Allo Allo, what have we got here then? (A potential new world record)

Neil Blower in the book signing tent at this year's War and Peace Revival Show. Photograph copyright Palamedes PR

Book signing marquee, kindly supplied by the Royal British Legion

If you’ve been following Palamedes PR’s blog and news posts, you’ll know that I spent 72 hours of last week in a tent. I was at the War and Peace Revival show in Kent where I was signing copies of my first novel, Shell Shock. I was attempting to set a new world record for the longest continuous book signing. This short blog was written with a view of providing readers with an overview of what took place, and as a thank you to everyone who made it possible.

For those of you who haven’t been, War and Peace is a military extravaganza and the largest show of its kind in the world. It took place at Folkestone Racecourse where there were displays of military vehicles from various conflicts, enactments of famous battles, live entertainment, and a whole host of other things going on. The show has been going for thirty years and lasts for five days. If military history or military vehicles is your thing – or anything nostalgic from the 30s and 40s, then War and Peace is for you.

The event went from the surreal to the sublime and back again pretty much every hour! We met lookalikes of Churchill (who didn’t buy a book!) Montgomery, Patton and even Nazis! (Political correctness not really big on the agenda!). Last year 110,000 people attended the show, which is why it was chosen as an ideal venue to attempt the record (the theory being that we needed people to buy the books or it would just me sitting somewhere for 72 hours!)

So, we made all the preparations and at 7am last Wednesday morning I started the record attempt. We had 5,000 copies of Shell Shock and, given the legion of visitors, I was confident that most would sell. But, despite the best-laid plans and my best intentions, sales weren’t as high as expected and the vast majority of copies went unsold.

It’s not the end of the world by a long way, though. Despite a lack of sales, I still hope to have set a new record for the longest book signing (72 hours). And, more importantly, to have secured media coverage for The Royal British Legion and Combat Stress, my two chosen charities. I didn’t raise as much money for these good causes as I’d hoped, but both will still benefit – at least in a small way – from a percentage of book sales.

I had a great time, too.

The highlights for me was meeting the cast of Allo Allo, being driven round the arena by the Race2Recovery team at lunatic speeds (the Race2Recovery team are a group of injured former soldiers who took part in the Dakar rally and are all great blokes) and finally meeting the guys from Palamedes PR who went above and beyond for me throughout the event!

All in all it was a great week, I met lots of great people, got a brilliant tan and hopefully set a new world record. Not a bad way to spend a 72 hours.


Media Coverage includes:

ITV Meridian

Academy FM

Folkestone express

Folkestone Express coverage for Neil Blower

Folkestone Express coverage for Neil Blower