Okay, technically, that is not the alien that made it possible for me to meet Eric Idle… that is Mamma Fawnya, and she shows up in the same book as the alien in question, but so far, I haven’t made an image of every one of the hundreds of aliens I created for my action/humor science fiction series of novels: The Otherwhere Chronicles… available over there—> in the sidebar of my blog—> if you click on the pictures of the book covers. Also, Fawnya covers my wife in this photo, and since she doesn’t want to appear in my blog, it just worked out.
The story of how I got to hang out with Mr. Eric Idle of Monty Python fame, is a long tale, and it involves not only space aliens, but my older daughter as well. There is nothing a father wants more than to have his daughters think they are a ‘cool dad’… especially a twenty-something daughter. A few years ago, Jessica… yes, the one that is getting married soon… said she had started using Twitter, and she thought I might enjoy it as well. The thing is… (you know me and my ‘things’)… I had to have a twist, something to keep the crack squirrels in my head interested.
So I came up with the idea that I would ‘stalk’ celebrities on Twitter, and I made Jessica promise that if I could get somebody famous to actually answer me, she would get on Facebook and admit to everybody that I was cool.
I got replies from lots of famous people. William Shatner of Star Trek, Ricky Gervais, English comedian, and Dana Carvey from Saturday Night Live, who actually started following me, and a lot of others. But it wasn’t until Eric Idle responded to a tweet that she did the Facebook thing.
Then, as happens so often in my life, things took a weird turn… a cosmic coincidence, if you will. Because Jessica was also helping me do the technical parts of sending my books… (so far, two self-illustrated children’s books, a murder mystery set in World War Two London, and the first three of a four-part science fiction series that is about me, but not this me, a me in another dimension, where aliens have already come to Earth)… to the place that prints them to order…
You can actually read large parts of these novels. I used to post them, but not the endings, because then nobody would buy them… (try using that search bar thing)… They are hilarious and exciting, and would I lie to you?
So anyway, by pure, random chance, there was an alien that I… (the other ‘I’)… meet(s) in book three… which is the book I was in the process of editing when I first got my tweet reply from Eric… that learned how to speak English by watching only reruns of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. So he can only speak in lines from sketches from that famous show.
I had to watch all the episodes over again, in order to get lines of dialogue that would make up the conversation. And this is when I noticed something amusing. There are dozens of characters named Arthur in those sketches. In fact, there are so many that when I was hanging out with Eric, I asked him about it. He said that Arthur is just a good, solid, English name, not that it was inherently funny, as I had been assuming. But it is hilarious in the book when the alien keeps insisting that that I… he… I mean, me but not me… must be Arthur ‘Two Sheds’ Jackson’ or Arthur Lemming of the BDA, or some other Arthur from the show.
The scene ends when Arthur… not me, well, me, but that other me… asks the alien where the rest of his people are, and the alien goes into the classic ‘dead parrot’ skit. It is moving and sad and funny and heart-breaking when you… and the other me… realize that the alien is one of the last few members of a dying race.
But I was worried, being a self-published author selling a few dozen books, about using all those lines without legal permission. And since Eric was so very nice on Twitter, I asked him for permission. And he set me up with the publicist for Monty Python Pictures Limited… who happens to be a daughter of one of the Python guys… She emailed me, and was very nice also, and I now have official permission to use the material, as long as, if and when my books get picked up by a big publishing house… and turned in to movies starring Brad Pitt as me… I have to renegotiate my contract and start paying them royalties… (Buy some books, you can help make this happen)…
As a measure of my respect, and as a weird way to thank him for his kindness, I told Eric that I was going to do a funny Photoshop picture of him every day for a year, and put them on the blog and on Twitter. See, that explains all the funny posts with weird pictures of Eric I have been doing all week!
And he liked a lot of them, and retweeted them, and then he actually started following me on Twitter… yeah, you heard me.
Then I started noticing the fact that he was touring the world with his old friend, John Cleese, also from Monty Python… doing a two-man show…
John Cleese actually liked that picture so much that he asked Eric to ask me to send him one… but he never tweeted directly to me, so he isn’t on my list.
And then, at last, the show was making its way towards me!!! And my wife and I and some friends of ours, got tickets. And a few days ago, I figured, what the heck? I ‘private messaged’ Eric, and said, I knew that he couldn’t possibly meet every single crazed fan out there, but I would love to shake his hand and thank him for all the laughs… and… did you read the first post I did about meeting him? Scroll down… we will wait… but long story short, my wife and I spent ten glorious minutes with Eric. Just the three of us…
Oh… whoops… sorry, honey, but you do insist on not showing up here… (you can see just a bit of her hair by Eric’s left shoulder.) She had wine, poured by Eric. We chatted. I asked about the ‘Arthur’ thing in the TV show. We discussed our fear of living in a Trump-led world. He was so nice.
And I got some photos, and his autograph, and saw a great live show.
So, that’s about it, I guess.
The moral of this story is: create some aliens, write some novels, tweet some celebrities, make some funny pictures, impress your children, go out on a limb, and you might be hanging out with your idol before you know it.