Encounters Of The RB Kind

by Suz suzvoy@yahoo.com

March 28, 1999
Pages Bar, London

We queued up outside for nearly an hour and a half, where I seemed to keep everyone entertained by singing (either they were entertained or embarrassed. Whichever it was they kept smiling). The time past quite quickly really. We talked about Robert, naturally, and considered waving at the people who were walking past the big crowd and staring at us wondering what we were all doing there.

I had our plan all set out. When I had been there two weeks earlier for Richard Biggs' appearance, I grabbed the table which is about five feet from the small stage area. The photo's I got from there were terrific so I told everyone where we should head for.

Of course, my 'plans' went out the window.

They opened the door and we started going in, either handing in our ticket or stating our name. I got in and saw that NO ONE was rushing for the little ledge which is actually touching the stage so you can look up and he'll be standing just above you. I snatched that up, obviously.

He didn't turn up until after 8pm but everyone that was there had a good old natter while they put Dark Frontier on the big screen. While we were waiting for RB, Robin Aitken-Downes (Byron from Babylon 5) turned up. I already had his autograph so I just took a few pictures.

By now Dark Frontier had ended and Bob - who runs the bar - appeared by the front door. He explained that Robert had some very bad experiences at Birmingham this weekend so there was to be absolutely no flash photography. Bum. My camera has auto-flash so I quickly put it away in my bag.

He walked in and went straight to the stage. Hubba hubba.

He had on a brown leather jacket which he took off straight away, and under that he was wearing a black t-shirt, black jeans (I think) and brown boots. There were a few microphone problems but once they got sorted out he relaxed and sat back against the wall which was still about five feet away from me. But still, that was good :)

Then someone said they couldn't see him as they were slightly around the corner, so he moved forward. Right forward. And rested his foot up on the top of the barrier separating the stage from the lower area. His foot was right in front of me. His groin was three feet in front of me for a whole hour.

And still I felt I was coping pretty well. I was happy and excited but I wasn't quite freaking out yet.

The talk started with people asking the usual questions until some original ones were finally posed. There were some truly interesting questions in regards to which playwrites and authors he likes/enjoys.

And then...someone asked him about auditions, and if he had a certain way of dealing with them. This reminded him of a certain audition which he proceeded to tell us about. He walked into the room and he had to audition to a man who used to work on Hill Street Blues and this guy irritated the heck out of him because he was eating a tuna sandwich as Robert was auditioning and whenever Robert was acting the guy would lean right into his personal space and stare into his eyes.

Well, he gave us an example of just what the guy was doing.

Who did he use for the example?

You got it.

"Here I'll show you," he said and suddenly his face was once inch from mine. Constant eye contact. And while part of my mind was screaming "Oh f*ck, oh f*ck, of f*ck," another was saying "Keep looking back girl 'cause this ain't ever gonna happen again!".

So I kept looking. Then he pulled himself back still maintaining eye contact, and then he moved forward AGAIN!

I don't know how long it lasted, but it felt like it lasted a full minute of full eye contact with Robert Beltran.

It was probably only ten seconds.

When that ended and he finally looked away...*that* was when I was suddenly *extremely* warm. And I just knew that Fiona - who was sitting next to me - had the biggest damn grin on her face. I think I might have been in shock.


The talk was interesting, and - apart from when he was being 'funny' - he was almost always unfailingly honest with his answers. Brutally so sometimes, which I don't think some people liked, especially those who went there and expected to see Chakotay and not Robert.

Of course there were the stupid questions: "Can I have your children?"


The whole room groaned, just as they did with the inevitable J/C question. I know he is (and I presume Kate is) so sick of that question now; it's so old it's not even funny. Actually, that lead to another hilarious moment when someone asked him about fanfic and if he'd read any. His look was somewhere between amusement and disgust, and he recited a part from memory that had us laughing so much:

"Chakotay walked into the room. She was lying on the bed, waiting for him. He took out his...no, never mind."

The talk ended and I was still eye-to-groin with him (was that a prime seat or what?) and they started the autographs. They called us up by number so I was in the first twenty. I hopped up there with the picture I had bought earlier - a lovely one from 'Tattoo' (no, not the butt shot. Not that it's his anyway...). I didn't have to wait very long really, so pretty soon I was walking to his table, photo in hand.

RB: "Hi."

Me: "Hi."

RB: "How are you?"

Me: "Fine thanks. You?"

RB: "Okay thanks. I didn't offend you did I?"

Offend me???

I think not.

Me: "No, not at all."

RB: "Good. What's your name?"

So he signed it 'To Susan - God Bless! Robert Beltran.'

I thanked him and walked away, thinking I handled that a lot better than the first time I met him.

The signings continued all evening, and part way through Jason Carter (Marcus Cole from B5) turned up as well! Fiona and I both had our photo taken with him. Autographs from him also cost money but Fiona didn't have enough and I only had enough for one. So I got one and asked him to make it out to Fiona. She liked that, but then she loves Marcus Cole.

Suz and Jason Carter

So, we just sat about chatting for the rest of the evening, still in prime location to look up and watch him sign on stage.

Of course, someone else on the RBEB2 had an even better experience than I did, but I'll let her tell you...:)

It's not over yet of course. I have the day off today so I figured I might as well go to East Ham with the others today for another signing. Well I have nothing else to do...

Suz - who understands how easy it would be to become a Robert groupie

March 29, 1999
The Who Shop, East Ham

A little before 3pm, Mary knocked on my door. She and Denise had arrived and together we were driving to the Who Shop along with everyone's luggage ('everyone' having gone up to London and were planning to meet us at the Who Shop).

Eventually we arrived, found a place to park, and walked to the shop. He was due to arrive at 5 and we got there I think around 4:30, perhaps a little earlier. Joining the back of the queue we spotted Anja, Angela and Meike (whose name I can't spell) immediately and started chatting. They were all a little concerned about getting back in time for their train but they wanted to see Robert again before leaving for Amsterdam, and then Germany (for some of them).

You had to buy a photo for Robert to sign before you actually went in for the autograph so we took turns to pop into the shop and purchase one. As Mary was buying hers she bumped into Alice (I think) who she'd met when Robert had been in Bournemouth, who just happened to work at the Who Shop. By now it was a little after five and he hadn't turned up yet. Mary asked if he was going to be much longer as there were a group of women who needed to get back to other countries.

Of course, I only knew this happened when Mary came over to us and whispered "Get out of the queue, now, all of you. Follow me."

We did.

Turns out that Alice said we could queue the other side and if anyone asked we were to say we were gold card holders. We were going to be the first ones in for our autographs. So, many many thanks to Mary!!

5:30 came and he still hadn't arrived. As often happens, we were involved in various bizarre conversations. Denise was talking about (and performing) Saturday Night Fever when I looked over to the left and saw him walking towards us. I can tell ya, that really catches you off guard.

Not wanting to say "Robert's here" instead I said "Incoming" (how sad) but no one heard me so he walked passed Denise as she had one hand on her hip and the other pointing to the sky.

The bigger queue starting applauding and we joined them, so he turned towards us and mock-bowed.

A few short minutes later we went in and got our autographs. He looked absolutely exhausted, but we heard from a very good source that he went out with the guys from Pages last night after the signing.

Happy, we left and as we were doing so Alice caught up with Mary. After talking to her Mary damn-near ran over to me. "She says that if we stay to the end we can get our photo taken with him!"

Ooo, now there's an incentive.

Alas, the others had to leave. We walked back with them to Denise's car and amidst much hugging and invitations to visit, we said our goodbyes.

Back to the shop we went. We saw two women who we knew so we pulled them to one side after they got their autographs and chatted for a while.

It wasn't very long before Alice waved us into the shop. We scurried in and she closed the door behind us (how exclusive). Flash photography was still a no-no, but I had my ditigal camera!! Duh duh duh!!!

Mary went first and they had a bit of a talk again. Then it was my go. Mary wasn't overly fond of the ditigal camera but she gave it a go. After I thanked him and he smiled and said "You're welcome Susan."

He remembered my name. I liked that.

I floated out of the room and we made our way home.

So, here's the pic!! Not the most flattering one of me, but I think I was a little shocked...LOL!


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