A Close Shave

Around ten minutes prior to commencing this blog I was almost mown down by Alan Bennett, the acclaimed Leeds playwright, performer and author. At this juncture, I’d like to be clear the octogenarian wouldn’t have been the guilty party should any unfortunate injury has been sustained and litigation pursued. After all, the author was merely a passenger in the wheelchair being ‘fuelled’ by a younger bespectacled fellow – Who I assume was his partner.

Although there was no evident malice or intent coursing through the wheelchair guide’s veins at the time, thoroughfare congestion was so latent it was necessary for him to stop hurriedly in front of me at the bottom of a Leeds train station ramp.

There was no injury to any party; well not me anyhow. I can’t speak for Alan Bennett, who maybe in the process of posting an ambulance chasing lawyer claim as I write – A financial recompense going a small way to compensate whiplash injuries to the neck….. Not, I’d venture that the London-based writer will need the cash injection.

Anyhow, my only impact was Mr Bennett briefly blocking my way to the platform gates. This fleeting inconvenience augmenting an already disconcerting few moments where I sought to navigate my way past a throng of travellers/commuters.

My presence at the metropolises central station the inaugural step of a weekend tarry north to Newcastle for a recuperative weekend of alcohol, inappropriate banter and alcohol…. Incidentally, writing alcohol a second time wasn’t a typo; it’s presence is consequential of the party I’m rendezvousing with liking alcohol!

As a huge fan of Alan Bennett’s work (that I’ve read, anyhow) it was an honour, privilege or thrill to nearly be incapacitated by the Beyond The Fringe writer/performer’s ‘driver’. No words were exchanged between the playwright and yours truly – The former, although adorning a face covering, instantly recognisable behind trademark gigs and green tweed jacket.

And why would words be exchanged. Alan Bennett doesn’t know me from Adam…. Well, unless there’s an Adam he knows really well, in which case he’d know at least one Adam which wasn’t me…… Coming to think of it, though, he doesn’t know I’m not called Adam, so that surreal episode couldn’t have possibly played out…… Anyhow,…..errrrr….. moving on.

His ‘driver’ did offer me a polite “Sorry!” at the once careering wheelchair causing me to halt abruptly in my tracks. However, the Leeds author remained tight-lipped as the incident unfolded. If anything, looking irritated at being caught amongst Friday the afternoon hordes at his hometown main railway station.

Bennett’s display of apparent irk putting off any remote chance of yours truly speaking to the fellow Loiner. A verbal offering which, if it’d came to pass, would no doubt’ve included an expression of my admiration for his penmanship….. And potentially him, in his pique, responding “F***off!”….. Not that I seriously think he’d resort to such brash tactics.

That being said, if he did I’d probably find the funny side. After all, having the boast ‘Gary Strachan – As told to f*** off by Alan Bennett’ would play out as a far funnier and kudos securing homepage claim to fame on strachan.blog than the current ‘Gary Strachan – As published in August’s edition of The Dalesman’.

However, I’d imagine being confronted by a fan, irrespective of how gushing, would be the last scene he’d want playing out under those prevailing circumstances. Consequently, I resisted bothering the Leeds born author.

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