Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Sir Michael Caine Loves My Work

See? And no it doesn't say "A rue young wok".

So this is how it went down. After a hard day's being made redundant, I like to unwind by sitting in a sports hall with 700 other people and listening to an old geezer do the anecdotes about his hollywood life.

This is what I did on Monday. Michael Caine has a new autobiography out called "The Elephant to Hollywood" (the "Elephant" part referring disappointingly to Caine's old manor of Elephant and Castle in London and not to a "Temple of Doom"-style pachyderm trek to tinseltown) and is touring the country doing a bit of talking and stuff.

So he comes on stage and immediately spots me sitting in the crowd. He recognises me. Says he reads the blog. I am a bit confused by this, as I have no pictures of myself on this site. He rushes into the audience, punching people out of the way with surprising force for his advancing years, and grabs me in a big bear-hug. He says what an honour it is to meet me. There are tears in his eyes. He pushes a copy of his book into my hand, and writes me the above message with a glowing smile. Then he shakes my hand and goes back to the stage. The show must go on.

This is totally how it went down. It was a personal and meaningful exchange between two artists. This wasn't one of those things where the plebs queue up for an hour just to get a glance and a smile from a celebrity as they scrawl a pre-arranged-by-post-it-note message on the inside cover of a copy of the book they're hawking. How cynical are you?

In all seriousness, Sir Mickey Caine was a delightfully amusing host for the hour or so he was onstage, even managing to respond to a bellowed demand of "SAY IT, THEN!" when talk turned to "The Italian Job" with dignity and humour.

My actual "meeting" with him went something like this:

I handed my copy of the book to a lackey.

The lackey handed it to another lackey.

The lackey slid it in front of Maurice Micklewhite.

Maurice read the message I had requested aloud: "I love your work?"

I spoke up: "It's a message from me to you, which I would like you to reciprocate by writing it in the book."

Maurice said: "Well, I do love your work", scrawled some vaguely intelligible words to that effect on my copy of his book, before passing it to another lackey who finally passed it back to me. The whole transaction took no more than about twenty seconds. I didn't feel cheated, though, as I had actually got him to acknowledge my existence and almost say more than six words directly to me, which was more than most people managed.

He's signing so fast he's a blur!

I don't take this as Caino being rude or anything, he's just an old geezer who had had a long day, was tired, in a hurry (something about a helicopter pad closing. Oh yeah, he arrived by helicopter.) and was trying to make sure everyone got their book signed, so no time for a chin-wag. The interview we had seen earlier was more than enough engagement with the man himself, amusing and entertaining with name-dropping tales and self-deprecating anecdotes. I haven't read the book yet, but if it's owt like his public speaking, it should be highly amusing.

If you get chance to see him on this book tour, do so, cos he'll probably be dead soon. He's pretty old now. As for the book, you can probably get it on amazon, but I'm not posting a link. I'm not a fucking prostitute. Yet.


  1. I love your work x

  2. Great now what am I supposed to do when (ok, IF) I get to meet him. You totally squashed my master plan. Now I'll have to show him my boobs or something. No, wait. I'm not exactly stacked, packed and ready to roll so maybe I'll just have to smile really big and say in my deepest Southern accent, "Hey, Mr. Caine, I just adore your work." And hope that he'll be so entranced that he'll not only sign something for me BUT take a picture with me. Ah, yes, I dream big!

    Terrific post! Loved it!
    L. Avery Brown

  3. Anon: that is the nicest anonymous comment I've ever had. Cheers!

    Sugar: I do feel lucky, punk.

    L. Avery: Don't show him your boobs. At his age, you'd probably give him a heart-attack. I'm sure a smile would do the trick.

    Cheers for comments!

  4. You are lucky! Went to his book signing at Barnes & Noble in New York City on Tues. Oct. 26 and it was a HUGE disappointment! The book was already pre-signed and the staff & security at the store were very nasty & rude! If you wanted your pre-signed book personalized to you or someone, the staff allowed it! However by the time they have given him your book and he's adding your name to it, you were still waiting on line and then by the time you get up to him to say something or attempt to shake his hand or say thank you, you and your book are whisked away by staff & security and the sad part is Michael never even looked up at me! It was like you were an item on a fast factory belt & he was the inspector given you his approval sticker without really looking at you! What a waste of time & money!

  5. I was at the signing on Oct. 26th as well! It's just as you said. I was about the 16th person in line and the staff couldn't have been ruder! The event manager promised a photo of him while we were suppose to get our books signed and once we handed the book he kept shouting, 'no photos!' and forced us out. You're absolutely right, such a waste of time and money. I felt like I didn't even meet him.

  6. hello Michael Caine fans. can anyone give me the telephone numbers of the publisher and B&N store regarding the book signing that was on 10-26-10. the whole event was a nightmare and I want to call them & complain. this was just the worst book signing I ever went too. I was shocked to show up to a book signing and realize the book had already been pre signed and the store staff said because Michael Caine was running late and that's why he had to pre sign the books earlier in the day. Does this even make sense to anyone? How could he be running late for his own book signing & still have time early in the day to pre-sign over 500 books and still show up to the signing to simply sign/add your name to it? When I questioned several staff members when& where exactly had the book been signed, everyone of them gave me a different answer. I don't really don't think that Michael Caine signed the book and I think it was signed by his assistant who has been forging his signature in the mail for years. so upon realizing that the book was pre signed, I demanded that it be exchanged and I got another book which had not been pre signed. A few of the people on line with me also did the same thing while the book staff took our books and brought us blank books, I then had Mr. Caine sign the book for me. I was also able to take photos from the line but I too was rushed off and Michael Caine never even noticed me.he looked very unfriendly and pissed off that he had to sign some books all over again. Who ever came up with the stupid idea of having Michael or someone else pre sign the books should be shot because it served no purpose as Mr. Caine ended up having to sit there anyway and sign for everyone whether it was his autograph or adding someone's name to the already pre signed signature. I think who ever got a pre signed book should call up the publisher & Barnes & Noble and complain because you will never know if you have an authentic signature. I compared my signature to some of the pre signed books and the signature did not look the same. At least I was able to see with my very own eyes that Mr. Caine signed my book even if he never noticed me.

  7. Disgruntled Caine fans: I feel for you, but I'm not sure what you expected. These things have to be run like a prison dinner-queue, or they would just take forever. In the case of the signing I was at, you're looking at one man writing 700 messages to 700 people who each want their own moment with him. A photograph, a handshake, a little kiss... if everyone got to engage him in conversation it would never end. It does sound like the staff at your signing were particularly difficult, but isn't that what everyone's like in New York?

    I'm sorry you felt short changed. I didn't, really, it pretty much went how I expected it to.

  8. well I don't know about you, but I think it was wrong to get a pre signed book at a book signing that an author shows up to. and then as a paying customer who takes the time to show up & wait on line only to be treated in such a disrespectful & ungrateful manner was very wrong. I went to the same book store last year for Roger Moore, granted the staff/security were still rude, but at least Roger Moore made the effort to say hello to you, thank you for coming, shook your hand and even allowed photos and the line moved quickly. Mr. Caine did not even make eye contact with you and looked agitated & stressed. sorry but the whole thing yesterday was pathetic and Michael Caine needs to show a little more class or at least act like he has some when it come to meeting paying fans. he's making a lot of money off this book from loyal fans like us. a couple of years ago, when I went to President Bill Clinton's book signing, security was even more tight because of secret service, they searched your bags, took away everything from you (you had to empty your pockets, keys, coins, bags etc.. to be left in a holding area)but at least you got eye to eye contact, a firm handshake and a God Bless You from Mr. Clinton. And no not all New Yorkers are rude! In fact that B&N book store at 555 46th St. & 5th Ave. has a problem with their staff & security detail. Not everyone in NY are rude. don't believe everything you see in the movies or TV. I have been to so many other book signings and they have all been much better. I was disappointed and I really hope Mr. Caine is reading this and knows how to correct the problem at any other future book signings. thank you.

  9. Well, he does love my work, so he may well see this.

  10. Dear Mr. Caine, if you are reading this, will you please consider doing another book signing in New York City because the one you did on Tues. Oct. 26, was a very unpleasant experience. Please demand that the store staff treat your fans with dignity & respect and allow a quick hello and handshake as they pass you at your table! There is a reason why your fans love you and that dream was shattered at the NYC Book signing. Very, very sad on the long trip back home and hopefully those of us who truly love you will have one more chance to return & actually meet you and make it a wonderful experience that will put the smile back on your fans faces. I really hope you or someone you know is reading this and you can arrange another NYC appearance. What a shame that it took Barnes & Noble to ruin your wonderful image. Signed a very loyal fan!