Quick, said my son, buy a signed copy of Lawrence Grobel’s biography of Al Pacino in Dubray Books and I’ll get Pacino to sign it too. And he did. Here’s the proof.
If you’re wondering how Daire pulled that off I better explain. At the time Daire was president of Trinity Philosophical Society and Pacino was in Dublin to become an Honorary Patron of the Phil. Daire spent lots of time with Pacino who arrived with just a one-man entourage – Grobel.
In fact, having grabbed the book earlier I was there to see Pacino accept his award, give a speech and engage in a great interview with Ryan Tubridy on stage. It was some night.
So, Pacino’s autograph is safe in my study. Oh, and I also have Pacino’s speech from that day. In his rush to depart after the event I spotted he had left his speech behind and grabbed it as a souvenir.
It’s not so difficult to accumulate signed copies of cricket books. My mini cricket library boasts the signatures of current English cricket captain Alastair Cook and two former skippers, Michael Atherton (now an award-winning cricket writer) and Andrew Strauss.
I also have England bowler James Anderson which I happened upon in a London bookshop, plus there’s a nice flourish by colourful ex-umpire Dickie Bird which I picked up second hand – as you can see I’m not “Audrey”.
Two others are pretty special. I was recuperating in hospital following a minor operation when my daughter presented me with a copy of Robert Fisk’s The Age of the Warrior. With a personal message from him to get well. Turns out he was speaking at a debate in University College Cork and she happened to be one of the organisers. Sweet!
New York Times’ larger than life David Carr has been a media hero of mine for some time, so when Daire met him in the course of business, Carr, when informed of my interest, offered to autograph a hardback copy of his memoir The Night of the Gun. Which he did. The message somewhat overrates me, but what the hell!
I was telling my colleague, Irish Examiner Night Editor Mark Evans, of my tiny book collection, so when he published his novel Mrs God this is what he put in my copy.
Finally, today produced an unexpected bonus. In Clonakilty to meet a friend I spotted Clonakilty Bookshop where I came upon a copy of The Son by Philipp Meyer. Having read a very favourable article on both the author and a sample chapter of American Rust online I was considering whether or not buy it when I came across this:
Needless to say The Son is in my precious collection.