September 4th, 2018: This is the view from our hotel room. At the Tower Hotel. My first text. Don
Comments by friends:
Tom FieldI love the Tower Hotel! That’s my favorite place to stay in London. Highly recommend the nearby Liberty Bounds Pub. And if you walk across the bridge, there’s a pub on your immediate left (its name escapes me) that serves a finestkind shepherd’s pie. 🙂
Joe Ackermanthere’s also a really nice Pie & Mash shop ’round there, too
Don McGregorI haven’t had good shepherds pie on years.. How can i find this yum. Don
Tom FieldDon McGregor , I just don’t recall the name. But I know if you walk across the Tower Bridge from your hotel, it’s just on your left soon after you cross the bridge. It’s a small pub with all old, mismatched furniture. But I’ve always had great meals there. 🙂
Don McGregorTom Field. We had a taxi take us over there from the Thames river tour. Not one of the pubs we found had Shepard pie
We took another taxi to the bound pub mentioned.
More comments from fans:
Paul CarbonaroDon, are you getting flashbacks to when you last attended a Con there?
Don McGregorA surprise was seeing that the spirit i kid you not had a thick album of photos of me at the 1978 London comic con. Don
Paul CarbonaroI can still play the ‘video’ in my head of the two of us interacting at that Con. You had a bemused look on your face as I said something idiotic, I am truly sorry to say. It concerned your anguish at your LUKE CAGE dialogue being rewritten by the then powers-that-be at Marvel 😮
Paul CarbonaroI don’t remember exact lines. You took a pen and scrawled through certain pieces of dialogue, exclaiming out loud, “I didn’t write that! And I didn’t write that!” etc. Obviously, and rightly so, you were upset.
Frank LoveceMait and I are so happy you two are deservedly enjoying yourselves somewhere cool and fun where you’re being treated well and, as important, are treating yourselves.
I started this Blog with the first time I ever Texted. I’ll get back to the Tower Hotel
in a little bit. Before I knew how to Text, Marsha and I were in Bedford, England
as guests of Jeff and Bub Chalal’s comic con. I’m going to try to Post these in order
as we experienced the events about England and London.
Here I am with Joe Ackerman, who did one of the first comic related web pages
and printed great stuff for all fans. Here Joe and I are conferencing into the
wee hours of the morning. It was a neat memory to take as the travels began.
comments from fans:
Joe Ackermanaw, mate! what a night! thank you, Don & Marsha. you made a grumpy old man very happy.
Sean PollockA meeting of great minds 😂
You’re a saint for putting up with him Don.
Hope he didn’t go too Cockney on you. 😛
Simon BartonThe legendary Don McGregor and the Mighty Joe Ackerman! Two great guys! 😎
How kind were Bub and Seema Chalal to Marsha and I?
They asked Marsha what she would like to do while I was at the Comic con.
Marsha said she had always wanted to go to a proper English Tea.
I didn’t even know what that was.
And Seema took her, and the next day, Bub and I joined them
for the ceremony.
Before I even knew a proper afternoon English tea existed, suddenly I was introduced to the refined atmosphere of cakes and cups and the friendship of Bub and Seema Chalal. Thanks for the exquisite memories and your tremendous kindness to both
Marsha and I.
Joe Ackerman and I are having an animated discussion on comics in Bub Chalal’s inner sanctum at his comic book store in Bedford, England. If you’re in the area, you should take time out to visit his comic emporium, because there’s lots of neat stuff there you won’t find anywhere else for miles around.
Joe Ackerman and I stand in the midst of Bub Chalal’s comic book store
shelves, surrounded by the very books we are discussing. I think Joe and I
are in agreement that comics are a unique artform, and often a demanding
one at that.
Jeff Chalal and Bub took all the comic book guests to dinner, where we shared our love
for the medium that we have devoted our lives to.
Sculptures in the Bedford, England shopping area.
Seema took Marsha to this impressive sight
while I signed books at the comic con and caroused with the fans!
AFTER THE BEDFORD CON,
we stayed at the Tower Hotel in London. Our window was like a movie screen exactly framed to view the Tower Bridge from end to end. The room is so small it can hardly fit a bed and two suitcases. Its like a extra cubbyhole glued to the hotel wall for the view. Don.
Was it during SKYFALL that they had JAMES BOND
racing boats about the Thames?
Here’s Marsha and I following in 007’s wake!
Hopefully there won’t be any dead bodies floating
in the grey/brown waters as the do in HITCHCOCK’s
I am wearing my protective BLACK PANTHER T-SHIRT.
Standing above the Thames, with the Wonder Wheel
in the background, which we will board the next day.
There was a time I would have been on top of the wall,
ready to leap, run or tumble.
Dave RyanYou look like you’re gonna kick someone’s ass over there Don. Are you searching for Simon Bisley?!? lol
Don McGregorDave i didnt have to search for simon he was at Bub Chahal and jeff chahal s nice Bedford con. Fortinayely it was morning and he wad sober. There was no
Inner thigh groping
Todd TaylorI loved riding the London Eye. It takes a good 30 minutes.
Tom FieldWhen I return to London next month, my hotel will be right beside the London Eye.
Dwayne TurnerCome on Don, look like you are excited about it! LOL!
Don McGregorThis is my cool T’Challa impression. Are you not impressed? I mean that i am actually texting you. Don
Dwayne TurnerI am very impressed by your cool T’Challa impression. I understood you were in character. Denzel, Daniel Day or King Kong have nothing on you! The texting part is other world stuff. Don Mc and high tech who knew there was such a connection!
Mike CollinsDamn, you came to the UK and I was off in Belgium! Missed you mate!
Cruising up the Thames River.
Taking in the London sights. Dont let facebook know…the statue is totally naked…nipples and more. I spent an hour framing this photo and the cell phone said it did and then screwed me over. Ate the cropped photo and posted the original. Don
Gary Dawn GuzzoDon, you MUST have him scan those pages, or, at the very least, take some high resolution photos. Those pages are the missing link in Dawn and I doing an Artists Edition of Sabre. These are the pages that were colored too darkly for us to pull out the …See More
TOP 10 PROSE FICTION NOVELS
Okay, for Mark Rake.
Just going off the top of my head.
1) BUDDWING by Evan Hunter
A man wakes up on a park bench in Central Park one morning
and realizes he doesn’t know who he is.
What ensues is an exploration of New York City over 24 hours
or an examination of one person’s entire life. It works on both
2) SONS by Evan Hunter
Following three generations of sons from the ages of 17 to 20,
From the grandfather during the First World War, the father,
World War 2, and the son, Vietnam.
3) SEE THEM DIE by Ed McBain.
A Sunday morning in the 87th Precinct’s version of Spanish
Harlem on a day when more than one person will die.
4) DOLL by Ed McBain
I bought my first hardcover 87th Precinct in the Port Authority bus terminal,
on my way home from Fort Dix, New Jersey.
And started reading it on New Year’s Eve on the bus ride
back to Rhode Island. 40 pages in, travelling through the dark
Connecticut countryside, I was in tears, cursing Evan for taking
a character I loved away from me.
5) THE HUMAN COMEDY by William Saroyan
Following the lives of a small town, and a family surviving
during World War II.
6) I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson. Matheson’s seminal work on how
Vampires can come to be, and how myths and legends are established.
The book has influenced people from George Romero to the Walking Dead.
Lousy films (supposdedly adaptations) keep getting made from it.
7) PALE GRAY FOR GUILT by John D. MacDonald
There has to be a Travis McGee novel in there somewhere. MacDonald
writes about friendship, loyalty, guilt, Florida, honor. I’m choosing one
But I will never forget what the title A TAN AND SANDY SILENCE means. Or BRIGHT ORANGE FOR THE SHROUD..
8) WANDA HICKEY’S NIGHT OF GOLDEN MEMORIES by Jean Shepherd.
No one did this kind of thing better than Jean Shepherd. Nostalgia and
Story-telling, whether he told them in book form or on the radio.
9) DR NO by Ian Fleming
No one wrote a better spy thriller than Fleming in this time period.
Just read the centipede crawling up Bond’s body. Or the Kraken sucking
blood from Bond’s torn knee cap.
10) SCHISM by Bill Granger
As a Washington DC reporter Granger knew how government agencies
worked globally. The power structures of state, religion, agencies vying
with each other, all with their own agendas. The incredible thing about
Granger was his skill to take this cynical world view and ruthlessly thrust romanticism
Into the midst of the November Man novels. And make it succeed!
And just a couple more:
THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN by James Lee Burke
PAGAN BABIES by Elmore Leonard
CINNAMON KISS by Walter Mosley
The kid from Rhode Island would never believe he would have a
Evan Hunter aka Ed McBain
on the back cover of one of his books.
It came as I was convalescing from a heart attack.
Evan did not know that.
I could-a not been around to see it. Don McGregor
The first hardcover edition of SEE THEM DIE I managed to get years after I read the paperback release.The first paperback edition of SEE THEM DIE I probably ever saw.
Sébastien Schenkel been living in that area, try the fish restaurant Place de Clichy and the breakfast at the Wepler Café, best milk and coffee or hot chocolate in the world, served with fresh croissants
Don McGregorSébastien Schenkel – The hotel said Leon de Brixelles did crepes , and Marsha managed to hike here but their specialty is mussels. They don’t do crepes, but do waffles. We’ll see. Thanks Sebastian. Don
Sébastien Schenkel waffles, fries ans mussels are typical from Belgian food, if you eat there, try their beers, Trappistes ones, made by monks since Middle Age
You may think you want to go here.
Marsha stands near the strip-tease theater across the street,
trying to entice tourists away from Moulin Rouge.
Moulin Rouge awaits only a short walk away.
INSIDE THE WAITING ROOM TO THE MOULIN ROUGE DINNER THEATER.
AND 12 FOOT OR LONGER
ANACONDAS AND NIPPLES!
AND I BELIEVE YOUR UNDERCOVER REPORTER MAY BE ABLE TO GET YOU
Marsha got us dance-floor tables for the Moulin Rouge dinner show.
A pertinent point to know.
You are not there for the band.
You are not there for the singers,
though both are fine.
And how many of the songs,
no matter what language they are sung in,
are American standards.
Made me feel like we were traveling off
77 Sunset Strip,
and we’d meet Efrem Zimbalist.Jr as Stu Bailey,private eye there. Don McGregor
There are no photos allowed once you are inside.
But remember, I am your undercover reporter.
Oh, and the man or woman who came up with selfie_extenders is probably rich right now!
I don’t know how many people had metal “selfie” extension poles thrusting up out of their hands to take illicit self portraits of themselves. But there were a lot. Marsha Lee McGregor sits at the edge of the dance floor.
Neither us knows that the floor will disappear! Don McGregor
I already told you, you are not there for the band or the singers, though they give some nice ambiance while you have your dinner.
A photo your not supposed to take inside the inner Santorum of Moulin Rouge. Marsha drinking ice chilled champagne.
But really, this also isn’t the reason.
You didn’t come for the food.
It would be shriveled goose in a dab of sauce, and comes with a fancy name you can’t pronounce. It’s fine.
But truly, it isn’t the reason you came to Moulin Rouge. Don McGregor
The woman dance swims within their coils!
I don’t know what she gets paid to do this but..
It isn’t enough.
And these serpents aren’t torpid. They move with astounding speed, curling in amongst themselves. Don McGregor
You won’t see this with your champagne and guinea goose dinner. At least, Marsha and I haven’t. Don McGregor
Not sure how these are coming out, gang, but hope they did.
I’m sure you’ll let me know if they did. Don McGregor
Norman Boyd All of your naughtiness are appearing here Don 😉
The Moulin Rouge extravaganza is strikingly different from most shows of the variety format state-side, in its casual disregard for gender formality.
The homoerotic playfulness of the Singing In The Rain number is tinged with just a hint of Laurel & Hardy camaraderie.
I’m not sure what the clowns are doing there in the last of the show.
The clowns have a thankless task of competing with giant anacondas and gravity defying skaters and men who can hurl each other towards the heavens.
Marsha stands by one of the posters.
Guess you’re not supposed to hsve a picture of this either.
Do you folks want more commentary like this with the photos? Don McGregor
Maureen Britt Absolutely! You’re a great tour guide, and I’m not sure I’ll ever get there, although I would love to someday! Keep the travelogue coming!
When separate invitations to be a part of two titanic overseas comic conventions came to me, from Bedford, England to Madrid, Spain, I felt the imperative to finally find my way to Sweetwater Nessie and the Highlands in Scotland. You cannot have the last name McGregor (even if you are really a mongrel with Swiss, English, French in you) and not feel a kinship with that land that has so much Scottish history and mythology assigned to the place.This begins part of that journey, from meeting Jeff Chalal and Bub Chalal who run the yearly NICE COMIC CONVENTION from their home area of Bedford, England. From all the newfound friends we found there, and the fans we met at the convention, to our leaving for other, distant destinations, it was filled with experiences we never imagined when the year began.I finally found this photo that was taken during the NICE COMIC CONVENTION in Bedford, England before we left for London and then Scotland and the Highlands and Loch Ness and then Amsterdam and the Red Light District and then Paris and Thierry Mornet and landing finally at the Madrid Heroes Con where George Pratt and I re-met after more than 3 decades.
Here, through the kindness of Seema Chalal, who asked Marsha what she would like to do while in England and Marsha said she wanted to go to a London Afternoon Tea.
Seema made her wish come true, with great warmth and kindness to both of us.
And Bub Chahal joined us.
One of the first moments that Marsha Lee McGregor and I would experience over the next month, starting a journey that would be more profound and extensive than we could ever suspect.
I had to make sure this afternoon delight did not get lost.
Thank you, Seema.
Thank you, Bub Chahal.
You’re the shy brother. Don McGregor
Marsha and I are in the GEORGE AND DRAGON PUB that Bub and Seema Chalal took us, too for dinner.
Bub’s comic store Assistant Manager, Katy Haughey holds onto her head, probably not half believing what she has heard at this table.
Bub Chalal marched Joe Ackerman and I to his unique comic book store in the midst of Bedford, England. The store is a comic book oasis in the setting of trees and swan swaying rivers not far from the English Afternoon Tea.Bub carries the new stuff, and the old stuff, and in between.What more could you ask for from a guy who loves comics and works a place where you can find and revel in them and most important, buy them and help keep the medium alive.This is in Bub Chalal’s second floor upper inner sanctum at the comic book store. This must be where all the big senses shattering comic book decisions get made. Apparently Joe Ackerman is listening to me expound upon the definition of “senses shattering.”
Doing the NICE convention during the day.
Meeting the readers and new people who are just experiencing the books for the first time.
I told Jeff Chahal not to worry if there were lines.
I would spend as much time with the people waiting when they got to the table.
I try to give everything I have in that moment of time to the people who believed in the books
and took them to heart.
Two of the men who help Jeff and Bub Chalal make their NICE COMIC CON run smoothly, and who made me feel very welcome in their home base, Rob and Ben Campbell. Somebody somewhere is probably asking me if I can stand still for a minute. And as I used to tell my pal, Rich Buckler, many times: “Apparently not.”
Martin GatelyBlack Panther creator versus black pudding. There can be only one victor…
Jerry ParisGod, don’t eat anything on that plate, Don! Anemic eggs, a cheapo mainly filler sausage and black pudding which is just a plate-filler dare. That is not British food!!! Take him somewhere for a proper breakfast!! Godolphin Hotel, Marazion in Cornwall does a great Cornish breakfast with a glorious view of St Michael’s Mount whilst you eat. Fresh eggs, local sausages and bacon… pots of tea or fresh coffee… toast with a selection of jarred jams, honey and marmalade… fresh fruit… pancakes. Don’t torture the man– he’s traveled a long way to be here! LOL!
Bub ChahalHah! He had English tea at the Swan Hotel by the embankment but this morning he just wanted scrambled eggs.
It is 1:03 am. I am finally back where I can respond beyond an emoticon. I have no voice left. I fought the cold from the time I left for LA to the presentation night for the Dwayne (Charlotte Fullerton) McDuffie Diversity Awards show.
The cold started in my chest the day before we left for the airport.
Marsha and I were able to get on the plane on time, only to be taken off due to fog in Detroit where we had to make a connecting flight.
7 hours later we were finally allowed back on the plane. This meant when we finally did arrive in Detroit we had missed our connecting flight.
We did not get into LA until 3am our time, midnight LA time.
The cold had progressed so that my voice was now a rasp, that of a really old guy whose voice was threatened to silence.
And that night, I would have to speak to the audience for Dwayne McDuffie and Charlotte Fullerton. My voice was gravel, churning in my throat.
I had decided that I would wear a Black Panther T-Shirt under my button down shirt since it was opening night for the movie. I thought it would be a fun idea to start with a professed strip-tease and reveal the Panther underneath to the people. I hoped Charlotte wouldn’t kill me. Fortunately, when I did it, people laughed and chapped, and I raised my arms, from what I can see, so that I looked like a revivalist minister from a Neil Diamond song.
Charlotte said it went over great, and I sighed relief.
But the cold persisted.
I had 3 panels to do for the Long Beach California Comic Con over the next two days.
I had Ivan Cohen, who guided me to the panels and my table get me some DayQuil and slugged it down as the table was swarmed with people. Somehow most of them managed to hear me over the comic con medlee of blended voices. You know the sound if you’ve been at a big con.
Over the next day and night I would meet with some of my favorite people.
Dwayne and Robbin and Miles Turner.
And then the next day do a 2 hour Black Panther Round-table Discussion with Ryan Coogler, Nate Moore, Joe Robert Cole, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Don McGregor, Christopher Priest.
I woke up that morning with no voice!
Not even a whisper.
This was panic time, because if I could not speak, I could not represent not just me, not just PANTHER’S RAGE, but also Rich Buckler and Billy Graham.
I was the last voice standing.
But the voice was still, the gravel in my throat like congealed cement.
Gradually, as the day progressed, the croaking frog voice came back. It was going to be One Froggy Evening. Looney Tunes fans will get the reference.
That’s all for now, but I had to show-case this photo from standing up a strip-teasing the Black Panther for Dwayne McDuffie and me and the crowd. I’m glad Charlotte and the audience seemed to like it. I get a kick out of champagne…Wait. I mean this photo.