Forgotten Carpenter

November 13, 2009 at 18:12 (1)

Did a great schools event in Swindon today — 600 kids from 11 different schools in a state-of-the-art theatre — good times!!! It was my last event in the UK this year, so I was pleased to end on a high. Trotted out my Cirque Du Freak scene one last time — and all the actors were excellent, which made it a pleasure rather than a chore!! And with the help of not one, but two microphones, I gave Lord Loss an even creepier voice than usual when I came to do my LL scene!!! I was signing for three and a half hours afterwards, so I came away drained, but it was a GOOD kind of drained!!! Many thanks to everyone involved who helped make it such a sweet, special day for me.

Went to see the new Alan Bennett play last night, The Habit of Art, at the National. It was a hit and miss affair — excellent when it was good, but there were lengthy patches where it dragged. All in all, a good night out, but nowhere near as on-the-money as his last play, the wonderful History Boys. Then again, it probably wasn’t ever going to be — just a pity that it couldn’t sustain the parts that worked, as it might have edged close if it had. One of the most enjoyable parts of the show for me was that one of the actors was playing the part of the writer, Humphrey Carpenter. (The play focuses on real-life people, such as W H Auden and Benjamin Britten.) Carpenter wrote biographies of both Auden and Britten, hence his role in the play. I haven’t read those biographies, and wouldn’t have known him if it was only for that. But Carpenter also used to write children’s books, and several years ago we took part in a panel event together, along with Vivien French. I didn’t know him before that, and hadn’t read his books, so I had no idea that he was as important a figure as he must have been (in comparison, I can’t see myself popping up as a character in any plays in the near or distant future!!!). But he was a nice guy and we had a little chat beforehand. Unfortunately, as those who know me are all too aware, it usually takes me several chats with a person before they make a real impression on me — my brain takes longer than most people’s to adjust and store info about those that I meet. I think it’s because I meet so many people in the course of my work — it just isn’t possible to remember them all, so I file them away in a short-term part of my brain, then delete the info. It’s only if I meet someone a number of times that they imprint themselves in my long-term files.

On that day in Edinburgh, however, even the area of my brain that stores things in the  short-term was on the fritz, and I forgot the names of both Humphrey and Vivien while doing our event together on-stage!!!! Vivien just laughed, but I think Humphrey was quite disgruntled about it, as he had every right to be — “Who the hell is this johnny-come-lately who can’t even be bothered to remember my name for an hour?!?” I’d hoped to explain it to him at a later date and have a laugh about it with him, and apologise for being so scatterbrained. Sadly, Humphrey died shortly afterwards, so that can never be.

At least, if his spirit’s looking on, he can hopefully take some comfort in the fact that his is probably the one name I never will forget from that day on — I suspect, even if I one day lose my marbles completely and forget my own name along with everyone else’s, that Humphrey Carpenter’s will still come readily to my tongue!!!!



  1. Gabby said,

    Yay, I was one of the actors. I loved it when Darren came, he is a brilliant author and very good at reading. Can’t wait for the new books on Mr. Crepsley!

  2. Robbie said,

    Great blog Darren Shan- hope to see you in Hughes And Hughes for the signing during the WexWorlds festival. Glad you enjoyed the event and play. Please keep up what I view as good work by writing more soon please!!!!

  3. kasie said,

    wonderful blog! keep up the good work , the cirque du freak series was my favorite series , you might even believe vampires are real although they are not

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: