Above and beyond the excitement that comes from having two of genre fiction's biggest names in the same room, this event was notable for its good intentions, chaotic execution, wild curve-balls and, eventually, a bit of unexpected genius.
[All pictures from Dougal Wallace's Flickr - great photos!]
The first major factor that defined this event was the atrocious sound - microphones that cut in and out at every other word. Unless you were in the first three rows, it was a complete write-off. As you can imagine, that was a little frustrating. (Also, as you can imagine, I'll whine about this repeatedly over the next 500 words).
The second major factor was the abrupt "ending". After an hour, a woman fainted, so the audience filed out swiftly (we learned she's ok - whew!). This, without sounding a bit grim, was a turning point for the better. The stifling, inaudible signing suddenly became an impromptu block party - with bookshop staff passing out wine, everyone mingling, and the authors setting up shop in the middle of the street.
A flawed signing suddenly became the perfect event.