So, the UEA 50th Birthday event day was a lot of fun (understatement). I spent most the day milling around, jumping between various groups of friends and stalking Greg James (more to come on that…). But this pictured occasion was highlight of my day by a country mile…
This, as you may be able to tell, is me and Arthur Smith on the steps outside the UEA drama studio at about midnight. If you don’t know Arthur Smith, look him up. You’ll thank me. For reasons unknown he had a packet of sparklers in his pocket, which he proceeded to share out, hence that in the photo. But yeah, he was remarkably nice and I got to talk to him for a fair while about a range of topics.
He confirmed to me it’s true that when he initially couldn’t find anywhere to live he just camped in Bluebell Wood for a while - adding that his tent was quite deep into the woods so he used pathways of string to find his way. He asked about what I do, and I clearly sounded as sheepish as I felt when I told him my course title - everyone else had really artsy backgrounds - because he said not to be, that it’s a perfectly valid thing to do and that his father was a chemist. Which is a much nicer reaction than usual! He asked the usual stuff about what I can go on to do with my course (who knows?!) and we established that now in my second year I live a road along from where he (post-tent) stayed in his.
I thought this was a slightly surreal situation to be in - but then Eddie Izzard (EDDIE IZZARD..!!) turned up too. I haven’t got a photo with him like this in the sense of being posed, but someone happened to take a really nice photo of him shaking my hand; we exchanged contact details so that’s coming to me! Because he took me by surprise and it was quite late by this point, I turned into a complete mess and stuttered out a string of incomprehensible compliments; I’m sure he probably had no idea what I was on about but he was so gracious nonetheless. He shook my hand (I’m glad he initiated that because I was too terrified to do so myself!) and asked my name and thanked me.
Obviously I knew Eddie was doing a show on campus, but tickets went in a flash, I didn’t know when it was, and I didn’t have the energy to be hanging around for ages looking out for him. I was leaving campus to head home when I spotted Arthur, and it was just brilliant luck that Eddie came back for Arthur while I was still standing with him. Especially after freaking out and not making the most of it when I bumped into Eddie in London earlier this year, I’m remarkably thankful that tonight played out well!
So what do we have to offer you today? The first ‘Norfolk Volcano’ complete with a cake-off just in time for lunch, the opportunity for little ones to build their own ziggurats and take part in campus challenges and their own graduation ceremony, a zombie outbreak, café conversations with some of the best academics around, and hands-on activities all around UEA! We’ve got an amazing line-up at the Fringe Festival in Studio Theatre, alumni zones, campus tours, sportspark open days, events in the Sainsbury Centre, and a big party this evening! What more could you possibly want?