Exclusive to Mr-Reeves.
Turkishdelight was lucky enough to attend the book signing event in London last year. Many thanks, TD, for sharing your experience with us and allowing us to see Keanu through your eyes!
“Ladies finally I got my heart’s desire, I met K-man last week-end in London at the book signing event!!! I read that Keanu will be at Waterstones Piccadilly for Ode to Happiness event (the art book he has produced with artist Alexandra Grant) and I got lucky and managed to get a ticket before it was sold out! I met some fellow fans at the event and it was such an amazing experience.
Let’s start from the very beginning, I arrived Waterstones almost one hour and half before the event and I was starving! Bec, I didn’t have time for lunch and I was too afraid to stop over somewhere as I was expecting a huge queue, but I was pleasantly suprised to find just 6 people sitting on the stairs. Next to the stairs there was the Waterstone’s cafe and I decided to have a bite, that’s where I met Jenny who was having a glass of wine and waiting for her friend, it was soo funny how we fans recognize each other even without the name tags! We had chatted while keeping a close eye at the queue, little by little people were coming, so after my little lunch I went to take my place on the stairs and there I met also Lelou and other fans. Everybody was nice and smiley and we talked and waited together until the doors open.
When the time has come and they have taken us in the room, I managed to get to the front row, then the excitement started knowing that K-man will be there in a few minutes. Finally, Keanu and Alexandra arrived and I started to record the whole thing with my mobile phone, unfortunately my camera skills are far from perfect and although I was in the front row, my seat was closer to Alexandra, so there are a lot of odd angles as I tried to get more Keanu. Anyways, I hope I will be able to post the video, currently it’s too big for uploading to facebook or youtube, I’m open to suggestions on how to upload it without too much trouble.
Back to the event, there he was, the man I adored for many years sitting no more than 2 feet away from me, looking tall, slim, handsome and radiant and I have to say the camera doesn’t even capture half the beauty of the man, but at the same time it was so surreal and I was torn between to keep recording and just watching Keanu and soaking my eyes with as much as pure Keanu gorgeousness as possible, bec the man was much better up and close. Btw, Keanu was totally in his element that day, he was very animated and attentive and I think his good mood affected us as well, he really made us comfortable with all the jokes, it was as if we were sitting in his living room and discussing the book with a circle of friends, the whole thing was very interactive and I have to say we had a very good audience, everybody was very well-behaved, no screaming, no intrusive questions or anything that would make our man uncomfortable.
First they told how the book came about, although I knew the story from the Guardian article it was so much better listening it from Keanu, then he made a funny reading of the poem which got a lot of laughs! Keanu asked Alexandra about some of the drawings, he said the first drawing looks like a cow and Alexandra said it is actually a sheep. There were really some good questions, a lady asked Keanu whether he was a closet writer, scribbling away all those years and we just don’t know about it and he said he was writing poems and other stuff as a kid and he just loves the word, the language and cares about what he writes, the lovely lady sitting next to me asked Keanu whether he was just making fun of Janey with silk pajamas and misery candle or maybe there was smt personal in it as well and Keanu said he was absolutely making fun of misery but he couldn’t write smt like this without considering it, he pointed the book and added ‘I mean who hasn’t had that’ and in response to another question, he confirmed that there was some personal experience in the book and I think that was as honest as an answer we could get from the man himself about the tone of the poem.
There were many laughs and interesting questions, but I will cut to the chase and tell the part about my question. I asked Keanu if he ever thought of making an audio copy of the book and maybe some other poems as that would be a treat for many, hearing the words from his voice and then I asked about the ‘word picture’, I said ‘I’m not a native speaker, so I hope that doesn’t sound so silly but what do you mean by word picture, do you mean the whole poem?’ and I asked Alexandra about the drawing at the last page as I think it looks like an eye and I told them that I’m Turkish and asked if she is familiar with the evil eye-beam (we believe beams look like blue-eyes protects you from evil deeds, jealousy, negative vibes generally, evil-eye beams are indeed still very popular in many former Ottoman territories, it looks smt like this: http://www.nazarboncugu.com) and the minute I mentioned that I’m Turkish, Alexandra said the ‘evil-eye beam’ and I was suprised that she knew about it, I talked a bit about evil-eye beam and said in the last page by putting that drawing of the eye, I thought they were giving a positive message as if to say “here’s the evil-eye beam and it protects you”, Alexandra said she loved that and it is wonderful how people project upon the art and then Keanu started to talk about the ‘word picture’, he said ‘I was hoping to create a word into a picture, visualization, it put you on a place that you chose’ then I laughed and said ‘this is deeper than I thought’ and he said ‘yeah, you know, when I was writing I didn’t want to say ‘let this poem remind you’, bec it was not a poem, a kind of…’ he stopped like he was searching for words and I said ‘Journey’ and then he continued ‘Yeah, like a word picture, whatever the relationship is, the memory, the projection, I was kind of transferring this moment in the kitchen, this kind of really nostalgic, melanchonic music state of humour, by describing all the objects and what it was, the feeling of it, that it will take you, let this word picture remind you’, he was talking with his hands all the time, making lots of gestures and I was so over the moon just watching him. I couldn’t get a better explanation and it was such a good feeling to have a little conversation with the man himself, btw he really does look at you when he talks to you and it really feels nice.
Then Alexandra chipped in: ‘The way you write, even in e-mails suggests images, you really have a particular way of putting words together, you really paint pictures with words and often times I e-mail you back pictures and you go ‘what?’. Alexandra was very funny as well, everybody was laughing and then I noticed that our man has avoided the audio book question, so I asked again ‘What about the audio book?’ and Keanu as playful as ever said jokingly ‘Oh, yes we will make an app and when the sh&t goes down, you click ode to happiness’, Alexandra joined the joke ‘Message from Keanu’, a guy in the front row also made a funny remark ( ode to appiness!) and Keanu said ‘that is funny’ in between the laughs, another lady in the front row said ‘Actually people will buy it’, Keanu chuckled ‘Right!’, so I guess there will be no audio book in near future but we got a lot of laughs instead, so that is okay.
After almost an hour of pure Keanu heaven, they took us to another room in groups for book signing, knowing that might be the experience of one of a life time, I brought some Turkish Delights with me for Keanu and Alexandra from Divan patisserie in Turkey, the very best for our boy! I also put one of my all time favourite books, “Portrait of a Turkish Family” by İrfan Orga hoping that a man known as a voracious reader would enjoy this little piece of Turkish literature and wishing he would really consider one day visiting İstanbul as in my mind like Turkey, Keanu represents the perfect blend of East and West and imo he might find a lot of inspiration from İstanbul for his future projects .
When we get to the table, I said to Alexandra I brought them some Turkish Delights, she smiled and thanked me and when signing my name I said it means ‘Angel’ in Turkish and Keanu said ‘There is an angel in this book’ and I laughed (Btw I forgot to mention, when Keanu was asking Alexandra about her drawings, he said gorgeous white towel looks like an angel) and then I told Keanu how much he is loved in Turkey and one day we wish to see him in İstanbul and gave him the bag and then timidly asked for a hug, he said ‘Okay’ and hugged me! It was very brief as the bodyguards were rushing us out but I was just happy that he made the gesture and I had this precious memory of meeting the man and spending an hour in his company! Of course if I had the time, there was a million other things I’d like to say to him, but at that moment everything becomes kind of blurred and you try to get most, that’s why I didn’t ask for a picture but instead had a hug.
Afterwards, we were soo excited and happy and totally satisfied that we didn’t even try to catch a glimpse of Keanu outside the bookstore, we saw Denise was going down the stairs but we decided to stay and enjoy the moment. Then we said our goodbyes to Jenny and Lelou, MJ and me went for drinks in Covent Garden and celebrated our great experience and how it totally worth coming to London for the book signing, I hope to catch Mr. Gorgeous in another event in Europe bec that is so addictive! I was thinking maybe I’d be disappointed after I saw the real Keanu but I have to say, it definitely had the reverse effect on me, I’m even a bigger fan now and looking forward to next Keanu meet-up…Please Keanu keep writing!