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Reunion 99

The 99 Reunion

SHaron's report

This has been a terrific week for UK fans of Starsky & Hutch.

We often have the pleasure of seeing and meeting with David Soul here in England, but as you will no doubt have heard by now, Paul recently came over to do some publicity for David's play and the newly released S&H videos, David and Paul joining up with Antonion Fargas for a public signing session in London.

It was a huge thrill for me to see all three men together, still obviously great friends, and I thought maybe you would like to share the fun through this report.

There was quite a crowd in the Virgin Video store on Thursday, but we had a good place near the front of the queue, where we could also see the in-store Torino, gleaming quietly with a crowd of admirers ebbing & flowing around it. After a long wait, the whisper was passed around that they (Antonio, David and Paul) would be descending the escalator right behind our spot. One friend went to get a prime place jostling with the paparazzi in front of the car, I sidled round a little, attempting to maintain our place in the signing queue, while also hoping to catch them on camera as they came down the escalator.

More waiting, then silence, then a buzz, and there they were! Standing very close together on the escalator, only a small step apart, they looked bemused at the fuss and sort of embarrassed, before they turned on the smiles and responded to all the calls of "Paul, this way" and "David, over here". We could have reached out and touched them as they passed. Being British of course, we didn't, restraining ourselves to big smiles and cheers!

There was time for about 8 snaps before they were swallowed up in the flashlights and hullaballoo of the publicity photo-opportunity session. There was a real crowd of press people there. We could see the backs of their heads as all three sat on the bonnet of the Torino, arms slung around each other, hundreds of camera flashes making a minor indoor lightening storm for several minutes. Paul blew in David's ear! When they got up to stroll around the car, their grins were huge.

They wore complementary contrasting outfits: David in cream lightweight jacket, black tailored slacks and a black shirt with turquoise leafy design on it, Paul in cream baggy trousers, a white shirt, black long jacket and black scarf. Antonio wore dark brown and black. They all looked great, in good health and high spirits.

Eventually they moved to sit behind a long table on a small stage. Our queue shuffled forward eagerly, clutching our copies of the S&H videos for signing. Antonio first, then David, then Paul. A few folk at a time were allowed up on stage to file past and collect signatures. The guys kept their heads down at first, although P&D went on passing comments to each other, grinning and smiling, and nudging with their elbows. We were a good natured lot of admirers, there was no shoving or shouting, lots of excited happiness, and very shortly the three men seemed to relax and began to enjoy this chore rather more.

As it was Paul's birthday, we had bought him a bottle of champagne. It was my friend's idea, so she got to give it to him, although she was shaking so much I thought the cork might go through the ceiling before he even touched it. I had a cheque for EGPAF, the estimated ZedCon2 profit (hopefully) from this year's upcoming UK Starsky & Hutch convention.

Antonio was pleased to hear we would be going to the play and concert that evening, we were advised to be sure to listen carefully to his own songs! David wasn't in talkative mood on this occasion, his attention was almost exclusively on Paul!

And Paul - he was *SO* lovely. A true sweetie, a real charmer. He looked relaxed, happy, unstressed, a joy to behold. He flirted and joked. He wiggled his eyebrows and flashed his eyes! He signed my video cover with his customary squiggle then took the envelope with the cheque in it, surprise on his face giving way to a big grin. "Well, you darlin'," he said as I explained what it was. "Thank you, thank you very much. That's very sweet of you all." Then he grasped my hand in an affectionate clasp. He has a great handshake, of course! His hands are strong, slightly calloused (working hands - not soft) dry, warm and sure (without fumbling around for a grip!)

My friend approached with the gift-wrapped bottle. She explained why we'd bought him champagne, and got a lovely smile and her own handshake. But, crafty thing, she tugged on the man's arm and pulled him up for a quick kiss! Paul turned immediately to David, held up the champagne and sing-songed, playground style: "Look what *I* got!" They both giggled at that.

A few minutes later, we elbowed our way to the front of a barrier which overlooked the table and we watched P&D's banter continue right through the occasion. David was much more relaxed and openly informal than when I've seen him with fans before. He often seems to have an act for meeting people, very pleasant but unreal, a bit distant. This time he seemed genuinely on a high. Later at the concert after the play, David was hugging and patting all the young West Indian musicians. He must have caught that from Paul, I've never seen him so affectionate with a band before.

The signing ended after 20 minutes. There had been almost no advertising of the event (except to the press) we assume in order to keep the numbers down and the time short. However, everyone who queued did get their signatures. At the end, many of the staff from the store brought different items forward to be signed, including some posters they pulled from the walls and a pair of knickers, source of some ribald comments between P&D, seen but not overheard by us, drat!

Then we had a great idea. As the party broke up and they stood to leave, we broke into a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday to You" for Paul. He seemed to really enjoy it, came forward, grinning, and applauding us.

He gave a *big* thumbs up sign and as we finished, he patted his stomach and shouted "Not bad for 36, hey?" with that big laugh. David & Antonio stood back watching fondly. P&D slung their arms around each other briefly and all disappeared into the back rooms.

It isn't often that the actor of a character one admires on screen is as attractive, intelligent and charming in person, especially when having to take part in a staged publicity event like this. Paul exceeded my expectations (which were pretty high to start with!) He's a truly lovely man, taking time to connect with many of the different individuals who met him just briefly on that day. And it is such an incredible delight to see him so happy again.

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Solo here: This page had scans of a few photographs taken on the occasion, but when my erstwhile web host ate my pages, they were lost and I didn't have backup copies of most of them. What I do still have follows here.

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Viv's report     TFI Report

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This site is maintained erratically and arbitrarily by Solo, and occasionally eaten by the ISP. Last update 7 May, 2002 .