November 04, 2010

My Irish Love

For some reason, quite a few attendees at my recent appearance at the Berkeley, IL public library asked me to sign books that had nothing to do with me other than the fact that I was being asked to sign them. Patrick snapped this shot of me signing a romance novel:


I remember signing a couple of Harriet the Spys, a cookbook, and a Rand McNally road atlas (as well as some phones and shoulder bags.)

Of course, in a commercial sense I would far prefer that people purchase my own books for the purpose of acquiring that kind of memento, and in an ego-gratification sense there is nothing like the shining eyes of a trembling fan when you write something like "hey, thanks for [unintelligible scrawl trailing off into a barely legible signature]" in your own book rather than in someone else's. But in every other sense, I really do love the whole concept of inappropriate autographed items.

My own favorite one, and the first I ever collected, came about by accident when I was on a school band trip to Los Angeles. We had a couple of hours free time to wander around on Hollywood Boulevard, most of which I spent record-shopping. Somewhere along the way, I encountered a throng of people surrounding someone who was clearly a celebrity, thrusting pieces of paper for him to sign.

I had to jostle my way past several rings of fans before realizing the celebrity's identity: it was Wink Martindale, most famous at the time for being the host of the game show Tic-Tac-Dough.

I had nothing for him to sign except the records in my bag. Which is how I wound up with a copy of Black Flag's Jealous Again 12" signed by Wink Martindale. It said "regards, Wink," and he drew a little picture of a smiley face winking next to it.

Sadly, this item has since disappeared, probably lost in a breakup like so many records over the years, though it is possible it is still around here somewhere, lying underneath something or other. Nevertheless, whether or not it exists anymore, it's an ideal to aspire to.

Maybe next time, I'll tell you about the time I almost got beat up by Maureen McCormick's security goons for trying to get close enough to ask her to sign a rubber lizard.

Posted by Dr. Frank at November 4, 2010 08:56 PM | TrackBack

I have a John Denver album signed by you the day (or day after) he died, MTX played the Metro in Chicago. Classicness.

Posted by: bizzarro at November 4, 2010 09:08 PM

Somewhere I have a flier for a bondage club that someone, rather inappropriately, stuffed into my 14-year-old hand while in Manhattan one day when I was visiting from Long Island; and that I, shortly thereafter, had Joan Jett sign when I was on the same flight as her and happened to have it in my bag.

Also, "Wink Martindales" is what my friends and I used to call knock-off Doc Martens.

Posted by: fanny_k at November 4, 2010 09:14 PM

"That is a rare photo of Sean Connery signed by Roger Moore"

Posted by: Chris at November 8, 2010 03:04 AM

I think it was '97 and MTX played The Duchess in Leeds, UK. You signed my Converse All Star. Sadly both the The Duchess and the shoes are long gone... but not the memories.

Posted by: Tom (dB) at November 8, 2010 07:26 AM

I had Graham Chapman sign a copy of "Mysterious Monsters" once because that's all I had. Also, I went to a Peter Shickele concert once and had him sign a copy of his only non-PDQ Back album, which he said had won an award that year for the worst-selling record.

Posted by: Don at November 9, 2010 06:25 AM

The first time I met Marvin Minsky, he gave me a signed copy of Disch's “Camp Concentration.” That is, Marvin signed it “Tom Disch”, and then gave it to me.

Posted by: Oliver Steele at November 12, 2010 10:46 PM