Sandra Ruttan tagged me, so it gives me an excuse to make a long winded post with:
16 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT YOUR DISTINGUISHED HOST
1) My old passport photo – taken when I was about 17 – unfortunately makes me look more than a little like Four Weddings era Hugh Grant. In fact when I was that age I had the hair, the glasses and the nervous stutter… it wasn’t a good time.
2) I have a fairly irrational dislike of clowns. Yet I once dated a girl whose place was filled with them (I mean like pictures and models; not real life clowns, that would have been too much).
3) When I was younger, a friend tried to teach me to play golf and wound up breaking my nose by swinging a golf club into it (he told me to “look closely” so I did with no idea he was actually going to swing the damn thing).
4) I reset my nose again aged twenty-one when I tried sneaking out of a girlfriend’s flat to get to an early lecture and managed to fall face first into her stand-up vacuum cleaner.
5) I played the Cowardly Lion in a stage production of The Wizard of Oz and got my roar up to around a minute without taking a breath. Yeah, I had talent when I was younger; who knew?
6) My mother believes that I deliberately made the actors in a production of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting single her out in the audience as “a tearoom hag” followed up with the immortal line, “I’d rather put it between a couple of B&Q sanding blocks, doll”. This is not true. I was watching from the stage crew gallery and cringing when I realised who they were pointing at.
7) I spent much of Madison Bouchercon entertaining Jim Winter with the “You’re a shite… for shore eyesh…” Sean Connery joke. The best bit is I probably sound nothing like Shir Shean.
8) I was stopped and searched by the police aged 16 when one of my friends was spotted on CCTV taking me hostage in the street with a cigarette lighter shaped like a gun. The police cars rolled up and searched all of us. I was, of course, bursting to get to the nearest toilet while all this was happening and they wouldn’t let me go. Luckily it didn’t get any more embarrassing and when the misunderstanding was cleared I dashed fast into the nearest McDonalds.
9) Once on a date, I was pulled over by the police for blinding other cars with my fog lights. I’d hit the wrong button, meaning to turn the heating on in the car because my date was cold. It was all rather embarrassing. Surprisingly, she did actually agree to go out with me again.
10) One of my ancestors (well, I think he was a great, great, great uncle; something like that) went to
11) I fooled my friend (now with a doctorate in History) into believing that the deposed head of the Russian Duma (parliament) ran off to
12) Like James Oswald, I am allergic to mushrooms. Generally they make me do an impression of Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
13) This has passed into mostly public knowledge, but yes, I did manage to puke on two people within about an hour of arriving at my first Bouchercon. One of them was Sean Chercover, and no one’s entirely sure who the second one was. I still maintain it was the mushrooms I ate on the plane.
14) The first time I attended the Harrogate International Crime Festival, I had to stay on a caravan site some twenty minutes out of the city.
15) At Left Coast Crime in
16) A friend’s wife, upon seeing me for the first time, believed that I was a vehement Big Issue Salesman who had cornered her husband. I should have taken this as a hint to smarten up my appearance. But I’m too lazy for that.
I’m supposed to tag 16 people, but Sandra pretty much tagged the 16 I would have and besides, I’m sure some people have actual work to do!