It doesn't sound like a barrel of laughs, does it, going to see seven clever people talk about the universe and mathematics and the failings of the Daily Mail, but it was truly one of the funniest things I have ever experienced in my entire life. I'm not sure how long the tour is going on for, but if you can get tickets to a show near you, seriously, just go. I was crying with laughter the whole way through, whilst at the same time fascinated by the things they were saying. But whilst I would modestly consider myself a person of dramatically above average intelligence and indeed the kind of person who would appreciate a show involving a man on stage performing an experiment involving a ruler and a thin beam of light, I am also an astonishingly shallow person. So the only the reason that I went all the way to Manchester on Friday night was because Professor Brian Cox was there.Yes. Professor Brian Cox, particle physicist, Wonders of the Solar Systen and Universe connoisseur, and my hero. He is adorable and witty and impossibly intelligent and he gets as charmingly excited talking about space as I do talking about him. He is also well fit. People who do not like Brian Cox are probably the kind of people who do not like puppies or sex or chocolate milkshakes...you know, the kind of people you really just don't want to be friends with. Well, he was there. In Manchester. In the same room that I was. And he was magnificent. When he came out on stage, I almost had a breakdown. When he started talking about the Hubble Deep Field image, tears actually welled up in my eyes. That is the level of love and respect I have for him. Actually hearing that distinctive Oldham accent in person after I have bascially spent the past 18 months doing nothing but watching his programmes and reading his books was a wonderful and emotional thing for me. And he was just as marvelously charismatic and fabulous in person as he is on tv.
And that would have been enough. Just seeing him would have been enough. But then this happened:
Holy shit! It was absolutely pouring it down so only a few people hung around afterwards (there's only one back entrance to Manchester Apollo, fellow creeps, if you ever want to meet anyone). We were probably there maybe 20, 25 minutes when suddenly Brian just walked out, on his own, saying that someone had told him there were a few people out here so he came to meet us. Well, I was very uncool about the whole thing. I actually think my brain short-circuited a bit. He signed my book for me, which I had brought along just in case, and then I had a photo with him, and then I may or may not have burst out with "you are my favourite man!" Clue: I did. Luckily everyone laughed and he laughed and said awww thank you, but I'm still fairly mortified by my lack of control. But whatever. Professor Brian Cox is one of my ultimate heroes, and he is one of the sweetest, loveliest, most gracious people I have ever met. And you know what? He really is my favourite man.