This is the first in a series of ‘open letters’ when I send emails to people who I admire or have had a major influence on my life.

I will post my ‘open letter’ and subsequently will post the individual’s response (with their permission).

To kick things off, an open letter sent in February 2008 to Tony Hawks (UK author, comedian and occasional ’talking head’ on those interminable BBC series that look back to the 1980’s).

Obviously, Tony has been very busy this year which must explain why I haven’t had the common courtesy of a reply (yet).

Hi Tony

You don’t know me (I bet a lot of your emails and fan letters start like this) but many years ago I saw you in the reception at the Chine Hotel in Bournemouth.

I recognised you, you saw me staring at you and gave me a weak, knowing smile, probably dreading the awkward exchange that you feared was about to happen.

I was considering coming up and introducing myself. However, I didn’t for the following reasons:

  1. I had this awful mental image of stuttering ‘Hi Tony. I’ve see you on TV and I think you are quite funny’ while you were trying to query a mysterious charge on your hotel bill.
  2. My wife has never heard of you and would wonder why I was accosting a complete stranger at the reception desk.
  3. I had to go to check on my two little children who were at loose in the soft-play area.

Anyway, I never did make it over and many years later, I still think you are quite funny and I have just finished ‘Piano in the Pyrenees’ which I thoroughly enjoyed. So much so I am immediately going to buy your other books (‘Fridge Round Ireland’, ‘Playing Moldovans at Tennis’ and possibly ‘One Hit Wonder’).

All the best, Andy

PS. Tell those techies who designed your Web site, it doesn’t appear to work on Firefox thus alienating a large part of your target audience.