.  Ten minutes later, the doors opened and the queue (which had grown to about 100) started to go in.  Admittance was by purchase of the book or the CD only, so I bought both and the new Vampire Lovers CD.  We then waited for a further 20  minutes inside the bar as they got themselves ready.  Veronica Carlson looked very beautiful in a blue and white dress, James Bernard was casually dressed in a short sleeved shirt & trousers and David Miller & Marcus Hearn were also in shirts and trousers.


Veronica Carlson asked Marcus Hearn to sign her copy of The Hammer Story (which he did) and then they all sat down at two tables joined together.  I was rather annoyed to see another person accosting James Bernard to sign all manner of items that he was pulling from a bag.  These included numerous CD covers (& rears) and video covers that he had brought in.  I thought this was a bit much, using James Bernard as an autograph machine, especially as he was visibly unwell.  I don't know who this person was but his behaviour seemed overbearing & rude. 


When I got up to the table, I said hello to Marcus and he remembered me from the chat we had in the Hammerfilm chat room last Sunday.  I got him to sign my copy of the Frankenstein CD (inside, over his notes) and asked James Bernard to sign the front.  He was very gracious and signed it "To Matthew from James Bernard", avoiding at the same time to write over the picture of Chris Lee as the creature.  I then moved on to Ms Carlson, who was equally charming and greeted me with a sumptuous smile.  She signed the CD cover for me and the first page of the PC companion.  I didn't make small talk with her (not wanting to seem pushy and being rather reticent in nature), so I simply said "thank you very much".  The last person to sign anything was David Miller, who I had a brief conversation with.  I asked him why there were two books on the Amazon website on PC in his name.  He explained that he had originally intended to publish the PC companion with Batsford but this had not come to fruition (for whatever reason).  Anyway, he signed it "To Matthew, with very best wishes, David Miller.  III VI MM"  I thanked him and moved off, thankful that I had made it.  After a brief conversation with Joe McEntyre (the Hammer web master) I wandered off, having spent a wonderful day in London.


James Bernard and GDI Records' Gary Wilson

Signed book by Carlson & Miller!