“We’re here to memorise some guy” said James Bachman, towards the end of Footlights’ final tribute to its longest-serving, and probably most important, member, Dr Harry Porter. And we were, and we did.
James Casey has written up his impressions of the night, and there’s not much more I want to add (not least because James, I suspect, managed to get more sleep than I did – even though I by no means stayed until the end). I had been thinking, sometime in the afternoon, that I might skip it, or at least not stick around afterwards – feeling a bit ill, feeling a bit tired. But I didn’t, because talking to lots of nice people is curiously addictive (it probably releases natural opiates into the brain, as all good things do), and because it’s much easier to stay and talk than face a half hour walk back in the cold. And so much more enjoyable.
My comment (quoted in James’ entry) that David Mitchell’s unexpected pyrotechnics were “the only particularly notable thing” to happen misses the point that it was all the unnotable things that were such fun. Daniel Morgenstern’s quiet joy at the ADC cocktail named after him; Jon Taylor relating tour show tales; nobody quite understanding why the ADC bothered to put out brochures asking for money when almost everyone there was an impoverished actor. Just enjoying good company, really.
As it happens, I didn’t actually see David on fire; he was remarkably quiet until he’d recovered. He seemed fine when I left, thankfully.
So: thank you to everyone involved, to everyone I talked to, to everyone who made it a good night. And to Harry, for being who he was, and bringing all those people together.