|The one and only Bob Hope|
October 13th, 1984. That was the day I fulfilled my long-time ambition of drinking in a pub called The RED LION. (Okay, it was only a Coke, but it still counted.) I had always wanted to do so since reading the name in The WIND In The WILLOWS many years before, when Mr. TOAD had sauntered into a pub of the selfsame title and ended up stealing a motorcar on his departure.
Not that I had the intention of doing anything similar (though I could've nabbed an ashtray as a memento if I'd wanted to) - it's just that there was something about the name that appealed to me. It conjured up images of old-world charm, of another era when things seemed simpler and more pure. Ruddy-faced gents crouched 'round a roaring fire, quaffing from flagons of ale held nonchalantly in their weather-beaten hands, as coachmen and travellers, filled and fortified, prepared to embark on the next leg of their journey.
I repeated the feat two or three years later, when I had lunch with the assistant editor of IPC's BUSTER in another Red Lion pub just across from Downing Street in London. That was still in the future however; for now the heady rush that came from watching JOHN LOWE score the first-ever televised nine-dart finish in history (on another pub's TV later that evening), and then meeting the legendary BOB HOPE before attending his show at The EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE an hour or so afterwards.
I met Bob again in 1994 at The GLASGOW ROYAL CONCERT HALL, and had my photograph taken with the great man and his wife. I have his autograph several times over, on records, books, magazines and photos. Above is the one he sent me a few weeks before his concert in Edinburgh on that magical and eventful night back in 1984, and below is the photo taken ten years later.