Okay, I confess, I used a click bait heading. I did not have a date with Jennifer Byrne BUT I did get to meet her. And long story short, she was every bit the divine, glowing, Goddess of radiance that we see on our screen. But what kind of blog entry would this be if I went with the short version, so let’s do the long story long.
It was a chilly July morning, I woke to the gentle thump of my daughter’s warm rump landing on my chest, and the caress of her hands against my face as her tiny fingers tried to softly pry my eyes open. “Wake up, Mummy,” the words floated from her lips like dandelion threads on the breeze. #blessed. I murmured back to the angelic creature perched upon me, “Wha?” And shortly thereafter got out of bed and let the two year old twin terrors out of their cots, before they started getting their own ideas of getting out of bed and learned that they are more than capable of escaping.
It was an ordinary day, just like any other Thursday. My daughter refused to wear any clothes that were weather appropriate. The twins used a couple of dinosaurs as light sabers and attempted to kill each other. My husband spent a long time on the toilet. I drank tea. I had to try out some mixed martial arts moves in order to subdue my boys for nappy changes and my daughter eventually settled for dressing like a fairy on crack. My husband got out of the bathroom and went to work, and better yet, he actually took the kids to preschool with him. Not every day is a preschool day, but that fateful day was.
As the glitter of childhood laughter and dreams settled I sat and drank coffee in my pyjamas. I tweeted about how excited I was to go watch a live recording of The Book Club ABC. I tweeted about how much I desired to see one Benjamin Law’s ankle region. Last time he had been on the show he had done it utterly sockless. I dared but dream that he would do the same again. As you can see, I was awfully excited. The Book Club is my not so secret addiction. I write recaps, I watch it religiously, and I probably tweet about it every day.
After I finished my coffee I realized that I should probably do some vacuuming. So I did. I then cleaned the toilet. These events were no doubt symbolic of great things to come. I even had a shower. I didn’t want to take my pyjamas off because it was so cold, but The Book Club was worth it. I was going to shower. Warm water trickled down my face and onto my shoulders. Water gently beaded against my alabaster skin. I reached hesitantly towards the razor to shave my hairy pits, but at the last minute rethought it. It’s fucking freezing, I’ll need the extra warmth of my furry covering. It was all happening. After the gratuitous shower scene where I was completely naked and wet I layered myself up with a pair of thick black gym tights and green cargo pants over the top. I then put on a grey long sleeved top, a pink ¾ length top, a black t-shirt AND a yellow jacket. It was very cold. Don’t get too excited, I was not sans underpants. I was wearing bra, undies, and rainbow toe socks as well. This is a celebrity meeting, not erotica.
It was now time for me to make my entrance into my new life. A life of fun and whimsy. The world of Book Club. I entered the ABC studio. It wasn’t as easy as you might imagine. It has a giant automatic revolving door that you must negotiate to enter. Timing is everything and half of the entrance was partitioned off so the window of opportunity was even narrower. But I took a deep breath and launched. Yes, success. I made it through the door without falling over and being pushed around repeatedly by the revolving door like a crumpled piece of garbage. I enter the lobby. A TARDIS to my left immediately caught my eye. I moved towards it, like a Rose to a Timelord. I thought about trying to open the door but in the end didn’t. I didn’t want to be responsible for breaking it.
I saw a crowd of people waiting behind a thinly roped off area. I went to them and asked, are they the clubbers. They were. So I joined them and sat and waited. I waited and tweeted about the fact that I was waiting. If a tree falls in the forest but doesn’t tweet about it, has it really fallen? Yes, but who cares about it? If that tree wants someone to care about its death then it should ruddy well take a selfie of itself whilst doing so and then slap on some sort of trending hashtag, #FreeTheNipple. Finally the tweeting about waiting was ended by us being called into the studio. We were checked for contraband before entering. I had none. I was allowed in.
On entering the studio the floor manager tells us exactly where to sit. A few brave souls decide to defy her and tell her they don’t like the view from where they are. She tells them that they’ll ruin her shot if they don’t sit where they’re told and to just sit we’re they’re darn well told. This continues on for quite some time. People wanting to rebel against the control of creating an audience shot and the floor manager wondering why they’re Book Club fans if they’re so sassy. Shouldn’t book nerds be easier to manage? I simply sit where I am told. The spirit of rebellion does not burn inside me. We’re told to turn our phones off, I do so. Again, no complaints. No last minute selfies. I just turn it off.
And then BAM JByrne appears before us like some kind of bioluminescent angel. I start clapping. I manage to catch myself before leaping from my seat and throwing myself around her ankles and screaming, “I love you.” If we can’t sit wherever we like, then I’m pretty sure that actually touching the Byrne is right out. So I sit and simply watch. The guests are introduced and Benjamin Law and his naked ankles are there again. They’re so different and out there in comparison to the covered ankles of his colleagues. Warmth starts to rise from my own thoroughly layered ankles, up my legs, past my hips, into my heart and penetrates my brain. A fire is lit. That fire of rebellion. I will speak to JByrne this very day. I shall make it happen!
The show begins, I can’t give any spoilers away for it is yet to screen, just keep an eye on my blog on Tuesday night and all shall be revealed in one of my breathtaking recaps… or you could watch the show at 10pm on ABC Tuesday nights… and then read my recap.
The show ends. The audience files out. I start to edge towards the stage. The floor manager sees me. She is frowning. But those bare ankles have given me courage so I press on.
“Jennifer,” I call out. My voice breaks with nerves. The nude ankles have evidently given me some courage but no grace.
“Who are you trying to speak to?” The floor manager is approaching me from the side. I can see her hand twitching at the ready to call down the gods of security to subdue me and drag me out whilst I scream and thrash.
“Jennifer,” I say timidly. Then I remember those ankles and some steel sets into my bones and I call out loudly and firmly, “Hi Jennifer, I write recaps of your show and I just wanted to say I love you.”
JByrne swings around and I am hit with the full force of her twinkling eyes. They are glorious. They’re actually more dazzling in real life than they are on the screen.
“You,” she says enthusiastically, “you’re the one who writes those recaps? They’re so funny.”
I melt onto the ground and start crying in pure ecstasy. The floor manager moves away. I’m clearly crazy but as long as it isn’t bothering the talent then she’ll accept it. JByrne actually stays and speaks with me for over five minutes. I am blown away. She asks me what my intentions are towards her Michael Williams? Is it true love or is it just lust. I tell her it’s true writerly love. He’s my age and the director of the Wheeler Centre, how can I not admire him. The guy is a complete genius. It’s the purest of all love and there is not pants action in it. I promise that he won’t find me in his cupboard rifling through his underpants. She accepts this and doesn’t take an AVO out on me for now. I tell her that my Uncle Paul is OBSESSED with her. We talk about Ben’s bare ankles and how wild they have driven me. She calls my recaps funny and clever a few times and I respond with words but all the while I’m thinking, “Someone who I think is funny and clever thinks that my stuff is funny and clever, this is so overwhelming I need to go have a lie down.” The floor manager finally says enough is enough and JByrne needs to be able to go have a life. We part ways and I feel so excited that I can’t even remember the next half hour of my life. I know that I called my Aunty Donna and shrieked about how much I loved JByrne and how I got to speak to her. She’s excited for me. She knows how much I admire Jennifer Byrne.
So there it is. My “date” with Jennifer Byrne. I got to speak to her, she is so lovely, I got really excited and she managed not to call security on me to drag me away, which I found quite touching, and she said nice things to me about my recaps. Funny and clever! Who doesn’t want to be complimented like that? And who gets to be complimented like that by one of their heroes? I have been walking around on cloud nine ever since. It’s three days later and I am still excited. I dare say I’ll still be excited next week. Happy!