Saturday, 25 January 2014


I've achieved a few things in my life that I'm really proud of.  Having three books published is one of them.  Managing to not scream "I LOVE YOU SO MUCH I WANT TO LIVE INSIDE YOUR HAIR!" at Matt Smith when I went to see American Psycho is another.  

One of the things I'm proudest of, is being asked to co-run the original 50 Shades Is Abuse campaign on Twitter.  I say "original," because of course there are several pages calling out the abuse in the books and that's great.  Anyone brave enough to stand up against the Juggernaut that is EL James' best-seller and say "hang on, this is rubbish; it's glorifying abuse!" is okay by me.  But @50shadesabuse is the first and the biggest; it's the page I stumbled upon when, having read and been massively triggered by the first book in the trilogy, I really needed to know that I wasn't alone in being repulsed by the relationship portrayed as "romance."  It's the page that the mighty Stephen Fry once tweeted out to his followers.  I was thrilled just to find it, so you can imagine how beside myself I was when I was asked to help run it!

I now update the page regularly and liaise with the site's founder to think up new ways of spreading the word that abuse is not love.  I'm passionate about it and I will continue to speak out against the Fifty Shades books, movie and anything else connected as long as there's breath in my body.

But of course that leaves me open to criticism from the series' fans.  That's fine.  Debate is a healthy thing and we can all learn a lot from discussing our opposing views with people who think differently to us.  What's not fine, is when Fifty Shades fans contact the Twitter page - or me directly - to accuse us/me of being anti-BDSM.  As though that's the only problem we could possibly have with the book.  As though we've ever said that BDSM is wrong.

With that in mind, it's time for me to speak directly to Fifty Shades fans, in the hope of getting my point across, once and for all.

Okay, let's take a nice, deep, calming breath.  Ready?  


Lovely.  Now let's talk.  Just you and me, oh Fifty Shades fans.  Let's have a little chin wag just between us.

Wasn't my dog cute as a puppy?!  There, see, we CAN all agree on something!

You all get very cross that the Fifty Shades Is Abuse Twitter campaign exists.  And I get why; we're criticising something you love.  You're bound to be protective.  The trouble is, in rushing to slate us, you're failing to do any research as to what we're about, or why we say the things we say.  Your go-to reaction is this: "OH MY GOD, YOU'RE SUCH A PRUDE, WHY ARE YOU SLAGGING OFF BDSM?!  YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND KINK!  GET A LIFE!"  Only this morning, we had a person contact us to tell us she was sick of our "Victorian morality" and "it's not abuse, it's BDSM."

No, no, no.  You see, we've not once said that BDSM is abuse.  We've not once said that the BDSM in the books is what we're campaigning against (although those in the BDSM community HAVE confirmed our suspicions that the portrayal within the books is at best offensive and at worst dangerous).  We've actually gone so far as to explicitly state that we have no issue with safe, consensual BDSM whatsoever.  But you guys like to ignore that and casually think that anyone who has a beef with Fifty Shades simply must be a prude who's weirded out by spanking or something.  In reality, responding to our campaign by focusing your anger on an entirely imagined attack on BDSM is ridiculous and, without being mean, kind of makes you look stupid.  

Let's imagine that EL James cooked us a roast dinner.  I mean, she wouldn't, because when we politely contacted her to ask why she's accused people like us of "doing a disservice to women who experience (abusive) relationships" for highlighting the abuse in her books, when actually, many of us are women who've experienced abusive relationships, she promptly blocked all of us and went on to refer to us as trolls.  But glossing over that fact, let's imagine that EL James cooked us a roast dinner.  

Mmm; beef, potatoes, carrots, Yorkshire puddings, cauliflower cheese, creamed cabbage... 

Now imagine that we said "sorry, but we can't eat that meat.  We've seen the packaging and that beef had a use-by date that has long since passed.  Nobody should be eating that meat; it's dangerous.  Everything else looks delicious, but the meat is off."

We'd have a good point.  We would be pointing out something that would be dangerous and unhealthy to anyone who ate it.  But then along you guys come, screaming "OH MY GOD, YOU AWFUL PEOPLE!  WHY ARE YOU SO ANTI CARROTS?!  WHAT THE FUCK DID CARROTS EVER DO TO YOU?!  WHAT PEOPLE COOK IN THEIR OWN KITCHENS IS THEIR OWN BUSINESS!  I HATE YOU, CARROT-PHOBE!  I LOVE CARROTS, SO THERE!  YOU'RE A DISGUSTING, OVERLY MORALISTIC VEGETABLE-PRUDE!"

Do you see what I'm saying?!  That's pretty much what you're doing when you accuse us of being anti BDSM.  You're trying to make our campaign fit your own agenda, so you can continue to ignore the facts.  It's much easier for you to make out that we're prudes who don't understand kink, than it is to listen to the fact that we're actually talking sensibly and from experience about an issue we're able to back up with actual evidence.  It doesn't make you look like you're better, or more open-minded than us.  It makes you look really silly, because you're accusing us of something we've never done, just to make yourself feel better.

There are loads of problems we have with Fifty Shades and we've tackled pretty much every comeback you could throw at us right here, in a blog I wrote about why there's no excuse that could justify Christian's behaviour.  

And before you give me the whole "it's just a book" argument...

It's three books.  It's a film.  It's a whole line in tacky merchandise.  It's a franchise that is actively silencing anyone who criticises it - EL James herself is pretty handy with that block button on Twitter, isn't she?!  And it has given rise to countless women and girls - some still in school - who describe themselves as looking for their own Christian Grey.

Take away his good looks and his ludicrous wealth.  Make him an average Joe who works in a supermarket.  Then imagine he's controlling whether or not you can see your friends or family.  He's threatening to physically hurt you if you don't do as he says, even though you've told him you don't like it.  He's not listening to you if you say "no" to sex, but instead pressures you until you relent.  He's not respecting your desire for space, but instead follows you thousands of miles away to keep tabs on you. He feels the need to control your work life as well as your home life.  He's constantly applying manipulation tactics to you, in order to ensure you feel too guilty to leave him, in spite of his behaviour. He physically harms you for sunbathing topless on a topless beach, even though you've never ever agreed to him marking your body in any way.  A man like that, without the fictional Christian's good looks and bank balance, suddenly isn't quite so appealing, is he?  And yes, this is where you'll tell me that that's precisely why the story is a fantasy.  It's why we can suspend disbelief and fancy the pants off this arrogant bully.  But this is where I tell you how wrong you are.  Because that man, minus the unrealistic sex appeal and even more unrealistic wealth?  The one I described?  That's the reality of Christian Grey.  That's what one in four women will encounter.  And it's not fun.  It's not sexy or romantic.  It's abuse.

Your beloved book has made men like my ex - an abuser - seem like romantic heroes.  Passionate, troubled guys we should aspire to being with.  That is just outright dangerous.

And that is the problem we have with your beloved book series.

It's nothing to do with BDSM and it never has been.  So please, stop mindlessly accusing us and learn why we're saying what we're saying before you feel the need to leap on us and tell us we're prudish and overly moralistic.  What anyone wants to get up to in their own bedrooms (or their red rooms of pain) is entirely up to them.  But perpetuating the dangerous myth that abusive behaviour is sexy, or that the right woman can love an abusive man into wellness and he'll magically change his ways for her is just not okay.  And we won't stop saying so.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Abuse Education: Why It's Vital (and why 50 Shades hasn't helped).

In November 2013, the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) joined forces with the the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), in order to conduct a survey into the way teachers handle the subject of abuse with young people - were they confident in discussing the issue?  Did they themselves know the signs to look out for?  The results were something of a cause for concern.

  • 43% of teaching staff surveyed admitted that they would not be confident in recognising signs that a pupil was experiencing some form of abuse.
  • 33% said that they were unsure as to whether their school had a policy on abuse.
And yet...
  • 26% said that they had been approached by a young person about an abusive relationship at least once in the past two years.
Now 26% may not sound like an enormous percentage, but think of it this way:  That's more than a quarter of the teachers surveyed, admitting that a pupil had spoken out about an abusive relationship.  This survey didn't question every single teacher or lecturer in the UK, so that figure may well be much higher if we were to widen the survey to cover the country as a whole.

So just how many young people in the UK are experiencing some form of abusive relationship?

In February 2013, a survey, also by the NSPCC set out to ask young people (18 and under) about their experiences of abuse in relationships.  Of those who responded, 40%  said that they had experienced some form of abuse within a relationship - be it sexual, physical or emotional.  That's almost half, yet only 12% of those questioned said that they felt able to seek help.  Many of the responses came from people under the age of sixteen.

So what do we do?

Well, thankfully, in 2011, the Home Office announced that they wanted violence against women and girls tackled in schools.  There's also currently a great campaign - This Is Abuse - being used to highlight the signs of an unhealthy relationship.  Actors from Hollyoaks and members of bands such as The Wanted have appeared in TV adverts and in print, discussing the importance of recognising all forms of abuse, particularly insidious, less overt forms, such as emotional manipulation.  It's fantastic that this issue is being treated seriously, because abuse can utterly wreck lives and we have a duty of care to protect the most vulnerable in society - that includes our youngsters.

But could we do more?

It's my belief that we could.  Although Violence Against Women is already a subject tackled in secondary schools, I still feel that too many young people aren't recognising the signs of abuse within a relationship.  In a survey carried out by the group Zero Tolerance, a shocking 1 in 4 men aged between 14 and 21 said that they thought it was justifiable to hit a woman if she slept with someone else.  1 in 8 said they felt it was acceptable to hit a woman for "nagging too much."  When it came to sexual abuse, 19% of young women and 34% of young men said that forcing your partner to have sex does not count as rape.

So a third of young men believe that sex is their right, regardless of whether their partner wants it or not.  In my eyes, that's pretty conclusive evidence that more education is vital.

We need to teach youngsters that respect is paramount.  A relationship will not survive without healthy, mutual respect and that means listening to one another's wants and needs - as well as accepting when they don't want something to happen.  It's incredibly important that we teach young men and women that they deserve to be safe, happy and loved without feeling fear.  They need to recognise what constitutes abusive behaviour - in all its forms.  We need to give them the tools to help them see that emotional or psychological abuse, controlling or coercive behaviour, have no place in a positive relationship.  We need to teach them that they can escape an abusive relationship and we need to ensure that they know where to turn for help.

Culture has a large role to play in this.  It's easy to write off a song as "just music" or a book as "just a story," but think back to your own teenage years:  At that age, you're like a sponge, soaking up new information all the time and learning what kind of person you want to be.  Blurred Lines might only be a song, but it's a song that reduces women to a sexual object to be won, whether the woman in question has explicitly said "yes" or not.  Think back to that statistic on young men not seeing enforced sex as rape and suddenly it's less a case of "just a song" and more a case of it being a song that contributes to an already prevalent culture of sexism and misogyny, with very real and very dangerous repercussions.

Even more dangerous than Blurred Lines, is the success of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.  Although EL James has claimed that she hopes young girls aren't reading it, they inevitably are.  The story blurs the lines of what constitutes abuse on every page; we have a "hero" who stalks a woman.  He claims ownership of her, giving her precious little freedom to do as she chooses.  He coerces her into sex when she tells him she doesn't want it.  He deliberately gets her drunk so that she'll agree to his demands.  He isolates her from her friends.  He turns up unannounced to keep tabs on her.  He ignores her wishes repeatedly, caring only about what he wants out of the relationship.  He uses emotional manipulation to explain away his behaviour and to ensure his naive young girlfriend (later wife) feels too guilt-ridden to leave him.  He bruises her body without consent, then buys her expensive jewellery to make it all better.  When she discovers that she's pregnant, he shouts, swears and becomes outwardly aggressive, laying the responsibility firmly at her door rather than taking any himself.  ALL of this is abusive behaviour, but it's being packaged as a "love story."  And, terrifyingly, women - including young girls - are lapping it up.  Were it to have stopped at "just a book," perhaps we could overlook its effect.  However, it long since surpassed "just a book" status. There's endless merchandise, there's a movie in the works and most worryingly of all, women - again, including young girls - are openly talking about wanting a man like Christian Grey.

That's not harmless.  That's not "just a book."  That's at best uninformed naivety and at worst wilful ignorance of what constitutes abuse.  And for all the education schools are supposedly providing on the subjects of abuse awareness and positive relationships, a quick trip to Twitter is an incredibly depressing read.  Firstly, you have EL James posting this:

Hardly funny, considering 2 women a week are killed at the hands of an abusive man, which, as documented above, is precisely what EL's beloved Christian is.  We all know Christian's advice would constitute ignoring all of your girlfriend's wishes, coercing her into sex even when she says no and forcing her to cope with the mental pressure of thinking she has to "save" you.

Moving past EL James' ego-massaging, you have the fans of Christian Grey, waxing lyrical about their "ideal man."  The following tweets were written by women and girls, some of whom reference being a teenager/being at school in their biographies:

This last one was from a girl cuddling a toy in her picture, describing herself as a Belieber.  Can't be more than 16.  EL James KNOWS young girls are not only reading this book, but saying they want a man like Christian.

I'm not saying we must ban all controversial music, or burn every single copy of Fifty Shades (although I actually did burn mine; I was so triggered by seeing something so similar to my own abusive relationship being sold as romance).  But this proves to me that culture has a massive impact on young people - something most of us had probably figured out already - and that when something glamourises the very thing we're trying to get young people to recognise and speak out about, we have to in turn speak out against that.

I do believe that we need further education into what constitutes abuse in schools.  I do believe that young people need to be more aware that abuse is incredibly common and takes many forms, not all of which are immediately noticeable.  Teachers need some kind of resource that documents how easily we can mistake control, manipulation and emotional abuse for passion, love and need.  If only there was a really popular book about an abusive arsehole who mistreats his girlfriend, but somehow, the world has seen it as a love story!  Yes, I am suggesting that Fifty Shades could be used as an educational tool on what abuse is and how easy it is not to realise how bad the situation has gotten.  It's pretty much the only good thing that could come out of the whole thing.

We may be making a start on educating young people about abuse and that's great, but the likes of EL James are setting us right back to square one.  We really do need greater education about abuse in schools.  One in four women will experience some form of abusive relationship in her lifetime.  That's one too many.  Let's start educating.  Let's stamp it out once and for all.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Not Laughing: Why I Have An Issue With Rape "Jokes."

Martin Freeman is, it's safe to say, something of a household name.  Most of us know him from either The Hobbit or Sherlock and his popularity as an actor has never really been in doubt.  Recently, however, he gave an interview to promote the latest in the Hobbit series of films and made a "joke" that has made it difficult for me to see him in the same light.

When asked about dating an elf and the difficulties in having a relationship with a shorter creature, he responded:  

"I've got a ladder.  It's fine.  And I've got drugs.  I could make them - you know.  Slip them something in their goblet.  Some will get offended by that now, cos they'll call it "rape" or whatever.  But um, you know... For me it's a helping hand."

Call me oversensitive, but I can't be the only one not laughing.  Referring to what is essentially date rape as "a helping hand" is gross and offensive to anyone who has ever experienced such an horrendous thing.

Now before I go any further, unfortunately, thanks to the kind of world we live in, I have to immediately defend myself.  Because if you express disapproval at this sort of off-the-cuff comment, you're quickly branded "humourless" or "a prude."  Indeed, having posted a link to a story about Freeman's remarks, I had a friend on Facebook tell me I was taking things far too seriously, which implies I should have a sense of humour where rape jokes are concerned.  So let me explain my sense of humour...

For a very long time, my number one hobby was attending comedy gigs.  I travelled the UK, seeking out small venues and undiscovered comedians.  It's how I became a massive fan of Jon Richardson years before 8 Out of 10 Cats or Live At The Apollo.  It's where I first saw Sarah Millican, long before anyone knew who the heck she was.  

Back when I first saw her, Sarah looked like this.  A year or so later, I mistook a stranger for Sarah at a party.  Oops.  She's one of my close friends now, so it's okay.  The stranger that is, not Sarah.  I'll stop talking now.

I revelled in all forms of live stand up; from whimsical musical spoofs to distinctly black humour.  And that's my point.  I like dark humour.  I'd go so far as to say I love dark humour.  I think comedy that skirts along the edge can be brilliant; it has the power, perhaps more so than any other kind of comedy, to force us to question things.  Dark humour can mock some of the nastiest things in life and shine a light on how bad they really are.  When dark humour is used in that manner, it's fantastic.  If Martin Freeman had made a joke about rape that made the rapist the butt of it - pouring scorn on the vile specimens that commit such acts and mocking them as the sub-human scum they are - I'd probably have laughed.  The fact is, he didn't.  And it's not just him, either.  All too often, if a rape joke is made, the punchline is at the expense of the victim.

I'm not here to say that Martin Freeman should never work again or that he's a hateful man for what he said (although I respect him less as a result of his comments).  I'm not here to tell people what they can or can't find funny.  I'm simply sitting here, wondering why anyone thinks that jokes about raping someone are okay.

According to Women's Aid, it is estimated that, worldwide, 1 in 5 women will experience rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.  Not one in a million, or even one in a hundred.  ONE IN FIVE.

And yet, society's general attitude towards rape is, in my opinion, pretty shocking.  How many times have you seen posters giving safety advice, telling women not to walk alone at night, not to get too drunk and to always use licensed taxi firms?  Sensible advice perhaps, but it places responsibility for not getting raped on the woman.  Where are the posters telling men not to attack people?!  Because the only person to blame in a rape case is the person who committed the act.  The victim's sobriety, outfit and choice of way home are entirely incidental.  The only person to blame is the rapist.

You only have to look at the response to the Steubenville rape case - in which people mourned the promising futures of the rapists and questioned how culpable the victim was - to see that all too often, rape just isn't taken seriously enough.

The fact is that rape is a shocking, abhorrent act, which can leave victims - male or female - feeling violated, unsafe and - wrongly - ashamed.

The only person who should feel a shred of shame as a result of rape, is the cowardly, despicable creature who carried out the attack.  And that's why, if we feel the need to joke about the topic, we should make the rapist the butt of said joke.  Make them feel the shame they deserve to feel.  Mock them, if we must make jokes about rape.  Never the victim.

Yet more often than not, it's the victim - or potential victim - who is the butt of the joke.  Much like with Martin Freeman's comment, when someone thinks they're being funny with regards to rape, the "humour" is  at the victim's expense.  When a "joke" like that is made, it's not being clever.  It's not using comedy to make a serious point about what a hideous crime rape or sexual assault actually is.  It's puerile, disgusting "ha, look how strong and clever I am" humour and it gives me no cause to laugh whatsoever.

I mentioned earlier that one in five women worldwide will experience rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.  That's an appalling statistic that shames society at large.  To take a cavalier attitude towards the subject - to make jokes about it - helps nobody and just perpetuates the dangerous idea that rape is unimportant or something that victims bring on themselves.

You only have to take to social media to see just how flippantly people treat rape.  I should issue a trigger warning for the following images:

Six people favourited this tweet. 
Eighty seven favourites for a tweet that suggests rape victims should be proud or feel grateful.
Trust me, you're a total and utter prick.
LOL.  Saying you'd rape your girlfriend is hilarious.
Life is good when you commit rape, everyone!

There were dozens and dozens of tweets like these when I searched today.  It took me a few seconds to find people merrily discussing rape as just "a cuddle with a struggle," or listing celebrities they'd "rape the hell out of." 

Why is this seen as acceptable?  Because it's something that happens to other people, so we're fine to laugh at them as long as it doesn't happen to us?  Bullshit.  One in FIVE.

It isn't funny.  It's not satirical or clever.  Rape is a despicable act, committed by people beneath contempt.  So when people make jokes that trivialise the subject, forgive me if I'm not laughing.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

American Psycho Review

Judge not, lest ye be judged.  Or something.

I am a Whovian.  I am unashamed.  In fact, I wrote a whole blog about my love of Doctor Who just a couple of months ago.  I also have an enormous crush on Matt Smith.  And as the cherry on this particular Emma-cake, I am also a huge lover of musical theatre.

So, when it was announced that Matt Smith was to star in a musical adaptation of Brett Easton Ellis' American Psycho once his time in the TARDIS was over, it was less a question of shall I go, more "WHEN CAN I GO?!"

And so, on Friday 3rd January, I found myself sitting in the tiny Almeida Theatre, desperately double and triple checking that I had switched off my phone.  Nobody needs to hear the Doctor Who theme tune going off at a pivotal moment, least of all Matt Smith, I'm sure...

The show starts with a bang.  There's no soft dimming of the lights whilst a pretty overture plays - it's a loud bang, sudden darkness and clever use of lighting and stage design to make you feel almost as though you're in a computer game - nothing feels real.  Whilst cast members are dotted around the audience to sing the show's opening number - Clean - Matt Smith appears on stage, rising through a trap door wearing nothing but a very small pair of white Y-fronts and an eye mask.  Note to self:  You're asthmatic.  You must remember to breathe when confronted with things like this...

Can  I make HIM my New Year's Resolution?!

If you're wondering how the hell anyone could make an enjoyable musical out of a story about a murderous psychopath, then you're not alone.  I warned my friend Lizzie (who not only came to see the show with me, but spent over four hours desperately trying to buy tickets online before she was finally successful) that it might be "gory, possibly disturbing and a bit weird."

Words I didn't use were "funny," "slick" and "massively entertaining, yet rather thought-provoking."  The truth is, I should have used those words, because that's exactly what American Psycho is.

"Funny?" I hear you cry (I should probably see someone about those voices in my head).  Well, yes.  The fact is, Ellis' original novel was a satirical tirade against consumerism and society's shallow obsession with things like looks and social standing.  So it's no surprise that this musical production takes those themes and cleverly weaves scenes and songs around them, to create humour amongst the blood and gore.  From the frankly hilarious ode to the humble business card (Patrick Bateman is not impressed to meet a rival whose card is better than his), to the deliberately witty portrayal of Luis and his unrequited love for Patrick, there are plenty of giggles to be had.  Duncan Sheik's clever lyrics manage to both mock the characters and their shallow lives, whilst somehow making them more real and understandable.  The girls may be somewhat vacuous, but there is "nothing ironic about (their) love of Manolo Blahnik."

The score is relentlessly catchy - all 80's electro-pop, with classic songs from the era thrown in amongst original numbers.  If you're struggling to picture it, think of a typical 80's music video with a serial killer randomly placed amongst the shoulder pads and you probably won't be far off the mark.  The era has been perfectly captured through the music, as well as the costumes and the set.  Early on in the show, Matt's Patrick Bateman lovingly points out his top of the range Sony Walkman, which gets a big laugh from the modern audience, with their smart phones and mp3 players sitting snugly in their bags.

The story is excellently told through Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's writing; the lines are sharp and witty.  The cast are clearly enjoying themselves on stage and why wouldn't they be?  The show is so cleverly put together that frankly, I wanted to join in.  Don't listen to Lizzie when she tells you I only wanted to be involved in the sex scenes...

Which brings me to Matt.  Aherm. 

I am well known for being a Matt fan girl.  I'm not even going to deny it.

This is the point at which I want to basically just go "OHMYGODHEISTHEBESTACTORINTHEWORLDANDHEISSOGORGEOUSANDHECANSING."  Instead, I will attempt to be slightly controlled...

Matt Smith is an incredible actor.  I knew this already (not only from Doctor Who) but this show proved it beyond all reasonable doubt.  Let's think about the character Matt was playing:  Patrick Bateman is a delusional, immoral, shallow individual who harbours murderous fantasies about his family and friends.  It's hard to like someone like that, at least at face value.  And yet Matt presented us with a version of Bateman that it was impossible not to feel something for.  He made him human.  Here was not simply a psychopath, but a rather frightened and deeply troubled individual who, for all his swagger and charm, had very little real confidence in himself and found that the world in which he lived left him feeling empty and anxious.  It was impossible not to harbour a little sympathy for him.  

Matt's portrayal was in a class of its own.  There were several layers to his Patrick Bateman - not an easy task, when the character seems, on the face of it, incredibly shallow.  Not only was Matt cold and calculating when he needed to be, but his delivery of the wittier lines was spot on; he could make me laugh one second and have me wanting to hide behind a cushion the next (maybe that's the Whovian in me).  

I may be biased, but this fan girl was thrilled with what she saw.  But in truth, the whole show was excellent.  I can't praise it highly enough.  It's a testament to it that my analysis at the end was: "I'd love to see that again; even if Matt wasn't in it."

So if - WHEN - this fabulous visual feast transfers to the West End, I implore you to buy a ticket.  Otherwise I'll have to cut you into tiny pieces and hide you in a bath tub...

Oh and to answer the question you may have in your heads...  No, I didn't get to meet Matt Smith.  I know.  I was gutted too.  But he did wave at me and smile and it was enough to make my day.  Thanks Matt.  :-)